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Joan, Veterinary Technician
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 18665
Experience:  35+ years experience as veterinary tech and 40+ years experience doing reptile rescues.
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My sons leopard gecko is not eating and seems lethargic.

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My son's leopard gecko is not eating and seems lethargic. We have 2, the other is fine. We thought i might be a calcium deficiency, so we added a dish of powdered calcium, but things don't seem better.


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a Vet tech with special interest in reptiles and reptile rescue.

I would like to ask some questions to see if we can help Claws.

Is Claws a male or female? What are the other two geckos, male or female?



Temps in enclosure? How warmed?

Has Claws lost any weight?



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't know if they are males or females. We bought him the pair for Christmas last year. We feed them small crickets and meal worms. He is definitely smaller than the other and they started out about the same size. The have a heat light, the current temp is in the 70's according to the gauge. We just have the basic cage kit with a flooring that is removable for special bedding.


Thank-you for the information. I am glad you have a solid substrate, as that is very important. I do have a couple of concerns. If they are two males, the problem you are seeing could be an issue with bullying. Males will fight and it is a territorial issue. The next problem is your temps are way too cool. the tank temps should be anywhere from 84-86*F. If the tank is too cool a Reptile will shut down and cannot thermoregulate the body temperatures. If the other one is keeping Claws out of the warm area, he may have shut down where he will not eat and is lethargic. I suggest using an under the tank heater for Leopard Geckos, since they can sense heat from underneath and that may help warm them. I also suggest having two hides a moist hide and a dry hide. The last possibility could be a parasite issue. We can try some first aid and see if it helps, but I do suggest a Herp Vet visit to rule out parasites. Please take a small rubbermade and and mix some Pedialyte and warm water 50/50 and make it a shallow soak. Take Claws and place him in the shallow soak and support him for about 10mins. This will help with hydration. Next please take some Chicken or Beef baby food and mix some calcium in it and drop a little on the snout and see if you can get Claws to lick it off. This is a supplemental feeding to try and help Jumpstart his appetite. If he does not respond, then a Herp Vet visit will be needed. I will be happy to locate some Herp Vets for you with a State. Please try to increase the temps, use the hydrating soak and the supplemental feeding and hopefully he will start to feel better. Please watch for bullying too, since that can be a problem. Please let me know if you need clarification or have further questions. Joan


Joan and other Reptile Specialists are ready to help you

I'm just following up on our conversation about Claws. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the advice. We used the shallow soak, put a heating pad under their cage and feed her baby food and she seemed to respond well the first day. Day 2 she didn't seem very responsive to the warm water, etc. She barely ate and unfortunately didn't make it through the night.


I just don't get it since the 2 were housed together and treated exactly the same. I never saw any signs of aggressive behavior...or much interaction for that matter. Bobtail is big with a fat tail. If it was a parasite is he in danger of contracting it? How does a lizard pick one up? I feel badly that I failed this animal...the pet store thought it was a calcium deficiency...I think what we tried was probably just too late.




I am so sorry for the loss! A parasite could be a possibility and can be transferred via stool. The thing is that the Pet shop animals are not always well kept before you get them. Many have compromised immune systems, which when weakened leaves them open for a parasite bloom. Parasites live naturally in the guts and if stressed, they can overtake the system. In this case the bigger stronger Leopard gecko could have been bullying him, he may have been a Gecko that was inbred and was weaker to begin with, or he may have been what we call a failure to thrive Gecko. Do not blame yourself, because you did everything possible. I blame the pet shops because many of the animals sold come with poor instructions, or have not received the proper care prior to being sold. I would suggest just keeping Bobtail for now and see how he does. I am available 7 days a week should anything arise. You are doing a great job. Joan

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. We thoroughly cleaned the cage. When looking at her post mortem, her belly seemed dark, something we didn't notice while she was still living. Whatever happened seems to be tied to that. I appreciate your kind words and help the past few days.


Sara and Wes


With the abdomen being dark it may have been organ failure. I am here for you and all your pets. Please do not hesitate to ask for me. Joan