Since i changed my gecko gargoyle's food from Repashy to Pangea crested gecko mix, he's stopped eating. It's over a week

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Customer: since i changed my gecko gargoyle's food from Repashy to Pangea crested gecko mix, he's stopped eating. It's over a week now that he's gradually been losing weight, and now he's taken to hiding away under things during the day. Can geckos let themselves starve to death? This is my first reptile, that i adopted a couple of months ago. He's around 2yrs old, and has never been used to eating live prey. Thank you for your help, Helen Whitfield
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the gecko's name?
Customer: Just Gecko
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about your gecko?
Customer: i think he's stopped doing droppings too in the last few days.....
Answered by PitRottMommy in 4 hours 3 years ago
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PitRottMommy
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Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Customer
When i got my Gecko the terrarium was not in a good state - the plants were dead, and the sides were plain white polystyrine. I've re-furbished it with new plants, a decorative fountain, and compost covered with stone chippings on the floor. I've also fixed sheets of natural chanvre fibre on the walls. I keep the temperature around 20-22 all the time, with 2 light bulbs during the day, turned off at night. I've recently noticed that the base compost is wet all the time, causing the plants to grow mould easily, and there are also little midges around - could this affect the gecko? Could it be a problem with the fountain motor noise? Or too little humidity? (i've stopped daily spraying because of the plants dying)

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I am very sorry to see that you have not received a response to your initial question before now. I’m afraid I don’t have any control over your wait time, but I will be happy to assist you today. Will you give me an update on how your companion is doing at this time so that I can move forward with addressing your concern? Have there been any changes since your original post? ​

Customer
No changes, he's still hiding away. He was out and about last night, but has still not eaten. Normally his droppings are quite big and oval, grey-brown and white (like bird dirt), but i found a couple of really small, hard, dry droppings today (maybe old?) this gecko has never been used to handling. His previous owner just left him to get on with life, so he'd be stressed out by close examination, i guess. I've been letting him just get used to sitting on me since he's mine.

Have you had any luck in switching him back to the Repashy diet to see if he will eat?

What other enticements have been tried?

You mentioned stone chippings on the floor, can you share pictures of these? Are these small enough to fit in your companion's mouth?

What bulbs are you using?

What is the humidity in the habitat?

Customer
The problem is that i can only buy dried complete gecko food on the net. Pet shops here in France sell only live food, so the Repashy will only arrive on the 17th. He shows no interest in crickets or flys. The stone chippings are quite large, drive gravel size, and i never see him on the ground.....The bulbs are special tropical terrarium bulbs, and the humidity is minimum 45% without spray, and up to 80% if i spray the walls and plants.

Thank you. Let's dig a little deeper.

1) What are the ambient temp, cool spot and hot spot temps in the habitat? What is the overnight temp?

2) Will he eat anything at all if you offer it by hand?
3) Are you seeing any odd movements, fluttering or tremoring? You might see this more often after a spray is performed.

4) Can you share a link to the exact bulb you're using so that I may look at its composition? How old are the bulbs?

5) How long have you had your companion?

6) How many hours of light and dark are they given each day? Do you use any bulbs in their habitat during the dark hours? If so, what color bulb are you using?

7) What vitamin supplementation are you using, if any, and how often is it provided?

Customer
Ok, i can't tell you acurately, as i got the equipment without instructions for the temperature/hydrometer control
:-( As i've read that gargoyle geckos aren't difficult to keep, i've only got a mechanical thermometer/humidity reader, fixed at mid-hight on the side of the terrarium, which reads 20c daytime, 19c night, and the humidity is at 60% right now. He's afraid of hands, so doesn't eat by hand. He's showing no odd movements. I've had my gecko for about 2 mths now, and he's about 2yrs.He gets around 15hrs light time, and no bulb at night.No vitamin supplementation, as i thought that the repashy food was complete.I got one bulb with the terrarium. It's a 220-240v, 26w, uvb2.0, don't know it's age, and the second i added about a month ago new. it's a terratlantis model 13673, 220-240v, 26w, uvb 5.0.
Gecko was ok, and had put on weight from when i got him. He's only started not eating when i changed the make of his food (his previous owners had given me the remains of his food with him (repashy and pangea powdered gecko food , which i'd mixed together) When he'd eaten up, i bought pangea fruit and insect mix, which apparently he doesn't like. Could he starve himself to death because of this?

The first thing that stands out right now is that your temperature in his habitat is quite cool. Gargoyles prefer a temperature gradient between 25.5C and 28C. 19 is cool enough that it may be causing your companion to essentially become dormant. Because reptiles must obtain their body heat from the environment, keeping a gecko at too cool of a temperature will lower their metabolism to the point that they become lethargic, avoid eating and essentially hibernate. This can cause medical problems, as well, such as pneumonia. I would suggest raising the temps into the proper gradient with an overnight temp no lower than 25C. Wait at least 2 days and then try feeding again. If this is a concern that is related to temp, his appetite should pick up substantially. If he remains uninterested in the new diet, I would suggest trying pureed baby food in fruit flavors. Peach, pear and apple are great choices. Gerber carries "blueberry buckle" that's a dessert option and gargoyles are typically a big fan. Also worth trying would be chicken and turkey flavors.

I would also suggest supplementing in both vitamin and mineral supplementation at least 2x a week. These commercial diets are intended to be complete, but I've found that very few of them are. Females, in particular, are prone to metabolic bone disease. As such, I recommend supplementing in both calcium with D3 and a multivitamin. A pinch of the 1:1 mix 3x weekly should be plenty.

If he does not improve, yes, he does run the risk of starving himself to death. As such, I would suggest a vet visit if these steps do not result in improvement. If you need help finding a vet that can see your companion, please visit http://www.anapsid.org/vets/

It’s been my pleasure to assist you today, I hope this information has been helpful. I will be standing by if you have any questions I did not address, feel free to reply and I will respond further. Please be sure to leave a rating or issue thanks before signing off today so that I know you received my response above. It’s imperative for this to be done for the website to compensate me for helping you.

Customer
Thanks a lot, i will try to warm the little guy up then. I didn't realise that the temperature gradient was so narrow for good health. Most info. on gargoyles stress that a too high temperature kills them! Cross fingers that your good advice works for him - he's a beautiful creature :-)
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