Because of the fat storage in their tails, many adult leopard geckos will live without food for 10-14 days. Leopard geckos are perfectly capable of going without food for extended periods.
Reptiles, unlike mammals, do not need food on a daily basis to live, especially during the cold season. In the wild, geckos will go the whole winter without feeding because their activity levels are too poor.
To sustain your gecko well, make sure it enjoys a properly balanced diet that includes consuming of live insects on a regular basis.
The size of insects to feed to your leopard gecko
- For baby geckos. Feed them crickets that are about 3/8 inch in size;
- For juvenile reptiles. Feed your gecko crickets when they are about 1/4 inch in size;
- For adults. Medium to adult size crickets should be fed to your adult gecko;
As a rule of thumb, it’s not a smart idea to feed your gecko insects that are larger than the distance between the eyeballs.
How often should leopard geckos eat?
- Leopard geckos under the age of one year should be fed on a daily basis;
- Adult geckos can be treated any other day if they are in good condition;
- Sick pets can be fed once a day before they are fully well;
- Food should be provided late in the day or in the early evening when geckos in the wild are most likely to begin hunting;
- If your pet is a picky eater, feeding it normally but have a bowl of worms in the tank in case it gets hungry later;
What should leopard geckos drink to hydrate properly?
Your gecko has to drink hot, fresh water, which should still be present in its tank.
Make sure the dish is small enough so the gecko could drink from it quickly and won’t sink if it manages to climb into it.
Since the cage’s floor must be held dry, the dish must remain secure to prevent spillage.
How much should leopard geckos eat to prevent starving?
Since leopard geckos only consume insects, no greens are necessary. Any second day, these cold-blooded pets should be given two correctly scaled insects per inch of their total length. Mealworms of appropriate size can be offered in a small bowl; crickets do not need a dish. To stop choking, don’t serve an enormous volume of food.
5-7 tiny crickets or mealworms should be fed to baby reptiles every day before they exceed around 4 inches in length. Any other day, larger food should be provided before they are fully developed, which should take between 10-12 months. 2 to 3 days a week, adults should be fed 6-7 big crickets or mealworms. Leopard geckos must be fed 3 to 5 waxworms or Calciworms three days a week if nutrients are used. Waxworms can never be used as a reward or to add fat to a geckos’ diet. Leopard geckos can easily get spoiled on Waxworms and will reject other items, so use them sparingly.
Often, be sure you have enough calcium in your diet; calcium is necessary, so give it three days a week. At all times, a deep dish of fresh water must be accessible.
How to prevent obesity in leopard geckos?
The presence of food in the leopard geckos’ natural environment (the desert areas of Southeast Asia) differs dramatically depending on the circumstances.
As a result, leopard geckos have established a pattern of efficiently preparing and preserving food, which is beneficial in the desert but may lead to obesity and overeating in captivity.
Since they bear their fats in their tails, it’s not necessarily clear that they’re gaining so much weight, but it may also have negative health implications.
The tail of a gecko should still be longer than its neck, and the stomach should be largely smooth (unless right after feeding).
Overfeeding your pet can trigger it to regurgitate food and become drowsy. If your pet shows some of these signs, you can minimize the amount of food you feed it and stop feeding it fatty insects (think of Waxworms and Butterworms).
How to prevent appetite loss in leopard geckos?
Although there is no way to fully avoid lack of appetite, these steps will aid:
- Be sure your pet’s environment is warm and clear of all objects that might be swallowed unintentionally;
- Foods that may cause stomach complications, such as super worms, should be avoided;
- To avoid potential injuries, treat your gecko with caution;
- If you find symptoms that your pet isn’t feeling good, transfer it to the vet as soon as possible.
Reasons why leopard geckos may stop eating
For a number of purposes, reptiles may quit feeding. It’s mostly attributed to everything you’ve done or fed them in the past, while most times it’s due to sickness. There are few items you should do at home before bringing your leopard gecko to the vet’s office if it has unexpectedly stopped feeding but is still active:
The problem with defecation
If the gecko hasn’t defecated in a while, it may be infected with feces. This fecal impaction could be triggered by a recent big or rough meal, such as super worms, or bedding content that was inadvertently eaten by your leopard gecko. Urate plugs may also trigger fecal matter to become clogged. If your pet is experiencing these issues, consider bathing it twice a day in a warm water tub.
The water should be at least as big as the gecko’s hips. You could softly rub your gecko’s belly when it is underwater. If this does not make the gecko move poop and urates, you can see a veterinarian. Your leopard gecko’s vet might need to give it an enema, or they might find it has intestinal parasites or requires some medical treatment.
The most common explanation for geckos ceasing to feed is that they are too cold. Perhaps your heat lamp has burnt out, your heat pad has stopped functioning, there is a draft in the cage, maybe, your pet has never had a heat source and is now too cold. The transition from fall to winter also takes a large number of anorexic geckos to the veterinarian’s office, but much of the time, a small adjustment to their habitat temperature can get them to feed again.
If the temperature drops below 70F, the gecko’s metabolic rate will slow down and it will avoid feeding. If a tank where your gecko is kept isn’t kept about 80F, additional heat is needed, and not many homeowners keep their homes this warm. A heating pad is efficient, but it does not warm the air as well as it warms the cage flooring, making it difficult to keep track of the temperature where your gecko is sitting. A basic heat light on the enclosure is much safer and more cost-effective. This way, you will keep track of the basking temperature to ensure that your gecko’s cage doesn’t get too cold at night.
Your gecko may have a respiratory illness that has forced them to avoid feeding after getting a cold from a draft or a drop in their ambient temperature. The most popular medical cause for reptiles refusing to feed is respiratory infections. If your gecko is ill in some other way, the lack of appetite may be attributable to something else.
Cysts that affect or obstruct the digestive tract, mouth ulcers and other symptoms may be diagnosed by the veterinarian. If you think your gecko isn’t feeding because of an infection, get help from your vet.
Problems with the gecko’s vision
Retained skin around the eyes will make it difficult for your gecko to see its food, particularly if it’s attempting to capture a cricket. This is normally caused by a lack of moisture in the cage during an unfinished shed. Some eye conditions that would prompt your gecko to avoid feeding include corneal ulcers and retrobulbar abscesses.
Pain and physical injuries
Your gecko can stop eating if it has an injury or is in discomfort due to an injury. Ulcers, eye infections, tail and toe issues will all render the gecko grumpy and unable to feed. If you suspect your pet has an injury, expect it to continue to feed before the discomfort is eased and it feels stronger.
Useful Video: Complete Leopard Gecko Care and Setup Guide
The easiest way to handle a leopard gecko’s loss of appetite is to look at your pet’s climate, behavior, and individual features and make your prediction about what’s wrong.
Of course, your gecko might have quit eating for a cause other than those mentioned, but if you’ve done anything above and still haven’t figured it out, arrange an appointment with your exotics vet.