BalloonBat

New Member
HISTORY:
I adopted an adult leopard gecko from PetSmart two weeks ago because it was blind. Prior to this, the gecko lived in the store for maybe five months in a 10 gallon enclosure with an overhead heat lamp during the day and a night lamp at night. It was fed a diet of crickets until it began rejecting those, then it was fed giant mealworms because that was all it would eat. To my knowledge, it would eat 2-3 giant mealworms every second or third day, but it was offered food almost daily. The gecko was known to go longer without eating, but it was fairly healthy with a decently plump tail.

ENCLOSURE:
I placed the gecko in a 20 gallon tank with a warm and cool side and three respective hides (one of them being a humid hide in the middle with moist moss). The bottom is lined with paper towel. A low-lying water dish and calcium dish are provided at all times. The heating pad ranges from 90-94 degrees Farenheit and he spends most of his time there during the day and comes out at night to roam and drink water. She has shed once (yesterday) but has not gone inside her humid hide. I do not have a UVB lamp.

PROBLEM:
After I brought the gecko home, it at seven giant mealworms the next day (it had not eaten for four days prior) and rejected all the giant mealworms, regular mealworms, and large crickets I'd offer it until 10 days later when it accepted two large crickets. Two days later, I managed to feed it five waxworms and I wasn't able to feed it after that. The gecko has used the toilet regularly since being adopted, but mostly to pee since it doesn't eat. It is a very picky eater and because it can't see well, prefers slow-moving insects and none that can touch his face (unless she is nudging it purposely). She will not eat if there is too much movement in the tank and will immediately stop eating if the insect touches its face - she will try to leave the area very quickly.

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I am at a loss for what to do. Besides not providing a timed UVB bulb, which I intended to supplement with D3 during some feedings, I feel like have provided a decent environment for the gecko to live in. It is placed in the warmest room in the house and I have barely handled it since I brought it home. However, I have held it three times - once the day after bringing it home, then the day after that, and then yesterday. She is very skittish and doesn't enjoy being scooped up, so I try to avoid making her anxious by not interacting with her. I can barely move when I go to feed her because the movement of the shadows or just me can startle her if she notices. It's not like she doesn't food because she has followed my finger in hopes of eating it before, so I don't know what her issue is. She has lost the nice bulge in her tail since coming home and it's more straight. At this point, I feel like I might have to force feed her liquid nutrients in order for her to survive, but I don't want to do that because I feel like that wouldn't be living. I am very tempted to give this gecko away to someone with more experience and money if they can get her to eat regularily.

If anyone has any advice, I would very much appreciate it. I don't want to give this gecko away, but if she's not happy with me then she would be better off going to someone who might know how to care for her better.
 

Josh

Administrator
Staff member
Welcome to the forum. Might be time to start weighing her and keeping track of her mass so you can see how her bodyweight fluctuates. What are the temps on the cold side?
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
It's not unusual for a gecko in a new place to not eat or to eat irregularly even for a few weeks. If it's blind and reacts badly to an insect brushing its face, it may be even harder for it to eat. Also, if it's in a bigger enclosure than before, it may be harder for it to find its food (I'm not necessarily saying that you need to move her to a smaller enclosure, but this may extend the time it takes for her to get used to eating in the larger one). If you're considering force feeding her liquids, you may as well see if you can hand feed her solids: hold her gently in one hand (you're going to have to hold her to feed her the solids anyway). Push a feeder against her mouth. She may get upset and try to bite the feeder, which is exactly what you want. See if you can get her to eat 3-4 items. I have a male gecko who hates being held. Sometimes I want to feed him super worms which he likes, but he doesn't always hunt them and they hide. When it's super worm night, I often hold him and push the worm against his mouth. He squirms and protests, but once he gets a worm he chews it up and is then ready for 4 more. Here are 2 articles from Gecko Time about feeding geckos and there may be some ideas there that will help (many geckos are hardly eating at this time of year, by the way):

Most leopard gecko keepers provide vitamin D3 through supplements rather than depending on UVB lighting which needs to be changed every 6-12 months. Also, many leopard geckos spend all the daytime hours in their hides so they may not be benefitting.

Aliza
 

BalloonBat

New Member
Dear @Josh and @acpart,

Thank you for your responses. Since I had some trouble accessing this site after posting my message, I ended up posting on another gecko forum and got some suggestions, but I will also welcome any more help.

Welcome to the forum. Might be time to start weighing her and keeping track of her mass so you can see how her bodyweight fluctuates. What are the temps on the cold side?
With reference to cold side temperatures, the room temperature of my house will drop lowest to 69.8*F and the gecko is placed in the warmest room of my house under another reptile's enclosure. I don't have thermometers in the tank beside the one to monitor the heat of the heat pad. I was told that as long as my room temperature is around this temperature, it should be sufficient to meet the gecko's cool side needs. I have also seen my gecko simply lounging around under the cool side hide, so I believe she finds it acceptable.

It's not unusual for a gecko in a new place to not eat or to eat irregularly even for a few weeks. If it's blind and reacts badly to an insect brushing its face, it may be even harder for it to eat. Also, if it's in a bigger enclosure than before, it may be harder for it to find its food (I'm not necessarily saying that you need to move her to a smaller enclosure, but this may extend the time it takes for her to get used to eating in the larger one). If you're considering force feeding her liquids, you may as well see if you can hand feed her solids: hold her gently in one hand (you're going to have to hold her to feed her the solids anyway). Push a feeder against her mouth. She may get upset and try to bite the feeder, which is exactly what you want. See if you can get her to eat 3-4 items. I have a male gecko who hates being held. Sometimes I want to feed him super worms which he likes, but he doesn't always hunt them and they hide. When it's super worm night, I often hold him and push the worm against his mouth. He squirms and protests, but once he gets a worm he chews it up and is then ready for 4 more. Here are 2 articles from Gecko Time about feeding geckos and there may be some ideas there that will help (many geckos are hardly eating at this time of year, by the way):

Most leopard gecko keepers provide vitamin D3 through supplements rather than depending on UVB lighting which needs to be changed every 6-12 months. Also, many leopard geckos spend all the daytime hours in their hides so they may not be benefitting.

Aliza
Thank you for confirming this! I did some more researching on YouTube after making my posts and it's really comforting to know that rejecting food is a very common thing that leopard geckos do! I understand that how long a gecko stops eating after moving to somewhere new differs from animal to animal, but do you know what the longest time a gecko has gone without eating after being moved?

As of today, I think that my gecko has gotten somewhat accustomed to her new environment. She ate a large cricket along with seven mealworms this night. She also ate two mealworms the day before. I am planning on feeding her a diet of crickets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays then mealworms on Saturdays. D3 will be used on Monday feedings and regular calcium for Wednesday and Friday. This is based on another suggestion I received. If worst comes to worst and she doesn't eat well again, I will attempt to coerce her into eating mealworms as @acpart has suggested.

Finally, thank you for the links. I will definitely check them out to see if there is any more I can do to help this girl.

Many thanks,
Balloon Bat
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
It sounds as if your gecko is doing better. I think the longest a new gecko in my house has ever gone without eating was about 2 weeks. This same gecko, who I had for 11 years, also would go 6 months without eating (wintertime) as an adult. He'd lose about 20 grams over the winter but by summer he was back to his usual weight of about 90 grams!

Aliza
 

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