My Leopard Gecko Quit Eating

Leopard Gecko Diet

Leopard Geckos are one of the best beginner reptiles that you can find. They're a smaller reptile that takes up less room. They come in bright colors, and have a fairly simple habitat and husbandry requirement.

For the most part if you are caring for a gecko properly, you should not have any problems with it's diet or it eating, but there are exceptions to that. Just make sure that you do know how to properly care for a leopard gecko to prevent health concerns and mishap.

Make sure that you know the proper diet for a leopard gecko before you start to panic about it not eating. Maybe you're just not feeding it the right diet. Leopard geckos are insectivores , meaning they eat insects. Don't feed insects from your backyard, make sure to buy insects from an online source, pet store, or even bait shop.

A good staple diet for a leopard gecko can consists of crickets, mealworms, or silkworms. All are nutritious feeders that leopard geckos will readily take. You may also want to consider small discoid roaches as a good staple. Waxworms and butterworms are good treats, but should never be fed on a regular basis to prevent reptile obesity. Phoenix worms are a good alternative, but remember that they are pricey, so I'd recommend just keeping them as healthy treats.

Now, if your leopard gecko quits eating, you really don't need to worry unless it's losing weight. It's not uncommon for leopard geckos to skip a meal every now and then, so unless you see weight loss, don't panic just yet.

Now, that being said, if you are having problems getting your leopard gecko to eat, there are many reasons and solutions.

sand was only for picture
sand was only for picture

Reasons a Leopard Gecko Stops Eating

When you start to notice that the tail shows signs that it is losing mass, you then need to figure out what's wrong. There can be a number of reasons that the gecko has stopped eating enough to begin to lose tail mass.

  • First you should check the temperatures in the enclosure to make sure that they are the right degree. The hot side needs to be between 90 and 92F. Measure the temperatures in the enclosure with a digital thermometer with a probe. The stick on thermometers are NOT accurate byb any means, and that includes if you place it on the floor of the tank.
  • Consider what substrate you're housing the gecko on. Loose substrates such as play sand, calci-sand, vita-sand, silica sand, wood chips, bark, potting soil, gravel, curshed corn cob, walnut shells, or any other substrate that is sold in a bag that you could find at a hardware store. Loose substrates can cause impaction, which is potentiall fatal.
  • Are you housing multiple geckos together? If so, the larger gecko may be bullying or stressing out the smaller gecko. This can occur in geckos of the same age and nearly the same size- one will always be just a little bigger than another. Remember just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Leopard geckos are nocturnal, meaning most of their activity occurs at night, while you sleep.
  • Have you recently changed the geckos enclosure, added
  • decorations, removed decorations, rearranged your room, moved the leopard gecko's cage, or anything that would involve changing the environment in or around the leopard geckos enclosure? If so, this could cause the gecko to stop eating for a few days to a week or so, depending on the gecko and the amount of change. Change doesn't affect all geckos, but it does affect some.
  • Is the gecko new to you home? New geckos may not eat for a few days, up to a week due to stress of changing environments.
  • What was the gecko being fed prior to you bringing it home? If you change what the gecko is used to, it might not take to the new feeder too well.
  • Where did you purchase the gecko? The most common and most convienent place to buy reptiles is the pet store, but this isn't always the best place. Pet stores commonly have ill reptiles that either suffer from parasites, bacteria, and fungus. Many times reptiles at pet stores are housed on sand or othe loose substrates, which means that the gecko could come home with impaction for you to deal with. Many reptiles at pet stores are housed inappropriately, such as too many reptiles in one enclosure, multiple males in an enclosure, sick reptiles with healthy reptiles, inaccurate temperatures, and multiple species in an enclosure. All of these things can contribute to illness.

Possible Solutions to Getting Your Geck to Eat

If you've deducedthe problem, then go ahead and fix it ASAP.

If you're temperatures are 90 to 92F on the hot side, then that's not the problem. No sand ever- no sand impaction. Gecko you've had for months nad is housed alone. Ok... So, here we start.

You ant to first rule out parasites or any other underlying health concerns, so take a trip to the vet. Your average cat and dog vet isn't going to be able to help you, so make sure to have a vet who specializes in reptiles. If the vet finds that internal parasites is the culprit, he will prescribe medicine to rid the gecko of its parasites.

If the gecko still refuses to eat, you can try a different food item. I have had leopard geckos eat mealworms for as far as I could remember and sudden stop eating. Have no parasites or worms. But drastically losing weight. I decided one day to throw in a few crickets in the enclosure, and they were quickly eaten. To this day, the two leopard geckos eta crickets versus the mealworms that had always been on. I don't know what caused the change in taste buds, but something did. It could be as simple as that. Try changing to a different feeder insect.

If that doesn't work, you may need to try a special leopard gecko diet. This is a formulated slushy concoction, created to help leopard geckos gain weight and get the proteins and vitamins that they're not getting by not eating. This is not a quick fix or a solution. The slushy mix, created by Marcia at Golden Gat Geckos, is only to help provide essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins to your gecko. You still need to find the problem so that you can decide the proper solutin. The slushy mix will hopefully buy you some time to figure out the problem.

Leopard Gecko Slushy Mix

I have used the slushy mixture created by Golden Gate Geckos and successfully gotten leopard geckos eating on their own again. It took some time and work to do so, but they've been eating on their own since.

Remember, this slushy mix is not a full diet, and is to sustain geckos while trying to get their appetite back. It's most commonly used on geckos who are on an antibiotic or medication that is causing loss of appetite and to stimulate feeding. If your gecko has stopped eating for no apparent reason, it's most ideal that you have it checked by a vet before trying to force feed this slushy mix.

To make the slushy you need:

  • 1 small can of Hill's a/d pet food (available at most vet's)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of Ensure (any flavor but chocolate. I prefer vanilla for my geckos)
  • 1 jar of squash baby food
  • 1/4-1/3 cup pedialyte
  • 2 tablets of milk thistle (herbal supplement, liver purifier, found at drug stores)
  • 2 tabs or contents of 2 capsules of Acidophilus (GI system probiotic, found at most drug stores)
  • 1/2 tsp calcium powder
  • 1/2 tsp vitamin powder
  • 1 large handful of mealworms (I've also used crickets)

Directions:

  • Blend ALL ingredients in a blender or food processor, slowly adding the mealworms as you blend
  • Puree all ingredients until completely smooth
  • Pour into ice trays and freeze
  • Store the cubes in ziplock bags

When you use a cube, thaw it out in a small container, this is where the empty baby food containers come in handy. Use a small eye dropper, filling it full, put a drop at a time on the gecko's nose, letting him lick it.

What I did when it came to feeding the slushy was feed the gecko one eye dropper twice a day to start. After a few days to a week decrease it to once a day. I'd continue once a day, a fully eye dropper of slushy mix, for a bout a week or so more. Then stop giving it anymore. I would wait a day or two, the gecko not being provided food, and then attempt to give the gecko either crickets or mealworms, whichever it was used to eating. Usually, this method was successful, as the gecko had been used to eating daily then going without food for a few days, made it hungry enough to eat on its own.

If you decide to try another feeder insect or the slushy mix first. And the gecko isn't gaining any weight, you should DEFINITELY pay a visit to the vet before something happens to the gecko.

One of my geckos that had to be given the gecko slushy.
One of my geckos that had to be given the gecko slushy.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a specialized reptile veterinarian.

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Comments 823 comments

Janette 3 years ago

Thank ou soooo much for this awesome blog. I have been in tears, worried about my leo. I have been reading everything I can online about my gecko's eating problem. He stopped eating 6 days ago. What helped me most about reading this was the mention about change of atmosphere. I believe this might really be a huge possiblity and your article was the only one I read that mentioned the stress of change causing some gecko's not to eat for up to a week. I will be taking him to a vet, and thank you for providing the info on the slushy mixture and a back up. I am soooo grateful I came across this page. Thank you so much.


James 3 years ago

Hi whitney, about 2-3 years ago i had a problem where my leopard gecko suddenly stopped eating. Luckily, the problem was only that i needed to change up his meal plan and add some diversity, and he began eating again. unfortunately, i'm back again, and the solution doesn't seem so easy. last friday, before leaving on a weekend trip, i gave my gecko some mealworms for a rotation ( i rotate from cricket and give about 15 meal worms every few months) when i came back, my gecko's light bulb had burnt out (unlucky) and i saw all 5 mealworms he had eaten sitting undigested in a very large clump in his normal dropping spot. he also had a bloody right nostril. i have purchased a new light, and more crickets, but he is not eating and does not leave his little enclosure. he did eat 1 meal worm which he digested and pooped normally, but nothing since then, which was about 4 days ago. what should i do?


gygugiuy 3 years ago

my haven't eaten in so many days I am so worried I will follow all these rules and prey it survives


Karen Gunaratne 3 years ago

i have had my geco for 13 years and he has stopped eating and im not sure what to do, i dont want him to suffer


Charmedone78 4 years ago

I have had my leopard gecko for 5 mnths and she has been eating fine now she is not eating and has not passed any stools but if she is not eating she won't pass stools her skin is very pale not like her bright colour and she keeps digging in the sand I have tried hand feeding her but she keeps turning her head away her tail is still fat she has not ate for 1 week now and have just put on cricket in the tank but she is not interested, I have calci sand in and the temp is fine the pet shop advised the calci sand I keep her moss put wet and fresh water daily what can I do I'm beginning to get worried.


cerri 4 years ago

hi i got my leopard gecko from someone in the paper i knew when i saw it it was ill but didn't have the heart to leave her. she has never had a plump tail and i have tried feeding mealworms not eaten them tried waxworms she did eat them and crickets but now she not eating at all i feel although with all the best intention i think the damage is beyond repair any suggestions before i take the trip to the vets


hj 4 years ago

okay so my gecko bred 10 days ago and so far there is no sign of her tail getting larger. I don't know if it's to soon or something happened but i'm positive that the mated. I have not turned her over yet because i'm not sure if it will harm the eggs because some people have said yes and some people have said no. She wont let me pick her up though and she never has. I really need help so please respond!

hj out peace


Andrew 4 years ago

My brand new baby leopard gecko is always hiding, even though his cage is 84 degrees, also he won't eat. What am I supposed to do?


Terri 4 years ago

my male 10 year old leopard gecko has an impaction. It was seen on x-ray. What is the best way to get it moving. Have been doing warm water soaks and feeding pumpkin from a dropper twice a day. Any other suggestions ?


Hanna 06 4 years ago

Hi my gecko is about a year old. He has always been a happy healthy little guy. Now he is having trouble shedding, its stuck over his eyes and feet and his feet are swollen. I don't know what to do I am worried.


Eileen 4 years ago

My leopardgecko is about 6 months old she has been eating fine about 10 mealworms aday but for the last week or so I can hardly get her to eat anything I also noticed she has developed to small dark spots on her belly and she is having trouble shedding on her feet what can I do to help her?


turtlelover2k 4 years ago

my leopard gecko named yoshi died and she had swollen joints, would not eat, wasn't

nocturnal, and had a big discussting brown lumb on her stomach.I was hoping somebody could give me some info...oh yeah she also puked up her food!

please write back please.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Make sure to keep the rescue housed be itself. You want to be able to best monitor it, so use paper towels instead of any loose bedding. Try crickets, mealworms, and any type of feeder insect to see if maybe the gecko doesn't like what it's being fed. If that doesn't work, you'll need to get nutrients into his system, so try the above mentioned slushy mix.


mommalyon 4 years ago

So I have 4 leporad geckos and as far as i know all but one of them is eating. Aj is getting very skinny and i am worried as he was a resuce, and had to have a gotter removed from his thorat and now he will not eat. We got these from a man in Des moines and he said he had to be hand fed which I have been trying to do but he will not eat for me. I am worrie dany suggestions would be helpful thanks in advance


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

It could just be the product of old age. You've kept your gecko healthy for so long. Just monitor the temps and overall environment.


christina 4 years ago

i have a leopard gecko that is about 10-12 years old. he has always been healthy and a fat tail. in the past month his tail has shriveled. and he looks like he is losing mass. ive been trying to feed him mealworms and crickets. not interested at all. he is also moving very slow. im worried ive had him along time. what's going on.


ferny123 4 years ago

will a tail loss cause the gecko not to eat because my leopard gecko has not eating for about a week and it loss its tail


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

A few months not eating will not necessarily cause a drastic change in weight, especially if the animal is otherwise healthy. Without all the facts, it's hard to say why the gecko quit eating for those months, but since it's eating again, just ensure correct temperatures on the surface of the tank, as in most cases, reptiles will slow their eating habits when the temps get too low.


Taryn 5 years ago

My gecko is like 4 years old. He's eating now, but a few weeks ago he went for I think like 3 months without eating. The weird thing is that he didn't loose any weight and his tail was still healthily plump. Any suggestions why this happened? One day he just shed and since then he's back onto his normal eating habits.


KaylaHeather profile image

KaylaHeather 5 years ago

Let's see... I got Gojira (Japanese for Godzilla if anyone was wondering) 3 weeks ago from my little cousin's friend and when we got him he was extremely malnourished with a really skinny tail. From the past 3-4 weeks of having him, his tail has grown double the size of what it had been. Today I was informed that he had to be at least 6-8 months old but he's only around 5-6 inches and from what I know, aren't they supposed to grow to be 10 inches by the first year? Also, yesterday he was eating just fine. We threw at least 6 or 7 in the cage with him and he ate all but one. When we went to feel him today, he just wasn't eating anything and just didn't seem anywhere near interested in the crickets he was being fed. I grabbed one and stuck it right in his face and he just nibbled it and let go. We just got a new log-looking hide that is basically a tunnel type thing and he barely went in it. I took a closer look at (my mom bought it and I didn't get the chance to pick it out) the log and it had a bunch of wood shavings sticking off of it from the inside. Would this have harmed him in any way when he was going for the crickets that would hide on the top part of the inside? We have a 10gal tank and were planning on upgrading to a 20gal long tank tomorrow. We put his old log that we had in there before and he went right in it. Would changing his hide be the reason he wasn't eating? Or would you recommend taking him in ASAP? Please help! I don't know what to do here...


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