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Reptiles/our baby leopard gecko won't eat!


QUESTION: My son brought a baby leopard gecko 2wks ago (he was told it was approx 2months old). He has a large tank with paper towel on the bottom. He has a heat mat which doesn't cover more than a third of the floor space and a lamp which he puts on during the day. He has a moist hide, a dry hide, a water dish, calcium dish and is sprayed with a mist of water twice a day. The gecko is shedding and has been for 10 days or so. We put him in a small bowl with v shallow water yesterday which seems to have helped a little with the shed by he still has skin on his head and 3 of his legs. We have tried tiny crickets and meal worms but he's just not interested. We now keep a diary and count in/out the food, so we know he's not eating. Can you help at all as we are so worried that he is not eating. Thank you.

ANSWER: Hello Chris,

Sometimes they can go through relocation stress which will affect the appetite.  It can take up to 2-3 weeks in some cases for them to start eating.
He is very small then since he is only 2 months or so old.
Shedding will also affect appetite too.  
What are the temperatures in the tank on the warm side?  Do you have the moist hide on the warm side to help release humidity?  He needs a temperature range of around 88-90 with a cooler end of around 78-80 or so.  
Is he any special morph like an albino?   

I would suggest getting some chicken or turkey baby food to feed to him with a plastic dropper or syringe.  Just drip it onto the end of his nose to see if he will lick it off so he get some nutrition.  You can mix a pinch of calcium in with the food, too.
Is the shed stuck from being dried on?  Do you have any pictures of him?  
A daily bath should help if it just is not coming off.

Let me know how he is doing.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Tracie,

Thank you so much for a very quick reply.

With regard to the heating, we have a heat mat at one end and a thermometer at each end, at the hot end it reads approx 25c and the other end reads almost the same even though there is no heat mat but the floor is cooler. Why is this and what is the best way to vary the temperature between 78-80 and 88-90? Yes, the moist hide is on the warmer end and he has a normal hide on the cool end.

When bought we were told his dad was an albino, also after trawling various sites for advice we may of come to the conclusion he is a hypo tailed gecko if that is such a thing! We will try to get a picture!

The shed could quite possibly be dried on as when we bathed him a substantial amount came off, I'm sure now with frequently bathing him this will no longer be a problem!

ANSWER: Hello Chris,

sorry for the delay, too much holiday stuff!  :-)
How is your gecko doing today?
Great, pictures would be nice.  Being a specialty morph, sometimes they are more inbred which can cause other health issues.  Hopefully he wont end up having any problems for you.

The baths should help with retained shed.  You have everything all set up correctly though, with the moist hide on the warm end to help release humidity for him.

The 28C for the cooler end is fine, no problem at all.  A range is just for him to be able to pick an area he prefers at that time.  Reptiles get heat stressed if they don't have a good range of temperatures to choose from.  

Is he eating today?

Looking forward to seeing him.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi again Tracie,
Sadly our little gecko died yesterday. We tried everything but he just gave up. We had a really good look over him later to see if there was a any obvious problems and we found that under his tummy was a deep purple, almost like bruising so am wondering if the poor little thing was poorly from the start? We're very sad and want very much to own another lizard and are looking at a different breeder!
We do thank you so much for you're advice and will keep you updated.
Thanks again

Hello Chris,

Oh no, I am so sorry to hear that your gecko passed away, that is so sad.  :-(  I highly doubt it is anything you did.  You did your best & tried to help, poor thing.  

I wonder if he was impacted possibly?
Sometimes they keep them on sand in the petstores & they lick too much, impacting them.  He was ill from the start.  
I hope you have better luck with the next one.  
Let me know when you decide to get another one.

My sincere condolences for your little one.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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