Hunger Strike or Health Issue??

raboiromanov

New Member
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3
Hello! My name is Autumn and my leopard gecko Badger hasn't eaten for a month. He's kept a pretty consistent weight, all things considered, but he is a little thinner than he normally is. I'm a bit worried. I have many more details below. I'd really appreciate any recommendations on how to get him to eat again, I will try everything I can and take him to the vet if necessary. Thank you in advance for your time and any suggestions/tips you may have!

About my leopard gecko…


I think he is male, but I’m not sure.

My gecko is about 15 months old. I don’t know his exact weight (Sorry!!). His tail is a little thin right now, but nothing extreme in my opinion.

I bought him from a local reptile pet store.

His name is Badger.



Health/history

I don’t handle my leopard gecko very often- I am a first-time lizard owner and my leopard gecko seems pretty shy. I do hand feed him and he’s fine with that, he was just never very excited about being handled and I felt bad pushing him to be handled when he didn’t enjoy it. He doesn’t have issues with shed getting stuck or anything, so it simply hasn’t been necessary for me to handle him. In theory I would love to handle him but I don’t think it’s worth stressing him out.

My leopard gecko typically spends most of his time in his warm hide. Recently I got him a basking light because the ambient temperature in my room was a little too cold for his enclosure (more on temperature in husbandry section below). Now he comes out to bask and can be seen all throughout his tank. He has a heating pad for belly heat as well, but seems to really enjoy the heat lamp as well.

Never had any major health issues in the past- he sheds well. He seems to prefer not having a very fat tail though, which is odd. He doesn’t always want to eat when I offer food, especially if his tail has gotten to a nice fat size. Typically if his tail gets too large for his liking he’ll ignore the worms I offer once or twice, until it’s a bit thinner, and then accept food again.



Fecal

Look normal to me. His bathroom corner is tucked behind a little wall. I saw him walk behind it two days ago and I assume he went but I cannot confirm as he has a bit of privacy back there.



Problem

My leopard gecko has not accepted food for a long time. I still offer worms twice a week, but he has not eaten anything in about a month. He still drinks water and his tail is thin, but not thinner than I have seen it before. As aforementioned, he seems to prefer a thinner tail for some reason. I’m not sure what to do. He is still maintaining his general size and weight, at least. I know reptiles sometimes go on hunger strikes, and it’s possible that he was upset because I moved about 2 months ago, and I’m sure that was a stressful experience for him. He did eat for awhile immediately after the move, though. I would like to offer him a different type of food and see if it’s possible that his preferred food has changed, but I don’t know where to start. I will also take him to the vet if that’s what you guys recommend, but I’ve had a hard time finding a good exotic vet in my area. I took my turtle to an exotic vet sometime in the past year, and the vet misidentified her as a red eared slider even though she is a yellow bellied slider. Also, red eared sliders have been illegal where I live for almost a decade. So overall I will admit that I expect people like you guys (active members on a gecko forum) to know more about leopard geckos than the exotic vets I’ve met so far. Again though, he is still drinking water and still somewhat active (he moves all around his tank, from warm to cool hides depending on how he’s feeling, and often naps while basking).



Housing

20 gallon long side open enclosure, made of glass. He has lived in this enclosure since he was approximately 1-2 months old.

I use the coconut fiber substrate, since I’ve been told that leopard geckos can pass this substrate if they accidentally consume it. He does not like to eat it though, and I have a food bowl that I use for feeding to avoid consuming the coconut fibers. I’ve never used another substrate for him, but I really don’t think he eats the substrate. The most he’s eaten of it is small pieces that end up in the food bowl every once in a while, but even then, he just spits it out every time so I don’t think he actually ends up eating any of it.

He has three hides- one warm hide, one cool hide, and one that’s more enclosed than the others that I spritz with water around when he sheds (the moist hide for shedding). He also has a food bowl with calcium powder on the bottom, a water bowl, and a small wall across about half of his tank. The wall is leaning towards the back of the enclosure, and he used to climb it when he was younger but hasn’t for awhile.

I have a heating mat under his warm hide, and it’s connected to a thermostat thing that turns it off once it reaches 93 degrees. Currently the heating pad is 92 degrees and that’s pretty normal. I measure the air temp and humidity with a thermometer stuck to the wall of the enclosure. The air temperature on the warm side is 84 degrees. I’m not sure about the cool side because I don’t have a thermometer over there. The humidity is 50%.



Cage Mates

None.



Diet

Typically, I feed my leopard gecko meal worms covered in calcium powder and multivitamin powder. I have been using the same supplemental powder since I got him, which was a little over a year ago. He doesn’t seem to mind the taste of it. I can’t offer dubia roaches because they’re illegal where I live, and I will admit that I’m terrified of crickets so I would prefer not to feed him crickets either.



Supplements

I use 2 supplements- Zoo med repti calcium with vitamin D3, and Zoo Med Reptivite reptile vitamins without D3. I do not gut load the worms, but I do cover them with both of these powders before feeding. Additionally, I have the Zoo Med calcium powder on the bottom of the food bowl. My leopard gecko licks the bowl on occasion when he needs extra calcium. Expiration date on calcium powder is 02/15/2022, and the expiration date on the vitamins is 11/29/2021.
 

acpart

Geck-cessories
Staff member
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Location
Somerville, MA
I have found that some geckos get bored with mealworms. You could get a few crickets from the pet store and see if he enjoys the chase. Don't get waxworms --too fatty. You could also try super worms. Hopefully you're able to clean up the feces when he goes. If he keeps getting thinner and doesn't want any of the other feeders, consider a reptile vet visit.

Aliza
 

raboiromanov

New Member
Messages
3
I have found that some geckos get bored with mealworms. You could get a few crickets from the pet store and see if he enjoys the chase. Don't get waxworms --too fatty. You could also try super worms. Hopefully you're able to clean up the feces when he goes. If he keeps getting thinner and doesn't want any of the other feeders, consider a reptile vet visit.

Aliza
Okay, thank you!! I will try superworms and then crickets and see if Badger is more interested in those!

Also yes I can clean the feces, I just have to slide the wall out of the way a little bit. Don't worry I clean the bathroom corner often
 
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