Unmotivated eater getting skinny


New Member
san diego
Hey hows it going! Been meaning to post about this for a while but had trouble finding a solid leopard gecko forum.

My issue is I have a very unmotivated eater, where its starting to take a toll on it.

I purchased my leopard gecko maybe about 3-4 months ago. I intentionally picked it because of the nice plump tail and healthy appearance.

Took her home and hooked her up.
10 gal
paper towel substrate
worm dish
regular hide
warm hide
Blue heat light

She was always kind of a picky eater since I got her. Figured she was just settling in, but noticed over time that her activity level went down and her tail began to get smaller.
She only truly enjoyed crickets. Occasional mealworms and wax, but only like 3 tops, and only randomly ate these if i dropped them right in front of her. At this point i still didn't think it was a big deal. She still ate, was just picky, I assumed her appetite would return as her tail was still within acceptable range.

I then bought another female, an excellent eater and very friendly. There were no issues as the new one ate every single time with much excitement. Looked very healthy with a nice plump tail.

Again more time went by, original one began to get a smaller tail, now just under acceptable size. So i figured she was stressed from the new cage mate, I went out to buy another set up. Later that night I saw her lunge at the other leo, nothing happened, no contact was made and to be honest the other gecko just kinda ignored it. At this point I decided to set up her new setup that night vs the next morning.

Set her up in my home office, which is quiet and low activity, same cage set up. She continues to be a picky eater, still eats but very unmotivated. I will see her chase down the closest cricket and if she misses, then that's it, no go, gets over it. She will maybe eat like 2-3 crickets every 3 days or so. She has a plate with some mealworms that are literally just decoration, she has never eaten from the bowl.

She most of the time just kinda lays around with her eyes shut.

I still cant see any bones on her, and her tail isnt all shriviled up, but shes on her way. I feel shes at a turning point right now where she still can come back, or with no attention, continue on the wrong path.

Her stools arent as solid as they used to be, I imagine its due to her not eating.

I did try to force feed her but she wont have it. Then when she did bite a mealworm she just spit it out.

I also bought her the flukers repta boost and she wouldnt open her mouth for the syringe and she didnt really lick her nose if i put a little on the tip of her nose.

Im very frustrated with the situation because I dont want her to die. I have tried mealworms, crickets, (pinched the legs off the crickets to make them slower) and wax worms. Regadless she only eats about 2-3 every 3 days or so. Yes I do gutload my feeders. Shes nice and warm and in a quiet low activity room. She wont take the syringe, and wont be force feed.

Heres the thing, she still does eat. Not much... but she does eat.

the big question is...

How can I motivate her to begin eating? a good healthy amount that is...

Gecko age is maybe like sub adult? her head to before tail is about 4"??

NOTE- Leopard gecko number 2 is doing A-Ok and 100% thriving in her terrarium. ZERO issues there.


Staff member
Somerville, MA
Welcome to GF! Sorry you're having a hard time with her and glad you separated them. I don't really have any more advice except to make an appointment with a reptile vet and bringing a stool sample. Good luck.


Neon Aurora

New Member
New Mexico
I second taking a stool sample to a vet. The fact that her stools are not solid, her poor eating habits and weight loss, and her size (4'' seems pretty small for a gecko that age. I'm assuming she is at least 6 months old unless you got her as a tiny hatchling) could be good indicators of a parasitic infection. To me, it's a red flag when a gecko actually spits out worms that you get it to bite instead of eating them. That technique has always worked for me with healthy geckos (I've done it for stubborn hatchlings and to try and convert picky eaters to a different staple) and every time it has not worked the gecko was not healthy. Usually their feeding response will just take over and they'll eat worms that are already in their mouths.

I would also like to know what type of thermometers you are using and if you have a way to regulate the UTH.

I recommend not using the blue light unless it gets really cold (but I see you live in San Diego, so probably not). Too hot can definitely be a problem and leopard geckos need darkness at night (they can see blue lights) so they have a proper day-night cycle going. Temps should be 90 F on the floor (measured with a digital thermometer with a probe or a temperature gun) on the warm side and no higher than 75 F(preferably around 70 F) on the floor of the cool side.

Do you have a humid hide?

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