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Why Is Your Leopard Gecko Not Eating? 9 Reasons with Solutions

leopard gecko gazing its meal

One of the scariest things for any pet owner is when they get sick. One of the first signs that your pet is sick is a change in behavior, including refusing to eat.  However, the leopard gecko is notorious for its hunger strikes, and there are several causes besides sickness that can stop your pet from eating. If your pet refuses to eat, keep reading while we look at several reasons and what you can do to get your leopard gecko eating again.

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The 9 Reasons Your Leopard Gecko is Not Eating with Solutions

Let’s look at some of the most common reasons your leopard gecko might not be eating.

1. It’s Sick

As we’ve already mentioned, if our pet is sick, one of the first symptoms is often a decrease in appetite. Several illnesses result in a loss of appetite, including metabolic bone disease, kidney failure, and liver failure.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

If your pet is getting older, there is a better chance that illness is to blame. If the lack of eating is accompanied by other symptoms, like a lack of mobility, it’s important to take your leopard gecko to the vet immediately to have it looked over.

2. It’s Cold

One of the most common reasons leopard geckos stop eating is because the environment is too cold. If the terrarium temperature is too low, the leopard gecko will slow down its bodily functions and not consume food.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

To get your leopard gecko eating again, you will need to keep the terrarium temperature between 94 and 97 degrees using a halogen bulb or other heating method. If you have one of these bulbs installed, make sure that it is operating correctly, and remember to change the bulb every six months because the bulb loses its ability to create UV light long before it burns out. The easiest way to check the temperature is with a thermometer terrarium thermometer and make adjustments accordingly.

Leopard gecko open mouth
Image Credit: Milan Zygmunt, Shutterstock

3. Rehoming

If you just brought your leopard gecko home, it might be that your pet is not yet used to its new home. It can often take several days for your pet to become comfortable in a strange environment.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

Leopard geckos that are rehoming will usually begin to eat on their own again with no intervention. Some will eat in a few days, while others can take weeks. The leopard gecko can live a long time without food, but if it lasts longer than about three weeks, we recommend taking your pet to the vet.

4. Impacted Feces

Impacted feces can occur if your leopard gecko eats too many hard-shell bugs. The chitlin they contain obstructs the colon resulting in your pet refusing to eat.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

A diet of mealworms and crickets is best for minimal risk of fecal compaction. Ensuring your pet is properly hydrated is also important, so make sure there is a clean water supply in the habitat. You can also try to loosen the impaction by giving your pet frequent warm baths. Gently rubbing the belly while bathing can also help break up the stool. If the problem lasts more than three weeks, you will need to take your pet to the vet.

Diablo Blanco leopard gecko
Image Credit: NatalieJean, Shutterstock

5. Injury

Scratches, cuts, and other wounds can cause discomfort in your pet, and your leopard gecko may not eat while it’s in pain.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

Some wounds can take a long time to heal, so you will need to be patient. Once your pet is feeling better, it should begin to eat again as normal. Make sure to coat the insects with a vitamin-rich calcium powder to help replace what was lost.

6. Vision Problems

It could be that your pet is unable to see its food due to poor eyesight. Poor eyesight is more common in older or injured leopard geckos, but any can be affected.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

If you suspect your leopard gecko is having difficulty seeing, we recommend taking it to the vet to see if it’s repairable. Vision impaired geckos will not be able to catch crickets, so they will need a diet of mealworms placed close by their mouth.  A common cause of temporary blindness in geckos is an incomplete shed. If there is not enough humidity in the tank, the skin over the eyes can become stuck. Ensure that your terrarium has a properly set up moist hide so it can properly shed.

Blazing Blizzard leopard gecko
Image Credit: bulinko, Shutterstock

7. Overfeeding

The reason your leopard gecko is not eating could be as simple as you have already fed it enough and it is not hungry. Asking your pet to eat more might result in indigestion, upset stomach, and vomiting.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

Your pet should start to eat again in a few days or weeks when it becomes hungry, and you shouldn’t need to do anything else. To prevent it from happening again, pay close attention to portion size. Introducing smaller insects might help get them eating again.

8. Stress

Stress can cause your leopard gecko to stop eating. The most common source of stress for leopard geckos is a tank companion. If you have recently purchased a companion for your pet, a refusal to eat could mean your pet rejects the new friend. Loud noises and bright lights can also increase stress levels.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

If you think your gecko is angry over another tank mate, you can be patient and give it a few weeks for your pet to accept it. If it takes more than three weeks, you will need to separate them so your pet can return to eating. If something else is causing the anxiety, you can try moving the terrarium to another location in your home to see if it begins eating.

bell albino leopard gecko
Image Credit: cowboy54, Shutterstock

9. Breeding Season

Geckos may also stop eating during the breeding season. Males will become distracted and could completely forget to eat for several weeks. Females will often choose not to eat.

How you can get your leopard gecko eating again

It’s common for leopard geckos to stop eating during the breeding season. The best thing you can do is be patient and wait for the season to be over. You can try offering small amounts of food to see if they will eat it, but don’t be too hopeful.

One of the best sources of nutrition for a leopard gecko is dubia roaches. These geckos love the idea of hunting the roaches down and consuming them afterward. Make sure you provide them with an adequate supply of dubia roaches to sustain their good health.

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More tips

  • One of the best ways to get your leopard gecko to eat is to offer waxworms. Waxworms are one of its favorite foods, and it will rarely pass up a chance to eat them.
  • Make sure no insects are larger than the space between the eyes of the Leopard gecko.
  • Ensure all insects are gut-loaded, so they are not dehydrated when your pet eats them.
  • Offer wounded prey by cutting the food in half so the leopard gecko can smell the bodily fluids.
  • You can also try to feed your pet with a syringe. The syringe is called a gecko slurry and is a liquid food that your pet will instinctively lick off the syringe of its nose. It’s often an effective way to get a leopard gecko to eat again.
Image credit: MattiaATH, Shutterstock

How long can my leopard gecko go without eating?

While there is no specific number of days that a leopard gecko can go without eating, most can go at least a month before it becomes serious, and in almost all cases, it will begin to eat again when it’s ready.

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Final Thoughts

Because leopard geckos can live so long without food, you don’t need to be overly concerned if they stop eating for a few days. If you are concerned after a week, you can try to offer waxworms as they are one of your pet’s favorite foods. If you don’t get a response from the waxworms, you might start to look for signs of fecal impaction, injury, and illness. Warm baths can relieve impaction, help wounds heal faster, and may even reduce stress levels. If the pet refuses to eat after three weeks, we recommend contacting the vet to get your pet checked.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and found the answers you need. If we have helped put your mind at ease, please share this guide to why your leopard gecko is not eating on Facebook and Twitter.

Featured Image: ryomaQ, Shutterstock

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