Why does my leopard gecko not eat?
There are usually a few scenarios why your leopard gecko is not eating ranging from the easy to fix to the more serious needing vet treatment,
- Your Leopard gecko is stressed?
Recently acquired Leopard Geckos, Geckos that have been subjected to pairing attempts, geckos that have been moved enclosures or had their decor rearranged.. all of these can induce a stressed period for your Gecko it may take a few days for him to reacclimatise to his surroundings and eat again.
- Your Environmental conditions are wrong?
Is your basking end warm enough? Basking area should be between 28 and 30 degrees Celsius. Is your cool end cool enough? Leopard geckos need to escape the heat of the basking area into a cooler zone of around 25 degrees Celsius. Are you providing a low level of UVB lighting during the day? have you been supplementing his diet? Are you offering the correct sized foods? Does your gecko have access to multiple hides throughout the enclosure and containing a moist material such as damp sphagnum moss to aid shedding?
All of these factors need carefully checking as if these are not correct your gecko will become stressed and be a poor feeder.
Finally the more serious concerns..
Your gecko could be "impacted" improper temperatures and incorrect supplementation cause Leopard Geckos to do something called geophagia - Eating dirt! In the wild dirt and soil is a great source of calcium, minerals and vitamin B. In captivity if these are lacking from your Leopard Geckos diet he will try and get them from his dirt.. the substrate on which you have placed him. Normally under the correct heating conditions your gecko will pass through any ingested substrate material without issue. However if kept without the proper supplementation and at temperatures that are too low this substrate can build up in your Leopard Geckos gut causing a blockage known as impaction. You can usually feel it as a hard lump in the belly and urgent vet treatment will be required.
If your Leopard gecko is female and been with a male, and sometimes even if they haven't, your leopard Gecko maybe egg bound, this is where your gecko has produced an egg but is unable to lay it. Most common problem for not being able to successfully lay an egg are that the gecko is too small having been bred too young, there is insufficient calcium in the geckos diet, there isn't a decent egg laying chamber in the enclosure. Again Urgent vet treatment is required, you will sometimes be able to see the egg pressing against the the geckos belly or feel it inside the belly.
Metabolic bone disease - Mouth Rot! If your environmental conditions have not been spot on and you havent been giving your gecko a decent diet of livefoods supplemented with calcium your Leopard Gecko may have Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) and or mouth rot. If your gecko is unable to get calcium from its diet it will pull it from its bones, turning its bones to rubber. Most commonly affected are legs and jaw bones, the jaw becomes so weak its unable to bite down on insects and starts to bleed, become infected and rot away. Urgent vet treatment is required and is rarely successful and never reversible unless caught very very early. Environmental conditions and diet are essential!
Your gecko has parasites. Most commonly encountered in geckos is Cryptosporidiosis, a common