Exotic Pets

12 Reasons Why Your Leopard Gecko Won’t Eat

Leopard geckos are known for their hearty appetites, so it can be concerning if your pet suddenly stops eating. There are several reasons why this may happen, including stress, illness, inappropriate diet, and environmental factors. Consult with a veterinarian to ensure proper care.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 12 common reasons why your leopard gecko may not be eating, and what to do about it. Read on for more!


1. Incorrect Temperature

Leopard geckos are known for their hearty appetites, so it can be concerning when they suddenly stop eating. One common reason for this is an incorrect temperature in their environment. These reptiles require specific temperatures to properly digest their food and maintain their overall health.

If the temperature is too low, they may become sluggish and disinterested in eating. On the other hand, if it’s too high, they may become stressed and refuse to eat altogether. To ensure your leopard gecko is eating properly, it’s important to monitor the temperature in its enclosure with a thermometer and make adjustments as needed.

Providing a temperature gradient with a warm and cool side of the enclosure can also help mimic their natural habitat and encourage feeding behavior.

Incorrect Temperature


2. Stress or Fear

If you’re a leopard gecko owner, you may have experienced the worry of your pet refusing to eat. One common reason for this behavior is stress or fear. Leopard geckos are known to be easily stressed, especially if they live in an environment that is not suitable for them.

They may feel threatened by other animals, loud noises, or bright lights. To prevent this, it is important to provide a comfortable and secure habitat for your gecko. Additionally, it’s essential to handle them gently and minimize any potential stressors.

If your gecko still refuses to eat, you can try offering a variety of food options and ensuring they are appropriately sized and easy to digest. Keep an eye on their appetite, and if necessary, seek advice from a veterinarian who specializes in reptile care. Remember, a happy and healthy gecko is a well-nourished one.

Stress or Fear


3. New Environment or Cage Setup

If you’ve noticed that your leopard gecko isn’t eating as much as it used to or at all, it may be time to reevaluate its environment and cage setup. There could be a number of reasons as to why your gecko is refusing to eat, but eliminating environmental factors is a good starting point.

Make sure that their temperature and humidity levels are within the appropriate range, as well as ensure that they have access to fresh water at all times. Additionally, take a look at their cage setup. Are they stimulated by their surroundings? Do they have adequate hiding spots and items to climb on?

Providing a stimulating and comfortable environment can help encourage your gecko to eat again. It’s important to remember that changes to an environment should be made gradually to prevent stress on your gecko. By properly assessing and adjusting their environment, you can help ensure your leopard gecko is happy, healthy, and eating regularly.

New Environment or Cage Setup


4. Illness or Injury

One common reason why leopard geckos won’t eat is due to illness or injury. Injured or sick geckos may lose their appetite as a result of stress or physical discomfort. To avoid this, it is important to regularly monitor your gecko’s health and check for any signs of illness or injury.

Provide a clean and spacious habitat with plenty of hiding spots to help reduce stress. Additionally, maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level within the enclosure to prevent infections. If you notice any concerning symptoms, such as lethargy or lack of appetite.

Seek out a veterinarian who specializes in reptile care immediately to ensure your gecko receives proper treatment. By taking preventative measures and staying vigilant, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your beloved leopard gecko.

Illness or Injury


5. Digestive Issues

Digestive issues can be a common reason why your leopard gecko won’t eat. It is crucial to understand these issues to ensure your pet’s health and well-being. These issues can range from impaction, constipation, and parasites.

Impaction occurs when your gecko ingests substrate that is difficult to digest, leading to blockages in the digestive system. Constipation is caused by dehydration or lack of fiber in their diet. Parasites can lead to diarrhea and malnutrition if left untreated.

To prevent these issues, it is essential to provide your leopard gecko with a proper diet that includes live insects, supplemented with calcium, and a dish of water in their enclosure. If you suspect your gecko is facing digestive issues, seek professional advice from a veterinarian.

Digestive Issues


6. Incorrect Diet

One of the most common reasons why leopard geckos refuse to eat is because of an incorrect diet. Many inexperienced pet owners make the mistake of feeding their geckos the wrong types of food, which can lead to malnutrition or even death. It’s crucial to ensure that your leopard gecko is consuming a balanced and appropriate diet.

Their diet should consist primarily of live insects, such as crickets and mealworms. It’s important to avoid feeding them processed or canned food, as well as any insects that are too large or hard for them to eat.

Incorrect Diet


7. Seasonal Changes or Breeding

As the seasons change, so does the behavior of many animals, including our pet leopard geckos. During the colder months, leopard geckos may become less active and eat less due to their natural hibernation instincts.

It is important to maintain a consistent temperature and lighting schedule to mimic their natural habitat and encourage eating behavior. On the other hand, if your leopard gecko is not eating and it is breeding season, it may be due to the male’s attention and advances toward the female, causing her to become stressed and lose her appetite.

In this case, it is best to separate the male and female until the breeding season is over to ensure proper feeding habits. Understanding these seasonal changes and breeding behaviors can help you better care for your leopard gecko and ensure its health and well-being.

Seasonal Changes or Breeding


8. Too Young or Old Age

Another common reason why your leopard gecko may not be eating is due to its age. Baby or juvenile geckos may require more frequent meals and require a different diet than adults. It can be helpful to offer them smaller, softer insects such as roaches or waxworms.

On the other hand, older geckos may require more calcium and vitamins to stay healthy. Offer them a variety of insects such as crickets or mealworms, as well as appropriate supplements to ensure they are receiving the necessary nutrition.

Too Young or Old Age


9. Inadequate Lighting in the Cage

If you’re a proud owner of a leopard gecko, you might notice that your pet is not eating as much as you expected. One of the most common reasons for lack of appetite in leopard geckos is inadequate lighting in their cage.

These lizards need sufficient exposure to UVB light to synthesize vitamin D3 and for proper digestion. A lack of proper lighting can cause metabolic bone disease, which is a serious health issue that affects the bones and can lead to loss of appetite. To prevent inadequate lighting, make sure to provide your leopard gecko with a UVB bulb that emits enough radiation to meet its needs.

Also, don’t forget to change bulbs regularly to ensure it’s producing enough UVA and UVB wavelengths. Adequate lighting in your gecko’s cage can help them thrive and prevent health issues from arising.

Inadequate Lighting in the Cage


10. Overfeeding or Underfeeding

As a leopard gecko owner, one of the most common issues you may face is a lack of appetite in your pet. This can be due to a number of reasons, but overfeeding or underfeeding is a common culprit. It’s important to ensure that you are offering the right amount of food to your gecko and not overloading them with excess food or starving them of their required nutrients.

Overfeeding can cause obesity and lead to health issues while underfeeding can result in malnourishment and cause lethargy and lack of appetite. To prevent overfeeding or underfeeding, it’s crucial to know how much and what to feed your gecko and to stick to a consistent feeding schedule. Consulting with a veterinarian can also be helpful in ensuring that your pet is getting the right nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight.

Overfeeding or Underfeeding


11. Shedding

Leopard geckos are known for their voracious appetites, but if your pet suddenly stops eating, shedding may be the culprit. Shedding is a natural process for these reptiles, during which they shed their skin to make room for growth and remove any parasites.

However, shedding can be uncomfortable and even painful for geckos, which can cause a loss of appetite. In addition, shedding requires a lot of energy, which can also lead to a decreased appetite.

It is important to monitor your gecko during shedding and make sure it is maintaining proper hydration levels. If your gecko continues to refuse food after shedding, it may be necessary to seek veterinary attention to rule out any underlying health issues.



12. Wrong Size or Type of Food Offered

If your leopard gecko seems disinterested in their food or completely ignores it, the reason could be that you are offering them the wrong size or type of food. Leopard geckos require live insects as their main source of nutrition, but offering the wrong size or type of insect can cause them to avoid it altogether.

Make sure the insects are appropriately sized for your gecko- generally, it should be no larger than the space between their eyes. Variety is also important when it comes to the types of insects you offer, including crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.

Avoid feeding your gecko insects that are too big, as this can lead to choking or impaction. Additionally, make sure your gecko has fresh water available at all times and that their enclosure is properly heated and lit to encourage appetite. Remember, a balanced diet is essential for the health and well-being of your leopard gecko.

Wrong Size or Type of Food Offered


In Conclusion

There are many potential reasons why your leopard gecko may not be eating. From incorrect temperature to stress or fear and even incorrect diet, it can be difficult to identify the cause of your gecko’s lack of appetite.

To ensure proper care for your pet, monitor their behavior closely and provide a comfortable and secure environment. Additionally, give your gecko a balanced diet with plenty of nutrition and maintain the correct temperature and humidity level in their enclosure.

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