Does your leopard gecko seem on the skinny side?
Are you worried your leopard gecko isn’t very healthy?
Leopard geckos are at their best health-wise when they have a healthy amount of fat on their bodies, but if you notice yours is a little on the skinny side, you might wonder:
So how do I fatten up a leopard gecko?
There are several ways you can help your gecko put some weight on, including varying its diet, feeding them certain insects high in fat, using supplements, ensuring temperatures are correctly adjusted in their enclosure, eliminating stress, and maintaining a feeding schedule.
Keep reading as we dive into what you need to know about fattening up your leopard gecko and ensuring it is at the peak of health.
How To Fatten Up A Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos do best when they have a certain amount of fat stored up in their bodies, and making sure your pet has this fat is something you will need to work at.
It’s not just about fattening up our gecko, but it is also about ensuring they are healthy at the same time.
As a pet owner, you can do many things to help fatten up your leopard gecko and keep them healthy.
Varying your leopard gecko’s diet is an easy way to start fattening up your leopard gecko.
Doing so healthy means, you aren’t just feeding them insects with high-fat content.
You are looking to build their strength, get the fat up, and maintain it.
Make sure you are sticking with a variety of staple insects and peppering it with some fatty insects.
Diversity will give your gecko the chance to get various nutrients they need to be healthy.
Some of the staple insects you should look at feeding your leopard gecko are crickets, mealworms, silkworms, and hornworms, to name a few.
These are also going to provide your gecko with much-needed protein, but some will require gut loading and supplements to make sure your pet is getting the most out of each meal.
Adding The Fatty Insects
Other insects will have a higher fat content but offer very little additional nutritional value, so they aren’t something you should make a regular meal for your leopard gecko.
Insects like waxworms, superworms, and butterworms will be high in fat content options.
We advise using these as treats to be fed now and then and as a supplement to those staple insects discussed above.
If you overfeed your leopard gecko some of these, they can become addicted and not want to eat anything else, yet another reason to use these sparingly.
Adding Nutritional Value
Adding nutritional value to the insects you feed your leopard gecko will help give them a well-rounded diet and add nutrients they might be lacking but need.
This is done by using supplements and by gut loading the insects.
Supplementing your leopard gecko’s food isn’t just a good idea; it’s a definite must.
This means dusting your gecko’s food with calcium, calcium, and vitamin D or other multivitamin supplements.
We have a post on leopard gecko vitamins if you would like to learn more about them.
You will need to establish dusting schedules depending on your leopard gecko’s age and needs.
It is essential to maintain and track the schedule because otherwise, you will run the risk of over supplementing.
Over supplementing will result in toxicity and severe health issues.
Adding nutritional value isn’t just about using supplements, but it also can happen when you gut load the insects you feed your leopard gecko.
Gut loading involves feeding the insect food high in nutritional value just before giving it to your pet.
The leopard gecko will absorb all the good food inside the insects without eating it directly.
Check The Environment
Leopard geckos are cold-blooded animals and require the temperature around them to be at a certain level to maintain bodily functions at optimal levels.
If the enclosure temperatures get too low, the animal will not digest their food.
Being unable to digest their food causes a lack of appetite, constipation, and weight loss.
These animals require an environment with temperatures ranging from 90° to 93° degrees Fahrenheit (32° – 34° C) on the hot side of their home.
A cooler side with a temperature of around 74° degrees Fahrenheit (23° C) is also necessary.
A digital thermometer can help you check temperatures and make sure they are right where they need to be, so your leopard gecko will not only eat but ultimately add fat to their bodies in a healthy way.
The enclosure temperature is one of the first things and easiest things to check if you notice your leopard gecko is losing weight.
Stress is a significant reason leopard geckos will lose weight and appetites.
Also, stress will make it very difficult for your pet to gain weight and grow.
When you are looking to fatten up your leopard gecko, work on eliminating the stress in your leopard gecko’s life.
Young leopard geckos need to have their stress reduced as they are at a critical growing time.
Eliminate the stress for your leopard gecko by not handling it too often.
Handling should occur at a maximum of two to three times per week and can even be limited to once or twice a week if you notice it causes issues for your leopard gecko.
Over-handling is especially an issue in the first three to five months of your leopard gecko’s life.
In addition to handling, hand feeding is a stressor for your pet, so limit this to once or twice weekly, depending on your gecko.
There are many other sources of stress, including an incorrect setup, a dirty environment, other leopard geckos, and even other animals in your home.
Be aware of the body language and the signals your leopard gecko is sending you, and try to alter your actions to meet those signals.
For more information on this, read our post on leopard gecko stress.
Establish And Maintain A Feeding Schedule
When you are trying to get your leopard gecko to gain weight, it is crucial to have a feeding schedule and maintain it.
Dietary needs and feeding frequency will change as the leopard gecko matures from a baby to a juvenile to an adult.
Hatchling leopard geckos will need to be fed every single day.
At this stage, the animals grow rapidly and need food every day because of their fast metabolism.
A juvenile leopard gecko is still growing, and maintaining regular feedings is essential.
You will need to feed your juvenile leopard gecko every day, but start to skip one day per week where you don’t feed them.
This will help them begin to wean off a daily schedule.
As an adult, you will not need to feed them every day; instead, opt for a schedule where feedings occur every other day.
These schedules are built around using the staple insects and supplements we discussed above to create a long-lasting healthy base.
Again, add those fat worms once in a while to help add some extra fat to their bodies.
Short periods with regular feedings of fatty worms can boost their weight gains.
To maintain and even add weight and fat to your leopard gecko, keep your regular feeding schedules.
For more information on feeding schedules, check out our dedicated post on how much to feed leopard geckos.
Why Is My Leopard Gecko Losing Weight?
There are many reasons you might see your leopard gecko lose weight, and some are things you can quickly fix, but you have to be able to identify the reason before making any changes.
We touched on a few reasons above, like improper temperature or stress, but there are other reasons.
It could be you are underfeeding your leopard gecko, but a quick check of the diet and some alterations can make this a straightforward fix.
More serious issues can result in a loss of appetite and weight loss.
These health issues can include parasites, infections, or impaction, to name a few.
If you are doing everything else right, but your leopard gecko is still losing weight or cannot gain weight, it is a good idea to contact a veterinarian specializing in reptiles.
They will help you determine if there is a health problem or what to do to add some fat to your pet’s body.
Fattening up your leopard gecko can help them live a much healthier life, but if this is your goal, you should do so in a healthy way.
Don’t just feed your gecko more often or fattier worms, instead work to build an overall healthier animal by doing the things we have discussed in this article.
After reading this article, we hope you have picked up a few tips to help fatten up your leopard gecko and keep the animal healthy.