Is your leopard gecko not eating?
Do you worry your leopard gecko is not getting the proper nutrition it needs to be healthy?
If you are having trouble with your leopard gecko eating, you might think force-feeding the animal is a good idea, but this might lead you to ask:
How Do I Force Feed A Leopard Gecko?
Force-feeding your leopard gecko should only come as a last resort, but if you must, use a syringe filled with a mixture of chicken or turkey baby food or crushed up mealworms or crickets. Gently hold your gecko, apply some of the mixtures to its face, squeezing a little out at a time. Then, allow the gecko to lick their face and the syringe to get the food into their system.
Force-feeding your gecko shouldn’t be the first thing you try if your leopard gecko isn’t eating.
Continue reading this article for further information on force-feeding your leopard gecko.
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How To Force Feed A Leopard Gecko
If you are worried because you have a leopard gecko who is not interested in eating, you might resort to force-feeding.
While this should never be your first choice, try to get some much-needed nutrients into your gecko’s body.
First, prepare a chicken or turkey baby food mixture or crushed up insects like mealworms or crickets.
If your mixture is thick, add a bit of Pedialyte to help rehydrate your gecko and thin down the mixture into more liquid.
Take a syringe, fill it up with the mixture, and gently pick up your leopard gecko.
Once you have the leopard gecko out of its cage, you either put it on a table and feed it or continue to hold it.
Slowly and gently squeeze some of the mixtures out of the syringe and apply a small amount to your pet’s face.
You are looking for the gecko to start licking the mixture off of its face or even from the tip of the syringe.
Repeat this process for three or four feedings until you feel confident your gecko is eating well enough.
It is important not to force the gecko’s mouth open to eat, as this will cause the creature to become very stressed.
If this doesn’t work or if you are hesitant to force-feed your leopard gecko, it is never a bad idea to consult your veterinarian.
They will be able to give you the best advice on getting your pet to eat or determining if there is an underlying issue causing a loss of appetite.
Why Is My Leopard Gecko Not Eating?
There are several reasons your leopard gecko might not be eating, and while some are serious, others are easy fixes.
To determine if you’re missing your gecko eating, or if it isn’t eating, look for poop.
If they are pooping, they are eating.
Another way to check is to weigh the animal.
A gecko will regularly fluctuate a gram or two daily, but steady weight loss could indicate they aren’t eating.
If you notice they are not eating, a high-stress level could be caused.
This is very common if you have just brought the pet into your home.
Your new gecko is experiencing different surroundings, new smells and sounds, and a new person, so it is no wonder they are stressed out.
Just give them a little time to come around, and you should see them starting to get comfortable in their new home.
Also, check their cage to make sure the temperatures and environments are ideal for them to survive.
These animals are cold-blooded, so the temperature being off is a big deal to their appetites.
They will need a cage where the hottest spot is approximately 90° to 93° degrees Fahrenheit (32° – 34° C), and the cool area should be around 74° degrees Fahrenheit (23° C).
When the outside environment is colder during the winter, it is typical for your gecko’s appetite to be lower.
You might also have a picky eater on your hands.
Geckos can become obsessed with certain insects like butterworms, which will lead them to refuse to eat anything else.
Try to save some insects for treats only so your gecko doesn’t get used to getting them all the time.
If you have checked on all of these things and your leopard gecko is still not eating, try the force-feeding option or contact your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian can help you figure out exactly why your pet might not be eating and if it has parasites or has developed some health issues.
Feeding Information For Your Leopard Gecko
If you have an adult leopard gecko, keep in mind, feedings should take place every other day, but babies and sick or recovering geckos will need to be fed daily.
Your leopard gecko should be fed two insects for every inch in length they measure.
If you have a 5″ inch gecko, they can eat ten insects per feeding.
This rule applies to a leopard gecko at any age, from baby to juvenile to adult.
Remember to avoid using wild-caught insects as they can carry parasites or have contact with pesticides or other chemicals.
If you’d like more details on feedings, here’s our post on how much to feed leopard geckos which discusses feeding frequency.
Successfully Feeding a Reluctant Leopard Gecko
Not eating doesn’t always mean your leopard gecko is sick, but if a lack of appetite lasts for long, they can develop those severe issues.
We don’t recommend automatically force-feeding your leopard gecko at the first sign of them not eating, but instead, check on the environment and look at the signs your gecko is giving you.
And always remember, if you do have to force-feed your pet, be patient and be gentle.