How long will a crested gecko safely go without food?
Are there specific conditions where a crested gecko will refuse to eat?
While you should never deprive your crested gecko of food, there may be times where your gecko won’t eat.
It is essential to know how long it is safe for your crested gecko to go without food so you will be able to seek treatment promptly.
How Long Can A Crested Gecko Go Without Food?
An adult crested gecko can survive between 2-3 weeks without eating though it needs water regularly. When your crested gecko reaches the second week of not eating, you should seek veterinary care for a proper diagnosis.
While an adult crested gecko can go for up to 3 weeks without any food, it cannot survive without water for more than 3 days.
Lizards are very prone to dehydration, so even if you observe your crested gecko not eating, you should still be providing it with clean freshwater every day.
Baby and juvenile crested geckos need to be fed more often than adults, and they are not survive as long as adults without food.
Babies can survive for up to five days without food, while juveniles can go for up to one week without eating.
Juveniles and babies need water every day.
How Often Should You Feed a Crested Gecko?
You should feed baby and juvenile crested geckos every day, and you should feed adults every 3-4 days.
Crested geckos are nocturnal animals, meaning they are active at night, so you should feed them in the evening just after sunset.
Never feed your crested gecko too many crickets at once because the activity of the crickets in the enclosure will stress the gecko out.
We have a guide on how many crickets to feed crested geckos if you want more information on this.
Waxworms and silkworms should only be fed to a crested gecko as a treat due to their high-fat content.
Crested geckos store fat in their tail, and while it may seem difficult to overfeed them, it is entirely possible.
When it is overfed, a crested gecko may regurgitate its food, which in turn does damage to the esophagus.
Monitor how much your crested gecko eats and notice any weight gain, especially in the tail.
What Should You Feed a Crested Gecko?
A crested gecko’s diet consists of live, gut-loaded insects and an occasional piece of fruit as a treat.
There are also commercially available crested gecko foods, which offer a nice balance of nutrition.
These commercial food powders may be sprinkled onto the feeder insects before feeding them to your crested gecko.
Some excellent live feeder insects to offer to your crested gecko include:
- Small Locusts
Remember only to feed silkworms and waxworms as a treat because they are high in fat.
Fruit should also be fed only as a treat to your crested gecko because of the large amount of naturally occurring sugars.
Healthy fruit choices include:
Even with a well-rounded diet of live insects, commercial food, and the occasional fruit treat, a crested gecko may still not get the nutrients required for healthy growth.
A calcium supplement should be added to your crested gecko’s food by lightly dusting the feeder insects.
Insects are generally high in phosphorus, which inhibits a crested gecko from metabolizing calcium properly.
This leads to a calcium deficiency, which causes metabolic bone disease.
Metabolic bone disease is incurable and often fatal to a crested gecko, but it is easily avoided with proper diet and supplementation.
Here’s our deep dive post into crested gecko metabolic bone disease for more information.
In addition to a healthy diet, you should be providing your crested gecko with clean, freshwater every day.
Why Would A Crested Gecko Refuse To Eat?
There are a few reasons why a crested gecko may refuse to eat.
Some of these situations are easily solved at home, while others may require the care of a reptile veterinarian.
We will take a look at these common situations so you will know what to do.
Being Placed in a New Environment
When you first bring your crested gecko home, it will need some time to get used to its new surroundings.
A crested gecko will also need some time to adjust to being placed inside of a new enclosure.
After about a month, your crested gecko should resume normal eating habits.
If a month passes and your crested gecko is still not eating, it could indicate a more severe problem, and you should seek a veterinarian’s care.
Make your crested gecko feel more at home by placing plenty of branches and plant life in its enclosure to mimic its natural habitat.
Do not force-feed your new pet, and instead offer it some food in a small dish on one of the food ledges in the enclosure.
Your crested gecko will start to eat when it is ready.
If a crested gecko feels like it is in too small of a space, it will become stressed and may not eat.
For a single adult crested gecko, a 20-gallon vivarium is a good size as long as it offers plenty of vertical space for climbing.
It is possible to house a maximum of three crested geckos together as long as there is only one male, but the enclosure should be at least 30 gallons or more.
Males should not be kept together because they tend to be aggressive towards each other.
You should also separate crested geckos of different ages because the younger ones may get bullied.
If you’re not sure how old your pet is check out our post on how to figure out your crested gecko’s age that includes a nice age chart.
Any of these situations would cause a loss of appetite in a crested gecko.
A crested gecko needs warmth to digest its food properly.
If the temperature is kept below 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C) for a prolonged period, the crested gecko may think it is winter and stop eating.
Keeping the enclosure at the ideal ambient temperature range of 70-78° degrees Fahrenheit (26° C) will ensure your crested gecko maintains a healthy appetite.
Cooler temperatures will lead to slower digestion, which may cause constipation or impaction.
If you suspect your crested gecko is impacted, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
While a crested gecko can survive for up to three weeks without food, it is not an ideal situation.
You should monitor your crested gecko for any signs of appetite loss, and you should seek the care of a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Recognizing the symptoms of appetite loss is vital for the health and well-being of your crested gecko.
Check out our post on reasons why crested geckos stop eating for additional possibilities why your pet is not eating.