Why Won’t My Leopard Gecko Eat

Have you noticed your leopard gecko is not touching the food you give it?

Are you worried your leopard gecko is sick or stressed?

If you are worried about your leopard gecko’s eating habits, one of your first questions might be:

Why Won’t My Leopard Gecko Eat?

Your leopard gecko might not be eating due to stress, because something is wrong with their environment, a dislike for their food, or due to an illness.

As you can see, there are many reasons your leopard gecko might not want to eat, and while some of them require a trip to the veterinarian or medicine, other reasons are easy fixes.

Keep reading to learn more about why your leopard gecko might not be eating.

why wont my leopard gecko eat

Why Won’t My Leopard Gecko Eat?

A lack of appetite in your leopard gecko can occur for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes the reason might be environmental, or something we, as owners, can quickly fix.

You might even find, your leopard gecko isn’t hungry at the moment.

Other times the issue might be a bit more complicated and require a trip to the veterinarian.

Here we will explore the top reasons your leopard gecko has a decreased or absent appetite.

Stress

Stress is one of the top reasons your leopard gecko might not be eating.

This is especially true when you first bring your leopard gecko home, as the new enclosure, sights, sounds, and even you are going to cause a fair amount of anxiety for your new pet.

 Your leopard gecko might also experience stress if another leopard gecko is bullying them in their enclosure. 

This is especially common if you attempt to house two male leopard geckos in the same tank.

The males will be extremely territorial and bully or fight other members of their species if they think another leopard gecko is coming into their territory.

Environmental Issues

A lack of appetite is also often caused by abnormal environmental conditions.

If the humidity levels or temperatures are not in the proper range, the leopard gecko cannot eat, let alone perform other bodily functions.

Like other reptiles, leopard geckos are cold-blooded and require a warm exterior temperature for their bodies to function correctly.

If the tank’s temperature is too cold, they cannot properly digest their meals and won’t even want to try to eat.

Picky Eaters

If your leopard gecko is not interested in eating the food you are providing, it also could be because they are a picky eater.

Leopard geckos are strictly insect eaters.

This can happen when they are tired of their food, especially if given the same insects for days and days.

Like you, leopard geckos aren’t going to want to eat the same thing forever.

They need variety to keep them interested, but also to provide a well-balanced diet.

Sickness And Injury

While leopard geckos are great pets, partly because they are such hardy creatures, they can still develop illnesses.

Leopard geckos can get respiratory infections if there is a draft, or if the temperature in their cage decreases.

Respiratory infections are the most common illnesses that cause a lack of appetite in your leopard gecko, but there are others.

These include a blockage in their intestines and even ulcers in their mouth.

Injury is another issue you might face when owning a leopard gecko.

If they have become wounded or are in pain because of some other injury, your Leo might show absolutely no interest in eating.

Until the pain is controlled and your leopard gecko is feeling better, you will likely not see their appetites increase.

Other Reasons For A Lack Of Appetite

A lack of appetite isn’t always because of something you have done or an illness.

There are natural reasons for a leopard gecko not being hungry.

For example, when the animal is about to shed their skin, they will generally stop eating for two or three days before the process and two to three days later.

Sometimes, your leopard gecko might just not want to eat, and you may never know the reason.

If their weight is maintained and stays healthy, the animals can afford to miss a meal from time to time.

A dramatic loss of weight over a short period is an indication something is wrong, but if you do not see this, try to be patient and provide them with the opportunity to eat on their regular schedule.

What To Do If Your Leopard Gecko Won’t Eat

Understanding what causes a lack of appetite is only half of the battle for getting your pet to eat.

Once you have identified the problem, it will be easier to find a solution and get them back to eating.

If you believe your leopard gecko is stressed, adding extra hides to their environment will put them on the path to feeling more secure.

You will also need to speak in a soothing voice, reduce handling sessions, and slowly build up a trust and relationship with your new leopard gecko.

If stress has come on because of another gecko, separate the two, placing them in separate tanks.

This will eliminate any opportunity for physical interaction and give each one their own space to claim as their own without having to fight for it.

With environmental issues, like temperature and humidity levels, a quick check of the levels will identify a problem.

Once you realize if the tank isn’t just right, make any necessary adjustments.

Especially check if you live in a climate where the weather can get cold, and homes can be drafty.

If your leopard gecko starts eating again, you will know you have found the problem.

Picky eaters will require a little extra trial and error to get their appetites back.

Try changing the type of food you give them, to add variety, but you can coax them into eating with a treat.

If your leopard gecko has some favorite foods, try tempting them with these insects.

Some worms like butterworms or superworms are favorites of leopard geckos, but they are very high in fat, and superworms are difficult for your pet to digest.

Read our post covering how safe superworms are for leopard geckos to learn about the potential issues your pet could encounter with this insect.

We recommend giving these to your gecko as a treat and not making them a daily part of their diet.

Some leopard geckos have even been known to become addicted to them and refuse to eat anything else.

Remember, food should not be larger than the space between the gecko’s eyes.

If it is too large, the gecko will not be able to digest the insect.

Say you have tried all of these tricks and your leopard gecko still isn’t eating, you might have a suspicion they have developed some illness or maybe an injury.

Contact your Leo’s veterinarian for back up.

They will be able to tell you if there is an underlying issue causing the animal’s lack of appetite, and if not, the vet will give you more information on getting your Leo to eat.

If you suspect an illness, the sooner you contact the veterinarian, the better.

How Long Can Leopard Geckos Go Without Eating?

Leopard geckos can go for quite some time without eating, but this is not ideal under normal circumstances.

Keeping consistently hydrated is far more critical for the animal.

Adult geckos and even older juveniles can go without food for ten days and up to two weeks, but we don’t recommend testing this timeline.

Regular feeding should be maintained.

If you have an adult leopard gecko, the animal should be fed every other day.

Hatchlings and baby leopard geckos will need to be fed every day, and juveniles of the species will require food every day, but as they get older, you will be able to skip a day every so often.

This will help wean them off the daily schedule and get them ready for the every other day schedule they will be on once they reach adulthood.

How Much Do I Feed My Leopard Gecko?

The number of insects fed to your leopard gecko is very important to help avoid the animal becoming obese.

As a rule, leopard geckos should be fed two insects per inch of body length.

This rule can be used from the hatchling stage, all the way up to when the leopard gecko is an adult.

Understanding the correct feeding schedule and amount to feed your pet is just part of good husbandry, to ensure your leopard gecko stays healthy.

Conclusion

Noticing your leopard gecko is not eating can be scary for owners, especially if you are a new owner.

A lack of appetite requires some small tweaks on your end, but in other instances, a trip to the veterinarian is in order.

Remember, try not to be so hard on yourself and realize this isn’t an uncommon problem, but once you notice your pet not eating, make every effort to determine the issue and fix it.