A lot of leopard gecko owners may not be aware of overfeeding their pets.
They often let the reptile eat whatever it likes the most, such as fatty superworms, without ever considering its effects on their pet’s body.
Leopard geckos tend to store extra fat in their tails to use when food is scarce, but in captivity, this isn’t a problem because food is usually very plentiful.
With most of their fat stores going to their tail, is it possible for a leopard gecko to be overweight?
While it is not common with a proper diet, it is possible for a leopard gecko to become overweight. If a leopard gecko’s diet consists of too many high-fat insects such as superworms or waxworms, the reptile will quickly become overweight.
Many leopard gecko owners will even overfeed their lizard on purpose because they mistakenly believe it is essential for the animal’s survival.
Keep reading to learn more about the signs, causes, and treatment of overweight leopard geckos, as well as how to prevent them from becoming overweight in the first place.
Signs Of An Overweight Leopard Gecko
There is no set ideal weight or growth chart for leopard geckos because they come in many different sizes.
Some leos are naturally smaller than others, and some may genetically be known as giants.
In general, a healthy adult leopard gecko should weigh between 40-100 grams, depending on its overall body length.
While the tail is usually a good indicator of weight gain in a leopard, it is not the only benchmark.
Common signs of an overweight leopard gecko include:
- Fat rolls around the belly area
- Air bubbles in the armpits
- A tail wider than the head
- A distended or bloated looking stomach
- Fat on the legs
In addition to these physical signs, your leopard gecko may also start exhibiting different behaviors, such as walking slower, lying down often, and a general disinterest in any physical activity.
Take note of your leo when you feed it live insects.
If it moves slowly instead of pouncing on the prey right away, your reptile’s movement is likely restricted due to being overweight.
When it comes to baby and juvenile leos, it is never safe to assume they are overweight.
Because they need lots of food to accommodate their rapid growth at this stage, you should never put your young leo on a restricted diet.
They need to receive lots of nutrition, so they can have healthy growth.
Once a leo has reached its full adult size, which is usually around 18 months of age, it is safe to evaluate whether or not your lizard is overweight.
If you have concerns about your leo being overweight, it is always best to consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis before putting your pet on a diet.
Causes for an Overweight Leopard Gecko
Overfeeding is the most apparent reason for leopard geckos becoming overweight.
Feeding your leo too many fatty insects, such as superworms and waxworms, is a surefire way for your pet to gain too much weight.
The following table compares the fat content of common feeder insects so you will be able to make more informed choices about your leo’s diet.
Looking at the table, it is easy to see the vast differences in fat content among these insects.
Mealworms have more than twice the fat as crickets, and waxworms have almost three times more fat than dubia roaches.
This is not to say you should never feed your leo these high-fat insects, but instead, they should be offered very sparingly as a treat.
Here’s our post dedicated to overfeeding leopard geckos if you’re interested in learning more about it.
Another common reason for your leo to be overweight is pregnancy.
If you are concerned about whether or not your female leo is fat or pregnant, you should check her body.
You will likely be able to see the eggs by looking closely at her stomach.
She may also start digging a lot in her enclosure, she will seem more restless, and she may not be eating if close to laying her eggs.
Treatment for an Overweight Leopard Gecko
If you have confirmed your leopard gecko is fat by visiting your veterinarian, it is time to put your reptile on a weight loss plan.
It is crucial to start your leo’s diet slowly.
Instead of reducing the feeding frequency and letting your gecko go hungry, you should offer smaller portions at mealtime.
This should also be done slowly.
If you are feeding your leo two to three times per week, you should reduce the number of insects you feed to it by one or two.
Do this for at least two feedings before reducing the portions again.
You will need to weigh your leopard gecko during this process and keep a log of its weight.
You should also remove any high-fat insects from your lizard’s diet for a while, even if you are only occasionally feeding these types of insects as a snack.
Once your gecko starts losing weight, you may offer it a superworm or other type of high-fat worm once or twice a month.
You should only be giving your leo one or two of these fatty worms at a time.
Once your leopard gecko is at a healthier weight, it is safe to offer mealworms once a week.
How To Prevent Your Leopard Gecko From Becoming Overweight
To prevent obesity in a healthy leopard gecko, the most important thing you should do is to avoid overfeeding it.
It is also important to limit these fatty worms when feeding your leo to avoid your reptile from becoming a picky eater.
While leopard geckos don’t exercise a lot, it is vital to provide them with enriching activities in and out of their enclosure.
A larger enclosure will give your leo plenty of room to move, and you should give them hides, rocks, and a few plants, so they have lots of things to explore.
Once your leopard gecko is comfortable with being handled and it has become used to its surroundings, you should let your pet out of its enclosure.
Giving your leo some playtime to crawl on you and explore will keep the reptile happy and give it enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
Leopard Gecko Weight Chart
An overweight leopard gecko isn’t a huge concern with young leos, but you need to be aware of their general growth trajectory.
Use this image as a general guideline to help you better understand what weight you leo should be around at a given age.