Crested Gecko Not Eating? 11 Causes And Solutions
A common issue that Crested gecko owners come across is loss of appetite. Before panicking that your gecko is really sick, you should first consider all the possible causes for your Crested gecko not eating such as incorrect diet, wrong size tank, stress, etc. In most cases there is an easy solution which is good news!
There can be many different reason for your Crested gecko not eating and most of them are easily corrected. In this article, we will be covering the following topics to help you determine why is your Crested gecko not eating:
- Is your Crested gecko really not eating
- Causes for your gecko not eating
- Tips on getting your Crested gecko to eat
- Related topics Q&A
Is Your Crested Gecko Really Not Eating?
Before panicking that your Crested gecko is not eating, you should know that these geckos don’t eat much to start with. Although, it might seem like they are not eating at all, that might not be the case.
To determine if your Crested gecko is really not eating, you should check the following:
- Food bowls
In order to see if your Crested gecko is not eating, you should check their poop. If there is poop, it means they are eating. As the gecko’s poop is very small, it’s might be hard to find it.
Places where you can check for poop include:
- Under hiding spots
- On plants
- In food/water bowls
- Substrate. It’s recommended to use paper towel substrate. Not only this is the safest option but you’ll be able to easily spot any poop
To learn more about your Crested gecko poop and what’s normal click here Crested Gecko Poop – Normal vs Abnormal Poop And Causes
One of the best ways to check if your Crested gecko is not eating is by tracking their weight.
Use the table below for the average weight of Crested gecko by age
|1 to 4 months
|2 to 5 grams
|5 to 9 months
|7 to 17 grams
|10 to 15 months
|21 to 33 grams
|16 to 24 months
|34 to 35 grams
Your Crested gecko’s weight might vary. That’s why it’s highly recommended to keep a diary and record your gecko’s weight every month. Follow these tips when weighing your Crested gecko:
- For sick and newly bought geckos, it’s recommended to weigh them once a week when tracking their weight
- Weigh your gecko before feedings
- Use a scale that weighs in (.10) grams. As hatchlings weight around 1.5 grams, you want it to be accurate
The other way to ensure your Crested gecko is eating is by using a small food bowl such as bottle cap or wax paper instead of a large feeding bowls/dishes.
This way it will be easier to tell if the food has been eaten.
Causes For Crested Gecko Not Eating
It’s important to remember that Crested gecko’s metabolism is different from mammals. Therefore, their eating habits can vary. In some cases, they might not eat for a few days up to a week.
However, if your gecko hasn’t eaten for over 1 week, you need to look into the reason for it.
The possible causes for your Crested gecko not eating include:
- New environment
- Incorrect humidity and temperature
- Wrong size tank
- Incorrect habitat setup
- Incorrect Diet
If your Crested gecko is new to your home, the first few weeks will be very stressful for them. As they are getting used to the new environment, the stress of it can result in your Crested gecko not eating.
This is nothing to worry about and all you need to do is give your gecko the time they need to settle in and just monitor their behavior. To avoid adding unnecessary stress during the settling period, follow these tips:
- Avoid handling your Crested gecko the first two weeks. After two weeks have passed you can start holding your gecko for 1 to 2 minutes each time
- Change their food and water in afternoon whilst the gecko is sleeping
- Make slow movements such as opening the tank very slowly
Once your gecko has settled, it’s recommended to learn the hand walking technique and how to safely hold them. For all that information, read here How To Hold A Crested Gecko: Tips On Handling Crested Gecko
2.Incorrect Temperature and Humidity
Another possible cause for your Crested gecko not eating is incorrect temperature and humidity in their tank.
If the temperatures are too low or too high, it can result in your Crested gecko not eating.
In the wild, the Crested gecko will slow down in the winter seasons. This includes less movement, less eating and hunting. That’s why if the temperature in their tank drop below 70°F, they will be preserving all their energy by not moving and not eating.
On the other hand, if the temperature in the tank is too high, your Crested gecko can suffer from heat stress which subsequently will result in your Crested gecko not eating. Heat stress is very dangerous and can result in death if not corrected quickly.
The Crested gecko is most comfortable at temperatures between 72°F to 75°F. Therefore, it’s essential that your Crested gecko’s enclosure is always kept at those temperatures.
Don’t allow it to reach 80°F or more as that can cause heat stress and result in a dehydrated Crested gecko.
To learn more about how to help a dehydrated Crested gecko click here Dehydrated Crested Gecko: Crested Gecko Dehydration Signs And Treatment
Temperature and humidity go hand in hand when it comes to your Crested gecko appetite and comfort. Similar to the temperature, if the humidity levels are incorrect, it can also result in your Crested gecko not eating.
If the humidity in the tank is too low, it can affect your Crested gecko’s appetite.
To ensure the tank has the right levels of humidity, follow these tips:
- Humidity levels need to be kept at 60% during the day and at 80% during the night. It shouldn’t be constantly high
- Use a spray bottle with purified water (never use tap water) to mist the tank
- Mist twice per day – light mist in the morning and a stronger one at night
- Use a digital hygrometer to measure the humidity levels
- By misting the tank right after you put the food, they might be more eager to eat
3.Wrong Size Tank
A big factor that affects not only your Crested gecko’s stress levels but also their appetite is the size of their enclosure/tank. If your gecko’s tank is too small or too big for them, it can result in your Crested gecko not eating.
For instance, if the tank is too big for the size of your Crested gecko, they will struggle to find their food/water bowl.
If that’s the case, you might observe your Crested gecko not moving as they might be feeling overwhelmed and stressed. If your Crested gecko is not moving and you’re not sure why, read here to learn about the possible causes and solutions Crested Gecko Not Moving – 13 Possible Causes And Solutions
To ensure your Crested gecko is in the right size tank, use the table below for guidance
|Crested Gecko’s Age
|9 to 18 grams
|18 to 20 grams
4.Incorrect Habitat Setup
If the habitat setup is wrong or missing essential parts, it can have a negative impact on your gecko’s health, stress levels and appetite.
For instance, if your Crested gecko’s tank has no decorations such as artificial logs, plants and hiding spots, it can result in your Crested gecko not eating.
Hiding spots are very important for your gecko’s happiness. If that’s missing in the tank, it can result in your gecko feeling to scared to even move to find their food bowl.
It’s also recommended to provide your gecko with a vertical terrarium. In the wild, Crested geckos are used to spending their time at a hight in branches and a vertical tank will provide them with just that.
If you have more than one Crested gecko living in the same enclosure, very often there is bullying amongst the tankmates. When a gecko is being bullied, it will result in them not eating and feeling stressed.
If this is the case, the best thing to do is to separate the geckos and place them in their own enclosure.
Ensure that the new tank for the Crested gecko not eating is the right size, has some decoration and hiding spots.
6. Incorrect Diet
A possible cause for your Crested gecko not eating is incorrect diet. But what is the right die for Crested geckos?
In the wild, Crested geckos are omnivores. This means that they eat a variety of plants, fruits, bugs and insects.
In captivity, there are a few options for your Crested gecko’s diet.
- Commercial diet. Commercial diets have been designed to meet your gecko’s needs and provide the nutrition they need in order to grow to their full potential. Popular brands are Repashy and Pangea
- Homemade diet. Homemade Crested gecko diets are considered more risky and are not recommended for unexperienced reptile owners. If you don’t understand the balance of nutrients that your gecko requires, it can be risky for your pet’s health
- Treat. In addition, you can feed your gecko insects and healthy fruits as an occasional treat (1 to 2 times a month). It’s very important that the fruits have the right nutrients, Ca:P ratio and oxalic acid. Learn more about what fruits are safe to feed to your Crested gecko here Can Crested Geckos Eat Fruit: Safe Fruits For Crested Geckos
It’s important to note that in some cases feeding your Crested gecko a homemade diet can lack nutrients. This type of diet requires constant tracking and good understating of the Ca:P (Calcium: Phosphorus) ratio in foods, oxalic acid, vitamins and minerals content.
Crested gecko’s need foods with 2:1 or better Ca:P ratio and low oxalic acid content for a staple diet. If your gecko doesn’t get the amount of Calcium they need, it can result in Metabolic Bone disease and it can be the reason for your Crested gecko not eating.
You should completely avoid feeding your Crested gecko the following diets:
- All-insect diet
- Baby food
Both of these diets are out-dated, don’t have the necessary nutrient and can be harmful to your gecko’s health.
In some cases your Crested gecko not eating is out of your control but nothing to worry about. One of these cases is during the breeding period. This is especially observed in female geckos.
During that period and especially just before laying the eggs, female Crested geckos tend to avoid food.
On the other hand, male Crested gecko also tend to eat less during the breeding season. During this period, if in the same tank, the male can cause stress to the female which can result in the female not eating.
Although, this will pass on its own as it’s only seasonal behavior, you should still keep a record of your gecko’s weight and make sure they don’t lose too much.
One of the main causes for Crested gecko not eating is stress.
Crested geckos are very fragile animals that get stressed easily. Once stressed, the gecko will not move much and lose appetite. It’s important to observe your Crested gecko’s behavior and ensure there is nothing causing them stress and discomfort.
Prolonged stress can have a negative impact on your gecko’s health.
The most frequently reported causes for stress in Crested gecko include:
- Insufficient nutrients in diet
- Incorrect habitat set up – size, decorations
- New environment
- Sudden change in diet
- Other tankmates
- Incorrect temperature and humidity levels
- Incorrect handling
To learn everything about stress in Crested geckos, what are the possible causes and solutions click here Crested Gecko Stress Signs: How To Prevent And Treat Stress
The one cause for your Crested gecko not eating that can be very worrying for any owner is illness. If your Crested gecko is sick, one of the symptoms can be loss of appetite.
Illnesses that can result in loss of appetite include parasites, infections, Metabolic Bone disorder and more.
If you suspect an illness – look out for other symptoms and seek further advice from a vet. To learn more about causes and treatment for sick Crested gecko click here Do You Have A Sick Crested Gecko? Full Crested Gecko Health Guide
Another cause for your Crested gecko not eating is impaction. This happens when your gecko has ingested something that they couldn’t pass and it’s lodged inside of them.
Symptoms of impaction include:
- Round belly
- Sudden weight gain of few grams
- Loss of appetite
To help your Crested gecko pass what they have ingested, follow these tips:
- Limit hard foods. Only feed liquids or easily digestible foods
- Massage belly
- Sauna technique. To learn more about how the sauna treatment click here Dehydrated Crested Gecko: Crested Gecko Dehydration Signs And Treatment
To avoid impaction in the first place, follow these tips:
- Substrate. It’s recommended to use paper towel substrate as any loose substrate can be ingested by your gecko and result in impaction. This is especially true for baby or juvenile geckos
- Decorations. Don’t use small rocks or sand as decoration as they can be ingested by your gecko and even result in death
- Insects. Never feed your Crested gecko bugs or insects that are larger that the space between their eyes or bugs with hard shells such as beetles
A normal process that your Crested gecko goes through that can cause loss of appetite is shedding. You should expect your Crested gecko to avoid eating 2 to 3 days before and/or after shedding.
Once the shedding has finished, your Crested gecko should be back to eating in a few days. However, if it’s been more than a week of your gecko not eating after the shedding, you should look for other possible causes.
Tips On Getting Your Crested Gecko To Eat
If you are trying to get your Crested gecko to eat, there are a few tips and tricks that you can try such as:
- Hand feeding. You can try to hand feed your gecko by placing a small amount of food on your finger and taking it to your gecko’s mouth
- Pipette/syringe feeding. You can use a small syringe (no needle) or pipette to administer the food. This is not done with force but by taking it close enough to your gecko’s mouth, so they can lick it
- Bugs/insects. You can offer your gecko a bug/insect to stimulate their appetite. However, be careful to not overfeed them as bugs can be addictive to Crested geckos and can result in them not wanting to eat anything else. Learn about feeding your gecko waxworms here Can Crested Geckos Eat Waxworms? Pro’s And Con’s
- Fruit puree. You can offer your gecko some healthy fruit puree that can improve their appetite. However, not all fruits are good for your gecko! Read here to find out what fruits you should feed your Crested gecko Can Crested Geckos Eat Fruit: Safe Fruits For Crested Geckos
- Food consistency. It’s important to remember that each Crested gecko has their own preference of food consistency. Some like it more runny and liquidly. Whereas, others prefer it thicker. Try switching up the consistency of the food to see if that improves their appetite
- Misting. By misting the tank right after you put the food, geckos are usually more eager to eat
In terms of your Crested gecko’s health and diet, it’s a good practice to keep a record of how much and how often they are eating. That way you will know what’s their normal eating habits and when something is wrong.
In this article, we looked at the possible causes for your Crested gecko not eating:
- New environment
- Incorrect temperature and humidity
- Wrong size tank
- Incorrect habitat setup
- Incorrect diet
If it’s been more than one week and your Crested gecko is still not eating, you should take them to the vet for further tests.
Related Topics Q&A
How Much Should My Crested Gecko Eat?
Knowing how much you should feed your Crested gecko is an important part of their care.
Crested geckos will eat different amounts of food depending on their age and size. For juvenile geckos use a small bottle cap filled with CGD. Whereas, for adults filling a 1.5 ounce deli cup will be sufficient food.
Where To Place My Crested Gecko’s Food?
In the wild, Crested geckos prefer to spend their time high up in the branches. Therefore, they will enjoy the same when kept as pets. This can be achieved through the use of feeding ledges.
It’s recommended to have two feeding locations in your Crested gecko’s tank – one on the ground and one on a feeding ledge which will be at a height.
How Often Should My Crested Gecko Eat?
To keep your Crested gecko’s diet healthy, you need to know how often they should eat.
Normally, hatchlings eat around 5 times a week. Whereas, juveniles eat 3 to 4 times a week and adults will only eat 2 to 3 times a week.