How long can leopard geckos go without food?

Leopard Gecko

Are you concerned about your Leopard Gecko refusing to eat? We will examine the amount of time they can live without food, and discuss possible reasons why they refuse to eat.

The amount of time a Leopard Gecko can survive depends on its age, fully mature adult geckos have been known to live in excess of a month without food. Compared to this a young Gecko is unlikely to survive for longer than 10 days without food. The reason Geckos can go so long without food is due to being cold blooded and not needing to produce their own body heat.

How often should a healthy Leopard Gecko eat?

As a Leopard Gecko gets older it will need to eat less frequently than when it is a baby, in the wild Leopard Geckos can potentially go weak without finding prey to eat. It is advised however that you feed your Gecko more regularly than this as it allows them the energy to be more active as they need to conserve energy when going long periods without food. The table below is a general guide as to how often a Leopard Gecko should eat dependent on it’s age and how much.

How often they need to eatAmount of food
Baby Gecko (0-6 Months)Once a day2 Small insects for each inch of length
Juvenile Gecko (6-12 Months)Every other day2 Medium insects for each inch of length
Adult Gecko (12 Months+)Every other day2 Large insects for each inch of length

The above is an approximation and may not be exact for your Gecko but should be a good starting point, you can monitor your Geckos size and adjust as needed.

What could be causing your Leopard Gecko to refuse to eat?

When they feel stressed, leopard geckos will refuse to eat. A leopard gecko can be stressed by many things, including sudden changes in their environment, poor temperature inside the cage, or being housed with another gecko. Common signs of stress include tail wagging, skittishness, hiding for long periods, and being skittish. If your pet is showing these signs and is also refusing to eat then I would recommend you contact your exotic pet veterinarian for tailored advice.

Cold temperatures
Reptiles don’t need to burn calories to heat their bodies. Instead, they rely on external heat sources. All reptiles enjoy the sun because it helps them raise their body temperature. Even though cold-blooded animals can survive long periods without having to eat, they can become sick if they have no access outside heat. you can find more in depth information on how to heat your terrarium here. Below is a chat which indicates the temperature ranges you should be aiming for in your Leopard Geckos home. If your Gecko appears to be looking for the warmest spots this is another sign it is too cold.

Hot Zone28°C – 35°C (82.4F – 95F)No lower than 18°C (64.4F)
Cool Zone24°C – 26°C (75.2F – 78.8F)No Lower than 18°C (64.4F)

When they’re dehydrated, leopard geckos tend to avoid food. Your pet should always have access to fresh water. You should also change the water bowl each day to make sure your lizard isn’t drinking contaminated water. I would recommend taking time to monitor your Gecko to ensure it can easily access it’s water bowl.

Impaction may be caused by a large or hard food that your leopard gecko has recently eaten, some substrates are also know to lead to impaction such as common sand based substrates. If you suspect your Gecko is suffering due to this I would suggest you contact your exotic pet veterinarian for further guidance.

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