Tokay geckos are a beautiful attraction in a terrarium, but when your pet isn’t eating, it can be a pretty stressful experience. Here’s why your Tokay gecko isn’t eating.
Tokay geckos will refuse food when they are introduced to a new environment, especially if that environment isn’t ideal. Occasionally, gastrointestinal issues or parasites can cause a lack of appetite.
It’s good to know what’s normal behavior for your gecko and what isn’t. Often, your gecko not eating for some time isn’t something you need to be concerned about. The rest of this article will discuss why your gecko isn’t eating.
Changes in the Environment
One of the most common reasons geckos refuse to eat is the stress of a new environment. Moving to a new terrarium can be challenging if your gecko was wild caught or raised in captivity. Upon arrival, your gecko will most likely refuse food, which is a natural behavior.
Believe it or not, it can take over two weeks to adjust to their surroundings before their natural prey instinct kicks in. After that, it might be worth investigating whether the problem is biological. While changing, geckos should be left alone as much as possible. Don’t handle them and only interact with the terrarium for basic cleaning and maintenance.
The Optimal Setup
During the introductory period, ensure your setup is suited for a Tokay gecko. Make sure they have enough heat. A lack of heat impairs digestion and discourages eating. Similarly, your humidity should be within 60-80% to simulate the gecko’s natural environment.
Coconut fiber and orchid bark are suitable substrates, and you should have two lights in your tank: one for general lighting and the other for basking.
If your setup is optimal, consider your feeding methods and frequency. Space out your feeding schedule and try different food options—geckos can be picky.
Remove any food they don’t eat, so they don’t become accustomed to an overabundance of food. Ideally, it would help if you housed your tokay gecko in a 20-gallon tank, so they have plenty of space. They can get up to 16 inches long, after all!
In many cases, Tokay geckos refuse to eat if their environment isn’t ideal or they’re adjusting to a new environment. If the issue persists longer than two weeks, you should take your Tokay gecko to the vet for a checkup.
It would help if you also kept in mind that Tokay geckos (and all geckos, for that matter) go through periods where they don’t want to eat. Space your feedings appropriately, and don’t stress out if your gecko misses a day or two.
It’s uncommon, but if your gecko is experiencing gastrointestinal blockages, it will constantly feel full and not want to eat. The severity of this issue ranges, but in severe cases, a buildup of waste can cause serious health concerns and potentially be fatal.
Naturally, constipation can occur in geckos as well. They may be a little overstuffed from eating too much and not be ready for food when their regular mealtime rolls around.
This isn’t a problem unless it happens often, and if the issue persists, you should ideally take your gecko to the vet. A warm bath and giving your gecko a drop of vegetable oils can help aid constipation.
Parasites can quickly take over your gecko’s gut and cause them to feel unwell. Be on the lookout for runny and smelly feces and regurgitation of food. Two common parasites found in geckos are pinworms and cryptosporidiosis, which can be dangerous if left untreated.
The latter can often be found in pet store geckos who are not quarantined. If you suspect a parasitic infection, consult your exotics vet right away.
Discerning the cause of your Tokay gecko’s lack of appetite can be difficult, but in most cases, it helps to give it some time. Be on the lookout for gastrointestinal issues or parasites and vary your feeding schedule. In most cases, your gecko isn’t hungry or isn’t in a suitable climate for its needs.