Please know that I have spent hours and hours reading all the archives of this awesome forum. But I can't find the answers that I need.
2 and a half weeks ago, I brought a Leopard Gecko home. She was needing a new home, and we were "needing" a new pet. This is my first lizard.
I am very thorough in my pet care and research. I did lots of reading (library books and internet) as well as many visits to gecko owners as well as chatting with the staff at local exotic stores and independent breeders.
About the lizard = she is a blizzard leopard gecko. Super cute <grin>. I'm guessing she is about 1 year old. The people who had her before had her for 6 months. She was bought from a store (not sure what one).
The problem = she has eaten NOTHING since bringing her home. 2 weeks and 3 days. No food.
We have the same mealworm colony that she was eating in her previous home (she was eating 5-8 a day). I also picked up superworms for her in hopes that a bigger critter would inspire her to eat. I have not tried crickets. She has never had them before. I currently replace her food twice a day, so that she always has "fresh" gut loaded food, should she decide to eat. I have been keeping 2 mealworms in her cage at a time. I tried to do more, but they climbed on each other and escaped the dish and dug into the sand. A superworm is in a teacup - it can't get out, but the gecko could get it if she wanted to.
I have tried putting the food in front of her. I have tried feeding her with tweezers. I have kept the food dish in the original spot. I have moved the food dish. She walks through the dish of mealworms, they go on her feet. If she sees them in the sand, she may lick them, but then walks away from them. If a lizard can look offended - she looks offended.
Her enclosure is the same one that she had in her previous home. I kept things in the same location. Her original setup had a little fake rock hide, two climbing rocks, a water dish and a worm dish. I removed one of the rocks (too tippy) and also added a moist hide (which she LOVES). I have also added the teacup with the worm.
She is on sand. Always has been. I have not replaced the sand since I got her. I have been scooping it. She has been pooping a bit. 4 or 5 times in the 2 weeks, though none in the last few days.
Size of enclosure = 12"high x 12"deep x 24" wide
Screen top. Heat bulbs on top (I have 2, one 50w, one 75w - I vary which one goes on depending on the temps).
Temps (as I understand they are important for digestion and general gecko happiness) are apparently fine (according to varied internet sources, and the reptile experts at the exotics store. They range from 95 at the hottest (on top of her little cave), to 92-87 inside her cave and her moist hide, to 85-77 in the main parts of the enclosure. One corner area is 75.
All those temperature are ground temperatures taken with a digital thermometer with a probe that we used to use for our home, but now is a gecko thermometer. I believe that it is accurate.
Calcium = using Repashy Superfoods Leopard Gecko Calcium Plus . They used to dose her food once a week. Since she is not eating, I have put a bit of the calcium in her mealworm dish. So she could eat that if she needs it. And so that the mealworms (should she eat them) would be calcium covered.
Gecko behaviour = she is a lovely little gecko. She was handled about once a week in her previous home in the last little while, but more when she was "new". We left her alone for a few days, then I started leaving my hand in her enclosure. She would lick it, then I would take my hand out. After about 5 days, she climbed on to my hand. We took in slow - but she will happily come out for some very gentle and brief handling. She wanders around the cage (I smooth out the sand so I can see her activity). Her active times are in the morning and around dinner time. She comes up to the glass, looks around, and will follow the people around the room.
Kids = I have 3 kids (7,4,4). The do not "hold" her. Yesterday, I let her crawl on their legs. She is MY pet, not the kids. They are not allowed to open the cage without me. I have a pile of books on one corner as my "alarm" to prevent that.
So - the big questions...
How long can she go without food before she is seriously damaged? Her tail is still a bit chubby, but less thick than it was two weeks ago. Do other geckos just go off food like this?
And - more importantly, perhaps....Is there ANYTHING I can do to get her to eat? The people who I got her from have absolutely no interest in taking her back. So it is up to me to solve this.
Thanks for reading this (It grew into something longer than I had anticipated). Your feedback is eagerly anticipated.
Kat (the worried gecko mom)