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Continual Impactions; Don't Know Where I'm Going Wrong?

Discussion in 'African Fat-tailed Geckos' started by Amy L, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Amy L

    Amy L New Member

    Hey everyone, I'm reaching out in the hopes that someone might be able to see something that I'm missing! I just cannot figure out why my female aft keeps getting impacted.... I have a theory of how but not why...

    Here's her husbandry
    I have her in an exoterra with an uth on a thermostat that stays around 89-91f on the warm side and low 70's on the cool side. I have two thermometers including an infrared one to check the accuracy of the temps. I have a warm hide, warm humid hide, cold hide and cold humid hide. As well as other furnishings.
    By misting the enclosure the humidity ranges from a high 60% to a low of 35-40%. There's also a water bowl of course and the humid hides.

    Diet is mainly dubia, occasionally she'll get supers, mealworms and very occasionally horn worms. All food is dusted with supplements, calc w/o D3 3/4 feeds and reptivite w/D3 for the 4/5. Feeders are gut loaded with fresh veggies and prepared insect diets.

    Every couple of months we're dealing with impactions. First one lasted two weeks, she'd eaten paper towel, when she pooped it out it looked like a PT model of gecko poop. I switched her to eco Earth, that was the worst impaction, lasted nearly two months and she lost almost 10% body weight (this may have also been coupled with winter behavior), again when she finally pooped it was two or three poops worth of dirt. Now, she's back on the substrate I started with that's never caused her trouble, carpet (eco carpet). Only now she's eating the sphagnum moss from her humid hides! After two weeks without eating and she just passed three large poops that are completely moss.

    I have to point out that she's not consuming substrate with food. I feed her from tongues because that's how she best feeds. She only a hunter occasionally, but eats well when presented with an easy meal and so she's definitely not picking up substrates with food.

    Now, I know that a lot of people blame impaction on husbandry, but I think I'm doing everything right... Can anyone see where my husbandry could be causing this?

    Because I can't see where I'm going wrong my theory is that she's eating substrate for hydration... But considering she gets gut loaded food, water and humidity I just can't figure out *why* she'd do this.

    Please help, it would be so very much appreciated,

  2. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, I`ve never kept this species and the info I have is from searching online which no doubt you`ve already done. Can you put a few photos up of the whole enclosure including a top view, I`d also like to ask what type of hygrometer you`re using?
  3. Qwerty3159

    Qwerty3159 Elite Member

    Do you feed in a bowl or by hand or let the insects run around the cage?
  4. Qwerty3159

    Qwerty3159 Elite Member

    Sorry, I totally missed where you answered my above question in your first post.

    When she ate the paper towel the first time was it a loose piece or did she actually rip the substrate up and eat it? My only suggestion would to be maybe switch to something like tiles or cover most of the bottom of the cage in large flat stones like slate except for the humid hide. If you're using paper towel in the humid hide try using an upside down plastic container for the hide and then close the paper towel in the lid before you wet it, which should probably make it a little harder for the gecko to move or eat.
  5. Cherux02

    Cherux02 Well-Known Member

    Carpet fixed the paper towel eating. Regarding the moss-eating, i've seen humid hides made with oversized marbles. The lizard lays on top of the stones and the water pools underneath them. Marbles should be beyond the size a lizard could eat. Its a behavior done when prey isnt present? Like a lizard version of human pica? "Craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value, such as ice, clay, soil, or paper. Pica can have causes that aren't due to underlying disease. Examples include stress, cultural factors, nutritional deficiencies, or pregnancy." (Wikapedia human pica). Stress? I didn't see you describe your handling routines or the conditions of the surrounding room. Stress is attributed to plenty of herp health problems, why not behavioral? Any ideas?

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