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New African Fat-Tailed Gecko- Not Eating!

Discussion in 'Geckos - Other' started by nikkistorms, Jul 31, 2012.

  1. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    I just purchased/rescued a African fat tailed gecko from a local petstore. I say rescued bc their reptiles are NOT being taken care of the way they should. I Have gotten other animals from there with no problem. This guy has been there for 8 months I am told and is on a pure cricket diet. I know nothing about his prior history except he was kept on sand with just a light bulb and a rock. I have done quite a bit of research and have gave him a new home. My husbandry is as follows.
    30 gal terrarium
    Coco fiber bedding (damp and slightly packed)
    Built tunnels under the bedding leading to a DARK box which has a moist paper towel in it.
    A DAMP box, tupperware container with a hole cut out and a wet papertowel in it. This one is under his lamp.
    Blue night bulb
    40 watt light bulb
    Dusted crickets which are gut loaded everday (havent seen him eat anything yet)
    glass bowl with calcium in the bottom, I place 3 mealies in here to see if he would eat them. Nothing yet.

    Here is my problem. I know He may be experiencing relocation stress and all from moving him. He handles well. Never hisses screams or bites us. Is SUPER friendly. BUT, He hasn't eaten ANYTHING that I know of since I got him 2 days ago. The crickets I am feeding him are very small bc that is what I use for my other reptiles. I believe they are 1/4. He is aprox a year old from what the store could tell me. Call me a sucker but I couldnt leave him in those conditions. IT WAS SO SAD. they also had 2 bearded dragons that had NO LIGHTS AT ALL!!! If I could afford it I would rescue them all... I plan on writing the humane society to see if there is anything I can do on that front. HOwever, right now I am concerned for this lil fella... He looks fine, healthy to me... can you provide any advice?
  2. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    He does move about his cage. Doesn't seem upset or mad or sick. I am awake most of the night and realize these guys are nocturnal but I still havent seen him eat...
  3. Midori

    Midori Elite Member

    Keep handling to a minimum. Don't stress sometimes they just don't want to eat for awhile after they move into a new place, offer a bowl of gutloaded mealworms he might not want to eat in front of you. Never leave the crickets in the tank long then an hour. They will attack the gecko/chew on him while he is asleep.
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    What are the temperatures in the tank?
  5. brooksy

    brooksy Elite Member

    A couple things: How many hides does he have? and like Merlin mentioned, what are the temps?
    Also it is perfectly normal for geckos to take time to settle in and begin to eat, some of mine took a couple weeks, however it helps to speed up the process by not handling for a couple weeks other than tank maintenance and to make sure the gecko feels secure (lots of hides and cover to hide under).
    Another point as well is that although it is great that this guy has a better shot with you, remember in the future that the money you pay for him will give the company money to buy a handful more that will be subjected to the exact same conditions. Just a thought for the future.
  6. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Hey he has 2 hides and 2 sets of underground tunnels that he hides in.
    Temps on cool side run around 72, hot side 86-92. If I have both bulbs on its a few degrees warmer.
  7. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Yea I do realize that. And I feel horrible for having spent so much money in there over the years. I've had over a dozen other animals from there and the conditions have never been like this. Makes me wonder if they're changing new ownership. this pet shops main focus is fish because I guess that's better money for them, so I noticed that they've been kind of crunching all the other animals together to make more room for their fish and their tanks. My goal is anyways is to open up a reptile shop here in my town over the next 3 to 4 years. I'm hoping that they'll allow me to take over the reptiles or sale of reptiles in our area and they can keep the fish cause I don't want to sell fish. That's a Long time coming I'm starting school to get a business degree here soon that will help and then I'm going to go for future certificates on specifics for animals and things like that. Anyways sorry about the rant. yeah I do realize that I'm paying for them now to buy more reptiles that could be some subjected I'm actually going to contact the owner in the next few days in a write up kind of professional email and give him a chance to fix it before I like contact anybody else. thanks for your replies. I'll stop handling him for a few weeks him and just tried mealworms to see if he will do that. There's too many places for the crickets to hide it I put them in his tank so it have to handle him and take him out of his tank to feed him crickets
  8. Vers

    Vers Elite Member

    It's also very important to note exactly how you're taking temperature/humidity readings. Also, an image of the tank setup and gecko itself would help :)
  9. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    I am working on getting pics posted. I use an temp gun. I have the stick on ones for backup in case my batteries die or something. Right now the humidity is about 50%. Working on getting it higher.
  10. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

  11. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Pics posted in thread of his viv, close up of tunnel and humid box and two of bowser himself.
  12. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    Try covering up three sides of the tank with something, like an aquarium background, newspaper, magazine pages, anything. I'm not sure I would want to hang out in a glass box like that. You might want to give him some additional above ground cover too.
  13. Jflores

    Jflores Elite Member

    Hey there, first of you have an amazing looking AFT, I am loving his coloration.

    However, speaking from experience there are a couple of things that you should know about these little geckos. First of they are very similar to leopard geckos as far as looks and heating requirements go, but that's pretty much it. AFT's are very picky when it comes to eating; believe me when I tell you a majority of them will never touch a mealworm. I only know of two people who have successfully managed to convert their AFT's diet from crickets to Mealies and the only way they managed that was due to the fact that all their AFT's where hatched out by them and they essentially forced them to eat mealies..

    I have tried to convert my AFT's from crickets to Mealies and have not had any luck. Therefore, with that said Crickets will be the way to go for now until you have time to adapt him/her to mealies. Based on what you said your little one is about a year old, therefore he should be eating full grown crickets. Trust me when I tell you they love to hunt.

    Also, Like leopard geckos, AFT's require Belly heat to thermo-regulate themselves, so make sure the tempts you are reading is actually from the surface and not ambient. Another key note, unlike Leopard geckos AFT do require a bit more humidity.

    As for the handling, everything mentioned by everyone is right, seeing that you have recently purchased your little one you need to give it enough time for it to accustom itself with its new surrounding and that can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
    Apart from that, there is nothing else I can think of at the moment, Congrats on your little one they truly are awesome little geckos!!
  14. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Awesome. I will do that as soon as I get home!!

    Completely agree, I only put mealies in there so I could see if he would eat over night. I didn't want to leave crickets in there overnight. So how should I feed him the crickets? Like take him out, which would require handling, and feed him in another tank? Or just drop a cricket in his cage and hunt it down if he doesn't? There's a lot of hiding places if I put crickets in his cage. Even moreso when I put some on the top coverage. I measure the surface temps using an infrared temp gun. I measure the top and in his hide that he stays in. He never comes out as far as I've seen. I am buying a heat mat to put under the tank under his hide tonight. I spray his tank several times a day and spray him with vitamin spray since he's not eating. He has drank water out of his bowl. But only if I take him out. Which I haven't in 3 days. I have only touched him to clean out his hide.
  15. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    spraying him with vitamin spray does nothing. They don't absorb anything through their skin, their skin is like yours, non permeable.

    with the coconut husk, you shouldn't be needing to spray several times a day, your humidity is going somewhere. Is your top mesh? If so cover most of it up with plexi or plastic wrap. And make sure you are measuring the humidity at ground level, its going to be more humid at ground level where your gecko is, than up at the top, you don't want to be overdoing the moisture and giving it a RI. It's a gecko, not a tropical frog.
  16. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Ok, I will stop spraying with vit spray. I was hoping he would lick it off his lips. that is why I was spraying him. I do have a mesh top, I will cover most of it tomorrow, I will see if I can find some plastic wrap, Just worried about it melting. Once I get my heat pad i will be more comfortable doing that. I have been measuring the humidity at the top. I will move the hygrometer now. I Did put some above ground foliage to see if that would make him feel more comfortable. I ordered the heat pad. Do you think I need to plug the heat pad into a thermostat? I've never used the heat pads.

    Any advice on how to feed him the crickets?

    I put him in a feeder tank, while I was adding the foliage and cleaning his boxes and changing his water, with 2 crickets and some calcium to see if he would eat or lick the calcium. He did lick the calcium but didnt eat the crickets. He did lick some water off the side of the tank but now is just laying to the side in front of the tubes... I put the lights directly over him to see if heating him up a lil would help. he was mostly cool to the touch when I picked him up...

    photo 2-5.jpg photo 1-4.jpg

    Added the foliage above ground, took out the bulky water dish and the mealworms. Put water in the smaller dish and dug a hole under the foliage so he could hide there. Moved the lights directly over his dark hide to heat it up. Moving the hygrometer as soon as the tank dries up a lil. Just sprayed it. Going to back off the spraying to 2 times a day and put a heat pad under his dark box where he stays ALL THE TIME.
  17. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    You want to create a heat gradient, with a warm and a cool hide. So pick a side to put your light and heat pad. Be sure he has a cool hide as well. When you get the pad, stick it to the bottom and then take a temp reading inside his hide. If it's getting too hot, you can add some eco earth as a buffer in between the container and the pad. Keep doing that till you get the right temp.

    The plastic won't melt as long as it's not touching your lamp. Just cover up as much of the top as you can.

    He should also have a calcium lick in there all the time, not just when feeding. Lots of people use a simple soda top upside down.

    And ditch those dial thermometers/hygrometers. They are notoriously innaccurate. Get a indoor/outdoor themometer in the garden center at your local big box store (should run you about $15) and then you can move the probe around the tank to get good readings.
  18. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Thanks for your reply! Got the digital Acu rite from walmart and got his cold side and hot side up, still waiting on my heat pad and thermostat to get here on tuesday. He still isnt eating :( I'm wondering if I shouldnt change his substrate so he can't hide so much. Like put papertowels instead of the cocofiber? What do you think?

    Also, I tried to give him a bath to get him heated up. I have put him in a tank with LOTS of crickets, tried putting him in with a few, and tried with only one. Tried breaking their legs so they couldnt run away from him. The only time he even acknowledges they are there is when they touch him he gets ****ED and jolts away from them. I will put the calcium back in today.
  19. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Would duct taping the top work? We did that on our iguana's cage, taped half the top and instantly got the humidity up to 80.
  20. nikkistorms

    nikkistorms Elite Member

    Just a thought, would the size matter? Like I use pretty small crickets for my other lizards and that is what I have tried for him. Should I try something bigger.

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