Will A Crested Gecko Starve Itself? (The Truth)

A photo of a crested gecko eating

If you’re a new owner of a crested gecko, you might be wondering about his diet. New owners often worry about their geckos eating habits and in particular, wonder why they’re not eating as much as they expect.

They might even worry that their crested geckos aren’t eating at all. If you’re used to looking after other animals like cats and dogs that eat regularly, this can be quite disconcerting.

But, do crested geckos starve themselves? The short answer is no. It’s pretty normal for a gecko to take a month to start eating if they’re in a new environment. It is also not a rarity for a Crested Gecko to stop eating for a week or so especially as they get into the later years of life.

So let’s now take a deeper look into this topic.

How many days can a crested gecko go without eating?

How long a crested gecko can go without eating depends on how old it is. Just like other animal species, younger animals are smaller and will need food more regularly. The older the animals get, the less frequently they will eat. 

Baby crested geckos

As babies (from birth to around seven months) crested geckos eat lots. They need feeding around five times per week to allow them to grow properly. Baby crested geckos can eat mealworms and small crickets but these need to be no bigger than the width between the baby’s eyes.

Babies can, therefore, go without eating for a few days and this might happen if they are put into a new enclosure.

Juvenile crested geckos 

Between the ages of 7 months and up to around 18 months, crested geckos don’t eat so much. Juveniles need food between three and four times per week. Like babies, they can go for a few days without food and perhaps up to seven days.

Adult crested geckos

Crested geckos reach adulthood at 18 months. At this age onwards they will eat less food. They only need to be fed between two and three times per week and can go between two and three weeks without eating.

Adult crested geckos should weigh between 30 and 55 grams. If they’re at the lower end of these guidelines, you might want to keep a watchful eye and weigh your pet frequently. 

How often should a crested gecko eat?

This is quite individual but most crested geckos will eat just a few times per week. Some might eat every night, but this isn’t typical.

Pet owners should provide food for their crested geckos once every two or three nights. If they live somewhere with changeable seasons, they will reduce how often they feed in winter and increase during the higher temperatures of summer.

In summer, many people like to feed them dusted bugs to spur their growth. These also help females to gain enough calcium, protein and fat for breeding.

Crested geckos have different metabolisms to mammals and you don’t need to worry if they go off their food for a short time as long as they are healthy.

Even if your crested gecko is off his food, he should always have food available. If you don’t see any signs of them eating for about three weeks or if they seem ill or lethargic, you should go and see a vet.

If you would like to read my ultimate guide to Crested Gecko feeding click this link.

How do I know if my crested gecko is hungry?

You can’t really tell if your crested gecko is hungry. Some animals with bigger personalities might scratch their terrarium to indicate hunger but this isn’t common. It’s always best to presume they might be hungry and offer various foods each day.

Crested geckos aren’t all the same when it comes to food preferences. Some prefer things with a runny consistency while others prefer thicker foods. Be sure to experiment so that you can learn what your pet likes best. 

If you think your crested gecko might be hungry but isn’t eating, you could try offering some live insects to peak their interest. However, you should perhaps limit how many bugs you give your crested geckos if they aren’t eating a complete diet.

They can have fruits and vegetables as treats and you could also leave their food in their terrarium for a day or two as many crested geckos enjoy fermented foods.

What to do if a crested gecko is not eating

As we’ve said above, the first thing is not to worry overly if your crested gecko is new to his terrarium or you. If this is not the case, or you’re worried and want to make sure everything is just right, there are things you can consider. 

Appropriate husbandry

Making sure your crested gecko has the right humidity, heat and adequate space. Before making any changes to these, you’ll need to be sure whether or not he is eating.

The best way to check for problems is by weighing your pet. Size-dependant, a crested gecko that loses a few grams isn’t worrying. Tracking your crested gecko’s weight once a month will alert you to any problems.

If your pet is new or seems sick, you can weigh him more frequently, perhaps weekly. You’ll need to weigh him before you feed him each time so that his weight is more consistent. Weights will always vary.

Newborn geckos weigh about 1.5g so you’ll need scales that measure to .1 of a gram so you’re measuring as accurately as possible.

Picky eating

Wild geckos have a varied diet including flowers, insects and rotting fruits. Captive crested geckos must be offered a variety from a young age as they need fats, proteins and carbohydrates as it’s easy for them to end up lacking nutrients with a captive diet.

Just like children, some crested geckos will eat anything they’re given while others are more selective. If you reward your crested gecko with his favourite treats frequently, he might end up refusing other things.

How do you know if your crested gecko is eating?

It’s hard to tell if crested geckos are eating because they don’t eat a lot at all. The easiest way to know what they’re consuming is to check their terrarium for poo. If you see poo, you’ll know they’ve been eating.

It’s easier if you have a basic setup and use a substrate of paper towel. You’ll need to look on plants, in paper tubes and under hides too. When you have two or more crested geckos, you won’t be able to see which ones are eating or pooing unless you separate them and watch them away from each other.

Although your crested geckos avoid eating for any reason. Before knowing the root cause of crested geckos won’t eat, you need to know how long can a crested gecko go without eating.

In general, an adult crested gecko can go for about two to three weeks without eating. At the two-week mark, you should bring them to the vet to see what is up.

Baby and juvenile crested geckos need to be fed more often than the adult because they eat much more than the adult stage.

Conclusion

While it’s pretty common for crested geckos to go a while without eating, they won’t starve themselves. As we’ve seen, crested geckos don’t eat a lot.

There are many reasons why your crestie might be off his food but as long as you check his environment and keep offering a variety of appropriate foods, you should find he will begin eating again. If you’re not sure whether or not your pet is eating, searching for poo is the best way to find out. Where there’s poo, there’s a pet who has eaten!

Finally, if your crested gecko hasn’t eaten for a few weeks, it’s best to see a vet just in case. The chances are he’ll be completely fine and will resume eating again in no time.

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