I love my leopard gecko. She’s pretty, she’s a good eater, and she always seems to know when I’m feeling down.
But recently, I’ve noticed that she’s gotten a little bigger than her tank mates—and I wonder if there’s something wrong with her. Should I be worried? Is there anything I can do?
It turns out that I’ve been spoiling my gal with too much love…and food! Fortunately, with a few pointers and techniques, I was able to get her down to a healthy weight.
In this article, we’ll look at what causes overweight leopard geckos in captivity and what you can do if your pet’s having issues with its weight.
There are a couple of causes for overweight leopard geckos. Let’s take a look at them!
The most common cause is the lack of exercise, especially when you keep your gecko in an enclosure that doesn’t offer enough space to move around.
Another cause is that the gecko has been eating too much and not burning off the calories it takes in.
This can happen if you’re feeding your leopard gecko mealworms or crickets every day. It can also happen if you don’t include fruits or vegetables in its diet.
It’s tricky to tell if your leopard gecko is overweight. This is because, unlike mammals, reptiles have different fat stores.
In other words:
Geckos can be overweight, but it won’t be as obvious as it is in a mammal because of their lower body temperature and slow metabolism.
If you think your leopard gecko may be overdoing it on the treats, here are some things to look out for:
If your gecko stops eating and doesn’t have an appetite, this could indicate health problems such as obesity.
It may also have trouble digesting food because of an overly full stomach. This can cause diarrhea, constipation, and other gastrointestinal issues.
Additionally, an overweight lizard could simply be uncomfortable with its own body and refuse food until it loses some weight!
Either way, your pet will need immediate veterinary attention if it’s refusing food.
Leopard geckos are usually active and need a lot of room to move around. They also need a warm spot to bask in, something to climb on, and something to hide under.
The more room your leopard gecko has, the better for its health. If you notice your gecko getting slower, it may be a sign your little guy is overweight.
An overweight leopard may even have trouble shedding. This is because its skin can’t stretch enough to accommodate all the extra weight it’s carrying.
If your gecko is overweight, you’ll notice a few things about its tail. First, the tail may be shorter and thicker than normal.
Second, the tail might not be as flexible as it was before your leopard gecko gained weight.
Third, your leopard might hold its tail in a curled position—a sign that there’s something wrong with its spine.
Finally, you may notice that the base of the tail bends at an angle instead of being straight across. All these changes can cause pain for your little guy or gal!
A healthy adult leopard gecko should have an oval-shaped body with a distinctly pointed snout. If it looks heavier or less angular, it may be overweight.
On top of that, an overweight leopard gecko has a belly larger than its body. If you can’t feel any ribs, this might be excess fat buildup causing too much pressure against the bones!
Armpit bubbles are another prominent and clear indicator of obesity in leopard geckos. Usually seen beneath the legs, these little bubbles can seem quite concerning if you don’t know what they are.
These bubbles resemble tiny air sacs or blisters in your gecko’s armpits. These can develop in both male and female geckos.
In actuality, these bubbles mostly contain fat. Some gecko owners, however, believe they indicate good health since they include calcium, protein, and vitamins.
Although armpit bubbles don’t cause pain or discomfort to your gecko, there are several reasons to believe they show a weight problem. After all, these blisters usually disappear with weight reduction!
Being overweight can cause a lot of health problems in leopard geckos, including:
This is one of the most serious issues that can arise because of being overweight. It can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions.
While insects provide plenty of nutrients for our reptiles’ diets, they’re also high in fat and cholesterol. This can lead to cardiovascular diseases.
If your leopard gecko has been diagnosed with this condition, it’ll require special care and monitoring by a veterinarian. It’s also important to speak with your vet about treatment options before making any drastic changes to your gecko’s routine or eating habits.
Fatty liver disease, also known as Hepatic Lipidosis, may develop in obese leopard geckos. This condition is defined by a buildup of fat in your reptile’s liver, which eventually impairs its functionality.
The decreased liver function results in a buildup of toxins in your reptile’s body.
If your leopard gecko is overweight, you have a few options for helping it get back to its ideal weight.
The first thing to do is decrease the amount of food that you’re feeding your leopard gecko. If it’s already overweight, this may not be easy.
However, reducing the number of crickets or mealworms your pet eats will help them shed some of their extra fat and get back on track toward being healthy again.
I can’t stress how crucial it is to introduce your gecko’s new diet gradually. You won’t be able to adjust its diet overnight; you’ll have to do it slowly.
For example, provide smaller quantities at mealtimes rather than cutting back on feedings and allowing your gecko to go without food. You can also cut back on the number of insects you feed your gecko by one or two.
For every two feedings, lower the quantity again. During this time, weigh your leopard gecko to keep track of its weight and progress.
Feed healthier food sources instead of insects and worms. There’s no doubt that insects provide plenty of nutrients for your little guy’s diet.
However, they also tend to have a high fat and cholesterol content, which can be rather unhealthy.
Instead, try giving your pet more nutritious greens like collard greens or kale. These vegetables provide much-needed vitamins without all the extra fats found in crickets or mealworms!
Leopard geckos are perfect for those who want to keep a pet but don’t have much time to spend with it. They’re easy to care for, and if you follow these tips on how to help an overweight leopard gecko, then it’ll be even easier!
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.