3 Possible Reasons Why Your Tokay Gecko Won’t Eat

Posted on: August 16th, 2013 by JE

A drop in the appetite or failure to eat in your Tokay gecko is not a problem in itself but a possible symptom of either a natural circumstances or of an illness. But because, for most gecko owners, normal feeding is a sign of good health, it becomes alarming to see that their geckos are not eating. There are 3 possible reasons why your Tokay gecko won’t eat, this are – stress, illness, and natural occurrence as part of their life cycle.


A stressed Tokay gecko would often refuse to eat to cope with their current situation. Stress does not only affect the activities of Tokay geckos but as well as their health. Later in this article, you would learn that illnesses, and other situations associated with the decreased in feeding ultimately leads to stress. But for this part of the discussion, you’ll learn about stressful situations aside from these issues.

Your Tokay gecko can become stressed by several factors such as shipping, abrupt change in the environment, improper temperature, and bullying.

  • Shipping. Whether you have purchased your gecko from a pet store or from a breeder from another state, there is a greater possibility that your gecko is stressed from days of shipping. Your gecko would normally refuse to eat during this time. It is important that you keep their enclosure as comfortable as possible, and provide clean source of water to lessen the stress. They would normally eat after 3 days.
  • Improper Temperature. Low temperature (falling below 80 degrees Fahrenheit) will make it difficult for your geckos to digest their food. Make sure to keep the temperature from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit to facilitate proper food digestion.
  • Bullying. This is more common in juveniles and female Tokay geckos. “Hot females” would normally bully inferior females. Early maturing males in a group of juvenile would also bully the lesser males. To address this issue, it is best to separate dominant males and females from the group. Bullied geckos would often refuse to eat and suffer from bites which often lead to slow growth and even premature death in young geckos.

Illness and Diseases

Tokay geckos suffering from impaction, metabolic bone disease, infection, or parasite infestation are likely refuse to eat. Symptoms of these illnesses are often observable but others may appear during the last stage of the disease. Presence of puss, reddening or swelling of the wound or the surrounding area normally indicates the presence of infection. Plugged nostrils, or labor in breathing on the other hand can indicate a possible respiratory infection. Symptoms of MBD include soft and shaky legs and jaw, and the inability to carry weight. Tokay geckos suffering from impaction often appears with swollen belly and inability to pass their bowels. The best thing to do in these cases is to consult your veterinarian for the right medication.

Life Cycle

One of the most common causes of eating in Tokay gecko is life cycle and seasonal factors.

Hatchlings normally don’t eat during their first 3 to 7 days after hatching. Juvenile geckos normally have the biggest appetite but as they grow older, they slowly reduce eating. Natural occurrences such as shedding and mating also affect the feeding habit of Tokay geckos. Normally, geckos would eat their old skin when shedding. During this time, moving is very uncomfortable for your geckos, they would often sit in their hide for the next 2 days and simply refuse to eat. Breeding season is another natural phenomenon that affects your Tokay gecko’s appetite. Male geckos are more likely preoccupied in finding their mate during this season. They are less likely interested in food when mating season is approaching.

Female Tokay geckos on the other hand would refuse to eat a day before they lay their eggs. Also a female being continuously pursued by male is also less likely to eat. This can be attributed to stress. Removing the male after a successful breeding can help prevent this issue.

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