Leopard geckos are one of the easiest reptiles to care about and are a favorite pet of many people worldwide. A particularly worrisome question for many leopard gecko owners is, “Is my leopard gecko overweight?”. And this question makes sense because it is hard to tell if this animal is obese just by looking at it. Obesity is not healthy for leopard geckos in the same way that it is not healthy for other pets and even humans, and so, you should be conscious of the weight of your leopard gecko. There are several ways with which you can find out if your pet is fat or not.
7 Signs That Your Leopard Gecko Is Overweight
1. Air Bubbles in Armpit
The most obvious sign of an overweight leopard gecko is armpit bubbles. These bubbles are usually located behind a leg of the gecko and can be quite disconcerting to you as a pet owner if you did not know anything about them before. Air bubbles resemble blisters or small air sacs in the armpit of your leopard gecko. They are harmless and will not cause any problems or pain for your pet, but if you have had suspicions that your pet is overweight, then air bubbles are a surefire sign that your suspicions are correct. While some leopard gecko owners think they spell good health, others notice that these bubbles disappear when the gecko loses weight.
2. Thick Tail
If the base of your leopard gecko’s tail is far thicker than it should be, then it is very likely that the animal is overweight. This thick tail is often broad and can look wider than the head of the animal.
3. Plump Legs
Also, the legs of the leopard gecko will look very plump or swollen and will feel very soft to the touch if it is overweight. This softness is caused by fat, as legs that have muscles will feel more firm when you touch them.
4. Sluggish Movement
An overweight leopard gecko would move more sluggishly than it is wont to do before. This slow movement is usually because of its overly plump legs and thick tail. You would notice that your pet does not move around in the tank as much as it used to do. It will rather lay than carry out other activities like climbing or walking.
5. Fat Rolls
Leopard geckos that are overweight will also have fat rolls on the side of their belly. Therefore, if you suspect that your leopard gecko is overweight, this should be one of the signs that you check for first.
6. Sunken Backbone
If the backbone of your leopard gecko, together with other bones in its body, is not easily visible, then you may have an overweight pet.
7. Plump or Distended Head
A head that looks more distended than usual is a sign that your leopard gecko is fat.
What Is The Average Leopard Gecko Weight?
For you to know whether your pet is overweight or not, you need to know the average leopard gecko weight. Baby leopard geckos typically weigh about 3 to 4 grams and have a length of about 3 inches. When the leopard gecko is about two months old, its ideal weight should be around 18 to 30 grams. Leopard geckos usually reach adulthood at 9 to 18 months, depending on the animal. Some of them typically grow faster and would reach adulthood at 10 months, while others grow much more slowly and would reach adulthood at 18 months.
For normal adult leopard geckos in captivity, the average weight is about 40 to 80 grams. These animals also have a length of about 7 to 10 inches. With adult females typically being 7 to 8 inches and adult males reaching 8 to 10 inches. Giant adult leopard geckos, on the other hand, may reach a weight of 90 to 110 grams.
Leopard Gecko Weight Chart
Leopard Gecko Feeding to Avoid Overweight
How Often Do You Need to Feed Leopard Gecko?
The number of times that you feed your pet is of prime importance if the animal is to have a healthy weight. The ideal meal for leopard geckos is live insects, as these animals do not eat plants. The best insects that you can feed your pet are either crickets or mealworms. If you have a baby leopard gecko, you should feed it more often than you would feed an adult one. Typically, you should give it five to seven small insects daily until it is a bit older, reaching about 4” in length. You must feed your baby leopard gecko with small-sized insects instead of large ones if you do not want it to choke.
By the time it is older, you can change its pattern of feeding by offering larger foods every other day until the animal is about 10 – 12 months old. By this time, it is already an adult, and so you can give it adult meals. It is best to feed it once in every 2 days with larger sized mealworms or crickets than the ones you fed to it when it was younger. Take care not to feed your leopard gecko with food that is too large so that you can prevent choking.
What to Feed a Leopard Gecko?
Leopard geckos are strictly insect eaters, and so you should never feed them plants or vegetables. Apart from mealworms and crickets, you can give them other types of insects such as silkworms, super worms, and small cockroaches. For the occasional treat, you can feed your leopard gecko wax worms and pinkie mice that are less than a few days old. You should not feed wax worms to it often because they are very fattening and will cause obesity if it eats them regularly. Plus the animal can easily get addicted to eating them. As for pinky mice, you should only feed them once in a while to adult leopard geckos and not juvenile ones.
Unlike the bearded dragons, leopard geckos diet should not include plants.
Another essential aspect of feeding your leopard gecko is gut loading. Gut loading involves feeding highly nutritious food to the insects before feeding them to your leopard gecko. Commercially bred insects usually lack a lot of the nutrients that insects in nature get from the different types of food they consume in the wild. If you are going to feed these commercially bred insects to your leopard gecko, then you would want to make sure that they have all the necessary minerals and vitamins that your pet requires to stay healthy. There are different commercially available products in powdered form that you can feed to the insects before feeding them to your leopard gecko. You can even buy a special insect shaker that makes this process even easier. It is best to gut load the insects twenty-four hours before you feed them to your leopard gecko.
Vitamin Supplements for Leopard Gecko
Apart from gut loading, you should also give calcium and vitamin supplements to your pet. A wide range of different products containing these supplements is available on the market. And you can get some of these for your leopard gecko. A common way with which you can feed them to your gecko is by dusting the prey with the supplement. Place a small amount of the supplement into a container or a plastic bag. Then insert the insects that you want to feed to your leopard gecko in it. Shake the container or the plastic bag gently so that the supplement can cover the insects. Now it is ready to feed to your leopard gecko!
Ensure that you feed dusted insects to your leopard gecko immediately. Because these insects, particularly crickets, tend to clean the supplements from off their body.
Adding supplements to your leopard gecko’s diet is extremely important. As its lack can lead to serious problems like metabolic bone disease and even death for your pet.
What Causes Leopard Gecko Obesity?
Contrary to what some people believe, it is not healthy for a leopard gecko to be obese. Obesity can cause serious health problems like fatty liver disease, and you do not want this for your pet. The primary cause of leopard gecko overweight is overfeeding. While it is enjoyable to watch your pet eating, and it even creates a bonding experience, you should not get carried away by this activity and overfeed it. If you overfeed your lizard often, it will begin to get fat and will become overweight in no time. It will be in your pet’s best interest. Therefore, you have to do everything you can to prevent it from getting obese and help it maintain a weight that is appropriate for it.
How to Get Rid of Obesity in a Leopard Gecko?
You can do the following to help your pet get rid of obesity:
Place it on a diet
Let’s say you have confirmed your suspicions that your pet is overweight. Now, you should consider putting it on a diet to get rid of obesity. However, you must never cut its food supply suddenly. Instead, you would have to put it on a diet slowly. To do this, gradually reduce the number of insects that you feed to the leopard gecko each time you feed it. You can reduce the number of insects by one or two when you want to place it on a diet. Maintain this food portion for two or three feeding sessions before you reduce the number of insects that you feed it again. Before long, you should notice a change in the animal’s weight.
You should also check the type of food that you give to the animal and make the necessary adjustments. For instance, if your leopard gecko’s diet includes fatty worms, you should remove them from its diet. Keep avoiding fatty insects until your pet begins losing weight. After a considerable weight loss, you can begin to introduce these bugs back into the animal’s diet a little at a time. While you are helping your leopard gecko to lose weight, ensure that you keep track of its weight loss. Use scales so that you can know when it has reached an ideal weight.
It is worth noting that you do not have to worry too much whether your baby leopard gecko is overweight or not. This is because it is still growing and requires all the food and nutrition that it can get.
Make Your Gecko Move Around More
In addition to putting your leopard gecko on a diet, you should also make it be more active. Since overweight leopard geckos tend to move very sluggishly or prefer to lay, give it something that would make it to move more. You can do this by offering it live food. So that it would have to hunt the food, or you can allow it to walk around so that it can exercise.
Keep Proper Conditions In Your Gecko’s Enclosure
You should also make sure that conditions in your leopard gecko’s tank are kept at an optimum. This means that you should keep the live conditions, particularly the temperature, as close to its natural environment as possible. Optimal temperatures are vital to keeping leopard geckos fit. As they help to digest food by helping the animal’s digestive tract to work perfectly. The ideal temperatures for a leopard gecko’s tank vary with daytime and nighttime. During the daytime, the basking area temperature should be around 87° F – 90 °F. This is typically where the animal would go to digest its food properly. The cooler side of the tank should be kept between 74° F to 80° F. At nighttime, however, you should keep the temperature of the tank at 70° F to 75° F.
As a leopard gecko owner, the health and fitness of your pet should be of great importance to you. Before deciding that your leopard gecko is overweight, you should bear in mind that each leopard gecko is different from other ones in body structure. There are giant leopard geckos, normal ones, and even small ones. It is best to know the type of gecko that you have. So that you can know the ideal weight for it. While it is good to feed your pet at regular intervals with the right kinds of food, it is also vital that you don’t overfeed it. And it does not become overweight as a result. This way, you will help your pet avoid the health complications that result from obesity.