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African Fat Tail not eating! HELP!

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by AphonFreak, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. AphonFreak

    AphonFreak Arachnopeon

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    HELP!
    I recently bought an African Fat Tailed Gecko. He was lively, coming out at night, and a voracious eater. He'd gladly eat a dozen crickets if I let him! I know he's nocturnal, but I would still see him out and about or hear him late at night.

    Now, he hides in his little home all day and hasn't eaten in at least two days. I leave the heat lamp on him all day and night since my room gets really cool at night. I've been trying to keep the humidity up by spraying him at least once a day thoroughly. I do take him out of the tank once a day, usually later in the day and let him crawl around my bed. He's quite active once out of the tank, but sleeps and hides all night and day in it.

    Please help. I don't know if he's just hibernating or if something is wrong.
    -Aphon
     
  2. jarmst4

    jarmst4 Arachnoknight

    Mine will usually slow down like that right before they start shedding heavily.
     
  3. AphonFreak

    AphonFreak Arachnopeon

    Even though he just shed over the Thanksgiving weekend? I mean... he's pretty fat, but since Thanksgiving he's been acting like this.
     
  4. catfishrod69

    catfishrod69 Arachnoemperor

    I had a female for about 8 months. The entire time she was with me she ate maybe a total of 2 crickets. She just was not interested in anything at all. I tried mealworms, roaches, crickets. I even tried sticking her in with the mealworms for a few seconds. She just would not eat. Her tail finally started losing alot of girth. I ended up shipping her to a fellow member, and they took her to a reptile rehab. Last i heard she was doing very well and eating like a horse. Sorry i cant really help you though. Hope yours gets to eating soon.
     
  5. AphonFreak

    AphonFreak Arachnopeon

    Thanks. I'm just so worried. Not eating, not defecating, and hiding night and day. He is responsive to my touch and acts almost like he did when I first got him, minus the nightly activity and eating. Curious little bugger. I have him on Repti-sand, in a 5 gallon aquarium. A 75 watt basking bulb on one end of the tank. Fresh water, daily misting and I try to avoid taking him out during the day when he should be sleeping. He LOVES to lick his surrounding and is very picky on his food. Only eats crickets. He's my first reptile other than my dad getting my brother and I iguanas which he mainly took care of before they died due to some... complications. I have fish and tarantulas. I researched before I bought him, though I don't think I'm meeting the humidity requirements. I have a wire-mesh top and put a towel over the top in hopes to prevent drafts, keep in heat and the humidity. He's about 6-7 inches. I wish I could afford an eco-terra for him, but honestly don't really have the money... College tuition sucks.
    I just really want to keep him for all the years I can, and maybe freaking out a little early, but as I said, when it comes to reptiles, I'm pretty inexperienced.
     
  6. jdl

    jdl Arachnosquire

    What kind of heat light do you have? If it is a white light rather than a red light, you could be throwing off its circadian rhythm. If it is a red light you are using, you might cut back on the spraying. If you are spraying twice a day, you are mimicking a rainy season and the animal might think that it needs to get out of the weather. Try putting in a hide (something like a butter container with a hole cut on the side) and keeping that moist and don't spray the tank. Also, it is turning into winter and geckos go into a dormant stage in their native countries during the cooler time of the year. good luck

    ---------- Post added 12-05-2012 at 10:05 PM ----------

    Another thought is the sand. Even if it is calci sand, geckos can still impact on it. You might try putting the gecko on newspaper and then soaking for a bit (15 minutes) to see if you can get it to defecate) if it does check the stool for sand particles. If there is sand blocking it up, it will have to go to vet.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Niffarious

    Niffarious Arachnoknight

    Agreed, reptisand is a pretty awful substrate IMO. I can't tell you how many posts over the years I've seen of people losing their geckos due to impaction from it.

    Also, how old was it when you got it? If it was young and has hit maturity, it may just need to eat less. If it was WC, this time of the year might coincide with a naturally more dormant state in the wild. I had a male who was WC and would go off food for weeks at a time during certain times of the year - especially close to breeding time if he didn't have a female.

    However, if he's not defecating I'm going to put my money on impaction. jdl is right, if their suggestion does not work you need to bring it to a vet. And get rid of the sand. VERY few reptiles actually live on sand in the wild.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. AphonFreak

    AphonFreak Arachnopeon

    Okay. Thanks. He was older when I goy him, about the 6-7 inches. He's only shed once in my care. He hasn't defecated for only two days and doesn't feel hard or bloated around the stomach area, if that actually means anything. The heat lamp is red. I made certain to get red so he isn't affected by it.
     
  9. AphonFreak

    AphonFreak Arachnopeon

    So, update. I woke up this morning and the cricket that was in his tank was gone and there was definitely defecation in there. I haven't had a chance to look at it to see if sand is in it or not because I had to run to work, but I did hand feed him about 6 crickets. I am planning on changing his substrate as soon as possible, and am curious what people find is the best. I'm thinking of coconut fiber, but if there's something better but not too expensive because as mentioned, I go to college and don't have a lot of money on me.
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  10. Niffarious

    Niffarious Arachnoknight

    Ah, well two days is certainly not a long time, and it's good to hear that he has since eaten and defecated. I would suspect that his appetite has gone down of natural causes.

    I personally use coconut husk, ie 'eco earth'. Make sure it is fine, like the eco earth and not the stuff with big chips in it, as those carry a similar risk of impaction. I'm using eco-earth as an example so you know what product I'm talking about, but the same product is sold in garden supply stores often at a lower cost. Still, it's not usually more than $5 for a brick at a pet store that will easily cover a 30 gallon tank once expanded.
     
  11. AphonFreak

    AphonFreak Arachnopeon

    Thanks. I've used the coconut fiber for my tarantulas and then switched to peat because of some allergy issues with a family member. I just didn't know if the fine fibers would still cause the impaction.

    Thank you so much. :)
     
  12. catfishrod69

    catfishrod69 Arachnoemperor

    Ok here is what i can try and help with.

    AFT are nocturnal, so do away with the heat lamp. Best to use a heatmat or flexwatt, either one plugged into a thermostat, and temp set on 93-95F.

    Being that they are nocturnal, they need bottom heat on thier belly, to be able to digest thier food properly.

    No need to mist at all. Just keep a moist hide inside the enclosure. What i used was a sherbert tub, with a hole cut in the side. Filled with moss, and kept moist. Then a water dish, and a normal hide on the warm end. Be sure to put the moist hide on the cold end.

    Also your best bet at a substrate is plain old paper towel. Not the best looking but it is safe. You could also use peel and stick floor tiles, slate cut to fit, any other flat rock like slate. It needs to be able to let the heat come through it. Be sure to check the temps on top of the substrate.
     
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  13. AphonFreak

    AphonFreak Arachnopeon

    Well, he defecated this morning like I said and ate. Tried giving him another cricket this evening and showed interest, but no bite. I switched his substrate from the sand to coconut fiber and soaked him in warm water while rubbing his stomach. I'm going to tweezer feed him his food from now on. Going to soak him every night until no more sand comes out.
     
  14. AphonFreak

    AphonFreak Arachnopeon

    Update. He ate today. I only gave him a few crickets. No defecation after yesterday mornings find. Still hoping.
     
  15. catfishrod69

    catfishrod69 Arachnoemperor

    You can also give him a couple drops of vegetable oil (in his mouth), and then give him a warm soaking, and massage his stomach, working down towards the anus. This will help him pass any compaction.
     
  16. Caitlinallen

    Caitlinallen Arachnopeon

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    I also have a 5 gallon can an African fat tailed gecko live in there for life?
     
  17. Jurdon

    Jurdon Arachnoknight

    First off, two days is nothing for an AFT, especially of that size.
    Secondly (though some may disagree), five gallons is absolutely unacceptable as a permanent home for an AFT. 10 gallons is a good minimum size.
     
  18. Caitlinallen

    Caitlinallen Arachnopeon

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    I would move the gecko into a bigger in closure in a couple months time either a 10 gallon or 15
     
  19. Jurdon

    Jurdon Arachnoknight

    Well you said “for life” which implies permanence. It should be fine for a baby or juvenile as a temporary enclosure but at that point why not just put it in a 10.
     
  20. Caitlinallen

    Caitlinallen Arachnopeon

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    Because I only have a 5 gallon at the moment and will only be able to buy a gecko now I can’t later