Are you wondering if your leopard gecko is fat or overweight? Perhaps you’re wondering if leopard geckos can get fat in the first place.
Yes, geckos, like most animal species, can get fat if they eat too much and are not active enough.
So, how do you know if your leopard gecko has packed on more pounds than needed? How can you tell if your gecko is indeed getting chubby or is pregnant?
This guide helps answer all those questions.
- How To Know If Your Leopard Gecko Is Fat?
- Causes and Treatment of a Fat Leopard Gecko
- How To Prevent Weight Gain in Leopard Geckos?
- Help My Leopard Gecko is Underweight? What Should I Do?
- Conclusion – How To Find Out If a Leopard Gecko Is Fat?
How To Know If Your Leopard Gecko Is Fat?
A fat leopard gecko might look cute but it is not healthy. Unfortunately, this species of gecko is more prone to obesity and excess weight gain than any other gecko species, mainly because it isn’t the most active.
Due to this reason, a leopard gecko tends to pack on the pounds easily. Here are some tell-tale signs that your leopard gecko is fat:
Signs Your Leopard Gecko is Fat
Apart from weight, some of the signs to help determine that your leopard gecko is fat are stated below.
- Presence of fat rolls around their belly area
- Your leopard gecko has a tail wider than the head
- Presence of air bubbles in your Leo armpits.
- Presence of fat on your gecko’s legs
- Your gecko’s stomach looks distended or bloated
- Your gecko has a round belly when viewing them from the top
- The presence of a very think tail base
- Your leopard gecko is walking slower
- Your leopard gecko always lays down and is not interested in any physical activity.
- When feeding your gecko, it moves slowly instead of pouncing on its prey immediately.
Fat leopards gecko can be determined based on tail shape, skin color or some other physical characteristics:
1. Tail Width
In normal geckos, the base of the tail is smaller than the gecko’s head. However, in fat leopard geckos, the tail will be as wide or wider than the gecko’s head.
Please note there is a species of geckos called African Fat Tail geckos which have fat tails even normally. So, if you have this species, this point may not be the best way of telling if your pet is fat. Leopard geckos are larger and longer than African Fat Tail geckos.
2. Armpit Bubbles
In fat leopard geckos, there may be armpit bubbles behind one or both front legs. They may seem to pop up overnight and are an indication of excess fat.
3. Excess Weight
According to experts, the ideal weight of a male leopard gecko is around 60 – 80 grams or about 2-2.8 ounces. Females are even lighter – weighing just 50-70 grams (1.76 ounces).
A fat leopard gecko might weigh over 3 or 4 ounces or more than 85 to 90 grams. This is a surefire sign of an obese leopard gecko.
4. Visible Fat Rolls on the Side
If your gecko has excess weight, you will see fat rolls on its sides when it turns or curls up. This too could help you assess if your pet needs to reduce some weight.
5. Skin Color Changes Due to Fatty Liver Disease
Overweight or obese leopard geckos often suffer from fatty liver disease. This causes color changes in their skin – resulting in a pinkish hue. Geckos with fatty liver disease may also show reduced appetite, swollen abdomen, and bloating.
Note: it is best not to use the weight of your gecko as an indicator that it is fat. This is because some leos have small body structures and can be tagged overweight if they weigh over 60g.
Note: It is not recommended to assume that baby, and juvenile leopard geckos are overweight. This is because they need a lot of nutrients for their rapid growth, and you should avoid putting them on a restricted diet. Once they reach adult size, you can then evaluate whether they are overweight or not.
How To Tell if a Leopard Gecko is Fat or Pregnant?
In some cases, owners may confuse fat leopard geckos and pregnant leopard geckos. To ensure proper care, it is necessary to distinguish them. Here are some ways to distinguish whether a leopard gecko is fat or pregnant.
Age and Mating
Geckos can only get pregnant once they reach sexual maturity. Leopard geckos reach sexual maturity between the age of 18 to 24 months. On the other hand, leopard geckos can get fat at any age.
If you have housed adult male and female leopard geckos together in the same enclosure, then there is a chance that your female gecko is pregnant.
Pregnant females will usually move very slowly or not at all. They will mostly spend all their time inside their nesting box.
In some cases, fat or obese geckos may also slow down. If they develop fatty liver disease, they might be sluggish and lethargic.
Fat or overweight leopard geckos will still want to eat and may even eat more than usual. However, if a fat leopard gecko develops the fatty liver disease, it might show a lack of appetite too.
Pregnant leopard geckos usually stop eating completely toward the end of their pregnancy.
Swelling in Specific Body parts
In fat leopard geckos, the weight gain is usually concentrated in the tail region. Your pet’s tail may be as wide or wider than its head.
In pregnant geckos, weight gain is seen around the abdomen. You will also see symmetrical swelling on both sides of the abdomen as the females lay eggs in groups of two.
You might be also able to see lumps of the eggs and, on gentle pressing or prodding, even feel their oval-round shape.
Also, as your pet stops eating towards the latter half of her pregnancy, she might lose weight around her tail.
Healthy Leopard Gecko Weight Chart
According to experts, here is an ideal weight chart for leopard geckos, refer to it to make sure your gecko has the right weight.
Note: this size may differ slightly between each leopard gecko, but too much difference is considered overweight or underweight.
|Hatchlings (0-2 months)||7 to 10 cm or 2.8-3.9 inches||2-5 grams|
|Juveniles (2-7 months old)||12.7 cm or 5 inches||15-25 grams|
|Adult Male (above 7 months)||20 to 28 cm or 7.9 to 11.0 in||60 to 80 grams|
|Adult Female (above 7 months)||18 to 20 cm or 7.1 to 7.9 in||50 to 70 grams|
Causes and Treatment of a Fat Leopard Gecko
There are three common causes of obesity or excess weight gain in leopard geckos. The treatment will vary based on the cause.
This is the most common cause of excess weight or obesity in geckos. Too many treats also can make your leopard gecko become fat. Experts recommend the following feeding schedule for leopard geckos:
- Baby geckos need 5-7 small crickets or meal worms every day until they reach about 4 inches in length.
- Juveniles need a little bit larger food and can be fed every other day until they are 7 to 10 months old.
- Adult geckos should be just 2-3 times a week. You can feed 6-7 large crickets or mealworms to your adult gecko.
Treatment for Overfeeding
The best treatment is to gradually reduce your gecko’s food intake. Make sure it gets exercise. Periodically let it out in a safe enclosure and allow it to roam or crawl on you.
Fatty Liver Disease
This is a vicious circle since obese geckos are at a risk of fatty liver disease (FLD) and geckos with fatty liver disease or hepatic lipidosis are more likely to develop obesity as well.
Signs of FLD in Leopard Geckos
- Gradual weight gain or weight loss
- A gradual reduction in appetite
- Changes in fecal character and color – loose watery stools/diarrhea
- Yellow or pink tinge on the skin, eyes, etc.
- Bloated stomach
- Swollen limbs.
Causes of FLD
Appropriate husbandry – proper temperature, diet, and exercise, are the most important forms of treatment for fatty liver disease in geckos. You need to stop overfeeding your pet. Provide a large enclosure so your gecko can get more active.
Some cases of severe chronic hepatic lipidosis in leopard geckos have no treatment.
Xanthomatosis is a health condition in overweight leopard geckos where fatty deposits under their skin can damage their internal organs. Xanthomatosis is usually caused by an improper diet.
You can detect that your gecko is suffering from xanthomatosis when it starts to lose weight and the health deteriorates, but the fat stomach is still visible. Xanthomatosis can lead to the death of your leopard gecko if it is not treated immediately.
This means you should take your gecko to the vet immediately once you notice these symptoms for diagnosis. Your vet can then help treat the condition and recommend a suitable diet to give to your leopard gecko.
How To Prevent Weight Gain in Leopard Geckos?
Gaining too much weight is a serious matter when it comes to leopard geckos. So, if you see rolls of fat around your gecko’s tail, neck, and belly, please take the following measures to reduce it:
Follow a Strict Feeding Schedule
Stick to the feeding schedule of 2-3 meals per week. Even if your gecko seems to demand more food, please refrain from overfeeding. This species is highly susceptible to weight gain, so you need to be strict.
Your gecko should look healthy. It doesn’t matter if it gets grumpy because it wants more food, you need to be in control of its diet.
Offer Balanced Meals
According to VCA Hospitals, you must offer a wide range of meals to your adult gecko. This includes:
- Live, moving insects. Lightly dust these with phosphorus-free calcium powder.
- Commercially raised crickets
- Worms – silk worms, earthworms, meal worms, wax worms, etc.
Again, feed these no more than 2-3 times a week. You can gut-load these meals to increase their nutritional value for your gecko.
Provide an Optimum Environment
Here are some parameters for an optimum environment for leopard geckos:
- Relative humidity – should be between 30-40%. Measure this using a hygrometer.
- The daytime temperature should be between 75 to 85°F (24 to 29°C).
- Provide a basking area of 90F or 32 C.
- Tank size – a single baby leopard gecko will need at least a 10-gallon tank. Adult geckos need at least 20 gallons of space per gecko.
Encourage Your Gecko to Exercise
Here are some ways to exercise your leopard gecko and make it more active:
- Provide live crickets during feeding. They will give your pet a good workout.
- Try to handle your pet every day for at least 20-25 minutes. This is important to get them to crawl on you. You can also let your pet out for an hour daily and get it to crawl on your bed.
- A flat disc-shaped hamster wheel can also encourage your gecko to move.
- Arrange a pile of clothes or branches in their enclosure to encourage your pet to climb. Climbing helps build muscles.
- Rearrange their enclosure so they can spend time exploring it.
- Set up an obstacle course in the enclosure. This could be boxes, small bins, wooden toys, etc.
- Add plants and creepers to the enclosure. They too encourage geckos to climb.
Help My Leopard Gecko is Underweight? What Should I Do?
There are several ways to encourage a skinny or underweight leopard gecko to gain weight. These include:
- Vary their diet – add more meals and seek advice from a vet about fattening worms and insects. You can even supplement your pet’s diet with special gecko supplements (calcium and vitamin D) as prescribed by a vet.
- Ensure optimum environment – make sure the setup for your leopard gecko adheres to standards set for this species. If needed, consult your vet and make changes. The optimum temperature range for leopard geckos is 90° to 93° degrees Fahrenheit (32° – 34° C). the enclosure should also have a cool end of around 74 F or 23 C.
- Eliminate stress – excess handling, feeding by hand, and having a dirty or small enclosure are all stressors for leopard geckos. Eliminate these issues and your pet will thrive!
What does a fat-tail gecko look like?
Like leopard geckos, fat-tail geckos also have bulbous, turnip-shaped tails. However, the tips of their tails are rounded rather than pointed.
They also have shorter toes with weaker claws. Their snouts are also rounded. They retain their bands whereas leopard geckos’ bands turn to spots.
How many mealworms should you feed your leopard gecko?
Feed no more than 6-8 mealworms to your adult leopard gecko in a shallow dish.
Should I stop feeding the gecko when it gets fat?
If you notice your gecko gaining weight, please confirm it with your vet. Never stop feeding it entirely – just cut back a bit on feeding and encourage it to move more.
Conclusion – How To Find Out If a Leopard Gecko Is Fat?
If a leopard gecko is getting fat, you might see its tail getting wider than its neck and head. It may also develop fat rolls on the side as well as armpit bubbles.
Some fat geckos develop chronic or acute fatty liver disease which causes skin discoloration, appetite changes, diarrhea, etc.
We hope this guide helps you prevent obesity in your gecko.