Topics Forums Leopard Geckos Gecko Concerns (New Owner!)

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    • #7863

      Ledy K


      Ok so my baby girl is only a few months old. She was originally kept with my boyfriend’s male gecko, and she LOVED him! However, with him being of a breeding age and her being so young we felt it best if she moved in with me. She liked me a lot when I would handle her before, and she has been eating, pooping, and sleeping normally, but her night time behavior is getting chaotic. Tonight she has shown no interest in food (doesn’t snap her attention to her meal worms), she is climbing in her tank like a psychopath, and I figured maybe she wants to come out to play so I brought her out and she was running in every direction so I tried to corral her, and I was panicked putting her away thinking that she was going to jump. I read glass scratching can be a result of claustrophobia and inappropriate temps, however, she has not done this since moving to my tank and she got back in her tank and immediately went to her heating rock. Should I be concerned?!? I legitimately feel as though she senses my fear. I don’t even want to hold her because I can’t trust she won’t run off or jump and I don’t want to hold her tightly at all. She has always been a bit on the curious/high energy side at night, but this seems especially unnatural as compared to what I have read and idk what I’m doing wrong:(( I clean her tank weekly, she has fresh water (bathes herself with no extra push), has UVB lighting, a hot rock, and a ceramic heating lamp…Anyone else experience this?! I will literally try anything.

    • #7888

      Dakota Kirk

      I don’t have a leopard gecko, but I do have a baby bearded dragon and a crested gecko. Around the first week I got my beardie, I noticed he started acting strangely and very similar to what you described: no interest in food, glass surfing, irritability when handled – which was very out of the ordinary for him too. However, I found out that he was just getting ready to shed, and once he finished was back to normal. I saw the same pattern later on with my crestie. This could be what is happening with your leopard gecko, although I would definitely get a second opinion. Hope this helps!

      • #7898

        Ledy K

        Thank you for your advice! Unfortunately, I’m not sure that’s the case. She shed 7 days ago exactly, and she’s a good shedder. Haven’t noticed any residue.

    • #7904


      She seems to be responding on a behavioral level that is separate from anything physical, as in sickness. Sick geckos don’t behave in a frenetic manner. She is enacting separation and new habitat anxiety behavior. As an experiment, you might try putting her back in with the male, under supervision to prevent breeding. If she seems noticeably calmer, you may have your answer. If so, and you want to keep them separated, you should place her enclosure right next to his. That way she can still see him. Over the course of several days, pull the enclosures further apart. When this frenetic behavior has subsided, that is the time to take her back to your house. She may not want to play with you, only with him, until she is weaned away from his constant company, so when she back in your house, give her at least a week before attempting to handle her. I hope this helps.

      • #8071



        I was actually logging on here tonight to see if I could find an answer to a similar question. I cleaned my gecko’s habitat yesterday and when I did he struggled when I took him out, which was odd. He’s normally really chill. But then, later after I returned him to the cleaned habitat, I noticed even stranger behavior. He was staring straight up at the ceiling and then licking the walls of the terrarium. He paced around and just couldn’t seem to settle.

        So, of course, Google had an answer: enigma syndrome:

        Enigma Syndrome in Leopard Geckos: An Autosomal Dominant Disorder

        I really hope this is not the case with my guy (or the OPs), but just in case, could you speak to this and let me what you think as someone who is very familiar with these creatures? As best as I can tell, it’s not necessarily a fatal condition, but it definitely will affect his behavior.

        Thanks in advance.

        • #8083



          Although it is difficult to be sure without an examination or a video, I think the prudent course of action is to assume that it IS this condition. By taking this stance you can begin to manage the animal’s stress levels in a systematic way, and draw conclusions about the best way to manage his environment, how to handle him more to his liking, changes to feeding and furniture and so forth. For instance, he became agitated at the beginning of the handling session when you needed to take him out to clean his enclosure. I must assume that you picked him up in a forthright manner that both you and he were used to before this gene kicked in. Experiment with time and approach, and see if he alters his response. Perhaps putting your hand under him for a bit before lifting him up will help? Or handling him at dusk, when he is most active and alert. You may find through trial error that dusk is a terrible time, but morning is fine, and so forth. Consider his enclosure design the way a parent with an autistic child must do. Eliminate any tall plants or branches, because if he has a seizure, he can fall and break a leg. Like autistic persons, this genetic condition is not fatal, but cannot be cured. That’s OK, because with some adjustments to routine and environment, he should still be a fine pet for you for years to come, he is just going to have special needs.

          Many owners of ES Leos have found that positive results were achieved by increasing calcium in the lizard’s diet. I think there is warrant for this observation, scientifically, so do try that, just make sure and do the research needed to provide a supplement with a proper calcium/phosphorus balance (2/1 ratio). Also, like autistic persons, bright lights and sudden loud sounds can produce abnormal behavioral responses. You may want to experiment with lighting. If you do have good results with light reduction, be sure that your supplement of choice includes D3.

          Do not increase the current dosage of supplement too dramatically, as in don’t double it, because excess levels of calcium can cause their own problems. I have addressed this in several care guides on this site, so cruise through some of those to get ideas on mineral formulations and amounts. Just make sure the product you use is high quality, well balanced, and increase his intake about 25% for two weeks and observe the results. If they are positive, keep the dosage there, rather than increasing it.

          Like any parent of a special child, you will need to become a bit of a scientist to find out what works and what doesn’t. Of course, you may decide that a veterinary opinion is needed, and if you come to suspect the problem is not ES, then by all means do that. If it is ES, the vet will tell you pretty much what I just have. Very best of luck and please keep us informed of his progress, because ES is pretty common and other forum members will benefit from your observations, as will I.

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