View Full Version : Hatchling Milli not eating - ADVICE NEEDED!

12-31-2005, 04:10 AM
I have a little hatchling Milli that arrived a couple of weeks ago. I don't believe that he/she has eaten since arrival. I have tried different sized crickets, dusted and undusted, I really don't know what else to do.

I was told small meal worms could work, but the only ones I could get hold of look WAY too big and the owner of the petshop said they should not be give to hatchlings anyway, and can even be dangerous to give to geckos as they can eat their way out if they don't squash them enough when eating them. I haven't ever fed meal worms so I have no idea what merit this has?

Anyone who thinks they can help PLEASE post! The other four hatchlings are doing really well and are getting bigger by the day.

This little one is the youngest of the bunch (probably about three-four weeks now) and was eating fine before arrival.

They are being kept at 25-27 degrees with a low wattage heat cord at one end. The heat cord is a recent addition to see if it made any difference.

I'm really worried that I will lose her. I've tried putting her on paper substrate and sand, no difference at all.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated. I don't want to lose this little one, but I've run out of things to try. I'm a very worried mummy :0(

Elizabeth Freer
12-31-2005, 05:48 AM
I was told small meal worms could work, but the only ones I could get hold of look WAY too big and the owner of the petshop said they should not be give to hatchlings anyway, and can even be dangerous to give to geckos as they can eat their way out if they don't squash them enough when eating them. I haven't ever fed meal worms so I have no idea what merit this has?

Anyone who thinks they can help PLEASE post! The other four hatchlings are doing really well and are getting bigger by the day.

This little one is the youngest of the bunch (probably about three-four weeks now) and was eating fine before arrival.

Hi Sarah---

FWIW I have heard that "mealworms eating their way out of a gecko" is an urban legend, but I am not certain.

Are all five of these hatchlings currently housed together? Perhaps there is undue competiton for food, and she/he is reluctant to join in the chase? What about separating this one, if you haven't already done so, and just offer a few crickets with their back legs removed to make them slower? That way you can monitor what she eats, which I imagine might be difficult if all five are together.

12-31-2005, 06:02 AM
Hi Elizabeth,

They have all been kept in seperate containers, about 25cmx15cm in size. It's not a problem catching food. The poor little thing just isn't interested.

The first few days I had them I didn't really monitor how many crickets I was removing the next day and from where, but I soon noticed that the three crickets I put in for her are always still in there.


Elizabeth Freer
12-31-2005, 06:16 AM

I really don't know. Have you been monitoring her weight? I'm wondering whether, at this point, she is weak from not eating. Perhaps you might try some chicken baby food on her nose or in a small saucer just to see her response. [Yes, I know, milli don't eat chickens in the wild, as others have said. This suggestion is purely an attempt to get some protein in her.] If it works you may want to mix in supplements.

You could also squish a cricket and offer it to her.

Do milli get their moisture primarily from their food, or will she lick water droplets off plants, a water dish, the sides of her container?

12-31-2005, 08:40 AM
Hiya Sarah

I keep a few Underwoodisaurus Milli and must say they are the easiest to feed, especially juveniles. I cant say I have had this problem.

What is the room temperature where the juvenile is kept?

All my Milli drink from a water bowl & actually get into the bowl and lay. Also spray the damp end of the enclosures inside glass every night. How is water supplied?

I have found that this species seems to like damp areas - but obviously needs a dry area as well. I have never heated my Milli, not even in winter.

Is the juvenile in the same enclosure as the others? Prior to you receiving them were they all kept together?

I would suggest feeding small crickets, but put them in the fridge first to really slow them down and then put them in with the juvenile.

Also I have noticed that Milli will not eat crickets from the last feed that are left in the enclosure with them.

Mealworms I am told have really limited qualities - and yes have heard that they can borrow through the stomach. I would avoid them. Remember if you put carrot in with mealworms they eat right through it.

What is your setup like & what is the hide like?

Hope everything works out Sarah.



12-31-2005, 04:30 PM
Hi Ari,

Yes, the other four are ravenous eaters and are being kept in exactly the same conditions as her, no probs there at all.

They are kept at 25-27 degrees and have a low wattage heat cord underneath one end. This produces almost no heat really but I though if the little one had somewhere to bask to aid digestion she might want to eat.

I use the middle of a milk cap for water with the outside cut away and I mist one side of the container, including the substrate and the animal itself with water every other day. She licks the droplets off herself, as do all the others.

I have been offering her small crickets, so I will try putting them in the fridge first to see if that makes any difference.

They have always been kept seperate, before they came to me too.

Here's a couple of pics of the bubs herself and her set-up. Any suggestions? How much time do you think I have to get her eating based on her size?

I haven't weighed her as I don't have digital scales, so she wouldn't even register, she's as light as a feather.

I quite like Elizabeth's idea of baby food droplets on her face to get her appetite going. What do you think? She licks water droplets of her face so it would be a good way to get something inside her. I could always water the mixture down a bit so it isn't too sludgy for her to lick off?

Notice her curly little tail, like a piglet. So cute. I guess it must have been curled like that in the egg. I have also included a photo of one of the other hatchlings, so show you the difference. Bear in mind that the other one is about a month older though.

ANY help much appreciated!


Happy New Year everyone by the way :0) Now we've got two months of writing/typing the wrong year to look forward to, hehehe!

Normal Milli

12-31-2005, 06:21 PM
Hi Sarah,
I have already been confrontated with young underwoodisaurus geckoes that do not feed and here are what I advise from my experience:
First check that all external factors are ok as temp (high spot and cold retreat) and hygrometric level: in the last pic most of your sand seems humid, it might be just because you have just spray but most of the sand has to be kept dry most of the time. Then avoid any source of stress, try to put him somewhere where he can not see any other geckos, animals... Do not try to feed him today if you found crickets alive in his enclosure yesterday. Give him only one cricket at a time, a right size one, not too big in order he feels confortable, not too small in order he has interest. Break the legs of the cricket (maybe you will think it's not an humane way...) otherwise the cricket might be too speed for the gecko. You can maybe, as advised put the cricket before in the freezer, but I don't know how efficient it is and how long it slows the insect. In all case do not let the cricket too long in the enclosure, may be not more than one hour. The important think is to give back the gecko the feelings he is a predator and the insect a prey.
If you have access in your country to wawmoth larvae it is a good idea to try to give him (a friend of mine uses to say a gecko that does not start up again to feed with them is a nearly dead one), the only problem is that he can quickly become addicted to them and they are not nutritionaly good for them. But reversing the problem is somewhat easier.
In fact it's often easier to help a gecko to eat again with crawling insect than with others.
During the time he does not feed, keep him well hydrated and give him once to twice a week some vitamin with the water. Maybe you can use the chicken pot but I have no experience with that.
Finally after several tests, if the gecko has not eaten you can force feed him: I've used that technic a few times and after two to three forcefeeding the gecko start to feed by himself using the method I describe above. It's nevertheless necessary to tell that method can stress the gecko and should not be attempted if there's a more serious cause (like an occlusion, parasitism..) underlying the problem.
Hope this help,

12-31-2005, 07:52 PM
Have you tried handfeeder her? pick her up in your hand and grab a small cricket by its rear legs with a pair of tweezers and place it in her face, If she is licking water then try to dip the cricket in some water before offering it to her (umm... water favoured crickets). This doesnt sound like the greatest techinque, but if nothing else seems to be working please give this a try.

My mates N.levis weren't eatting at all when they arrived at his place and we tried everything, finally we tried holding the food right in its face and it feed. I've also started fussy jacky dragons to feed by this method.

If she is licking water then try
How did the baby food droplet idea go down ? did you give it a try?

Good luck with her sarah, I know its one of the most distressing things when your animals don't eat :( and keep us posted with her situation

12-31-2005, 08:20 PM
Thank you so much for your help guys. I will give EVERYTHING a try and let you know what happens. PLEASE cross your fingers for me. I'll be devastated if I lose her.

Just one question? How do I forcefeed her if it does come to that? She's so tiny I'd easily squash her.


12-31-2005, 10:10 PM
Hi Sarah

Maybe I am wrong but from the look of the enclosure I think its too big at the moment. However that could be an illusion from the camera.

I would suggest putting her/him in a smaller enclosure, and just before the sun goes down put about 3 small crickets in there that have been in the fridge. Then turn all the lights off and dont disturb for a couple of hours or even the next morning.

I always frigerate my crickets - when they come out they look like they are dead, but they come back to life. I have found frigerating crickets gives a good 20-30 minutes of slow movement.

Keep a damp area as this is a Southern species, and they have been known to be active at 10 degrees in the wild. However I guess it depends on what temperature they were originally kept at.

Actually I have had Nephrurus Amyae juveniles not really eat for a few weeks when they first arrived - but when they adjusted and werent disturbed they started eating (and I mean eating)



Nathan Hall
01-01-2006, 01:06 PM
I've had several hatchlings that were stubborn feeders. I've noticed that it often takes U. milii a little longer to acclimate to new surroundings. In my experience, they do come around and become happy, healthy geckos. I believe that hand feeding should really be a last resort since they can stress easily. Unless a gecko is ill or has some sort of malformation, starvation is atypical.

Sean E.
01-01-2006, 11:40 PM
Mealworms eating their way out of a living geckos stomach = a myth. If the gecko's teeth don't kill the prey item (almost instantaneously), the stong digestive juices and lack of air inside the stomach will certainly do the job. All this said, it is not a good idea to feed too many mealworms (or any if they are not the appropriate size) to young geckos due to their high chitin content.

Good luck getting the little guy eating!

Sean E.

Elizabeth Freer
01-03-2006, 03:53 AM

How's the little guy doing?

01-03-2006, 04:02 AM
Hi Elizabeth,

She ate one cricket (I had cut the back legs off the cricket) the night before last. She didn't touch anything last night, but there was a little poo in her enclosure this morning so she digested the one cricket she ate okay. I am hoping she will eat another one tonight.

Thanks for asking! I'm still worried about her (or him!) but at least she ate one.


Elizabeth Freer
01-03-2006, 04:11 AM
Sarah--and wee gecko---

Good job guys! Hopefully you both are on a roll :) Good to hear that you've got one cricket down her hatch!

01-03-2006, 04:46 AM
Thanks Elizabeth! Thank you for the great attachment! Very ingenious! I tried to return your email but for some reason it bounced straight back to me. Weird?!?