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    Default How to get hatchlings to eat?


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    Hello! So, any good tips on how to get hatchlings to eat? I had 2 geckos hatch on sunday and they haven't yet eated. I have offered small crickets and mealworms but they are pretty much too scared of me to eat. (I know they may not eat for about 3-4 days from hatching but I'm always stressing about stuff ) This is my first year of breeding geckos so I still have lot to learn. I had 1 gecko hatch about a month ago and he has been eating very well scince when he was 3 days old. But these 2 seem to be bit too angry to eat. How do I make sure I get them to start eating?

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    Just keep offering. Three days isn't time enough to worry yet. Have they shed?

    Aliza

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    Since you didn't describe how you are keeping them, it's difficult to trouble shoot. I no longer work with leopard geckos, but I do work with African fat tailed geckos. I'll describe how I get hatchlings started, as this will work with leopard geckos as well.
    First, I set them up individually in very small containers. I use the plastic sandwich-sized disposable food savers. Using a small keyhole saw, I punch an air hole on two opposing sides, and use hot glue to cover them with aluminum window screen. This is an important step- they need air flow to prevent the containers from becoming wet and stagnant. I place the gecko, a small piece of damp paper towel, and a tiny water dish such as a Gatorade cap into the container. The container sits partially on heat tape on a rack- the heat is important to getting them started. They should have a warm spot of 90-92f or so.
    I do nothing until they shed, other than check on them. No handling or playing with them.
    When the gecko has colored up in a few days, I will know it has shed, and it is time to feed them. Personally, I like to start them out on tiny dubia. They eat them readily, and I feel that this helps prevent them from refusing dubia later in life. I count out four or five dubia, and I count them each day, to monitor whether they have eaten. I also watch for poop. A healthy hatchling should begin eating within the first few days of being offered food, although I occasionally get one that is slow to start. One common reason is the prey insects hiding in the paper towel. If this seems to be preventing them from eating, I switch to a different cover item, such as a small section of paper plate, so that the insects cannot hide as easily. Increasing the temperature may also be necessary, but it is important to only have part of the container on the heat tape, so the gecko can retreat to the cooler side if needed.
    I have also had good luck starting them on lesser mealworms, which are the larva of the buffalo beetle. Small mealworms and superworms have had mixed results when offered to hatchlings. I avoid crickets until they are well started, so as not to make the geckos dependent on them.

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    Thank you both for answering. I keep them in exo terra faunariums. I do not handle them at all. Their tempatures are fine ( 32-34 C/ 89-93F) on the warm end. They have a cool hide (moist hide) and small water dish. I feed all my geckos with tweezers scince that way I can be sure that they are eating. (Well, I drop the insects in front of them from the tweezers) I don't use food bowls scince I have never had a gecko that would eat from one. Like I said, I didn't have hard time at all with my first hatchling, he started to eat when he was 3 days old and hasn't skipped a day after that. I'm propably doing something wrong with how I show them the food. I have to lift their caves so they wake up to eat but, well they panic and just try to hide (dig under the paper towel and such) I guess that with the first hatchling his hunger won against his fear when he started to eat. But these 2 panic too much to focus on the food. They shed yesterday and today pooped for the first time. Neither ate, just tried to hide. I tried to give mealworms and crickets. (I have small dubias but those are so fast I will propably just lose them if I try to feed them) I'm getting worried .

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    I'll add information about how I dealt with leo hatchlings when I was breeding them. I kept them similarly to how Herpin'Man kept his. I fed mealworms since I promised the family "no dubias in the house" and the crickets are too fast. I did keep them in a bowl. Some ate right after first shed and some took longer. I honestly don't think you should worry if they haven't eaten by the day after first shed. This is not so unusual. I would not "wake them up" to eat since, as you've seen, this only causes stress and upset. On occasion, when I saw that they were moving around when I checked on them, I'd put a mealworm in front of them and usually they would eat it. I did have a few that seemed to have trouble catching on. Since I made a point of handling them every day to get them used to it, it was no problem to hold the slow starters and poke a mealworm at the mouth. Usually they would bite. A very few of them appeared to just want crickets and started eating once I came across with the crickets. A very small number never ate and didn't survive. This was very rare.
    Interestingly, I had more trouble with the fat tail hatchlings. One pair just stopped eating and I could see their tails getting skinny, which was pretty skinny. Then all of a sudden they turned it around and they were fine!

    Aliza

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    It sounds like your feeding methodology is disturbing them to the point of throwing them off feed.

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