Emaciated Gold Dust Help Needed

Fallingspeaker

New member
Hi all,

A wild gold dust lives in my condo. He had lost its tail somewhere and a new one was growing out. He would normally bask in the sun on the side of some cabinets and would venture onto our coffee table while we were there, to look for treats or crumbs or other stuff. He was around for about a month.

One day I found him stuck in a weevil trap. We're not sure how long he was stuck there but I would say up to 3 days max (since we hadn't spotted him for a few days). I was able to free him using olive oil and a q-tip to massage him very gently. After i freed him he stayed over night in a box and took water from a dropper and ate some jellies and mashed fruits. he left a poop in the box so i think his internals are ok. The next day he left the box and started hanging out in our kitchen hanging from various things and drinking water and eating fruit we would leave out.

Over the next week he would change hides a few times. The last couple of weeks he now lives on the ground and has lost weight. I think he doesn't have the strength to climb. We've been leaving food out daily for him such as papaya and honey. I bought some zoo med tropical meal but he doesn't touch it. His hides have been away from direct sunlight so I'm concerned he's malnourished and vitamin deficient.

This morning I saw him walking and then rolling to one side and then the other, as if having a seizure (or trying to take shed off). I spent the whole morning researching and found that he may be vitamin deficient. Today I mixed some zoo med calcium/D3 with papaya and he ate some of it. Not enough to fill his stomach. I tried feeding him mealworms and he was very interested, chasing and following them around, but they were too big for him to eat. As soon as I cut it into smaller pieces, he lost interest and walked away. I'm planning on buying small crickets when the store gets them in stock and try to get him to eat something.

Just today I found him away from the darker areas and back in his original sunny basking spot, albeit on the ground versus climbing. He also made a yellow pee.

What I needed advice on was whether I can rehab him with him living in the condo or if I should catch him and put him into a terrarium. He has lost weight and his spine is showing more. Since he's wild, I don't want to stress him even further than he probably is right now. He goes through moods of tolerating our presence or being very timid. The last week has been very timid.

Thank you,
John
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
This morning I saw him walking and then rolling to one side and then the other, as if having a seizure (or trying to take shed off). I spent the whole morning researching and found that he may be vitamin deficient. Today I mixed some zoo med calcium/D3 with papaya and he ate some of it. Not enough to fill his stomach. I tried feeding him mealworms and he was very interested, chasing and following them around, but they were too big for him to eat. As soon as I cut it into smaller pieces, he lost interest and walked away. I'm planning on buying small crickets when the store gets them in stock and try to get him to eat something.

Just today I found him away from the darker areas and back in his original sunny basking spot, albeit on the ground versus climbing. He also made a yellow pee.

What I needed advice on was whether I can rehab him with him living in the condo or if I should catch him and put him into a terrarium. He has lost weight and his spine is showing more. Since he's wild, I don't want to stress him even further than he probably is right now. He goes through moods of tolerating our presence or being very timid. The last week has been very timid.
Welcome to Geckos Unlimited! I recommend rehabbing him in a terrarium.

Please post a picture of your wild gold dust gecko. I wonder if he can still climb. Does he seem fully grown? Have you googled Phelsuma laticauda?

Good job, so far, with Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3! For the first week or so I recommend this D3 powder @ 2 feedings per week. After his seizures have settled down, use D3 at only one feeding per week. D3 is fat soluble. It sticks around in the body and is metabolized with calcium all week long. If you're dusting a second time per week, use Zoo Med's Repti Calcium without D3.

I recommend buying some Pangea with Insects. That's an all-in-one powder you mix with water. Another food option is ordering some fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) for his meals.
 
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Fallingspeaker

New member
Thank you.

I don’t believe he can climb. Too weak or not enough coordination. He doesn’t seem fully grown to me.

Are you saying that I should feed him daily but only twice per week with the calcium and D3? Now that he’s in direct sunlight, will his body produce it?

Also, would something be causing him not to eat till he’s full? I’ve only seen him lick up a little fruit. This morning I mixed some zoo med gecko mix into his papaya and he was licking some of it. I’ll try and up the concentration of the powder to get more protein in his fruit.

31950F2C-8F75-4BF1-A6A7-8CD2F85AF04C.jpg
 
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Fallingspeaker

New member
Ah some not so good news today. When I came home from work another GDG was in my house in the same basking spot as the other ones favorite. The other one must have been stressed out and chased away. I found him near a other window. Gave him food but he didn’t hang around for long. Went somewhere to hide.

I was able to catch the other new one and release him on the property in a lot of bushes with a nice 4 ft rock that faces the morning sun.

I really feel bad and want to help the other one recover. Store still doesn’t have small crickets in stock.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Thank you.

I don’t believe he can climb. Too weak or not enough coordination. He doesn’t seem fully grown to me.

Are you saying that I should feed him daily but only twice per week with the calcium and D3? Now that he’s in direct sunlight, will his body produce it?


Also, would something be causing him not to eat till he’s full? I’ve only seen him lick up a little fruit. This morning I mixed some zoo med gecko mix into his papaya and he was licking some of it. I’ll try and up the concentration of the powder to get more protein in his fruit.

View attachment 49301
You're welcome. Window glass filters direct sunlight.

Yes, I am saying that! :) Vitamin D3 has a fairly wide safety margin. Please don't depend upon sunlight to supply his D3/calcium needs at this time. Inside he probably needs additional heat to digest his food. A 15 or a 25 watt incandescent bulb in an overhead dome might be sufficient. This wee gecko isn't accustomed to eating inside. He also needs to regain his climbing ability to survive outside.

By "Zoo Med Gecko Mix" do you mean powdered gecko food from Zoo Med? If you're using that, please check the label re protein, D3, and calcium. What are the levels? Once he's reliably eating that, you could probably reduce any powdered Repti Calcium.

Ah some not so good news today. When I came home from work another GDG was in my house in the same basking spot as the other ones favorite. The other one must have been stressed out and chased away. I found him near a other window. Gave him food but he didn’t hang around for long. Went somewhere to hide.

I was able to catch the other new one and release him on the property in a lot of bushes with a nice 4 ft rock that faces the morning sun.

I really feel bad and want to help the other one recover. Store still doesn’t have small crickets in stock.
It sounds as if your home is a Haven for Wayward GDGs!

I believe you'll have an excellent feeding responses to Drosophila melanogaster. Starter cultures come pre-made. Some Petcos stock these. Also Rainbow Mealworms. I think your rescued GDG will feast until his tummy is full.
Just let the culture begin hatching, dump some flies into the terrarium, and cover the terrarium with any loosely woven cloth like a bandana or dish towel to contain the flies. Your rescued GDG should gobble them up. For the 1st week dust these flies only 2x with Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3. Do NOT dust more than that. That's because vitamin D3 is fat soluble and sticks around in the gecko's body. After the first week, and if you have seen no further seizures, lightly dust the flies:
1x per week with Repti Calcium with D3
1x per week with Repti Calcium withOUT D3​

  1. Click: https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/flightless-fruit-flies--d-melanogaster-culture-kit
  2. Click: [From Rainbow Mealworms, Josh's Frogs, or Amazon] https://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Flightless-feeder-Drosophila-bigger/dp/B073YP3G19
  3. Click: [Powdered food you mix with water -- for GDGs too] https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Crested-Gecko-Food/dp/B0771PLM2X?th=1

[MENTION=8562]acpart[/MENTION] What terrarium temperature do you recommend for this member's recovering gold dust gecko?
 
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Fallingspeaker

New member
Thanks again.

The zoo med is the crested gecko food. Contains about 22% protein, 2.5% calcium and a little of cholecalciferol. But again he doesn’t eat this directly. I have to mix some into to fresh papaya.

It’s about mid eighties during day inside house and usually humidity is 60% or higher (real humid this past week). I’m going to have to buy and outfit a tank. I also don’t know how I’m going to catch him. He’s very skittish and I actually don’t know where his new hide is today after being chased out of his previous one. Maybe I’ll have to use a mealworm Tied on a string to attract him and drop a Tupperware over him. Worked for the fat intruder today (absolutely beautiful and funny intruder with giant blue eyes)

Our guy is really in rough Shape. What is the type of furnishings recommended for now in a tank? I’ve heard paper towel ground is good and sterile for weakened geckos. Also I know no climbing hides will work right now.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Thanks again.

The zoo med is the crested gecko food. Contains about 22% protein, 2.5% calcium and a little of cholecalciferol. But again he doesn’t eat this directly. I have to mix some into to fresh papaya.

It’s about mid eighties during day inside house and usually humidity is 60% or higher (real humid this past week). I’m going to have to buy and outfit a tank. I also don’t know how I’m going to catch him. He’s very skittish and I actually don’t know where his new hide is today after being chased out of his previous one. Maybe I’ll have to use a mealworm Tied on a string to attract him and drop a Tupperware over him. Worked for the fat intruder today (absolutely beautiful and funny intruder with giant blue eyes)

Our guy is really in rough Shape. What is the type of furnishings recommended for now in a tank? I’ve heard paper towel ground is good and sterile for weakened geckos. Also I know no climbing hides will work right now.
You're welcome, John! Do you think he'd be unable to catch fruit flies? The flies will hang out on sphagnum moss and twisty vines too. :) Twisty vines have textured surfaces. They are rough like sandpaper. :)
exo-terra-jungle-vines-p210-421_image.jpg
(click to enlarge)​

A horizontal 10 gallon enclosure with a fine mesh screen top should work for your GDG. Place paper towels on the ground. Cover most open space with sphagnum moss. Add Exo Terra twisty vines to climb and diagonally slanted wood or thick sticks. The twisty vines have textured surfaces like sandpaper, so even he might be able to climb and catch those fruit flies. Add a small pothos or other plant. That will help with humidity.
  1. Horizontal 10 gallon
  2. Fine mesh screen top
  3. ***Vestigial-winged fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster
  4. ***Exo Terra twisty vines
  5. Mister for water
  6. Lots of sphagnum moss
  7. Paper towels
  8. Small plant like a pothos to help with humidity
  9. Thick rough sticks slanted diagonally + some driftwood.
Any place that's sheltered/private will give him a place to hide.

I too am concerned he's not eating much. Some GDGs would eat that crested gecko powdered food just mixed with water. Can you try a different brand like Repashy or Pangea?
 
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Fallingspeaker

New member
Thank you Elizabeth. I might buy a full kit terrarium for him maybe. I really want to try feed him some real bugs first before catching him. . I’m very frustrated though, no one on the island sells fruit flies, and all stores are out of crickets. The island is supplied by one cricket guy and he’s days behind schedule. Everyday they say it’ll be tomorrow. I’ll have to over night live bugs but being a holiday might not get them till next week Wednesday.

Also I just saw another GDG outside on my lanai. Possible it’s the same one who walked 40ft to the building and climbed up 6 stories.
 

acpart

Active member
If you can get it into the terrarium, use a florescent tube with UVB (ZooMed 10.0 will be good). Add a small incandescent light for basking. I use the round puck lights that have xenon or halogen 20w bulbs for my gold dust (which is captive bred but came from a colony from Hawaii). This should result in appropriate temperatures. Use pieces of bamboo to provide perches near the basking light. You can also add native plants, either by having a soil substrate or by putting the plants in pots (you can read about setting up a vivarium here: https://www.blackjungleterrariumsupply.com/Vivariums-101_ep_50.html)

Aliza
 

Fallingspeaker

New member
Thank you Aliza. If I get a terrarium I would get a 18x18x24 so if I’m able to save him he’ll have a nice home. What type of light would I need to warm down to the floor since he can’t climb yet?

Another question. How much powdered food does a GDG eat? I just saw a video of someone mixing a toothpicks amount. I mixed a little bit of zoo med gecko diet powder with papaya this morning and he licked the juices over 600 times. Not sure how much nutrition that equates to.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Thank you Elizabeth. I might buy a full kit terrarium for him maybe. I really want to try feed him some real bugs first before catching him. . I’m very frustrated though, no one on the island sells fruit flies, and all stores are out of crickets. The island is supplied by one cricket guy and he’s days behind schedule. Everyday they say it’ll be tomorrow. I’ll have to over night live bugs but being a holiday might not get them till next week Wednesday.

Also I just saw another GDG outside on my lanai. Possible it’s the same one who walked 40ft to the building and climbed up 6 stories.

After 600 licks was your GDG's belly full? Are you on the Hawaiian Islands?

It's OK if he doesn't "stick" to the glass right now. Hopefully he will soon. The supplies I suggested will permit him to catch those tiny flies just by walking up the twisty vines and when the flies land on the sphagnum moss near the ground. Once he's thriving in his smaller home, you could upgrade him to an 18 x 18 x 24.

Can you have vestigial-winged drosophila overnighted? Keeping very small crickets alive for a small gecko and properly fed (gutloaded) will be more difficult than culturing fruit flies. Fruit flies breed on a special medium. You'd need to order the medium too or make your own as suggested by this YouTube video. It's important to get a culture that's already producing flies so you have some to feed off right away.

If this GDG doesn't survive, you could catch another one. GDG thrive without UVB rays too, just on lightly dusted bugs.

I would ONLY use Zoo Med's Reptisun brand UVB fluorescent tubes or compact fluorescent bulbs or a similar bulb or tube from Arcadia. It all depends on the UV Index. You might join Facebook's Reptile Lighting group. Dr. Fran Baines, 1/5 admins, takes your setup and gecko under her wing. Besides Dr. Baines or Reptile Lightings' other admins, a Solarmeter 6.5R costs about $200. A Solarmeter 6.5R gives you the correct UV Index for a GDG.

Get Drosophila melanogaster. They are easy to breed. Don't get Drosophila hydei.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P55XAY9rSc4
  2. Easy Gardener Landscaping Fabric is a porous "netting" that breathes. Landscaping fabric could cover the entire terrarium to contain these flies and the fly deli cups too.https://www.acehardware.com/departm...aa9d1cc32d4b19e63dce4341a6faa3b8&gclsrc=3p.ds
If you get a 10 gallon, heat from either a 15 watt or a 25 watt bulb would reach the ground. My Ace Hardware still carries those low wattage incandescents. I don't know what temperature they like. Maybe low 80s like your condo?
492Z70_AS01.jpg
 
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Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Thank you Aliza. If I get a terrarium I would get a 18x18x24 so if I’m able to save him he’ll have a nice home. What type of light would I need to warm down to the floor since he can’t climb yet?

Another question. How much powdered food does a GDG eat? I just saw a video of someone mixing a toothpicks amount. I mixed a little bit of zoo med gecko diet powder with papaya this morning and he licked the juices over 600 times. Not sure how much nutrition that equates to.

John ~ Just so we're on the same wavelength. Sticking to the glass with his toe pads is a bit different than climbing something slanted and rough like Exo Terra twisty vines or sphagnum moss. Do you think he could not even climb sphagnum moss or textured vines?

Is his climbing getting any better? How about his seizures?
 
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Fallingspeaker

New member
His walking is not normal. Back legs look stuff or inflexible. Though when he saw the mealworm he rushed right over to check it out. I saw him try to raise himself against the corner of a cabinet but fell down.

I don’t think I can ship live insects to Hawaii. State law it seems like. At least what I’ve found on some of the online stores like josh frogs etc.

Found a store with pin heads and small crickets. Bringing my ruler to go check them out right now.

He ate this morning and came out this evening but skipped the food. Is that because he’s full from morning or just not interested? Normally he gives it a smell before walking away from food he doesn’t like.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
His walking is not normal. Back legs look stuff or inflexible. Though when he saw the mealworm he rushed right over to check it out. I saw him try to raise himself against the corner of a cabinet but fell down.

I don’t think I can ship live insects to Hawaii. State law it seems like. At least what I’ve found on some of the online stores like josh frogs etc.

Found a store with pin heads and small crickets. Bringing my ruler to go check them out right now.

He ate this morning and came out this evening but skipped the food. Is that because he’s full from morning or just not interested? Normally he gives it a smell before walking away from food he doesn’t like.

Since he had 600 licks this morning, he's probably full.

Maybe this GDG suffers more from his injuries than we initially believed.
 

Fallingspeaker

New member
I got him to eat 2-3 pinheads and he seemed to enjoy them. I killed many more in the process though. Problem is that he seems to have moved hides again without eating his fruit breakfast. I think me being close to slowly drop crickets made his freak out. The new location is about 12ft away. I’m unsure if he’ll come back to his fruit bowl now and wondering if I should leave a new one in his new spot.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
I got him to eat 2-3 pinheads and he seemed to enjoy them. I killed many more in the process though. Problem is that he seems to have moved hides again without eating his fruit breakfast. I think me being close to slowly drop crickets made his freak out. The new location is about 12ft away. I’m unsure if he’ll come back to his fruit bowl now and wondering if I should leave a new one in his new spot.
Great job, John! Have you given this little guy a name?

I use this "trick" for catching small crickets. Scoop them up with a tablespoon-sized measuring spoon like one uses for measuring ingredients. I have a dedicated tablespoon next to my crickets that I use all the time.

Try leaving fruit bowls in both locations. See what happens.

Can you order some food to feed the crickets prior to feeding them to your GDG? How about Professional Reptiles' Pro Gutload diet from mainland USA? It's inexpensive and quite adequate. One pound costs about $3. Keep Pro Gutload in an airtight container. Don't get Fluker's High Calcium Cricket Food. It's NOT high calcium at all.

I realize you'd like an 18 x 18 x 24 inch mansion for him. Judging by your reports regarding his climbing skills, I sincerely feel that such a mansion would overwhelm him. His mansion would be difficult to heat properly. He'd need heat near the floor where he currently would be living. That would mean most of the environment would be excessively hot and drying. It would be difficult to keep it adequately humid.

Some manufacturers make smaller enclosures with sliding fine mesh screen tops. That screen is similar to screen door mesh.

I think he'd love a standard 10 gallon where he could be King. Feeding him would be much less stressful. Maybe try blue shop towels as the ground.

Take care,
Liz
 
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Fallingspeaker

New member
I think he'd love a standard 10 gallon where he could be King. Feeding him would be much less stressful. Maybe try blue shop towels as the ground.


What about the 12x12x18? Would that work with a 25w bulb? Any recommendations for a 10 gallon one good for his rehab? If I pursue a glass aquarium do you have recommendations for screen tops?

Thank you so much again for the help
 

Fallingspeaker

New member
Liz, his name is Midori-Chan because he’s green. I went surfing after he switched hides this morning and when I came back he had walked the 20ft to get back to his favorite basking spot, the one where we caught the intruder two days ago. I made a small zoo med watery diet, with some juicy papaya and he had 825 licks. So at least I know he’s hydrated and has some of the nutrients front the fruit and mix.

Plus now he’s in a much Warmer spot and easier place to feed and catch if need be.
 

acpart

Active member
I have to say I'm blown away that you're counting licks! It sounds as if the care he's getting is as good as possible. I agree that it would be a good idea to start him in a small enclosure, 10 gallon or 12x12x18. If he survives, he could upgrade to the larger habitat. My gold dust is in a 18x18x24 and doing really well. She was in a 12x12x18 and it was really too small for her, but she was a healthy adult.

Aliza
 

Fallingspeaker

New member
I have to say I'm blown away that you're counting licks! It sounds as if the care he's getting is as good as possible. I agree that it would be a good idea to start him in a small enclosure, 10 gallon or 12x12x18. If he survives, he could upgrade to the larger habitat. My gold dust is in a 18x18x24 and doing really well. She was in a 12x12x18 and it was really too small for her, but she was a healthy adult.

Aliza

Thank you Aliza. I sit on my couch with a pair of binoculars to watch how he’s doing. I keep track of his licks. I’ve convinced my wife to bring live crickets and worms into the house. And now she’s even handled a worm to try and catch the intruder.

I’ll catch him one of these days but if I can get some dusted crickets in him tomorrow and he drinks another big pot of juice then I’ll leave him where he is for a little while longer. Tons of warmth and sun throughout the day and out of the way of the humans.
 
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