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Old 09-13-18, 08:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Baby Gargoyle Gecko not moving but still breathing

I've had this gecko for 4 days. I got him at an expo. He's about 2 months old. His name is Mouse.

He has been active and moving and lively the past several days, but for some reason today he is not moving. He is breathing, but he's gone completely limp. He doesn't move his legs or anything when I pick him up. I thought he was dead, because he even stayed limp when I layed him on his back, but from that angle I could see he was still breathing.

My animal room (all my other animals are doing great) stays around 76 degrees F. I don't have an additional heat source on Mouse's enclosure because I was under the impression gargoyle geckos don't need one? Last night when I went to bed I turned off my AC though, and the house (animal room included) got into the high 80's. I don't know if that caused the problem? The past few days he's felt cold to the touch but he's been moving and active.

I have him in a 20 gallon high aquarium with a lid. Eco earth substrate with a layer of leaf litter on top, and a lot of fake vines and branches to climb on. Because he's just a baby, I have several food dishes in the tank, so he shouldn't have trouble finding food. Is the enclosure being too large the problem maybe, even though he has multiple food bowls? Humidity is pretty high, around 80%, which I think might be too high. Yesterday I skipped a misting, because I feel like the humidity is too high, and he felt cold to the touch, but that didn't help the humidity go down at all it seemed like.

I have never seen him eat and he ignores food when I hold it in front of him. The only time I ever see him eat anything is when I put it on his nose and he licks it off. I'm feeding him repashy crested gecko diet.

His toes seem weird, too... like... they look curled, shriveled. I don't know why. Maybe he fell and broke some bones in his foot? After sitting him down outside his enclosure and letting him sit for several minutes, I was finally able to induce some foot movement, and it seems like he's having trouble using his feet.

Can anyone help me figure out what's wrong? Is there a problem with my husbandry? Is there a problem with the enclosure? What's wrong with his toes, and is that related to him going limp? How do I help him get better?
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Old 09-14-18, 11:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Baby Gargoyle Gecko not moving but still breathing

Based on your description, several things come to mind. One is that it may be dehydrated. What has it been eating? If it is dehydrated, and you can get it to consume some watery pangea, that may help. Try smearing a bit around its mouth to stimulate a feeding response.
Another possibility is that it may have contacted something toxic. Could be something in the enclosure, could be something on your hands.
Or, it may be that you simply bought a weak or unhealthy animal. Is he able to stay on a branch when you place him there?
I would also definitely contact the breeder that you got it from. They may or may not be willing to replace the gecko, but perhaps they can offer advice.
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Old 09-14-18, 05:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Baby Gargoyle Gecko not moving but still breathing

If it was my pet, I would be headed to the vet ASAP. Illness is certainly a possibility. Have only had my gargoyle for several months so am speaking only from my research and discussions with his breeder. As I understand it, babies aren't necessarily adept at jumping, but that doesn't stop them from making leaps they aren't prepared for. A 20 gallon isn't very tall though and if the foliage is dense enough it would minimize the risk of a fall.

My big worry would be your overnight temps. High 80's is too hot for gargoyles. I don't think they could take that kind of heat for very long. Did it get that hot inside his tank as well? Would there have been a place in his tank that stayed in the 70's or very low 80's at most?

All my reptiles feel cool to the touch. Most of us new to reptiles are used to warm-blooded pets who feel warm to the touch. Reptiles aren't like that. I know this intellectually, but it still surprises me sometimes how cool my snakes and gecko feel.

Sorry your little gargoyle is ill. Please let us know what the vet says. Hopefully all will be well with some assistance.
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Old 09-14-18, 06:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Baby Gargoyle Gecko not moving but still breathing

Thanks for the input guys. The first thing I did this morning was contact a vet. My usual exotic vet was not available until next Wednesday, but they referred me to someone else and I have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes.

The toe curl and him going limp sounds like dehydration based on my research, as well as what several other people, not just you guys, have said. Today I bought a small syringe and I very gently force fed him. So now he has eaten, but this was the first time I've ever seen him eat. I haven't seen his tongue come out at all tonight, not even when I spray water on him or smear food on his nose.

I have been feeding him repashy crested gecko diet. Its the powder you mix with water. But like I said, the only time I've ever seen him eat before force feeding him tonight was when I smear it on his nose. And that was never a full meal's worth.

The high 80s temp was just for one day, and it wasn't overnight. I turned off the ac overnight and forgot to turn it back on in the morning. When I came home from work the house was in the high 80's, but it wasn't like that overnight and it wasn't like that when I left for work. It just got hot during the day time while I was at work, and I did turn the ac back on when I got home. BUT - that was the day I found Mouse in such critical condition. He is still in critical condition. The animal room is normally 76 degrees, like I said, and it dips a few degrees cooler overnight. All of my other animals have heaters on their enclosures and tanks, but Mouse has no heater of any kind. His enclosure is room temp. There is no gradient. Is that a problem? Like I said, some of my research has said to just let them sit at room temp, and some has said they need a gradient. If he's unable to regulate his temp could that be why he's so lethargic?

When I pick him up he does not move. But he did move about his enclosure overnight last night and while I was at work today. But when I look in the tank at him he looks like he's just laying there dead. He's not dead, but he looks like he is. I have to stare at him for several minutes before I see him take a breath. He also has NOT been climbing. He's just been using the floor of the enclosure. Where as the first few days I had him, he did climb.

His feet look bad today... almost mangled. I don't know what happened. Maybe a bone disease? Maybe he fell and broke his little legs? The vet will have answers I hope. I'll keep everyone updated. I also will contact the breeder. Thats a good idea. Thank you.
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Old 09-15-18, 07:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Baby Gargoyle Gecko not moving but still breathing

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Originally Posted by IHaveADogToo View Post
Thanks for the input guys. The first thing I did this morning was contact a vet. My usual exotic vet was not available until next Wednesday, but they referred me to someone else and I have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes.

The toe curl and him going limp sounds like dehydration based on my research, as well as what several other people, not just you guys, have said. Today I bought a small syringe and I very gently force fed him. So now he has eaten, but this was the first time I've ever seen him eat. I haven't seen his tongue come out at all tonight, not even when I spray water on him or smear food on his nose.

I have been feeding him repashy crested gecko diet. Its the powder you mix with water. But like I said, the only time I've ever seen him eat before force feeding him tonight was when I smear it on his nose. And that was never a full meal's worth.

The high 80s temp was just for one day, and it wasn't overnight. I turned off the ac overnight and forgot to turn it back on in the morning. When I came home from work the house was in the high 80's, but it wasn't like that overnight and it wasn't like that when I left for work. It just got hot during the day time while I was at work, and I did turn the ac back on when I got home. BUT - that was the day I found Mouse in such critical condition. He is still in critical condition. The animal room is normally 76 degrees, like I said, and it dips a few degrees cooler overnight. All of my other animals have heaters on their enclosures and tanks, but Mouse has no heater of any kind. His enclosure is room temp. There is no gradient. Is that a problem? Like I said, some of my research has said to just let them sit at room temp, and some has said they need a gradient. If he's unable to regulate his temp could that be why he's so lethargic?

When I pick him up he does not move. But he did move about his enclosure overnight last night and while I was at work today. But when I look in the tank at him he looks like he's just laying there dead. He's not dead, but he looks like he is. I have to stare at him for several minutes before I see him take a breath. He also has NOT been climbing. He's just been using the floor of the enclosure. Where as the first few days I had him, he did climb.

His feet look bad today... almost mangled. I don't know what happened. Maybe a bone disease? Maybe he fell and broke his little legs? The vet will have answers I hope. I'll keep everyone updated. I also will contact the breeder. Thats a good idea. Thank you.
All of these are possibilities, and unfortunately heat stroke can happen pretty quickly with these guys when temps reach into the high 80's, which could be what happened. Hopefully the vet will have a better answer.
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Old 09-15-18, 10:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Baby Gargoyle Gecko not moving but still breathing

My fear is as Andy states, but I hope very much it isn't that. Your normal room temps should be fine but you really don't want your gecko's enosure to get above 80. For the future you may want to add a smart temperature sensor with alarm, most practical as part of a thermostat. It could alert you, with email or text, if temps get out of a programmed range.

For Summer in my reptile room I added a small room a/c unit so we wouldn't need to keep the whole house cool enough to keep that upstairs room at the proper temps. But I normally turn it off at night, when we lower the central a/c temp. Because of someone else's story as well as yours I've just ordered a thermostatically controlled outlet so it will turn on automatically if it gets too warm/cool. In Summer the little a/c unit will be plugged in. In Winter it will be used for a space heater. This way if the central heat & a/c unit fails my animals still have a comfortable room.

Still sending good thoughts for your little guy.
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Old 09-15-18, 11:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Baby Gargoyle Gecko not moving but still breathing

He's gone. I had a vet appointment scheduled for this morning, but when I woke up he was dead. He didn't even make it to the appointment. I feel terrible. I did contact the breeder yesterday, when Mouse was still alive, and we spoke for a long time. He promised to "make it right" for me. Today when I woke up and found him dead, I let the breeder know. Again, he said he would "make it right" and I asked him what that means because I have no idea. He said he'd replace the gecko or give my money back. I can't help but think this is my fault, though, which it may or may not be. From day 1, Mouse was not eating. The only time he would eat for me was when I would smear food around his nose and mouth, and he would lick it off, but I never saw him actually eat out of his food container, and the only time he ate a full portion was yesterday when I force fed him. So if he wasn't eating from day 1, then he had a problem from day 1. I sent the breeder a picture of his body, and he said it looked like dehydration for sure.

I feel soooo bad. I feel like a failure. I feel like a terrible pet parent. I know I probably shouldn't because I have several animals that are all doing great, and this guy was refusing food from day 1, which is probably a good indication that he was sick from day 1. But there's so many things that could have contributed to his condition that I do feel responsible for, like the one day without air conditioning for example.

I'm going to be meeting up with the breeder in October at the next expo. At this point, I don't know if I want to replace the gecko, though. I feel defeated, ya know? Maybe I'll feel different next month when the expo rolls around. But for now, I just need to cope with what happened.
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Old 09-15-18, 10:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Baby Gargoyle Gecko not moving but still breathing

So, so sorry. Poor little Mouse. Losing a pet is hard. Not knowing the cause of death makes it harder. Don't make any decisions yet. Give it time.
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