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Day Gecko Died- Trying to figure it out

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Posted by: oshadog at Mon Jul 14 18:09:47 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by oshadog ]  

My pets usually live to the longer end of their documented lifespans; so loosing my Gold Dust Day Gecko so young is kind of troubling me. I'd like to figure it out if I can so, if I made any husbandry mistakes, I don't make them in the future. Any help offered in figuring out why she died would be really appreciated!

Her symptoms: One day she was moving fine, and eating, like she had been for the past 2 years I had her- the next day I found her hanging from a basking branch by her front legs- without the strength to pull herself up. She normally darts if I get too close to her, but she let me just pick her up and I didn't even have to grasp her to keep her on my palm. She seemed to have no strength in her limbs. She would kind of fall over to one side when I would set her down and when she tried to climb it's like her legs couldn't hold her weight up. Her head looked like it would twitch a little from time to time. I saw her "yawning" a few times, something I had never seen her do before. The next day she could barely move at all and was dead by 4:00. After she had died I noticed one of her cheek pouches was squishy, while the other was rock hard. That did not seem normal to me. She seemed to have a good weight on her, was active and alert up until those 2 days (but always fairly shy), and had shed just a week before she died. I noticed no outward signs of poor health; like no mites, no runny nose or eyes (eyes seemed bright), her mouth color was a nice pink, and no visible vent problems.

I got her from a pet store when she was probably around a year old. (She was in with a male and already had eggs in her, I'm not a 100% but I read they reach sexual maturity at about a year.) I had her in a 20highx18widex12deep screen cage with a rescued female Green Anole and male Peacock Day Gecko. Before I got the peacockDG, there had once been a rescued, blind, Cuyban/Brown/Bahama Anole in there too (Although blind from an animal attack, he lived with me for 7 years!) There was never any fighting, they would bask and sleep near each other, they seemed very comfortable with each other's presence (or I would have separated them.) It has a incandescent light for extra warmth and a compact fluorescent: Arcadia that advertises 7% UVB output- this was only about 4 inches from a warm basking spot and was over screen, not glass. I replaced it every 6 months. The lights were on a timer and the room had ample natural light, but not direct sunlight. The warmest spot they had easy access too was 100f. There were a lot of basking gradient's in warmth, they liked sitting on the fern more than the basking branches. The bottom of the cage was around room temp (72f) The cage has organic potting soil, some aquarium gravel under that (so the water drained better and to clog up any areas crickets might want to hide in), a little organic (I think it was cypress) mulch, a little sphagnum moss, non-toxic orchard branch's (the kind you get for tropical birds that might chew on them, I like them because they come with metal cage attachments) and non toxic live plants: Starting last year there was a broad leafed fern they liked sitting on and hiding in, some z-plants (what ever they're called) and some sort of common Bromeliad thing, I can't remember exactly what they're called. There had been other plants at other times, like palms, but were replaced as I found one's that thrived better.

I misted twice, sometimes 3 times, a day. There was standing water in one of the plants and a small (sushi dipping) bowl. Every 3 days I would replace the Gerber's organic baby food- peach, because that's when it would dry out (it never molded) Even if the lizards didn't want it all the time, it kept any missed crickets from being tempted to chew on the lizards. They got crickets that were not big enough to have wings, but not small like pin heads. I'd put a few in once a week, I kind of had figured out how many would get eaten over time. They were originally dusted with Rep-Cal Calcium with Vit.D3 and occasionally Rep-Cal's multi vitamins and gut loaded with some Flukers cricket food stuff- but earlier this year I switched to gut loading with Sticky Tongue Farms Vit-All; because it was recommended to me by a herp breeder. I started dusting with Sticky Tongue's Miner-All. (The crickets got that Flukers water cube/gel stuff, not standing water) I did see an improvement in color with all my reptiles. A lot of time the crickets would get a lot of the dusting off before they were eaten. I think the humidity might be low for her. It was around 40-50% most of the time, -it would increase when I misted, but would also dry quickly because I do not live in a humid place. I did not want to use glass here because mold in my area goes so crazy if it gets the chance. Screen cages seem to prevent it, but, of course, keep the humidity from being up.

Here is a picture of her from a few moths ago, her color was not that great in the first picture here.
This is what their cage looks like:

Any ideas anyone? I hope I covered everything, if not, just ask and I'll see if I can be more clear.


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