Tips for Breeding Leopard Geckos

Breeding leopard geckos is relatively easy once you have the male and female geckos. If you decide to breed leopard geckos, do not house the male and female together; this can cause stress on the female. Letting the male and female mate all the time can cause health concerns with the female, so do not let them mate unless you have the full intent of incubating the eggs. Otherwise it just causes unnecessary stress on the female.

Just remember that even though it may be easy, breeding leopard geckos is NOT for everyone and not everyone with leopard geckos should try it. It can get expensive to breed leopard geckos, and it's not as easy to sell the babies as you may think. You can and will more than likely quickly become overrun with leopard gecko hatchlings. If you do not have proper experience with leopard geckos (IE you've only had yours for a few months), then it's suggest that you WAIT to have more experience before breeding.

Sexing Leopard Geckos

Once you've decided to breed your leopard geckos, you must make sure that you have a male and a female, otherwise you will not any babies. Plus, putting two males together in hopes of breeding them, will only cause injury and possible death, so first, you must make sure that you have one male and at least one female. It is hard to determine the gender of leopard geckos until they are about six months old, so when checking a baby gecko for its gender, a male may resemble a female.

If you know at what temperature the gecko was incubated, it will give you a good idea as to what the gender is, but either way you should check the vent (base of the tail where it meets the body). Both genders will have a 'V' of femoral pores at the vent, but in females the femoral pores will appear much fainter than in males. Males also have two hemipenal bulges at the base of the tail, below the vent.

You must be certain of the gender of you gecko before you put two geckos together, so remember that the size of the head or the length of the gecko cannot determine the sex because there are always exceptions to the rules.

Appropriate Breeding Age

Leopard geckos should be fully grown before you think about breeding; make sure that they are at least one year old. If a female is too young, complications may arise, and the overall lifespan of the gecko can be shortened. The age is not the sole determining factor of breeding requirements. The female should also be in good conditions, not underweight or unhealthy. Female should be no less than 50 grams because the female will actually lose weight while being gravid, as the egg production takes calcium from her bones and body.

Gravid Female
Gravid Female

Mating and Egg Laying

Usually you will not see the mating process, but you will begin to notice bite marks on the female. The male will grab a hold of the female around her neck, but it is not uncommon to see marks on her body or tail.

If you begin to notice sores or bullying, you need to remove the male. Usually, you will only need to keep the male with the female for a few days to a week.

As the eggs develop within the female, you will begin to notice the female gaining weight. The skin will begin to stretch, and the eggs will become visible in her abdomen.

Occasionally, the first clutch will only consist of one egg, but usually they come in pairs. The female will lay her eggs about every four to six weeks. First time breeders will typically have fewer eggs the first year, but you will find that leopard geckos can lay up to 10 eggs a season.

Have a laying box, or humid hide, where the female can lay her eggs. Fill the laying box with about one to two inches of damp vermiculite or perlite, found at garden stores. The laying box allows you some time before the eggs dehydrate, but sometimes the female will not lay the eggs within the laying box, so you must remove them immediately, or else they will dehydrate.

Typically, if the female doesn't lay the eggs within the laybox, they are not going to be fertile, but if you do catch them in time, you should try to incubate them anyway, as that is not always the case.

Incubating Leopard Gecko Eggs

You will need an incubator to ensure that the eggs stay at a constant temperature. Temperature fluctuations during incubation can cause deformities, if not potentially kill the embryo.

Types of Incubators:

Homeade:

  • You can use old styrofoam coolers with heat tape attached to a thermostat.
  • An aquarium with an under water heater set to a particular temperature. Have the eggs in a tupperware of some sort, partially sitting in the water.

Commercial:

  • 1602-N Hovabator (DO NOT use a Hovabator with a turbo fan or with an automatic egg turner. The thermal fan will dry out the eggs even if you have optimum humidity in the deli cups.)
  • Nature's Spirit

Temperatures:

The sex of leopard geckos is determined by the temperature of the incubator. Usually if the egg is incubated for at 90º F, it will be a male, or if it is incubated at 80º F, it will be a female. If the eggs are incubated at 85º F, the chances your chances are 50/50 for either a male or a female, but you then run the chance of having "hot females" or "cold males," where they will not breed and are usually more aggressive.

Humidity:

You should keep a cup or two of water within the incubator if you are using a bought incubator. This will raise the humidity levels. You can also pour water in the bottom of some bought incubators to accomplish the same thing.

Incubation Medium:

When in the incubator the egg needs to be in some sort of container with a moistened bedding. Vermiculite and perlite work great. Hatch-rite is a new incubation medium that has great results as well; with Hatch-rite, you do not need to add water. Super Hatch is another good option that is now available.

Egg right before hatching
Egg right before hatching
Hatchling half way out.
Hatchling half way out.
Almost 100% hatched.
Almost 100% hatched.

Hatching Leopard Geckos

The eggs will incubate for about 40- 60 days. The higher the temperature, the faster the embryo will develop, and in turn the sooner it will hatch.

About a week before the baby hatches, the egg will swell, becoming noticeably larger. A few hours before the baby hatches, you will notice deformation of the egg.

Baby geckos have a hatching tooth that allows it to break out of the egg, but they soon loose the tooth after its purpose is served.

During the hatching process, the baby will take breaks, retreating back inside the egg, so if you are watching the baby hatch, do not worry. The overall process is fairly quick. The yolk sac will still be attached to the baby, so it is a good idea to leave the baby in its container for a little while so that the yolk sac can be rubbed off.

Caring for Leopard Gecko Hatchlings

Housing

Leopard gecko hatchlings must be housed with geckos of their size. If they are placed with larger geckos, they may be bullied and become stressed. This is the only time that you can house male leopard geckos, but as they age, you will have to separate them. Just remember to house the geckos with others similar to them in size, reducing any problems that may occur.

Reptile carpet and paper towels are both great when housing young leopard geckos. Remember to place a small bowl of water in with the hatchlings. Make sure that it is not filled too deep to prevent the baby from falling into the water bowl. Overall, the hatchlings should be given the same treatment as an adult, receiving the same heat and overall care as an adult.

Diet

Hatchling leopard geckos will not eat until their first shed, which is usually about three to five days after hatching. You should have small crickets or mealworms ready to provide the hatchlings. Remember to appropriately size the feeder insects to no more than than the width of the space between its eyes.

Handling

Handing the hatchlings should be as minimal as possible because to the baby, you are gigantic, and handling the babies will frighten them, possibly stressing them out. You should allow the hatchling time to grow a little. Wait about a month before handling the babies, and when you thing the babies are ready to be handled, start slow, just as you would the adults.

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Comments 450 comments

Alex 2 years ago

I bought my Leopard Geckos 2 yrs ago. They have just laid an Egg in their water bowl/ hiding space.

I Don't know how to take care of a Egg.

Read up on it.

About different climates for genders the water shouldn't be to wet or to dry perlite would be best but I have left it in their I just noticed the Egg today couldn't be more then 12 -24 hrs old.

Not the male or female look different.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Usually by 6 months or so.


karen 4 years ago

I have 2 Juvenal Leo's they are young. How old do they have to be before you can tell if they are male or female?

Thanks


Nick4 4 years ago

Okay so I just put my female and male together, it's been about 2 days. When will I know she is pregnant. I'm just a teen and I really want some babies.


Jmo 4 years ago

I wasn't planning on breeding but I guess it just kinda happened. My female laid 2 eggs the other day. I was told u can't change how they lay or the eggs can die is this true? Also should the eggs keep their shape or will they look dented way before they're ready to hatch?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

it's not kissing. biting is normal. breeding can sometimes get aggressive


Johnnie 4 years ago

i just recently bought a male to breed my 2 females when i read up and learn more on it. well, i got the male out 2nite and one of the females and had em on the couch sittin together just to see how they would act towards each other. at first he started licking her like he was kissing her.. (which i thought was cute lol). then he started biting her back! so i put him up. is that normal, or do u think maybe the ppl told me wrong and ive looked wrong and they are both males?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

It is normal, but it's not healthy or good. Impaction can occur


Quinn 4 years ago

Alright thanks you and I looked in the talk tonight and say the smaller one just licking the sand and eating it. Is that normal?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

I would separate them. I'm not sure what you mean by impacted guts.


Quinn 4 years ago

They always seem to get along though and there hasn't been any fighting. So do i have to remove them? And that pretty much means that the smaller one is has imapcted guts? What should i do about this


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

It looks like both are males, but the pictures are dark. I see bulges and femoral pores on both. The one with the slightly skinnier tail definitely has the 'V', and the one with the bigger tail definitely has bulges. I assume the one with the bigger tail is older.


quinn1010 4 years ago

http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m575/quinn1221...

http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m575/quinn1221...

The smaller mack snow is the "female" and the bigger one (that is orangish-yellow, with a bigger tail) is the "male"!!



Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

You can upload the pictures to photobucket, and post a direct link here.


Quinn101 4 years ago

Is there anyway I could upload a picture of oach of them so you could sex them? Because now I am having my doubts if the one really is a female. The both have two bulges at the start of the tail and they also have pore lines. Could i email or upload them? If so, how do I? Thank you so much!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

Quinn, Females can produce eggs without being introduced to a male. The eggs are going to be infertile. If the gecko is egg bound, you will need to see a vet for a shot of oxytocin.These eggs will be infertile. By introducing the male, she will possibly lay fertile eggs. If she does become gravid, be prepared for many eggs.

Stocky, separate the two. In some cases, the male will not eat,a s he's more interested in mating, but I would recommend separating them.


Stocky B 4 years ago

Hi i have had my leopard gecko a year now and have recently got a female for him but he has seemed to have gone off his food. if i filled his meal worm dish he would eat every last one within a night but there is still the same amount in there is this normal once introducing a female?


Quinn 4 years ago

Okay so I got a leopard gecko going on two years ago. I always thought that it was a male but then i started feeling a ball on each side of its stomach. I waited about 3 months and the realized that it might have impacted intestines. So i called that fish place that pet place and talked to someone in the reptile room. She said that the gecko is a girl and that it is pregnant. That was a shock. But i only had her and no female. so I don't understand how she produced aggs. She said that she might be "egg-bound" and could possibly die. She then told me how to make a place for her to lay the eggs but they would be infertile and to just throw them out. But she still didn't lay them and i got worried. So a couple days later I bought an adult male from a friend and put them in the tenk. They are fine and don't fight. Do you think that she will lay the eggs? and if she does do you think that they will be fertile? I really need to know soon. Please help!


Rich 4 years ago

My gecko is pregnant! what do i need to buy to be successful as its my first time breeding?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 4 years ago from Georgia Author

It's a first generation Cremesicle, which is the direct offspring of a super hypo tangerine and a snow. These will vary greatly.


4 years ago

What's an F1 creamsicle and how can i get one?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

At four months old, both geckos are not nearly old enough. YOu do not want to breed yoru female until she is at least a year old and over 50 grams. You will want to keep the two geckos separated, as the male will become sexually active before the female should be bred.


RCC0123 5 years ago

One more question. I got two of the same leapard geckos in the same place at the same time and one has turned out to be twice the size of the other. What do you think on that.


RCC0123 5 years ago

I am new to all of this breeding stuff. Mine are about four months old. When should I expect to make or prepair an incubator for the babies?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

It is possible that the female can become egg bound. It's not because of sticky eggs but because of calcium concerns. The male will stress out the female, and potentially bully her. THere will be biting associated, as well.


julien77 5 years ago

im thinking about breeding my leopard gecko's but i don't know if they will get injured in any way laying the egg i have heard from someone that the female may have trouble in laying the egg because the egg is sticky and will not come out and the female will get injured please answer :(


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

They do not eat until they have had their first shed.


NickiFierce920 5 years ago

Ok I put it in a tank. Should I feed my hatchling now? It hatched two days ago. I tried to feed it but it doesn't seem to be interested. Is my gecko hungry?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

If the hatchlings have hatched, set them in their enclosure.


NickiFierce920 5 years ago

My Leopard gecko just hatched today..Im wondering when i should take it out of the incubator...Is it too soon to do so?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, that is what I'm saying.


Pierce 5 years ago

Hey there so Whitney, you're sayin that if I have a male and a female together they will mate no matter what?!


chris 5 years ago

When bringing the two together to mate do i put the male in the females tank or bring the female to the males tank?


Michelle 5 years ago

Hiya Whitney.

Would it be ok 2 hav 2 24"inch tanks for the male & female & when im ready to breed them, would it be ok to pop the male in with the female in her 24" inch tank or wud it be best to get her a bigger tank for mating?

Really love this website & find it very useful.

Kind regards

Michelle.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

They are dehydrating if they are denting. They could be infertile.


Chris 5 years ago

My female has laid eggs recently this is her first clutch and when she laid them they were stuck together a little bit at the end of the egg and they also have fell in what does that mean?


Morgan 5 years ago

Hrm...I always wonder one thing: the people say they will keep all the hatchlings, do they realise they might need 16 tanks and heaters? That aside, I now know why they were so eager to give me a gecko...

To anyone buying a gecko: check the Recues first.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

John, It may be dehydrating or infertile. Just depends.

Randolph, Just keep watch. If it's her first time, she may retain them and reabsorb them. She may become egg bound, or she may not be on schedule. They don't all lay at the exact same time or on a by the day exact calendar appointment.


randolph 5 years ago

Hi there ive already asked a few questions about leopard geckos eggs. I have a leopard gecko, she id definitely gravid but she isn't laying... they lay 4 weeks after mating i believe and so she should have laid about the 2nd of feburary and now its the 26th. any ideas? thanks


jonnojohnb 5 years ago

Hey there,

When a Geckos egg has a bump in it, does it necessarily mean that its infertile or just needs more humidity thankyou


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Not really. Not under most captive bred circumstances.


nathan 5 years ago

Is there any way to let the gecko mate and lay the eggs and hatch them on there own without human help and still have a healthy cluthch


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

The gray color more than likely meant that the gecko was going into shed. THey eat their shed, so you wouldn't really see it unless you caught the gecko in action or if some got left over.

They need to be kept separate, as you won't always see them breed,and trust me, they have.

They sleep all the time because they are nocturnal and are awake during the night.


Ashley 5 years ago

I gotten a male and female from my teacher and they never shown the signs of breeding but they did like once during the spring but the female wasn't interested so the male stopped and then the ended up sleeping in the same area. All they do is sleep now. I don't even know the age. when i got them they were all gray but now the female is turing yellow and the male is slowly turning a yellowish color but still a little bit gray. So i don't know the age of them.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

The tail wag has nothing to do with breeding.

You should not have them housed together because you haven't quarantined the new male for up to 60 days to ensure health.


ben 5 years ago

hi i have got 6 leopard geckos i have 2 males and 4 females, my oldest gecko (gordon) is 17 and is as nearly as old as me hes a really good friend i have had him since i was a kid and i was hoping he will be breeding but then i found out hes to old but i have one female who is old enough all the rest are juvinales and i have bought a new male (sunny) he is 4 years old and bought him a few days ago this morning before i went out i had them toghther and he started wagging his tail but i fought im not ready at the moment but later or now i diecided im going to be breeding and he wont do the wiggley tail any more hes just not interested in her anymore should i be housing them toghther or does it not really matter ok guys thanks

Leopard geckos:

males:

gordon (17 years)

sunny (4 years)

females:

luna (1 years)

minty (1 year)

squirt (5 months)

lily (3 years)

thanks everyone


damensheppard 5 years ago

im getting my lepord gecko on the 19th i cant wait


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

Nope. Male will breed with a female no matter what. Separate them. It will be better for both geckos.


Dawson 5 years ago

Is there a way to prevent breeding? besides seperating my male and female. My female keeps laying eggs and I feel bad not taking care of the eggs but what I keep reading is it involves alot of work and is difficult.


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