Learning how to breed leopard geckos is fairly easy and it’s a great experience once you do it. However, you should only breed leopard geckos if you are ready, careful, and have plans for the hatchlings once they are born.
- 1 Breeding Leopard Geckos
- 2 Sexing Leopard Geckos
- 3 Leopard Gecko Egg Laying Box
- 4 Transporting Leopard Gecko Eggs
- 5 Incubating Leopard Gecko Eggs
- 6 How Long Does It Take For Leopard Gecko Eggs to Hatch?
- 7 Fertile Leopard Gecko Eggs
- 8 Housing
- 9 Diet
- 10 Handling
- 11 Do You Know How to Breed Leopard Geckos?
Breeding Leopard Geckos
Before you start breeding leopard geckos, you should make sure you do in fact have a male and female leopard gecko. Sexing leopard geckos is easy and is illustrated below. After you confirm the sexes of your leopard geckos, you should weigh your female leopard gecko. Weight is very important in regards to health for your female gecko. Anything below 45 grams is considered to be on the unsafe side. Females weighing 45 grams or more are considered to be ready for breeding.
Female Leopard Gecko Ovulation
After you check the weight, you should check your female for ovulation. When you female leopard gecko starts to ovulate, you can then pair her with a male. Often, females will fight back if they are not ovulating when a male tries to mate with them.
How to Tell if a Female is Ovulating?
When a female leopard gecko starts to ovulate, you will notice a little red and whit spot in the middle of their belly. It should look like a bright red ring around a white ball. Once you see this, you will know ovulation is occurring and she is ready to breed.
Tail Flicker and Biting
Once paired together, you might see a few different signs and actions. The first sign is the tail flicker. This is something only males do and it’s to attract the female leopard gecko. Afterwards, the male will start to approach the female and will try to mount her from behind. If he starts to bite her, do not worry. This is normal behavior and is part of the breeding process.
Once they start mating, feel free to give them their privacy until they are done. After they are done, you can separate the male into a different enclosure and wait for the female to deposit her eggs into the laying box.
Sexing Leopard Geckos
It is quite easy to sex leopard geckos once you know what to look for.
Female Leopard Gecko
If you turn the female leopard gecko over you will will see a smooth bottom and smooth tail without any bulges or pores. As a juvenile, females may display small pores like the male (will go away as the gecko matures), but they will not display the two swellings that the male displays.
Male Leopard Gecko
If you turn the male leopard gecko over, you will see pre-anal pores, which make an upside down “V” shape in front of the vent. They will look like small dots. They also have two symmetrical swellings at the base of the tail, below the vent, which are the areas holding the two hemipenes, one on each side.
Leopard Gecko Egg Laying Box
Once your female has developed eggs, you should create an egg laying box for her to deposit her eggs. You can either make your own or get a leopard gecko egg shelter for her to use. Once you have your laying bin ready for use, just add about 2 inches of moist Eco Earth Loose Coconut Fiber or sphagnum moss. Within a day or two, your leopard gecko should lay her eggs.
If you decide to make your own similar to the one pictured, make sure that you bring a lighter to the hole that you made to smooth out any hard edges. You do not want any sharp edges that your leopard gecko can scrape herself with while going in and out of the bin.
Transporting Leopard Gecko Eggs
Once the eggs are laid, it is very important that you try not rotate them while transferring them to the incubator. Place the eggs with the same side that was down, down into the incubation media. It is said that rotating them can cause some issues. I have never tested this, nor have I ever had any problems. But for the sake of the eggs, it’s best to take caution and avoid turning the eggs.
A good method to avoid turning eggs is to mark them with a little line. Once you see the eggs in the egg laying box, grab a marker (one that does not bleed through paper), and mark the top of the egg with it a little line so you know which side is supposed to be up and which side is supposed to be down.
Incubating Leopard Gecko Eggs
Once your gravid female leopard gecko has laid her eggs into her lay box, you will have to place them into incubation media in a container and place them into an incubator. A good incubation media to use is Repashy SuperHatch.
Once you have your incubation media, you should place about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of media into your chosen container. After you have done that, you should then proceed to soak the media with water. After you drain the water completely, you can then add little holes in the media and place your eggs into the holes. Only about 2/3 of your eggs should be in the media, leaving 1/3 of the egg exposed. Once you place your eggs into the container, you should then add your lid on top of the container (with a few tiny holes for air flow), and place them in your incubator.
Do not forget to hydrate the media when it starts to dry up. Do not super soak the media, because too much water can be a problem. And do not put water onto the eggs. Avoid doing this at all costs. You can drown the eggs this way.
- Styrofoam Cooler – You can use a styrofoam cooler with heat tape attached to a thermostat.
- Aquarium – Aquariums filled with water, with a water heater can act as an incubator as well. After you set the water to the desired temperature, just let the container with eggs partially sit in the water.
If you are not a DIY type of person, you can always buy a leopard gecko egg incubator, like the Exo Terra incubator unit.
The sex of your new leopard geckos will depend on the temperatures that you set your incubator to be at. At around 80ºF, you will have mostly females. At around 85ºF, you will have a mix of males and females. At around 88-90º F, you will have mostly males. Try to keep the incubation temperatures between 80-90ºF.
How Long Does It Take For Leopard Gecko Eggs to Hatch?
The number of days it takes for leopard geckos eggs to hatch can vary between 45 – 65 days after being laid. Normally, males will hatch in fewer days then females.
Fertile Leopard Gecko Eggs
Once your leopard gecko eggs are in the incubator, you will have to wait a few days or weeks before you find out if they are fertile or not. One way to tell if an egg is fertile or not is time. Within time, infertile eggs will start to sink in, shrink, and go bad. Another way is to candle light the eggs. Candle lighting means to grab an egg and shine a bright light through it. You can do this using a flashlight. To the right is a picture of a fertile egg. We know this egg is fertile because you can see the pink circle which is the embryo.
The hatchlings may be housed together if they are the same size. Avoid housing them with their mother, father, or other bigger leopard geckos, since bullying can occur. As the hatchlings grow older, you will have to separate them into different enclosures or fighting may occur between multiple males. The tank setup of a hatchling should not be any different from an adult leopard gecko. Set the terrarium up the same way you would for an adult leopard gecko, except use a smaller tank to allow them to hunt easier.
Do not expect your hatchlings to eat the day they are born. They normally wont eat until their first shed which is normally 3 – 5 days after they hatch from their eggs. Their diet should consist of pinhead crickets and baby mealworms. Don’t forget to feed them very small feeders. As a rule of thumb, the size of the feeders should be the same size of the space between their eyes, or smaller.
You should avoid handling the hatchlings as much as possible in the beginning. At this stage, they are very fragile and are easily frightened. Your main priority is to get the hatchlings to eat, grow, and be healthy. After about 3 weeks, you can then start to handle them regularly. Make sure to take it slow at first.
Do You Know How to Breed Leopard Geckos?
If you know of other ways to breed leopard geckos more efficiently, share with us your thoughts and recommendations down below in the comments section.
Thanks for added information by Herherpsnderps