Breeding and Keeping Leopard Geckos
Their striking markings make leopard geckos one of the most recognizable species in the world. These low-maintenance pets are super easy to look after.
The gecko is one of the easiest reptiles to look after. With a few hints and tips, you’ll be able to give your gecko a happy, healthy life. However, it’s important to bear in mind that leopard geckos are nocturnal creatures, and will barely move at all during the day.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking about breeding your leopard geckos, there are certain aspects you’ll need to keep in mind to make sure that everything goes smoothly, and your baby geckos grow up to be strong and healthy.
Breeding leopard geckos
The leopard gecko is a small lizard that can live up to around 20 years, reaching sexual maturity at approximately six months old. The first step is to introduce a female into the male’s terrarium. If both are in season, they will quickly begin their courtship rituals.
To impress the female, the male leopard gecko will shake its tail rapidly, and may even bite her. Once the female has shown herself receptive to his advances, the male will start to copulate.
Mating is usually successful. After around 21 days, the female will produce up to four clutches of eggs, with a maximum of three eggs per clutch. To help your female gecko feel comfortable, experts advice to add a layer of damp coconut fiber bedding, which will also help keep the eggs safe.
Once the female has laid all her eggs, you have two options: either keep the eggs in the terrarium and control the humidity and temperature in there, or take them out and place them in an incubator. We would advise taking the second option. Firstly, because the female leopard gecko doesn’t care for her young. And, secondly, because the parents will occasionally eat their young as soon as they hatch.
If you want your leopard geckos to grow up and live in a more natural environment, you need to keep the humidity at a minimum of 70%. At only 10″ in length, they don’t need a huge terrarium. However, it does need to be kept in optimal conditions at all times.
It’s best to choose a glass terrarium at least 20″ wide. As they spend the majority of their time on the ground, it doesn’t need to be too high. They’ll also need a cave or low vegetation where they can hide during the day.
The ideal substrate is sand, but many pet stores also sell other suitable materials which are easier to clean. Plants and logs can help your gecko when it comes to shedding, and will provide them with additional shelter.
As for lighting, leopard geckos don’t need UV light like other lizards, so it doesn’t matter what type of lighting they have during the day. However, because they are nocturnal, they do need nighttime lighting. The light bulb should produce a cold, dim light, similar to moonlight.
The optimum temperature for leopard geckos is 82°F, though they can comfortably live in temperatures between 75 and 89°F. The best thing to do is place a heater at one side of the terrarium, creating two distinct areas with different temperatures. That way, the gecko itself will be able to choose where it wants to sit.
Follow our advice, and your leopard gecko will live a long, happy, and stress-free life. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy these wonderful and fascinating animals for years to come.