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What Are the Best Tips for Breeding Leopard Geckos?

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  • Written By: Cynde Gregory
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2014
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Leopard geckos can be successfully bred by pet owners who have properly researched the process. Breeding leopard geckos will require temperature-controlled cages and proper nesting materials. Owners should not attempt breeding leopard geckos until the animals are physically mature and hand tamed. A mature, healthy female, proper cage conditions and good nutrition are essential.

Breeding leopard geckos in captivity can be more difficult than reproduction in the wild. In the wild, leopard geckos breed between February and September. First- time breeders are wise to breed their animals during this period when the geckos are naturally inclined to mate, although more experienced breeders can step outside these boundaries if necessary.

Geckos should be hand-tamed and sufficiently mature prior to mating. Hand-taming is just a matter of allowing the lizards to climb around the owner’s body, sitting them in the open hand, and handling them within the cage. It’s best not to attempt breeding leopard geckos until they are at least eight months old, both because they need to be sufficiently mature to handle the pregnancy and because it’s hard to determine their physical and personality traits before that. Successful breeding means producing geckos that have the kinds of characteristics other owners will want.

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Gradually, lowering the cage temperature to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius) eight weeks before mating helps the female prepare her body. The colder temperatures should be maintained for about two weeks, during which time she should not be fed. The temperature must slowly be raised back to normal as the female resumes eating greater and greater amounts so she will be able to create healthy eggs.

A male and female should be left alone in a cage during mating. Male geckos can be aggressive and violent during mating. It’s only a problem if the female resists his aggressive flirtation and fights back. In that case, she needs a different male, or at least a break of a few days before a second attempt.

To determine if a female gecko is pregnant, owners can flip the female upside down to see is she is gravid. If so, the eggs will be visible through the thin skin of her underside. If she is pregnant, the leopard gecko will need a suitable nest. The animal's regular hiding box can be transformed into a nest by layering it with dampened peat moss and potting soil.

Once the eggs are laid, it’s necessary to move them for incubation. They must be marked prior to moving in order to know which side should be placed directly on the ground. Boy babies result from heat on the high side, around 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius), while females will gnaw their way out of shells that have been kept between 80 and 85 degrees (27-29.5 degrees Celsius). It takes 40 to 60 days from mating to hatching.

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