Breeding leopards is actually easier than some other geckos, but still a lot of work. First you need a male and a female, more than one female is ok. Put them together in a tank or a sweater box (some type of enclosure) and he will eventually start shaking his tail rapidly and make a small noise on the ground letting the female know that he is a male. Then he will start biting her on the back or side of the head, but mainly on her neck. This can cause a break in the skin. If this occurs take her out immediately, this can cause an infection if you let it go untreated. Refer to above for care on this subject. If he does not do this right away that's ok, just let them be.
After fertilization the female will hopefully start to show signs of being fertile in about 2 to 3 weeks. She will be gravid (pregnant) for 30 to 45 days during this time the eggs should be visible on the belly of the female. The diet is very important during this time. Calcium should be available at all times and the insects should be dusted. I put the worms or crickets in a cup or container with calcium and shake it up or swirl it around a little prior to feeding. This will ensure that the female has an efficient amount of calcium to produce the eggs. If she doesn't consume enough calcium this may cause her to become unhealthy. Keep a record of the females and males that have been combined. then note how many eggs and the hatch ratio. This way you can monitor your group better.
The females will usually lay her eggs in the nest box, but I have seen where they have laid them in the water dish or in the enclosure somewhere. Watch your gecko as the 30 day mark gets closer, that way you can see if she has laid her eggs. One day you may notice that she looks a lot smaller in the mid section. Check the nest box, they will usually lay them in the corners. gently look through the forest bed. I start by shaving it away with my fingers in layers, then shift the extra to the other side. When you find them, there should be 2, but once in a while they will lay one at a time.
Eggs: DO NOT MOVE THE EGGS FROM THE ORIGINAL POSITION! This is important as the embryo might have all ready began to attach itself to the side of the egg. Take a Sharpe marker and put a line or a "X" on it to show yourself which is the right side to be up. Your incubator should have been running for a week or so to make sure it is at an accurate temperature. It is ok if it fluctuates a degree or so.
Take the egg and put in to a container (a deli cup works well) or a Tupperware container that you can see through, that way you can monitor the eggs and their growth process. The container should have a G.E.O with perlite, not soaking wet but wet there is a ratio of 8oz perlite and 5 oz water. I tilt it to the side and a little water builds up in the corner. That is enough as long as the eggs are not sitting in water. Now place your eggs in th G.E.O. Put the lid on the container and put it in the incubator.
Watch the eggs! If one becomes moldy remove the mold gently. The eggs should be plum and look like an egg. If it is flat or smells funny dispose of the egg. After about 2 weeks they should look leathery and plump (look like a egg). If you come across an egg that is stuck to the bottom of the nest box don't peel it off. Put some room temp water on the bottom and let it sit for a while. Try again in 15 to 20 minutes. This should work, but if it doesn't I have just left them in there and have had success.
Finally you have eggs in the incubator, watch the temperature, they say you can determine sex by the temperature.
- 78f to 82f (mostly female)
- 83f to 88f (a mix of males and females)
- 89f to 90f (mostly male)
The temperature is not a guarantee, but over time breeders have had a good experience with this formula. I have read that at higher temperatures the geckos have a bright intense color. I have also heard that after the first 3 weeks of incubation you can lift the temp to get better color, but not to exceed 90 f. The female will continue to lay eggs for the rest of the season. The seasons are January trough September, but you can breed year around as long as the conditions are optimal. The female will lay in what we call clutches; 2 at a time or one here one a few days later. The breeding weight is 45 grams and up 8 months to a year of age if the gecko is healthy.
The egg chart is as follows:
- First year - not so much success
- Second year - 8 to 10 clutches
- Third - 10 to 12 clutches
- Forth - 12 to 16 clutches
- Fifth or more - 10 to 14 clutches
As the gecko gets older its egg production goes down, but they will still lay up to 15 years of age. Most importantly keep them full of calcium! They need it. The eggs pull all the nutrition out of them so keep them fed and healthy. Do not bred an unhealthy gecko as you will probably lose the gecko.
Hatchlings: After waiting 45 to 60 days you wake up one morning and you see a little hatchling in the container (success!!!!!!!!!!!!), now wait 24 hours before removing the new addition. Set up a tank. I use paper towels (the thick ones) they hold better moisture. Put them on the bottom for substrate and put in a water dish (a shallow one, a Gatorade cap work best) along with a calcium dish the same size. The geckos will need a hiding place; a coconut hut or a small container with a hole cut in the side works good. They usually wont eat for the first couple of days as they are still living off the yolk from the egg.
You can feed them small prey, pin head crickets or small meal worms. it is a rumor that a meal worm can bore trough the stomach of a gecko, the jaws of a hatchling are powerful enough to consume the meal worm. Feed them one at a time or put a small dish of worms in the tank, that way they can eat when they want to. Do not leave the crickets in the tank. They will stress the gecko out. Watch the new ones food intake closely and keep it clean. Hatchlings are more prone to infections when they are young. Do this for about 4 to 5 months or until the gecko reaches 15 to 20 grams up from 2 grams at birth. If you have a gecko born with the egg still attached don't remove it. the shell will come off on its own. Keep the tank in high humidity during the hatchling stage. They should shed regularly, if they do not shed completely, help them using the suggestions above. Do not handle or play with the babies, they are too fragile. The temperature should range around 88 f and humidity about 40%.
If you do all this correctly you should have success with your hatchlings and then you can add them to your collection or sell them, it is up to you. most of the time you can sex the gecko at 6 months of age, but it depends on your experience in the trade.
Summary: Leopard geckos are good pets. They are easy and fun. If you do decide to go further and breed them it is very rewarding! If you do decide on getting a Leopard gecko, I hope this information helps you. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.