For reptile lovers, geckos can make unique and extraordinary pets. They come in brilliant colors and are easy to care for.
Primarily, there are many types of pet geckos, but among the most popular are the leopard gecko and the crested gecko. That’s because of their manageable size and calm temperament.
Some people wonder if they can breed their pet gecko, and the answer is yes. However, it’s not as simple as placing a female and male gecko together in the same tank.
Take a look at the following gecko breeding guide to learn more about geckos and their breeding process.
Most geckos are oviparous, which means that they reproduce by laying eggs. Female geckos usually lay eggs in clutches of one or two.
Generally, the majority of egg-laying geckos only reproduce once a year. Yet, some species lay about six clutches yearly, such as the tokay gecko and the leopard gecko.
Having said that, a few gecko species are ovoviviparous. This means they produce eggs that develop inside their bodies like many fish.
These eggs remain and hatch inside the female’s body. As a result, the ovoviviparous geckos give birth to live young.
Basically, these types of geckos belong to the Diplodactylidae subfamily and only reproduce once a year.
Mostly, these breeds are native to New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Gecko eggs vary in size, shape, and texture from one species to the other. They can be round or oval, with a size ranging from one-eighth of an inch to one-and-a-half inches.
Leopard geckos, for example, lay chalky white oval-shaped eggs. Moreover, the texture of their eggs is a bit leathery.
Sometimes, leopard geckos lay darker eggs with speckles. However, this doesn’t impact the hatchlings in any way.
Gecko eggs aren’t usually too hard upon laying, but they get stronger and more calcified with time.
Take a look at the following gecko egg size table.
|Species||Egg Size in Inches|
|African fat-tail gecko||1–1.5|
The time it takes gecko eggs to hatch depends on the species and the surrounding conditions. Oftentimes, gecko eggs hatch faster in high temperatures than in cool temperatures.
In general, most eggs take 30 to 60 days to hatch, with an average of 28 days.
Nonetheless, some species’ eggs require a longer time. For example, leopard gecko eggs may take up to 90 days for the hatchlings to come out.
You should incubate your pet gecko eggs for the babies to remain healthy and safe. That’s why you need to prepare an incubator and place the freshly laid eggs inside.
If you can’t afford an incubator, you can always use a small plastic container instead.
The process of incubating gecko eggs is fascinating. By controlling the temperature, you get to determine the hatchling’s sex and sometimes even color too.
Here are the steps you should follow to hatch gecko eggs:
- Bring a small container and measure its weight
- Fill the container halfway with a substrate (perlite, peat moss, vermiculite, etc.)
- Weigh the amount of substrate you added
- Add water (80% of the substrate weight because gecko eggs need high moisture to thrive)
- Mix the water with the substrate (tap water is fine)
- Place a thermometer inside the container to keep an eye on the temperature
- Add the gecko eggs inside (remove them carefully using a spoon or your hands)
- Make sure to keep all the eggs in their original position, as embryos attach themselves to one side
- Place a heat mat under the container to maintain warmth
- Open the lid about once a week to let some air in
Changes in temperature during incubation affect the offspring’s gender. So, if you’d like to control it, take a look at each temperature and the corresponding gender.
- 87°–89°F: all male
- 80°–83°F: all female
- 84°–86°F: a mix of females and males
Basically, there are three things you can do with infertile gecko eggs, which are:
In nature, female geckos eat their infertile eggs, and sometimes they even eat their fertile ones. So, you shouldn’t worry about it being cruel.
By eating their eggs, geckos get the essential nutrients lost in the egg-laying process.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can feed those infertile eggs to other pet reptiles you keep at home.
Whether fertile or not, your local reptile pet store accepts eggs and can get rid of them for you. The store usually keeps the eggs in case they’re actually fertile.
You can just throw the eggs away if you’re absolutely sure they’re infertile and can’t use the two options above.
Before moving the eggs to the incubator, you should check for infertile or dead ones. It’s usually easy to tell if an egg is infertile through what’s known as “candling.”
Candling is a process where you shine a bright light on the eggs to reveal what’s inside them.
A fertile egg has a tiny shadow of the embryo along with some surrounding pinkish veins. If you don’t spot this, the egg is probably infertile.
Additionally, infertile and dead eggs have an irregular appearance to them, and sometimes they feel squishy like a water balloon. Plus, they grow mold over time.
So, if the egg stinks, becomes discolored, and rots, it’s infertile or dead.
Ovoviviparous geckos give birth to a maximum of two offspring at a time. However, if it’s their first time breeding, younger females often give birth to a single baby.
As for egg-laying geckos, the number of eggs they lay at a time depends on the species.
Here’s a table showing five of the most popular pet gecko species and the number of eggs they lay.
|Species||No. of Clutches||No. of Eggs|
|African fat-tail gecko||3–5||1–3|
Before you consider breeding, your pet geckos must be fully grown and preferably above the age of one.
Breeding young females may cause complications caused by calcium deficiency and other issues.
That said, age isn’t the only determining factor when it comes to breeding. Weight and health are also essential.
The ideal weight for breeding geckos depends on the species. So, it’s better to do your research before attempting to breed your pet geckos.
Averagely, for a female gecko to reach sexual maturity, she should weigh at least 45 grams.
Just like birds, sexually mature geckos lay eggs without mating as a part of their ovulation process.
Of course, these eggs are infertile, as the genetic male element isn’t present.
These eggs usually grow mold and rot with time. Thus, it’s best to remove them once laid.
Mostly, geckos’ breeding season lasts from January until September and sometimes even October.
However, in captivity, gecko owners can encourage them to breed any time of the year.
Once they reach maturity, female geckos may get pregnant. Generally, there are a few signs that all gecko species show when pregnant, including
- Growing abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Slow movement and weakness
- Visible eggs
- Sleep issues
- Thinning tail
In the wild, geckos don’t care for their offspring. Generally, baby geckos have the physical appearance and behavior of adult geckos except for some body markings.
Due to their small size, baby geckos are in more danger of being eaten by a predator than adults. That’s why they often hide.
Geckos are among the easiest types of reptiles to breed. That’s because they have a long breeding season that can extend to nine months.
Moreover, they don’t have any complicated requirements to breed.
As for the hatchlings, they also don’t need special treatment or any specific types of food.
However, there could be a few complications associated with breeding geckos.
For example, the female might not be in good shape to bear eggs. Moreover, the process of incubating the eggs may fail due to the lack of optimal conditions.
That’s why you must learn how to breed geckos properly to end up with healthy offspring.
Breeding geckos isn’t the hardest thing in the world. With a bit of expertise, it’s doable. In general, there are a few steps to follow to breed your pet geckos.
Take a look at them
To breed geckos, you need to start with at least one male and one female gecko. As mentioned before, these geckos must be of suitable-to-breed size.
It’s possible to house up to five female geckos with one male gecko. However, you should never keep two male geckos in the same tank, or they’ll be having a deadly fight.
Prepare a suitable large tank for the geckos to live together (at least 20 gallons for two geckos). Leaving the female and male geckos together is ok unless there’s obvious aggression.
A bit of biting isn’t a big deal, as these issues usually get resolved within a week. Yet, if you notice injuries, it’s better to separate them.
As long as you’re absolutely sure they’re not both male geckos, you can always reintroduce them later.
If everything goes ok, the breeding should happen within one week. That’s why you need to prepare a laying box for the female gecko.
Usually, female geckos dig to lay their eggs, and the perfect place for this can be a simple plastic container filled with damp moss.
Note that you should open a small entrance on the side of the box for the female to get inside.
About four to five weeks after breeding, you should notice eggs inside the laying box. It’s easy to tell since the female gecko becomes much slimmer after laying the eggs.
Then, you need to move the eggs to the incubator and inspect them to check for dead ones, as instructed previously.
After about 30 days (depending on the gecko species and the incubator temperature), the eggs should hatch.
Prepare small tanks for each baby individually, or use plastic dividers to partition a large tank you already have.
After a day or two, the baby geckos start eating. So, you need to have some food ready for them (tiny crickets are perfect).
Overall, it’s important to plan whether you’re keeping the babies or selling them before you start breeding your pet geckos.
Cross-breeding is a common practice reptile owners do, and it’s possible with geckos of various species.
However, some species have different requirements than others, which increases the risk of incompatibility.
In most cases, if you end up with eggs from cross-breeding, the probability of them hatching is high.
Crested geckos and gargoyle geckos, for example, can mate. The offspring they produce usually inherit characteristics from both species.
Another successful cross-breeding pair is a crested gecko with a leopard gecko. You just need to make sure they’re the same size so that the smaller one doesn’t get hurt during mating.
For many people, reptiles like geckos are great to have. Some species even interact and bond with their owners.
Breeding your pet geckos is a huge step you should get ready for. That’s why we prepared this comprehensive gecko breeding guide for you.
Just make sure to stay away from breeding unhealthy geckos to avoid further complications.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.