If you pet only one Leopard Gecko and someday you see it laying eggs out of blue, it’s obvious to get surprised at that time. Laying eggs without mating might be a very confusing idea for you and you might end up googling – can Leopard Geckos lay eggs without a male?
Leopard Geckos can lay eggs without a male as a part of their ovulation but the eggs will be infertile. The eggs won’t have the genetic component of the male partner and so the eggs cannot turn into baby Geckos. However, fungus can develop in those infertile eggs due to humidity and wrong temperature.
If you think there is a lot more to know about this unique capability of your Leopard Gecko, stick till the end.
Generally, when a female and male Gecko conduct mating, a female Leopard reproduces that time. But they can reproduce even when they don’t mate as laying eggs is a part of their ovulation period.
Just as humans, female Leopard Geckos also ovulate, and at that time they produce a clutch of infertile eggs. This is not an uncommon occurrence and it happens whenever your Gecko becomes sexually mature with time.
The sexual maturity of reptiles like Leopard Gecko mostly depends on their size and weight.
Leopard Gecko becomes sexually mature when their weight reaches around 35-40 gm. This maturity is generally gained by 9-10 months or 18-24 months of their age.
When Can Geckos Mate?
You Leopard Gecko can start breeding when the male Gecko is at least a year old and the female is 2 years old.
If only 1 male and at least 2 females exist in a colony, breeding can occur between them.
Late winter or early spring are good seasons for the breeding process.
Some species of Leopard Gecko can reproduce asexually, which means they do not need a man to produce eggs.
The mourning Gecko is a good example of asexual reproduction as they use pathogenesis to produce eggs that are capable of cloning. This is an easy breeding process.
If you have both male and female Leopard Geckos in the same tank for cohabitation or your Leopard has bred itself, there are few clues to know if your Gecko is pregnant.
The symptoms include:
- Swollen abdomen
- Sluggish in nature
- Tired and weak
- Loss of appetite
- Visible eggs
Leopard Geckos do not gain weight like humans when they get pregnant. Instead, their abdomen area, which is their stomach, seems full and swollen.
You have to take out your Gecko and press its belly very gently to feel any lumps or muscular walls there.
However, Leopard Geckos do not prefer being handled while they’re pregnant. Hence you have to be cautious of their movements and behaviors as well.
Pregnancy is very stressful for any living being including your Gecko. Due to this event, they cannot move or sleep properly as they go through physical changes.
This does not affect their overall health but this is a sign to leave them on their own.
As the more you observe or handle them, the more they get stressed and sleep-deprived.
Sluggish in nature
The snappy or cranky attitude is a very common phenomenon during pregnancy in Geckos.
Dealing and coping with new changes in her body does not allow her to interact with others at that time.
Their attitude towards you basically gets elevated. Hence the only thing you can do is to take care of them properly.
Tired and weak
Tiredness and weakness are a part of the pregnancy period and Leopard geckos feel the same.
When your Leopard Gecko becomes really tired and weak during pregnancy, they tend to become very slow and do not like to move or do any work properly.
The loss of activity makes them lose their interest in consuming foods as well. This results in more weakness and tiredness.
Loss of appetite
During pregnancy, your Leopard Gecko might not want to eat food because they become really tired and weak to do so.
The foods are a vital source of energy for them and they do not feel the urge to eat them. But you must know if your Leopard Gecko is hungry.
This way you keep on trying to make them eat food. They might sometimes come and eat but this will not happen every time.
To help them get their nutrition back, you can give them calcium supplements with vitamin D3.
Also, keep a bowl of water near them so that their body does not get dehydrated.
The best way to know if your Leopard Gecko is pregnant is to observe their eyes via their skin.
The skin of a Leopard Gecko near the stomach is very thin. It allows you to check for the shape of eggs in their stomach.
If you find carrot-shaped white spots with baby pink lining, it indicates that your Leopard Gecko is pregnant.
If their stomach has small white spots with pink lining, then you can consider this as their ovulation period. During ovulation, they tend to produce eggs for breeding with a male Gecko.
When you see your Leopard Gecko has laid eggs, you need to start taking care of them. Otherwise, the fungus will attack those eggs, resulting in molded and destroyed eggs.
To take care of a Leopard Gecko’s eggs, you need to:
- Find an incubator/ container
- Fill the container with the substrate
- Maintain moisture level
- Regulate the temperature and air
- Remove the eggs from the tank
- Keep the eggs in the correct position
- Check for fertile and infertile eggs
- Set up an egg hatching environment
- Leave the hatchlings alone for 12 hours
- Transform them into a new place
- Feed them after a few days
Find an incubator/ container
The eggs of the Leopard Gecko need to be incubated in a safe and healthy environment.
To ensure that, you can buy a container or incubator for those eggs so that you can transfer the eggs as soon as possible.
You can either buy an incubator or container from stores or online reptile pet shops.
Containers are more budget-friendly. You have to take an incubator that is spacious enough to keep the eggs.
Fill the container with the substrate
You need to fill the lining of the container or incubator with proper substrate according to the size of the incubator.
The whole incubator needs to be covered with the substrate in a way that no parts are exposed to the eggs.
Maintain moisture level
The moisture level inside the incubator needs to be controlled otherwise can cause fungus to attack the eggs easily.
To make the incubator moisturized, make a 1:1 water and substrate mixture based on the size of your incubator.
The appropriate moisture will allow your Gecko eggs to thrive.
The water should be purified enough as, without it, contamination can occur.
Regulate the temperature and air
To regulate the temperature and air of the incubator, you need to avoid making holes in it and buy a thermometer.
The temperature should be between 86 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep the environment warm, you can use a tank heating matt or pad as well.
The air holes in the incubator cannot assure a warm environment. Hence, avoid making holes in it. Instead, open the lid once in 7days to pass some air through the eggs.
Remove the eggs from the tank
Once you are done with setting up the container/ incubator, remove the eggs from the tank.
A Leopard Gecko might lay their eggs 3-4 weeks after mating and they lay eggs in batches. Hence you need to keep looking for the eggs during this period repeatedly.
Sometimes the eggs might be under the substrate so be very careful while looking for them.
If you use your hands to remove the eggs, make sure to sanitize them first. You can also use a sanitized spoon to remove the eggs.
Keep the eggs in the correct position
If the eggs are laid in a certain position, you need to remove them in the same position as well. As if you somehow flip it, there will be high chances that the embryos will die.
Check for fertile and infertile eggs
To check for infertile or fertile eggs, use a candling method where you’ll shine bright lights on the eggs.
The bright light will allow you to see through the eggs. If the eggs are oval-shaped and have embryos inside, those eggs will be healthy.
If the eggs have a shiny appearance with no embryos inside, you can consider them unfertilized.
But you should keep them for longer incubation as they can become healthy with time.
Set up an egg hatching environment
After the baby Geckos are born, transfer them to a new tank after a few hours.
You can buy a tank for your baby Geckos and set the proper temperature and humidity inside it.
The temperature should be around 77-90℉ and humidity between 30-40%.
You can use paper towels or newspaper as substrates and place a water bowl for keeping the Geckos hydrated.
Leave the hatchlings alone for 12 hours
As the hatchlings will be away from their mother and in a new environment, it is very normal for them to be afraid of you.
They will need more time to get used to human touch. Hence, they might hiss at you or bite you when you handle them. You can wear gloves to protect yourself from sudden attacks.
Transform them into a new place
If you choose to transfer the Geckos into a new environment, make sure to be very careful while transferring them.
Be very patient and calm and do not be afraid of their attacks on you.
Feed them after a few days
The newborns get nutrition from the egg yolks themselves and so you can start feeding them after a few days.
Crickets are a good choice for their nutritional needs but these should be small in size. Newborn Geckos might not eat a lot and slowly their appetite develops.
A pregnant Leopard Gecko needs some care and maintenance so that it can lay its eggs peacefully. To assure that:
- Transfer the male gecko to another tank so that the female Gecko can get some comforts of its own. Geckos naturally love to stay alone.
- Stop handling them unnecessarily as the changes in their body already give them stress. Handling Geckos can make them crankier and more uncomfortable.
- Do not relocate the Gecko again and again.
- Stop cleaning the tank in presence of the Gecko as it will disrupt their alone time.
- Do not interrupt their isolated period by introducing a new Gecko.
A Leopard Gecko can lay 80-100 eggs in their entire lifetime and 8-10 eggs in their first breeding year.
Once they start breeding, they can clutch for about 15-22 days in 4-5 months.
The general size of the eggs of the Leopard Gecko is around 1 – 1½ inches.
The eggs of the Geckos do get bigger as the incubation period progresses. It can become double larger than the original size.
The fertile eggs of the Leopard Gecko can be found when you shine a bright light on them. This is called candling.
The fertile eggs tend to have a chalky, whitish appearance with small pink lines that are veins. During incubation, a small red-colored circular-shaped thing can be observed through candling.
A fertilized egg should be treated with antifungal ointment for protecting the eggs from fungus attacks.
You can also look for an infertile egg through candling. When you shine the bright light on the eggs, you will see a yellow color inside and a shiny appearance on the outside.
The egg might also have translucent spots on the surface.
However, you should not throw the infertile eggs. Rather keep them for incubation to see if they are somehow fertilized.
An infertile egg will have molds or fungus covering the entire surface. Thus, they will eventually become rotten and discolored as well.
Leopard Geckos can become pregnant after they become sexually mature. They might also lay eggs with or without males. But whatever the cases are, it is very needed to take care of the Gecko and its eggs.
Without proper care, the eggs or the babies will die out eventually. Hence taking care of them can help you gain the trust of the Gecko and its babies and you can stay beside them for a long time.