Seeing your pet pregnant is surely an amazing feeling, whether you’re a breeder or not. Thankfully, for most of the pets, it’s easy for the pet owners to find out that their pet is about to become a ‘Mom’. But like we said, it’s for ‘most of the pets’, not all of them, especially reptiles like leopard geckos.
It’s easy to understand whether your leopard gecko is pregnant or not, but only if you know to read the signs properly. Along with the swollen abdomen, a pregnant leopard gecko displays signs like a lack of apatite, slow movements, and stressed behavior.
Now the question is, how to be sure that the reptile is actually pregnant, as these can be signs of other sicknesses as well? Most importantly, what to do if you find out that it is pregnant. Well, that’s what you’re going to find out in this article.
Like humans, leopard geckos too show certain signs that say whether they’re pregnant or not. The first one that comes on that list is –
Calling it the most obvious sign of pregnancy won’t be anything wrong. The abdomen usually gets swollen (of a female gecko, of course) when it accumulates fertilized eggs.
If you’ve missed this kind of sight before, we won’t be surprised if you count it as another simple issue of gaining weight. But once you touch the abdomen, you’re surely going to feel some solid bumps in there. Plus, regular weight gain just doesn’t pump up the belly, keeping the rest of the body parts as it is.
By the way, geckos mostly lay eggs in pairs. So, when you’re going to touch the tummy, there’s a high chance of you feeling symmetrical bumps. And yes, don’t forget to be gentle with the touch, as any kind of ‘too hard’ push can hurt the eggs and lizard.
And don’t be surprised if the gecko tries its best to avoid your touch. After all, that’s what they do when they’re pregnant.
What is the best way to tell that your gecko is sick? Well, its engagement in regular activities is enough to understand that. The same thing is going to happen if the lizard is pregnant.
Rather than staying active, you’ll see it hiding somewhere in order to avoid getting bothered or involved in regular activities. So, if your lizard is losing its enthusiasm, you can be sure that it’s dealing with issues of pregnancy.
Plus, rather than scampering, it simply drags itself to the enclosure. Also, it’ll move more slowly compared to any other time, especially when it was perfectly healthy. And yes, it takes naps more often and for a longer period of time, as misses a huge drop of its energy.
A pregnant gecko always shows a drop in eating frequency. With time passing, the drop will keep increasing till they’re laying the eggs. But that’s totally okay. The thing is, with the growing eggs, the space in the reptile’s abdomen and digestive system falls short in space.
But that doesn’t mean you should start skipping feeding it. It’s still essential to feed your lizard regularly. Don’t worry; once the phase is gone and the reptile starts eating again, it’ll get back its weight and physique within a short time.
Pregnant geckos get scared quite easily – whether it’s from your presence or from a loud noise around. We don’t blame the reptile for that, though, as they’re usually protective about their unborn babies. Thanks to her overactive hormones, which make her see danger in everything, even if there’s nothing to be triggered.
They become so startled that they might run for their hideout even if you’re trying to feed them. They might even evade your grasp when you’re trying to hold or pick them. It doesn’t matter how they’ve been your pet – the fear of their baby getting harmed by you will always be there. You probably will get surprised to see how fearfully she’s reacting to the sounds and sights around her, though all of it is known to them.
Weakness and lethargy – there’s a high chance of these two happening to a gecko when it’s pregnant. But interestingly, despite the exhaustion, the reptile can still fail to sleep. Thanks to the raging hormone for making this happen. So, if you see your lizard behaving erratically, that’s probably because of the lack of sleep.
And you already know what sleeplessness can lead to – restlessness. So, when your lizard is roaming with eggs in her belly, you won’t see her sticking to a place for long. This also leads to loss of energy.
The best thing you can do here is take the best care of her. This includes feeding her properly and getting her enough clean water to drink. Plus, keep the tank condition on point.
Not all, but in some of the leopard gecko morphs, you can see the eggs visible in their tummy. This means the eggs are going to resemble bulging stomach tissue. They usually look like a bump that can explode anytime. The visibility of the eggs is highly dependent on how much weight the reptile is losing.
A stranger, that’s how your lizard is going to treat you when it’s pregnant. The moment you get closer to it, you see a snippy and angry version of it, forgetting how you used to treat her or it treated you.
You can’t call it anything but careless, as it’ll react like it doesn’t know you in the first place. And the worst part? It’ll hiss or bark at you. We bet you can’t help but get surprised until you find out your lizard is expecting babies.
Don’t count this behavior as anything abnormal, as the reptile feels protective about her eggs. Like any other animal, she prioritizes nothing more than her babies at this stage of pregnancy.
There’s no way to deny that the tail is an amazingly vital appendage for leopard geckos. After all, this is where they store up their surplus water and fat. Clearly, the plump tail is a sign of a healthy gecko. By the way, that doesn’t mean we’re saying obesity should be promoted or the tail should be overly plump.
But when the reptile is pregnant, you won’t be seeing that healthy tail, at least not for a while. This happens mostly due to the lizard failing to eat enough food that could’ve kept the tail healthy. And you already know how and why they lose apatite during their time of pregnancy.
The more the babies grow inside, the more the tail starts to get thinner. But once the reptile is done laying the eggs, it surely will start getting back the fat and nutrition, which eventually will make the tail healthy again.
This is a common practice in lots of lizards when they get pregnant, including geckos. So, when you see your reptile is doing it and doing it too often, then there’s a high chance of it being pregnant. They usually do that to create a nesting spot.
Okay, let’s assume that now you know your leopard gecko is pregnant. What to do now? Well, clearly, you need to be a lot more careful with your lizard. But for that, you better do the following things first.
You probably have already given the lizard an enclosure to live in. But is it enough for the pregnant gecko? No, we’re not talking about the size of the cage but the atmosphere, especially the suitable substrate for laying eggs.
Plus, make sure there’s a nesting box inside the enclosure. And don’t even think about letting the tankmates stay in there, as the lizard becomes super protective and aggressive at that time.
Yes, it’s true the lizard loses its apatite during this time. But that doesn’t mean you can stay away from providing it with a balanced diet. You better let the gecko have food filled with calcium along with vitamin supplements. Try providing insects like waxworms, mealworms, and cricket. By the way, don’t forget to dust it with calcium supplements.
For obvious reasons, a pregnant gecko needs a clean enclosure. After all, when the cage is dirty, it’s tough to prevent bacteria from growing and affecting the lizard. Make sure there are no feces, half-eaten or uneaten food lying around.
But make sure that you’re doing it without pissing off the lizard. Simply try to take out any uneaten food or feces. But don’t do it too often or in a way where it can cause disturbance to the gecko.
Reptiles depend a lot on the temperature of their surroundings and pregnant geckos are no exception. It’ll be better if you can keep the temperature around 82 to 88°F. But that’s for the daytime. When it’s night, try to hold it around 70 to 75°F.
Don’t forget about the humidity here. The ideal humidity level we can suggest for a pregnant geck is around 40 to 60%. This should be enough to prevent the lizard from getting dehydrated.
During pregnancy, a gecko reaches a stage of vulnerability. So, popping up certain difficulties is nothing unusual there. But you need to keep your eyes open for that. There can be issues like dehydration. You know what to do to handle that. Exactly! Getting it all the water it needs during the time of pregnancy.
Another thing you need to be careful about is infections. Even if you see minor signs, let your vet know about this and take the necessary steps to fix up things. And yes, you need to be careful about egg binding as well. After all, if the situation takes a worse turn, it can kill your pet.
Things that you can count as normal during the regular time too can stress out your lizard when it’s pregnant. So, you better get rid of anything from the surrounding that can cause stress to the gecko. Things like too much traffic of people and your other pets, source of loud sound, etc.
Now you know what to do when your leopard gecko is pregnant. But what about things not to do? Well, let’s put some light on that list too.
Handling your gecko when it’s pregnant can lead to stress. So, you better keep your hands off till the lizard gets done with laying the eggs. We know when they’re pregnant, it’s kind of hard to keep yourself away from touching those tiny little bumps in the tummy. But let’s not forget, during this time, they become aggressive and easily irritated.
We’ve already told you how geckos freak out at loud music. So, it’ll be better if you can simply keep it within your headphones. Plus, make sure that you’re not causing any sudden sounds that can cause disturbance or trigger stress in your reptile.
Here, you need to know the difference between relocating and separating. Some think that as the reptile needs to be separated, it’s better to take them in a totally different cage. Well, taking it to a new enclosure will stress out the lizard as the place will be totally new for it. So, keeping it in its own enclosure is a better idea.
Pregnancy is the worst time to let a gecko be around another gecko. This will clearly lead to conflict as the lizard stays stressed most of the time and behave aggressively. So, if you’re planning to bring a new gecko, wait till the egg-laying session is done.
While pregnant, your leopard gecko will surely act a bit aggressively and even can land a bite on your hand. So, what if it does? Is there any chance of them being poisonous? Well, for this complicated answer, we’ve saved an entire blog for you. Feel free to dive into our blog Leopard Gecko Bite: Are They Dangerous?