How To Tell The Gender Of A Leopard Gecko?

No matter which pet you take in, you can’t help knowing its gender. And isn’t it obvious? But the good thing is the gender of most of the regular pets is easy to find out as they display some major gender-determining features. But things are on a tough page when it comes to lizards like leopard geckos. So, how to tell a gecko’s gender in the first place?

You can easily tell a leopard gecko’s gender by checking out the cloacal pores. The males got pre-anal pores with a V-shape. But when it comes to females, they’re almost invisible. Plus, the tail base of male geckos is thicker, but females got it narrow.

Now the question is – is there any other way to find out a gecko’s gender? And why does finding out the sex even matter? Well, it does, and that’s what we’re about to tell you.

5 Way To Know The Gender Of Leopard Gecko

You feel like understanding the age of a gecko is tough? Then you probably didn’t try finding the sex of geckos yet, especially the young ones. But don’t worry; things get easier when once they step into the mature phase. Now the question is how you’re going to do it then? Well, you better try the following methods.

1. Cloacal Pores

The first thing you need to do here is pick up your lizard and check the base of the tail area. You’ll see some small openings in there. If you’ve got an adult male gecko, you should see two distinct bumps known as the hemipenal bulge.

By the way, you’re going to see that on either side of the vent. These bulges are easily distinguishable as they’re more prominent and slightly raised from the regular skin.

But if you’ve got a female gecko in there, you’ll be seeing no bulges. On top of that, the vent area will be simply flatter. And the pre-anal pores? They’ll either be small or absent, and even if they’re present, they’ll be hard to notice.

2. Tail Base

The tail base too can say a lot about the gender of a gecko. When it comes to male leopard geckos, they’ve got not only a thicker but a wider tail base. So, if you see them from above, you’ll get to see more of a triangular shape.

But the females? Well, they’ve got it quite the opposite. Or maybe we should just say narrower and slimmer tail base. This is why their tail base gets a more cylindrical appearance.

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3. Behavior

Like humans, lizards also show some distinction in behavior on the basis of their gender. The distinctive behavior is mostly seen in male geckos, especially when the breeding season jumps in or they’re put in the same cage as a female gecko.

The first common behavior you’ll notice during that time is tail-waving. So, if you’ve put the unknown gecko with a female and it’s rapidly moving its tail side to side, then there’s a high chance that it’s a male. Plus, they might go for head-bobbing. This means you’ll be seeing the bobbing their head up and down.

But there’s a problem here. Though this kind of behavior is mostly seen in males, it’s not that you won’t see the female skip doing it totally. But it’s true that the frequency will be lesser than male geckos. So, reaching a conclusion just based on the behavior might not be the best idea.

4. Physical Differences

Maybe you’re wondering if the cloacal pores are the only ‘physical’ thing that makes male geckos different from female ones. Well, not exactly. There are things as well, like size and weight.

Usually, female geckos are smaller and leaner but longer in size. Plus, the tail is not as bulky as the males. And if you notice their heads, we’re sure you’ll see it longer and thinner compared to male geckos. 

On the contrary, males are larger in size, a bit bulky but shorter in length part. The same goes for their head, as that’s too a bit broad and short. And the weight? Well, that’s also slightly higher than female geckos.

But above all, it’s the ability to lay eggs that makes the most obvious difference. You’re probably wondering to know that difference you might have to wait a bit longer. After all, you need to make it mate, and for that, you still need to know the gender.

The interesting part here is female geckos don’t need mating to lay eggs. Those eggs won’t be fertile though, but that’s a different story. So, if you see your gecko laying eggs, count it as a female with closed eyes.

5. Ventral Coloration

Don’t count this as the most solid method, but in some cases, male geckos are seen with comparatively brighter and more vibrant colors. Don’t count it as something applicable to all kinds of geckos, as some of the species might miss out on that. So, it’ll be better don’t rely solely on this method for figuring out the gender.

One more thing! All the methods we’ve mentioned so far, including this one, can be effective only if the gecko is mature. We’re talking about it being within the age of 6 to 12 months.

That’s because the signs we’re talking about are mostly visible once they become adults. So, if your one is still too young, you better talk to your vet or simply consult with an experienced breeder.

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Why Understanding The Gender Of A Leopard Gecko Is Important?

The first thing is, we bet you surely won’t ask for a pet that you don’t know the gender of. After all, it helps you to come to an understanding with the pet. But apart from that, there are tons of other reasons that make it essential for a gecko owner to know the pet’s gender, starting with –

1. Proper Housing

If you’ve been studying for a while about geckos, then we guess you already know that they’ve got specific housing requirements. But when you don’t know the gender of the reptile, it might become a little tough to ensure the proper housing arrangements.

When you’ve multiple geckos under your wing, you need to make sure that two males are being kept together. After all, these lizards are extremely territorial and aggressive at the same time.

And if you’re keeping females and males together, it’ll lead to breeding. That shouldn’t be a problem if it’s under proper planning and arrangements. But if it’s unwanted and unplanned, then it can lead to health issues for the female gecko, including egg binding. But when you know the gender, it’ll be easier for you to prevent potential conflicts and issues.

2. Breeding

If your purpose of getting geckos is breeding, knowing the gender is a must for you. Clearly, you’re going to need a female and a male gecko to start the process. So, if you’ve got no idea about how to find out the gecko’s gender, going to that part might be tougher than it seems.

But we suggest going for breeding only when you’ve got enough experience in handling geckos. After all, it requires a proper understanding of the process where you’ll have to ensure maximum care for lizards and their offspring.

3. Health And Veterinary Care

In some cases, a certain gender of geckos goes through specific health issues compared to the opposite gender. For example, it’s the females that face reproductive issues, including egg binding.

They even have to deal with calcium deficiency as they invest lots of it while producing eggs. But when you know the gender of the lizard, it’ll be easier for you to stay prepared for such issues or seek veterinary help when things go too bad.

4. Behavioral Differences

Though it’s not that much common, but female and male leopard gecko display different kind of behavior and temperament. To understand that behavioral differences, you need to knowing and understanding the gender first. So, what kind of understanding are we talking about here?

Well, male geckos usually show off courtship behavior and act more territorial, especially during the breeding season. When you’ve got a clear idea about the gender, understanding and interpreting this kind of behavior shouldn’t be a problem for you.

See also  Can 2 Male Leopard Geckos Live Together?

5. Naming

Naming the pet something quite usual for pet owners, as that helps them to develop an emotional bond with the pet. The same goes for geckos as well. Usually, the name is decided on the basis of the gender. Obviously, you won’t like to name a male gecko ‘jenny’, right? So, knowing the gender will help you to get a suitable name for the lizard.

Which One Is Better As A Pet – Male Or Female Gecko?

Indeed it’s tough to call one of the gender the best, being best totally depends on the pet owner’s preference and specific considerations. But there’s no way to deny that both of these genders can turn into an excellent pet.  Yes, there surely are certain pros and cons of each of them and we think you better consider them before going for a specific gender.

When it comes to male leopard geckos, one of the best things about them is their appearance. Not only they’re visually appealing but also larger in size with comparatively muscular build. Plus, they show off interesting courtship behavior including head-bobbing and tail-waving.

But as they don’t lay eggs like the female geckos, they don’t go through the additional complications like opposite gender. But the biggest problem with them is being territorial. This mostly happens during the mating season. But they do that only when there’s another male gecko around.

Now comes the female leopard geckos. Well, they’re small in size. So, if you’re asking for pet that’ll need limited space, this is your catch. And another good thing about them is, unlike the males, they don’t come up with any territorial aggression. Thanks to their docile nature for that. Plus, they’re comparatively easy to handle.

But the do go through more health issues than the males as they lay eggs which at times go heavy on their body. Though it’s different tale if you’re into breeding. After all, at that time, you’ll figure out how to take of them in such condition.

So, you see, you just can’t say one of these best for you without looking into your need and preference. But no matter which one you’re picking, you better make sure you’re getting it a suitable habitat, giving it all the care and attention it needs.

Before We Go…

If you’re planning on getting a male gecko, that shouldn’t be a problem. But if you’re thinking about getting a female gecko, that’s going to be a long story, as they get pregnant and need special care.

So, if your one goes into that phase, how are you going to take care of it? Well, we can surely help you on that with our blog – How To Take Care Of A Pregnant Leopard Gecko? Just click it and give it read!

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.

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