Sunday, August 29, 2010

Breeding Leopard Geckos- a Quick Overview

      Before deciding if you really want to breed leopard geckos, make sure
you know all about this specie. Keep in mind that breeding geckos comes
with risks, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
      When it comes to breeding, if done properly it is relatively easy
once you have the female and male geckos. However, do not house a female
and male together because it can cause stress on the female and trigger
some health issues.
      Making a mistake by putting two females or two males together can be
disastrous, and even fatal for one of the geckos, so make sure you know the
gender of each of your leopard geckos before placing them together.
      Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the gender of a young
leopard gecko, especially a baby. Contrary to other reptiles, the gecko’s
appearance and head size won’t tell you. Instead, you need to check the
vent, which is the base of the gecko’s tail. Both of the genders will have
the femoral pores in the shape of ‘‘V’’ at the vent. However, a female’s
femoral pores will look much fainter than a male’s. Males will also have
two hemipenal bulges below the vent.
      Leopard geckos need to be mature before you even think about breeding
them, so make sure they are at least 1 year old. The female shouldn’t be
too young and she needs to be healthy and not underweight.
      The mating process itself won’t be noticeable, but if the mating was
successful you will notice bite markings on the female. The mating pair
needs to be kept together for a few days — up to a week.
      When the eggs start developing, you will notice that the female has
gained weight. The first clutch usually consists of only one egg, but it
can happen that they come in pairs. After 4-6 weeks, the female needs to
lay her eggs.
       For the first year don’t expect many eggs, but keep in mind that
leopard geckos can lay up to 10 eggs at a time.
      Prepare a laying box where your female gecko will lay her eggs. Fill
the box with around 1-2 inches of damp perlite or vermiculite. You can find
these at a garden shop. The laying box will give you some time before the
eggs start to dehydrate. If a female does not lay her eggs in the lay box,
they won’t be fertile. However, if you catch them in time before they
dehydrate, try to incubate them.
      For this process, you will need an incubator to ensure that the
gecko’s eggs have a constant temperature. If any temperature fluctuations
occur during the incubation process, deformities may result.
      The eggs’ incubation lasts for 40-60 days. The embryo will develop
faster in higher temperatures. Around a week before the egg hatches, you
will notice that it is somewhat swollen.
      When a baby gecko starts to emerge, it will use a tooth to break the
egg’s shell. The tooth serves only for this purpose and a gecko will lose
it afterward. The process of hatching is fairly quick, so when it starts be
prepared to care for a newborn leopard gecko!

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