Breeding a crested gecko is no easy feat. In this article we’ll set you up for success.
Understanding Crested Gecko Biology
Crested geckos reach sexual maturity once they attain a certain weight. Males should typically weigh around 35 grams, and females should weigh between 35 and 40 grams. Here are some key identifiers for determining the gender of crested geckos:
- Males: Presence of hemipenal bulges
- Females: Presence of pre-anal pores
Effects of Temperature
Temperature plays a vital role in various aspects of crested gecko breeding, such as:
- Egg incubation: Crested gecko eggs can be incubated both in an incubator or in the cage at room temperature. Incubation period typically ranges from 60 to 70 days.
- Morph variation: The base color and stripe shades of tiger morph crested geckos can differ depending on the environmental conditions. Warmer temperatures often result in lighter hues for the base color.
Seasons and Breeding Triggers
Keep in mind the following seasonal information while breeding crested geckos:
- Breeding season: Crested geckos usually breed during the warm periods of the year, from the end of March to the end of October in the Northern Hemisphere. They are generally not interested in breeding during colder months (end of October to mid-March).
- Clutches: Female crested geckos can produce 1-10 clutches of two eggs every 2-6 weeks during their prime breeding season.
Proper Housing and Setup
Creating Suitable Environment
To ensure your crested geckos have an ideal environment for breeding:
- Choose a suitable habitat: A minimum tank size of 18″ x 18″ x 24″ is recommended for a fully grown gecko. If possible, opt for a larger tank to create a bioactive environment.
- Maintain optimal temperature and humidity: Crested geckos thrive in temperatures between 72-80°F during the day and 65-75°F at night, with humidity levels of 50-70%.
- Provide proper lighting: Crested geckos do not require intense UVB lighting; however, a low output UVB bulb can be beneficial for their overall health.
Add ample foliage, branches, and hiding spots to the enclosure:
- Live plants, such as pothos or bromeliads, for a more natural environment
- Climbing branches to encourage vertical movement
- Multiple hiding spots to lower stress levels
Importance of Privacy
Crested geckos are sensitive creatures that may become stressed in the presence of other geckos, leading to possible conflicts and unsuccessful breeding attempts. To ensure they feel safe and stress-free during breeding, take the following steps:
- Introduce hiding spots: Provide multiple hiding spots within the enclosure, such as cork bark, artificial caves, or dense foliage. This will ensure each gecko has a secure place to seek refuge.
- Limit disturbances: Keep the enclosure away from high-traffic areas and minimize any unnecessary disturbances. Keep noise levels low in the surrounding area and avoid handling the geckos more than necessary.
Following these guidelines will help create a comfortable environment for your crested geckos, increasing their chances of successful breeding. Remember, a relaxed and stress-free environment is crucial for promoting healthy breeding behavior.
The Breeding Process
To ensure a successful breeding process for your crested geckos, follow these steps:
- Choose healthy geckos: Make sure both male and female are sexually mature, with the female being at least 18 months old and weighing 35-40 grams.
- Introduce them during the breeding season: Crested geckos’ natural breeding period occurs between March and September, preferably starting in January.
- Monitor their weight: Use a scale (increment of 0.1 grams) to maintain the geckos’ optimal weight, ensuring the male is at least 30 grams and the size difference isn’t too significant.
Egg Laying and Incubation
After successful mating, the subsequent egg-laying and incubation process involves the following steps:
- Temperature control: Maintain an ideal enclosure temperature of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius) during the day and slightly cooler at night.
- Egg-laying substrate: Provide a suitable moist substrate, such as coconut coir, for the female to lay her eggs.
Egg incubation: Once the eggs are laid, transfer them to an incubation container with a humidity level around 70-80%.
- Incubation temperatures: Keep the temperature consistent between 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit (22-24 degrees Celsius).
- Monitoring: Regularly observe the eggs for signs of mold or dehydration, and maintain the humidity levels accordingly.
By following these guidelines while considering your crested geckos’ health and environmental conditions, you are likely to achieve successful breeding and hatch healthy offspring.
Post Breeding Care
After your crested gecko has laid eggs, it is essential to handle them delicately to avoid damaging the embryos:
- Be gentle when removing the eggs from the lay box.
- Do not rotate or change the orientation of the eggs.
- Place the eggs in an incubation container with a moisture-retaining medium like vermiculite or perlite.
- Maintain a temperature of 72-75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity at 60-80 percent during incubation.
- Properly mark the top of each egg so you can identify their original position.
Caring for Hatchlings
Once your crested gecko eggs have hatched, you must provide adequate care for the young geckos:
- Housing: Prepare a separate enclosure for hatchlings, ensuring it is clean and escape-proof.
- Substrate: Use paper towels as the substrate since it is easy to clean and replace.
- Humidity: Maintain humidity levels between 60 and 80 percent by misting the enclosure daily.
- Temperature: Keep the temperature between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Diet: Offer a specially formulated crested gecko diet powder along with small-sized live prey like fruit flies.
- Handling: Avoid handling hatchlings for the first 2 weeks to reduce stress.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure the proper care and well-being of your crested gecko hatchlings.
Potential Breeding Issues
When breeding Crested Geckos, one might face infertility issues that include:
- Troubles with Courtship Behavior: Proper mating behavior is crucial and any issue may lead to unsuccessful breeding attempts.
- Female Rejection: Sometimes, females might refuse a male’s advances, due to a lack of adequate conditions or incompatibility.
- Male Inadequacy: Males may have difficulties in the reproduction process if they have not reached full sexual maturity.
To mitigate these issues:
- Ensure both geckos have reached breeding age (around 15 months old)
- Provide a comfortable environment for the animals
- Monitor their behavior to identify any apparent issues
Crested Gecko breeding may lead to health complications, including:
- Absence of Egg Production: Female geckos might not produce eggs if their health is compromised, or if their nutritional needs are not met.
- Egg Retention: Female geckos may retain their eggs within their bodies, leading to an increased risk of infection and other complications.
- Dystocia: Difficulty in laying eggs may occur if the female gecko faces obstructions due to physical issues or has been housed in improper conditions.
To prevent these health complications:
- Provide proper nutrition and supplements for the geckos
- Maintain ideal temperature and humidity within their enclosure
- Ensure they have access to a suitable egg-laying site, such as a moist, sheltered area with appropriate substrate
By carefully monitoring your geckos’ environment and health, you can minimize potential breeding issues and ensure a successful breeding experience.