How to Sex a Leopard Gecko (Is Your Gecko Male or Female?)

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When you first get a leopard gecko, it can be difficult to determine whether they are male or female, especially if you’ve never kept one before. Fortunately, we have decided to use today’s post to guide you. 

How to tell the gender of an adult leopard gecko

There are 3 main ways you can tell the gender of an adult leopard gecko. These include:

1. Checking it for hemipenal bulges

Hemipenal bulges are two distinct bulges present below a male leopard gecko’s vent. They are usually at the base of the tail and on the two sides of the vent. 

These bulges usually contain male reproductive organs (hemipenes) that come out during mating. As such, they are not present in female leopard geckos. 

Ultimately, checking for these bulges is hands-down the easiest way to tell the gender of an adult leopard gecko. 

To effectively do this, hold your leopard gecko above your head, and examine its vent area. 

Alternatively, you can place the gecko in a clear glass/plastic container, hold it above your head, and examine the vent area. 

Whatever you do, please don’t hold your leopard gecko on its back for a prolonged period.

Also, don’t try to push out your leopard gecko’s hemipenes. While some people do this to confirm that their reptile is a male, it’s dangerous. 

It can injure your gecko’s hemipenes or even cause them to prolapse. Beyond that, it can be difficult to do, especially if your leopard gecko doesn’t like being handled or isn’t used to it. In such cases, your gecko may feel threatened, drop its tail, and run away. 

2. Checking it for pre-anal pores

While pre-anal pores are present in both male and female leopard geckos, they are more distinct in the former. 

These pores are located on the underside of your leopard gecko, just in front of the vent. In male leopard geckos, they look like small distinct dots, and they get more distinct as the reptile grows. 

You may even notice that they form a V shape above your Leo’s vent. 

These pores are barely visible in female geckos. You’ll have to strain a lot to see them. And even if you do see them, you’ll notice that they are clear. 

The pre-anal pores of male leopard geckos will usually have a waxy buildup. This is because they usually secrete a waxy material that contains pheromones. 

Your leopard gecko can use this substance to mark its territory, especially when other males are around. They can also use it to attract mates. You can check for pre-anal pores in the same way you would check for hemipenal bulges.  

3. Checking for femoral pores

While femoral pores are present in both female and male leopard geckos, they are more visible in the latter. These pores appear as small dots arranged in horizontal lines and are located under a gecko’s back legs, particularly on the thighs. 

These lines usually look white, tan, or brown. They are usually larger and more prone to be clogged in male leopard geckos. This is because they are used to secrete pheromones. 

If you want to check your leopard gecko for femoral pores, lift them over your head as when checking for pre-anal pores or hemipenal bulges. 

However, keep in mind that it is easier to spot pre-anal pores and hemipenal bulges than femoral pores. As such, this method of gender identification works better when used with either of the above-mentioned ones. 

How to tell the gender of a baby leopard gecko 

You can’t tell the gender of a baby leopard gecko. This is because such geckos haven’t developed any physical manifestations of their gender. 

These usually start becoming visible when they’re around four months old. However, it’s best to wait until your leopard gecko is ten months old before determining its gender – the signs are more visible then. 

At this age, your reptile is usually approximately 5 to 6 inches long. 

If you’re in a rush to figure out the gender of your leopard gecko or aren’t sure how old they are, you can seek out the help of a professional. 

This could be a vet or the breeder who sold you the gecko. Ultimately, this is a great way to figure out the gender of your reptile safely – they’re less likely to get injured or drop their tail this way.

Male vs female leopard gecko sizes

In most cases, male leopard geckos are larger and heavier than their female counterparts. However, this isn’t a good indicator of gender among baby and juvenile geckos – things get clearer when they become adults. 

Generally, an average adult male leopard gecko measures 8 to 11 inches and weighs 60 to 80 grams. On the other hand, a female one measures 7 to 8 inches and weighs 50 to 70 grams.

Another common physical difference between female and male leopard geckos is that the latter tend to have wider heads than the former.  

Do Male and Female Leopard Geckos Behave Differently? 

For the most part, female and male leopard geckos behave the same way – they are usually calm and docile. 

However, male leopard geckos are usually more active, territorial, and aggressive during breeding months. On the other hand, female leopard geckos can become calmer during this season. 

Why is it important to know the gender of your leopard gecko?

Knowing the gender of your leopard gecko can help you choose a name for them. 

Also, it helps you know what to expect in the future. For instance, finding out your leopard gecko is a female will allow you to start preparing for egg-laying early. 

After all, female leopard geckos lay eggs even when they don’t mate. On the other hand, finding out that your reptile is male can help you look out for male-specific issues like hemipene prolapse. 

Another thing that knowing your leopard gecko’s gender helps you with is choosing a suitable tankmate. If you figure out you have two male leopard geckos, at least you’ll know that it’s a bad idea to put them together. 

Can you control the gender of an unborn leopard gecko?

You can influence the gender of unborn leopard geckos by altering the temperature around the eggs. That’s why some leopard geckos are referred to as temp-sexed males (TSM) or temp-sexed females (TSF). Generally, male leopard geckos are produced at higher incubation temperatures than females. 

To be more specific, male leopard geckos are produced when temperatures are maintained at 88℉ to 91℉ throughout the incubation period. On the other hand, females are produced when temperatures are maintained at 79℉ to 81℉ for the first three weeks of incubation and then raised to 88℉ to 90℉. 

If the incubation temperatures are maintained at between 85℉ to 87℉ throughout, you get a mixture of female and male leopard geckos. 

When the mentioned temperature conditions are maintained, you will get the resulting gender 99.9% of the time. 

That’s why breeders usually know the gender of any leopard gecko they sell to you unless mixed incubation temperatures (85℉ to 87℉) were used. 

In such cases, you’ll have to wait until your gecko is around ten months old to figure out its gender. 

Final thoughts

Ultimately, finding out the gender of your leopard gecko is beneficial and is easy to do at home. 

You and your pet will be fine if you wait until your reptile is a bit grown and are gentle with it. 

If you find it too hard though, consider seeing a vet or the breeder who sold you the gecko. 

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