Leopard geckos are easy to care for from hatchling to adult. Breeding leopard geckos can be just as easy, if done correctly. Caring for leopard gecko eggs begins before the eggs are laid and lasts until the babies have hatched.
Things You'll Need
- Plastic, 16-oz. deli cup
- Peat moss
- Water bottle with misting nozzle
- Permanent marker
Small, plastic food storage container with lid
Feed your females at least every other day leading up to breeding. Always dust insects with reptile dietary supplement powder that provides vitamin D3 and calcium. The breeding female requires extra calcium for the production of strong eggs.
Provide your female with an egg-laying container well before you expect her to lay. Females will lay eggs 16 to 22 days after copulation. For a single female, use a 16-oz. deli container with a hole cut in the lid large enough for her to climb in and out. Fill half of the container with peat moss and mist it often to keep it moist. For multiple females, a larger container such as a plastic shoebox filled with moss may be used. Females are likely to lay their eggs in the same spot. Leopard gecko eggs are adhesive and using plastic ensures that they won't stick like they would to glass or wood.
Prepare an incubation box. Take a small food storage container and weigh the empty container on a digital scale. Fill it halfway with dry vermiculite and weigh again. Subtract the first weight from the second to get the exact weight of vermiculite in the container. Multiply this number by 0.8 and add it back to the total weight -- you are going to use 80 percent as much water as you use vermiculite. This is how much your whole container should weigh once moistened. Keeping the box on the scale, spray the vermiculite with water until the desired weight has been reached. Seal this container with a lid.
Take a permanent marker and make a small mark on the top of the shell after the female has laid her eggs and left the container. Always keep that mark up because once the embryo has formed, rotating the egg could drown it. Gently remove the egg from the container. Dig a small hole with your finger in the moistened vermiculite and place the egg inside. Shore up the sides with vermiculite you dug away. Do not bury the egg completely. Place the rest of the eggs in the container in this manner, keeping about half an inch of space between them.
If the egg is firmly stuck to the egg-laying container or your female has laid her eggs elsewhere and they are stuck, don't pull too hard to remove them. Ripping the shell will render the egg infertile. Instead, place a small plastic box with a moist piece of moss or cotton over the egg where it lies and tape it into place to incubate it right there.
Seal the container and place in an incubator when all the eggs are in the vermiculite. Leopard geckos' sex is determined by the temperature at which they are incubated. At 80 degrees Fahrenheit, 100 percent of the hatchlings will be female. At 90 degrees, 98 percent of the hatchlings will be male. At 87 degrees, roughly half will be female and the other half male. Temperatures below 74 or above 95 degrees are lethal. Set your incubator to the desired temperature and keep it there for the duration. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the incubator.
An alternative to using an incubator is to seal the container and place it back in the habitat with your adult geckos, which should be somewhere in the proper incubation temperature range. Anchor the container firmly to prevent it from being knocked around by active lizards.
Open the lid to the container once a week and check on the eggs and allow them to ventilate. Dispose of any rotten eggs. If any mold or fungus appears in the box, replace it with a new one and transfer the remaining eggs immediately. Eggs will hatch in 35 to 89 days, depending on the temperature. When they've hatched, remove the babies and rotate any displaced eggs back to the correct orientation using the mark that you made earlier.
Don't place baby geckos in the habitat with the adults, as they may be mistaken for food and eaten. Instead, place babies in a new habitat -- their temperature and housing requirements are the same as for adults.