How to Breed Leopard Geckos

Ever wondered how to breed Leopard geckos? Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius) are quite possibly the most common pet lizard. You can find them for sale at big pet stores as well as get them from specialty breeders and reptile shows. They are very well-loved and respected amongst reptile enthusiasts.

But did you know that in addition to having very basic care requirements that are quite simple to meet, leopard geckos are also really easy to breed?

Read on to find out how we take care of our leopard gecko breeding groups. We’ll cover everything from mating to caring for your hatchlings, and everything in-between.

how to breed leopard geckos
Get ready to learn exactly how to breed Leopard geckos.

Step-by-step: How to Breed Leopard Geckos

Leopard Gecko Mating

It’s common sense that in order to get leopard gecko babies, you’ll have to get your leopard geckos to mate. The good news is that this is almost easier done than said!

Because leopard geckos of similar size can usually be housed communally, you can keep several females in the same enclosure with one male. Never, ever, keep two adult males in the same enclosure unless you want a bloody battle royale to ensue.

One easy way to tell if you have a male leopard gecko is by looking beneath the lizard’s tail. It should have a pronounced hemipenile bulge, whereas females won’t. Also, males and females both have a broad V-shape of pores at the base of their tail. Males have much deeper pores, and often times you can see a waxy substance in and around the pores of males (but never females).

Make sure that your geckos are of breeding age. Most will be ready to reproduce when they are nine to ten months old or weigh approximately 50 grams.

You most likely won’t witness the actual mating behavior because it only takes two to three minutes, and they are nocturnal lizards. However, most females are receptive to males unless they are malnourished or unhealthy. Excited males will vibrate the very tip of their tail prior to mating, and it can actually be fairly loud!

Females can lay several clutches of eggs from a single mating. However, in order to maintain peak fertility and laying, keep the male with the female at least once per week.

We have a rack system and continually move breeder males from bin to bin during breeding season. This have provided great results and our females lay eggs very regularly.

Hopefully we’ve sufficiently answered how to breed Leopard geckos, but if you have any additional questions, please feel free to e-mail us.

How Leopard Geckos Lay Eggs

The average clutch size for a leopard gecko is two eggs. However, don’t be alarmed if your female only lays a single egg as this does happen from time to time, albeit infrequently.

leopard gecko eggs unearthed
This clutch has two eggs. You can very gently uncover the eggs once you think the female has laid them. Most often, she will deposit them in the corner of the substrate container.

Over the course of a year, a successful mating pair can produce anywhere from eight to ten eggs. If you are repeatedly allowing your female to breed, we recommend proper vitamin dusting with calcium supplements as producing and laying eggs is a very strenuous process for a female.

We follow Ron Tremper’s advice and offer Vionate (vitamin) and Osteo-Form (calcium) to our Leopard gecko breeding colonies. Ron Tremper is, in our opinion, the most venerable Leopard gecko breeder in the world, and the industry owes him a great debt of gratitude.

fertile leopard gecko eggs
These two eggs are most likely fertile because they feel firm and dry.

If you observe your geckos closely, you will notice that the substrate in which the eggs are buried will appear slanted. For example, at Backwater Reptiles, we have special shoe boxes with lids filled with substrate to give the females a good medium to comfortably lay their eggs (another Ron Tremper recommendation).

When we open the lids, if we see that the substrate is piled up on one side and angled downwards on the other side of the box, this indicates that the female has been digging and signals us to unearth the eggs and transfer them to the incubator.

buried leopard gecko eggs
If you look closely at this photo, you’ll see that the substrate is at an angle. This indicates that the female has been digging. The eggs will be buried under the side at the top of the slant.

Incubating Leopard Gecko Eggs

Once you have gently unearthed your leopard gecko eggs, you can transfer them to an incubator.

leopard gecko eggs in incubating medium
Here are the leopard gecko eggs nestled gently into the incubating medium within the incubating cup.

Fertile eggs are firm, taut, and have a small amount of weight to them. If the eggs feel squishy and soft, odds are they will not hatch. However, we always incubate all the eggs just in case, even if we do think they aren’t fertile.

At Backwater Reptiles, we use an incubating substrate called Repashy Superhatch as our incubation media. We fill small plastic cups with lids with the medium, soak the clay granules for a minute, pour standing water out, and place 2-6 eggs into each vented deli cup with the lid on.

leopard gecko incubation medium
Backwater Reptiles uses Repashy Superhatch incubation medium to hatch our baby leopard geckos, but there are other options such as perlite or vermiculite.

Fun fact: If you know what morph your parent leopard geckos are, you can keep track of the mixes of babies you produce. It can be interesting to see what patterns and colors result from different breeding pairs.

Once you’ve placed your eggs securely in the incubation substrate (they should be embedded about halfway into the media), you can label your cup if you desire. At Backwater Reptiles, we include the date we uncovered the clutch as well as what morphs the parents were and the bin where the eggs were found.

leopard gecko eggs in incubator
As you can see, you can incubate multiple clutches simultaneously. This is why we label our incubation cups at Backwater Reptiles.

Keep your incubator temperature set anywhere from 77 to 90+ degrees. The gender of the babies will be determined by what temperature you select, so if you want females, keep the temperature in the lower range. If you want males, keep it warmer.

What to Do When Your Leopard Gecko Eggs Hatch

After about two months, you can expect your eggs to start hatching.

hatching leopard geckos
These hatchlings are ready to be moved from their incubation cup to a proper enclosure.

The babies know how to exit the eggs. They won’t need any help. Odds are that if you start checking the eggs on a daily basis around the time that two months have elapsed, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to open your incubator lid and – voila! – hatchling leopard geckos!

Here’s a story that proves just how easy it can be to incubate Leopard gecko eggs. Once when we were cleaning, feeding, and checking the bins we came across perfect little babies in one of the Super Snow shoeboxes! They were eggs that we didn’t notice, but that incubated successfully inside the main enclosure.

Conclusion – How to breed Leopard geckos

It honestly doesn’t take a lot to breed leopard geckos. This is a species that takes to captivity very well and will therefore reproduce naturally if you have a male and female together.

If you think you’d like to start a leopard gecko family of your own, Backwater Reptiles has leopard gecko morphs of all types and can get you a male and female to begin your journey, including many different morphs, and even giant and super giants!

How to Breed Box Turtles

Breeding Box turtles isn’t all that tough, and we’ll explain how within the below article. This week at Backwater Reptiles headquarters, we witnessed a pair of our Three Toed Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina triunguis) mating, something we have seen many times here in our outdoor turtle pens. We figured since Spring/Summer is the time of year for reproductive behavior to occur, it would be a great opportunity for us to share our knowledge on how to breed these wonderful turtles.

box turtle breeding

As we all know, the first thing you need to breed any animal is a male and female of the species. While Three Toed Box Turtles are not exactly sexually dimorphic, there are some tricks you can use to identify whether or not you’ve got the correct genders to produce babies.

Males of the species tend to be more brilliantly-colored than the females, exhibiting orange, red, or white on their faces with red eyes, while females are duller in color and usually have green eyes. Males are generally smaller than females but do have larger, longer tails and rear nails. The male has a concave plastron (underside) so that he can conform better to the shape of the female’s shell as he mounts her, whereas the plastron of the females is flat.

how to breed box turtles
Here’s one of our healthy, beautiful box turtle breeders.

Once you have sexed your turtles, it is ideal to house them outdoors as it allows them to have a natural cycle to follow for breeding. If they are housed outside, after the cooler winter/fall months have passed, the females will emerge from hibernation and begin looking for a suitable area to nest and lay eggs. It is best if you create your own “suggested” areas for the female to lay her eggs as they will be buried and you want to be able to know where she has deposited them. Suggested areas are warm and moist and will have soft soil for digging.

Breeding will have occurred the previous spring/summer. Males will circle the female, butting up against her and sometimes biting her. Sometimes the males will also inflate their necks in order to promote receptivity in the female. Once the courtship ritual has been completed, the male will mount the female and she will lower her plastron letting him hook his nails beneath her carapace. She will then close up her carapace on his nails so he doesn’t slide off during the actual copulation, which can take up to an hour. It should also be noted that females can retain this sperm and lay viable eggs for up to four years after breeding, so she may not lay eggs for several years.

The Three Toed Box Turtles at Backwater Reptiles during copulation. We keep them in very large outdoor setups, with plenty of food, water, and shelter.

Box Turtle Eggs

Eggs will take about 70 days to hatch and should be kept between 84 and 88 degrees Fahrenheit. If you transfer your eggs from outdoors to inside so you can keep a better watch on them, do so carefully. You want to make sure the eggs are not shifted, turned over, or jostled. It’s best to make a pencil or marker line on the top  so that as you gently move them to a new container, you won’t accidentally turn them. Store the eggs in a temperature controlled room in moist vermiculite or perlite.

Once the babies start emerging from the eggs, they should not be allowed to live outside right away as they require more structured conditions as they grow. The newborns must have access to water at all times as well as a place where they can completely get out of water (i.e. a patch of dry land). They will eat appropriately-sized dusted and gut-loaded insects, plant matter, and pre-made turtle chow. It’s a personal choice what to feed your baby box turtle – just make sure that it’s varied and frequent as growing reptiles (like growing humans) need to get lots of vitamins, protein, and nutrients.

Here’s one of our flawless, captive bred baby Box turtles.

We don’t currently have any hatchling Three Toed Box Turtles available (although we will in a few weeks once the eggs start hatching), but we do have adult Three Toed Box Turtles for sale that are around three to five inches in length – just the right size for if you want to start your own breeding project.

Box turtle egg
Here’s the end result: a Box turtle egg!