Breeding Crested Geckos
Breeding crested geckos is fun to do, and once you start, you’re hooked!
THE BASICS In Breeding Crested Geckos:
Geckos must be fully grown before they are bred. 35-40 grams for male, 40 plus grams for females (always). When a female lays her eggs, she may stop eating for a while. That’s okay if she’s fat enough. But if she’s underweight… it can be a big problem! Although the male must be big enough for the female, he can’t be TOO big. Breed your crested geckos in spring, the time they naturally reproduce. If you want to start earlier or do it later, you can fix the lighting to trick them into thinking its spring! If you plan to sell your cute little babies, chose pretty geckos to breed so people will want to buy them.
This is Groot, my male crested gecko. Isn’t he handsome?
SO…LET’S GET STARTED WITH 4 EASY STEPS!
- Choose your enclosure (either the female or the male’s). I recommend putting the male in the female’s enclosure. She won’t be as stressed at this crucial time and knows her favorite hiding spots. Either way, make sure your female has tons of places to conceal herself. Like all women, sometimes she just likes to be alone!
- Watch closely! Your crested geckos may not bond right away! And don’t panic if you see them biting. The female or male may even have bite marks (this is normal). But if the female seems too defensive and they are fighting, remove one of them! Try again in a week or two. Don’t try to force the union. You’ll have better results if you’re patient and wait for true love!
- Once they breed, place the geckos back in their home enclosures. YAY! Now get busy on a nursery!
2. THE INCUBATOR
- If you’re buying an incubator, I recommend you order it before the breeding period so it will arrive on time for your baby cresties. You can buy simple incubators or expensive ones. I recommend this one. Just add a substrate made for hatching reptile eggs. There’s a variety of cool substrates if you’d like to get fancy!
Do it yourself!
If you’re making an incubator, here’s some need to know information! Some reptiles require special temperatures but crested geckos are kept at 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Normal house temperatures! How convenient is that?
1. Find a small plastic container.
2. Fill it up with substrate, vermiculite, or perlite. Make sure its moist, not wet.
3. Poke 5 small holes in the top so your eggs to breathe.
4. Add a thermometer/hydrometer keep the humidity at 85-90%. Soil helps!
3. THE EGG LAYING BOX FOR HER TERRARIUM.
It’s best to have one of these in a female terrarium. If she lays eggs, it may be hard to find them and they need proper care. If they’re infertile, the eggs will decay unnoticed until you have an odor problem! So, here is how to make an egg laying box.
- Find a lidded container your female crested can fit in. Fill it with 50% vermiculite, and 50% peat moss. Leave 1/3 of the container with nothing in it. Then, if possible, I recommend adding some sphagnum moss. Again, make sure the moss and vermiculite are wet, but not dripping when you squeeze them. Always keep it moist!
- Poke 3 small holes in the lid. Cut an additional hole large enough for your mom to enter.
(You can use a cardboard box shown here, or a plastic container)
3. EGGS ARE COMING!
- Place the egg-laying box a week before she lays her eggs (2). This should occur a month after mating. Soon she will venture into the container to dig some. Keep an eye out but don’t disturb her too much. Once you spot them, rejoice!
- But here’s another tricky part! When you relocate the eggs from the box to the incubator, you must be careful! DO NOT switch or rotate them! Use a marker to note the tops and position so the eggs so they’re not accidently shifted or rotated.
- Check the eggs often. Make sure they aren’t moldy, and that the humidity stays at 85-90%. If mold does occur, wipe them gently with a paper towel. Remember, no rotating! Wait 60-70 days, or longer with higher temperature (the process takes longer at higher temps).
Once they hatch, take time for a happy dance!
I HAVE BABY GECKOS!!!!! Now what???
I recommend getting a Kritter Keeper cage for your babies. Use paper towels for bedding, bottle caps for food and water, and 1 small hideout and bit of foliage (like a vine). Don’t crowd in too much or they won’t be able to find their food and water. Don’t worry if they don’t eat right away. Sometimes it takes 3-4 days for hunger to set it!
Offer tiny insects once a week, and gecko diet 3 times a week (maybe more if you had lots of babies). No fresh food until they are a few months old. If one starts bullying others, remove them to another box.
After eight weeks of age, you can sell them if you wish!
Have fun and don’t forget to take pictures of those little cuties!
This article was written and contributed by Madison Bright.