Crested Gecko Breeding
I would not recommend breeding crested geckos to the beginner. They are the first reptile I have bred and even though I did a huge amount of research, there were still surprises.
Below I will try to share all of the knowledge I've attained from both my research and my personal experience. I believe this will be a very helpful amount of information, but if you are intending to breed your crested geckos do not rely soley on this page! Do as much research as possible before you start.
I would also highly recommend you get a copy of Rhacodactylus by Phillippe de Vosjoli, Frank Fast, and Allen Repashy. It's very useful to have it on hand for reference.
Obviously, the first thing you need is a breeding pair or harem (more than one female with one male).
Select healthy geckos and, if you desire, ones that are very attractive and that you think will produce exceptionally patterned offspring. In one of my first breeding pairs, the male and female both had the white fringe trait. Their offspring had the same. In my other pair, both parents had some tiger pattern, their offspring had the same. ]
Before you put your male and female together there is something you should know that I did not, taking the female away from the male will NOT stop her from producing fertile eggs. The female need only mate with the male once to produce a number of clutches of eggs.
A clutch of eggs is the amount of eggs the female gecko lays at a single time. The most this species will lay at a time is two. They sometimes lay only one but usually only if they are young breeders, older breeders or have health problems. After about four weeks passes from the first clutch of eggs she will lay another clutch. This cycle goes on and a female can lay 10-20 clutches a year.
Producing eggs, however, makes big demands on the females calcium reserves. And, as you should know, metabolic bone disease which comes from being calcium defincient is a very common problem in all reptiles and amphibians. You need to make sure your females are getting a sufficient amount of calcium.
Kinks in the tail, bends in the pelvis, and distorted jaws (you can see the bottom jaw sticking out by looking down on them) are all signs that a gecko has had or has a calcium definciency. These mutations are permanent except for the kinks in the tail which only might correct itself with proper calcium supplementation.
Above left: The kinks in the tail may straighten themselves out, but the twist/bend of the pelvic bone at the tales base is likely permanent. Above right: The arrow points to the portruding jaw of the crested gecko due to calcium deficiency. Click for larger images.
If your gecko develops a calcium defincieny or you want her to stop laying eggs for any reason, it seems the only way to do this is to slowly drop the temperature of her cage over a period of days about 10 degrees from her usual temperature and also reduce the number of daylight hours. This will hopefully send her body the message that it is winter and she will stop laying eggs. In my experience, it didn't work. I just had to boost up the calcium and wait it out. She recovered fine.
After mating with the male, the egg(s) will take about four weeks to develop in the female. Though it can be difficult to tell if a female is gravid (pregnant) at times, other times it can be extremely easy. The female will develop bulges beneath her ribs and before her back legs. They will become larger as they develop and by gently touching her sides you can feel that they are firm. You may also be able to see the outlines of the eggs through her stomach if she is climbing on the glass.
The female will lay her eggs in a cool damp place. You should give her some sort of container filled with damp moss or mulch that she can burrow in and lay her eggs. I used tupaware. If you keep this container the dampest (but don't soak it!) of their terrarium, you can be almost positive that she will lay her eggs there.
Aphrodite resting after laying her second clutch of '07.
When it gets to the due date, check often for the eggs, but don't take them from her until she has left them. This will only stress her. If she has not laid them in the container you provided but is lacking her bulging tummy, look through the tank very carefully. The eggs are fragile so be very careful any time you have to pick them up.
It is important that you do not rotate the eggs at all. If you pick them up, make sure you always keep the side that was up when it was laid up at all times. This could harm the developing gecko.
You may find various ways to "incubate" crested geckos online, but here's what has worked best for me so far: I leave the eggs in the container they were laid in (though when it gets close to hatching time I dig them out of the moss or mulch and put them on the top of it so that the geckos can get out easier. I puncture a few holes in the top of the tupaware containers and use them to help keep in the humdity.
Keeping the eggs on a layer of mulch with some damp moss over them seems to have worked best for me, though the same thing with a paper towel in place of the moss works, as well as just moss and just mulch. The main thing is just to keep them moist, but not too wet.
If the eggs are too dry they will begin to wrinkle and cave in. Luckily, if you don't leave them like this for too long, you can moisten the eggs and they will fill out again and look healthy.
As the gecko inside the eggs develops, the eggs will actually expand some from when they were first laid.
Above left: Five days old. Above right: Month and a half old. Click to see bigger image.
I have kept the temperature fluctuating in the mid 70's. A little higher or lower should be fine. Some people claim that eggs incubated a lower temperature will produce more female offspring and those incubated in the higher range will produce more males. This is the case with leopard geckos, but it has never really been confirmed with Cresteds.
Eggs hatch after about 70 days and you will have beautiful little baby geckos! Babies are fed the same thing as adults just scaled down to their size.
Baby fire crested gecko. Just hatched. Click to see enlarged.
This article was also published at Associated Content:
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