If your leopard gecko is pregnant, you are probably worried sick, anticipating the baby reptiles. Figuring out when she might start laying eggs might help you relax.
The average gestation period for a female leopard gecko is 56 days or about six weeks. It starts when the sperm enters the ovaries and ends once the egg is released. The incubation period for leopard gecko eggs is between 18-22 days.
Leopard geckos can mate anytime throughout the year. During the mating period, you should let the pair be together for at least 12 hours before any physical contact happens. It takes about two days for the female to ovulate.
You can tell if she’s pregnant by looking at her belly. You should start noticing changes right away.
How to Spot a Pregnant Gecko
- Look for changes in her behavior. If she seems lethargic or sluggish, she may not be feeling well.
- Watch for signs of eating problems. The gecko’s appetite could decrease because she isn’t getting enough nutrients. She might be stressed out if she spends too much time hiding in dark corners.
- Observe her breathing. If she appears short of breath, check her temperature. If it is below 98 degrees Fahrenheit, she needs to visit the vet immediately.
- Check for swelling. Sometimes when a female lays eggs, there is a fluid buildup around the body. If it becomes a problem, you can use towels to soak up the excess liquid.
- Take note of any abnormalities. Some females develop tumors, which can cause pain or discomfort.
What Should I Feed My Pregnant Leopard Gecko?
When planning your pregnant gecko’s diet, remember to include nutritious feeds to keep her strong and ensure she gets healthy babies. Make sure that all ingredients are natural, and choose foods that contain calcium, iron, and vitamin C.
These are essential vitamins for babies. Also, make sure that you only provide vitamins and minerals through food and not inject them directly into her system.
Feeding your pregnant leopard gecko should be easy; she only needs a high-quality reptile feeding dish, fresh vegetables and fruits, water, supplements, and a hideout. After feeding her, don’t leave dirty dishes unattended or allow her to lick them.
Dirty dishes left for long could contain germs that could harm her and her unborn babies.
Dietary Requirements for a Pregnant Leopard Gecko
- Protein-1/3rd of her weight in gm /day
- Calcium – 1% of her total calories with 0.5 grams per gram of protein
- Iron – 0.2 grams per gram of protein/day
- Vitamin C – 2 mg per gram of protein/gm of food
- B Vitamins – 0.05% of her total calories
- Fruits & Vegetables:
- Fresh fruit and veggies
Signs of an Impending Egg Hatch
The timing of an impending hatch for a leopard gecko can vary from one individual to another. In most cases, though, expect to see some signs of labor around two weeks before delivery. You will notice the female becomes more active than usual during this time.
Her being overly active may indicate that she wants to get out of her hiding place and explore her surroundings.
The first sign will be the change in color of the oviduct. When your leopard gecko decides that it’s time, it will become more withdrawn, and at this point, it won’t eat anything except for plants. The last few days before hatching will experience heightened sexual arousal again.
You will know when your Leopard Gecko is about to lay her eggs, but you need to keep a close watch for some other signs before that happens. It takes a female gecko about 16 to 22 days to lay an egg after copulation.
How Can I Help a Mother Leopard Gecko with Hatching?
When the first signs of an impending hatch start to appear for your pregnant leopard gecko, ensure that you take good care of her until she gives birth.
Although it’s more common for young mother geckos to hatch within 24 hours, sometimes they need extra time. Be patient! The extended hatching period is average for new mothers and should not worry you. All you need to do is ensure the mother is comfortable and feels safe during this period.
Here are ways to assist her in caring for her hatchlings;
- Keep a close eye on the nest. If you notice any holes, remove them immediately. Clutches that aren’t kept clean may attract pests.
- Give her plenty of room to move around without being harassed by other animals.
- Provide an escape route from predators.
- Clean the area where she lays the eggs thoroughly at least once a week.
- Feed her after she has finished nesting. Once the eggs hatch, she won’t need much more than leaves.
- Monitor her health closely. If she appears ill, seek veterinary assistance right away.
Do Female Leopard Geckos Lay Unfertilized Eggs?
Female leopard geckos often mate with males who are too old or too young, resulting in egg viability problems. Sometimes, females may be stressed during the breeding season. This stress could cause the eggs to become unviable.
Unfertilized eggs are called “unviable,” the eggs cannot develop because they lack sperm.
In most cases, these eggs are not viable due to improper mating. However, they can also be due to improper nutrition or if the female feels threatened. It’s est to provide her with a safe environment where she feels secure.
How to Identify Viable and Non-viable Eggs
- Have a smooth, shiny surface
- Are oval-shaped
- Have rough or flaky surfaces
- Are angular in shape
- Take up less space than viable eggs
You can also use the candling method to identify viable eggs. But it is difficult to perform this method in captivity.
How to Determine Egg Viability Using the Candling Method
- Place the eggs under a strong light source
- Put a piece of paper over the eggs and then carefully peel back the shell layers
- Note whether there are differences between the two types of eggs
The color difference depends on the amount of yolk present in the egg. A fully developed embryo contains a large amount of yolk. Therefore, the eggshell turns white as soon as you uncover it. An immature embryo has little yolk, and hence, the eggshell remains yellowish.
The eggshells of fertilized eggs contain a layer of chorion. A chorion is a thick membrane that helps protect the embryo while it develops. It also helps during the hatching process, causing the embryo to break out of its shell.
Older females lay eggs with thin and soft shells, while younger females lay eggs with hard and brittle shells.
Tips for Taking Care of the Healthy Eggs until They Hatch
- It is best to keep them warm and dry by using a heating pad or a heat lamp.
- Ensure that there is ample ventilation because the temperature inside the cage must stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You may need to move your geckos around frequently to avoid crowding.
- If you notice any eggshells that appear loose or cracked, gently use tweezers to remove them from the shell.
- Please do not attempt to force open the shell with your fingers unless it is very small & easy to do so. This can cause damage to the egg.
- Keep the humidity level between 40-60 percent. Do not let the eggs get wet.
FAQ’s about Leopard Gecko
Conclusion on How Long After Mating Do Leopard Geckos Lay Eggs?
If you’re taking care of a pregnant leopard gecko for the first time, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a licensed veterinarian. However, the tasks are simple, and by following these guidelines, you can help your leopard gecko have a successful pregnancy.
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