Crested geckos are adorable pets, but they’re fairly sensitive in nature.
They need proper care; part of this is knowing what gender they are.
But it’s hard for most to tell if a crested gecko is male or female, and you have to wait until they’re a certain age too.
Whether you want the perfect name for your new pet or to know if your gecko will lay eggs, let’s explore your options and the steps to take to safely determine your crested gecko’s sex.
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How To Tell If A Crested Gecko Is Male Or Female
Male crested geckos have hemipenal bulges at the base of their tail, while females have a more flattened area. To accurately determine your gecko’s sex, carefully analyze their preanal pores, cloacal spurs, hemipenal bulges, and overall size. Wait until they reach full growth around 1 year of age to be more accurate.
If you’re lucky, the breeder or pet shop you purchased the lizard from will be able to tell you the gecko’s sex or at least make a rough guess.
If they aren’t sure, wait until they are around 1 year old, or between 25 and 55 grams in weight, to figure out their sex on your own.
Males weigh less than females in crested geckos.
Ask your veterinarian or a reputable breeder for a second opinion if you are still unsure.
There is no surefire way to simply glance at your crested gecko and immediately know their sex, as plenty of variation exists amongst male and female lizards.
For example, while all males do have preanal pores, many females also display them prominently.
Also, cloacal spurs are present in both sexes, even though, in general, males have larger than normal spurs.
Overall, size is not a reliable indicator on its own, either, as females often grow to be just as large as males.
You or a reptile expert must closely examine your gecko to make the most educated guess about their sex.
The older your lizard, the easier this process is, so while you are probably anxious to know your lizard’s sex early on, it is best to wait until they reach sexual maturity to know for sure.
What about names for your pet?
Well, the pets themselves don’t care, so you don’t need to either.
But if you want some help, check out our massive list of crested gecko names for you to pick from.
Will My Breeder or Pet Shop Know My Gecko’s Sex?
In some cases, the breeder or pet store you purchased the animal from will already know if the gecko is male or female.
Before you pick up your gecko and start looking for pores or spurs, first contact the previous owner or seller and ask them if they have either the lizard’s sex or hatching date available.
There is a possibility the breeder or pet shop will only know the gecko’s hatching date.
If this is the case, you will still be able to use this information to your advantage.
If you know when your gecko hatched, you will be able to determine its age.
By referring to their age, you will be able to track when they are nearing sexual maturity and also know how reliable your methods are when figuring out your lizard’s sex.
Unfortunately, this information isn’t always readily available to pet shops and even some breeders.
If the previous owner isn’t sure of the gecko’s age or sex, don’t fret.
You will still be able to refer to the gecko’s size and biology to roughly estimate their age and sex.
Should a Veterinarian Determine My Gecko’s Sex?
It is always a good idea to ask your reptile veterinarian for their opinion on anything you aren’t sure about regarding your pet’s health, including whether or not your gecko is male or female.
Many less experienced crested gecko owners simply don’t feel they can accurately gauge their gecko’s sex just by looking at them, and your vet will understand and appreciate you coming to them for guidance.
Also, getting a second or even third opinion will help you determine the gender of your gecko as reliably as possible.
If you’ve examined their pores, spurs, and bulge and still are on the fence, get in touch with experts near you and ask them to take a look for themselves.
When Should I Sex My Crested Gecko?
You certainly could look at any hatchling gecko and find evidence of a bulge or preanal pores, but babies tend to look the same regardless of whether they are male or female.
In general, the larger and older your gecko is, the more accurately you will be able to discern their sex.
Measure your gecko’s current weight to decide if they are large enough for you to accurately determine their sex yet.
The standard weight for an adult crested gecko is around 50 grams, but you will probably be able to sex your gecko when they are much smaller.
When crested gecko babies reach around 2-4 months of age, they start to display differences in the pore, spur, and bulge size.
While it is possible to make a rough guess about their sex at this age, it is best to wait until they are at least 6 months old or at least 10 grams in weight to know for sure.
When your gecko reaches a sexable weight, you will have much less difficulty handling them and getting a closer look at the area around their vent than if you were to attempt this with a hatchling.
When reaching sexual maturity at anywhere from 6-9 months, you will be able to tell with certainty if they are male or female.
Upon reaching sexual maturity, the differences between male and female geckos are most prominent, and even novice reptile keepers can sex them.
Still, waiting until they’re a year old will be even easier as the difference will be significant.
Characteristics To Look For When Sexing Your Crested Gecko
Unfortunately, there is no single way to tell whether your gecko is male or female.
Rather, you will have to closely examine your lizard and consider several factors to make an educated guess.
The main four characteristics you will be analyzing when sexing your gecko are as follows:
Note: I didn’t talk about laying eggs as a trait because this is an obvious indicator your crested gecko is female.
Related Reading: Why is my crested gecko laying eggs without a male?
Male geckos have a line of small but pronounced preanal pores above their vents.
These pores look like small, shiny dots in the centers of their scales.
Females have definite pores, too, but female preanal pores are typically much smaller and fewer in number.
The appearance of your gecko’s pores should not be used as the primary determinant of sex because pore size and number vary amongst male and female geckos.
Your gecko’s cloacal spurs are two white pointy projections, almost like spikes, protruding from their bulge underneath their vent.
Males generally have larger spurs with a more prominent appearance, but female crested geckos display them too.
The appearance of spurs alone is not an accurate indicator of sex.
Bulge size and appearance
As your crested gecko reaches sexual maturity, it will develop a distinct bulge below its vent.
Males usually have larger bulges than females of their species, but this is not always the case.
Some females have fairly large bulges, too.
The defining characteristic of the male hemipenal bulges is how they’re separated.
It looks like two lumps, almost like testicles stuck inside their body.
Overall body size and length
While there is considerable variation in size amongst male and female crested geckos, males tend to be larger and have broader heads.
Also, females usually weigh less overall than males.
However, it is not uncommon for female geckos to grow to large sizes as well, and overweight female geckos are often mistaken for males.
Further Reading: Why is my crested gecko overweight?
Always take each of these factors into account when sexing your crested gecko.
You probably won’t be able to immediately tell with 100% certainty whether your lizard is male or female.
Still, by closely observing each of these qualities, you will have an accurate method to discern your gecko’s sex.
Crested geckos are quite hardy reptiles, but still, be gentle while handling them.
Again, if you aren’t sure, get another opinion from a reptile expert or veterinarian.
They will be able to inform you of your gecko’s exact gender more definitively than if you were to attempt to figure it out alone.
If you’re particularly desperate, visit a crested gecko forum online and ask other crested gecko owners their opinion.
Using A Crested Jeweler’s Loupe To Sex Your Gecko
A jeweler’s loupe is a small magnifying device used to examine objects more closely, in this case, your lizard.
They are cheaply and easily purchased from various retailers such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, and jewelry-making shops.
A jeweler’s loupe like this one on Amazon is an excellent choice.
If you want to save money, use a magnifying glass and a flashlight.
Even adult crested geckos are fairly small lizards, and getting a close look at their preanal pores and cloacal spurs is difficult without additional magnification.
A jeweler’s loupe, or even an illuminated magnifying glass, is perfect for sexing your gecko as accurately and easily as possible, particularly if you have a skittish gecko who isn’t too keen on letting you examine its reproductive organs up close.
A crested gecko bite is painful, so handle your lizard carefully.
Further Reading: Your crested gecko bit you. What now?
Stressed crested geckos usually emit a hissing sound, so if you hear your gecko vocalizing, it is probably time to put them back in their terrarium and give them a break to prevent any risk of injury while sexing them.
Determining the sex of your crested gecko is a rather complex process and shouldn’t be reliably discerned at a glance.
The older your gecko is, the easier it will be for you to accurately tell if they are male or female.
It is also helpful to get additional opinions from reptile experts or veterinarians when sexing your gecko to be as sure as possible.
While figuring out the sex of your crested gecko is not as simple as looking at any one single characteristic, by taking multiple features into account, you will quickly be able to tell if your new pet is male or female.