Many new reptile owners are eager to find out if their new pet is male or female.
It helps them pick out names and determines how they should be housed or if breeding will be a possibility.
When it comes to sexing crested geckos, you might be wondering what mechanisms in geckos allow you to determine their gender.
Crested geckos are sexed by looking for the hemipenal bulge in adults or for the presence of a line of pores that stretches from one back leg to the other in males. You will need a jewelers loupe to view these small pores on a juvenile crested gecko. A vet will be able to help you sex your gecko.
If you are ready to learn more about whether your gecko is male or female, this guide will give you all the tools you need!
Why Do You Need To Sex Your Crested Gecko?
Some people simply want to sex their crested gecko to know whether they have a male or a female.
This information can help you to select an appropriate name and is just good for your general knowledge.
Once you’re sure of your pet’s gender check out our list of the best crested gecko names.
However, there are a couple of important reasons you may want to know what gender your crested gecko is.
To begin with, it can dictate how you house your new reptiles.
Putting multiple males in one enclosure is a recipe for disaster as they will often fight.
This leads to injuries that could require medical attention and a pricey visit to the veterinarian.
It also leads to bullying where some geckos may be forced out of resources like food until they become too weak to function.
Click here if you want to learn more about crested gecko cohabitation.
If you are thinking about becoming a gecko breeder, you want to know how to sex your new reptiles.
Your enclosure should contain a mating pair or one male with multiple females.
Those who do not know what gender their crested gecko is will have a more challenging time getting hatchlings from their reptiles.
You may even accidentally put two males together, leading to the same fighting problem listed above.
Whether you plan to breed or just want to house your reptiles appropriately, determining gender is an essential first step.
Sexing Adult Crested Geckos
Depending on the age of your crested gecko, it may be easier to identify whether you have a male or a female.
Adult geckos are more developed, and identifying their gender can easily be done by looking at their bodies.
Sexing them is easier if they are around six months or older and weigh between 8 and 16 grams.
Younger geckos cannot be accurately sexed, so you need to know roughly how old your crestie is.
Depending on what age you picked them up from the breeder or pet store, you may have to hold off on naming your gecko or deciding who to house it with until you are more certain of the gender.
Many people do not know exactly how old their gecko is.
This can easily be solved by contacting the gecko breeder you purchased it from or the pet store.
A pet store may not have the exact date of its birth, but it should have the date it received it in.
This information can help you to track backward and figure out the approximate age of your reptile.
When combined with their weight and size, it is possible to get pretty close to their actual age.
Males can generally be sexed by looking for the hemipenal bulge at the base of the tail.
This bulge is quite large and noticeable on adult crested geckos but not so much on juveniles.
If you notice a large bulge below your gecko’s girdle area near the base of the tail, then you are most likely looking at a male gecko.
However, it may not be fully visible until your gecko is one to two years old.
On occasion, females may have a small bulge as well.
If you are just noticing the bulge as your gecko gets older, it may take some time before you are able to determine whether it is a male or female.
It may get larger, indicating you have a male.
If it stays relatively the same size and is rather small, there is a good possibility you may still have a female.
This is the easiest way to go about sexing your gecko.
If your gecko is still too young to have developed a hemipenal bulge, other options help you identify gender.
Crested Gecko Pores
The rhacodactylus ciliatus or the crested gecko may be sexed by taking a closer look at its pores.
A pore typically presents itself as a black dot in the middle of a scale.
In males, these pores are typically seen stretching between the back legs in their girdle area.
An easily identified line of black pores between the back legs indicates you have a male crestie on your hands.
Keep in mind some females will have the occasional pore as well.
Evidence of a single pore does not indicate you have a male.
Rather, you are looking for a pattern or a line of pores stretching across their body.
The pores need to stretch across their body from one leg to the other to be a male.
These pores may be relatively easy to spot because the scales are often shiny.
This is not always the case, but you will likely notice at least some areas where the scales are shinier than others.
To look at the femoral pores, you first need to make sure your gecko is old enough to have developed these properly.
They should be between 6 and 15 grams before you attempt to take a closer look at these pores.
These mechanisms in geckos take a little while to develop, so you need to be more patient if you have a small or young gecko.
How to View the Crested Gecko Pores
If your gecko is still young, you may not be able to view its femoral pores with the naked eye.
A loupe magnifier or jewelry loupes can help you better look at what is going on between their legs.
You will need something that magnifies at least 10X, but a stronger loupe is even better.
A 30X loupe will make it easier to see the small details you are looking for.
We recommend these jewelry loupes from Amazon, which allow you to zoom in up to 60X.
Pinning down your crestie may be a bit of a challenge.
Put them in a small deli cup where they will be easier to control.
Using a small sponge or a folded-up washcloth, attempt to press them down gently so they will stay still while you examine them.
Using your loupe magnifier, take a close look at the pores on their girdle.
You will be able to spot the scales, which have a small black dot in the center of them.
There should be just one straight line stretching from one side to the other if it is a male.
You might want to take a picture and then use your computer to zoom in on the area.
This allows you to identify the small details at your leisure when you are not busy attempting to keep your reptile as still as possible while you examine them.
If you feel bad pinning your gecko down, you may also be able to view them on the walls of their enclosure.
These little reptiles love to climb and often spend their days hanging out on the glass walls of their terrarium.
If they are standing still on the side of the enclosure, get close to them from the other side to view other pores.
Be sure to move slowly, as you do not want to scare them into moving away from you while you attempt to view their pores.
If possible, take a picture again.
While you may have better luck viewing them for a longer period this way, a picture allows you to reference the image as many times as you want over the coming days or weeks.
When this does not work, you always take your new pet to see your local exotic veterinarian.
Whenever you get a new pet, it is good to get them established with a veterinarian if they need to be seen in the future.
Take your gecko into your clinic for a checkup, and be sure to ask if they can sex them while you’re there!
Size of the Body and Head
Another way to tell your crestie’s gender is to look at their overall body and head shape.
As with most animals, males are going to be a bit larger than females.
This method only really works if you have other reptiles to compare them to where you already know their gender.
You will be looking to see if your gecko is larger and stockier with a broader head.
When this is the case, you likely have a male crested gecko.
A gecko who is thinner and smaller is typically a female.
However, this is not always the case.
Sexing your crestie based on their size is sometimes misleading.
Every gecko is going to be unique.
This can help inform your decision if you also notice pores or a small hemipenal bulge.
However, there are other times when your gecko may be smaller than average despite being a male.
For example, a gecko who lives with others and is bullied out of food may be smaller and slighter despite being a male.
Be sure to account for extenuating circumstances like this before attempting to size up your gecko to determine his or her gender.
Misconception: Sexing Crested Geckos With Spurs
While you are spending so much time examining your crestie, you might notice they have two little white spurs in the area where the hemipenal bulge would typically develop.
They are located just below the vent on either side of the tail.
Because they are so close to the hemipenal bulge, many owners mistakenly believe these spurs could be a way to sex their gecko.
They believe larger spurs indicate a male while smaller ones are indicative of a female.
Unfortunately, this is a common misconception.
Every gecko will be unique, and the spurs are not one of the sex-determining mechanisms.
The presence of spurs or even large spurs does not indicate a particular gender.
Females can sometimes have larger than average spurs and will never develop a hemipenal bulge.
Look for the presence of the hemipenal bulge or pores instead of sexing your gecko with their spurs.
Is Crested Gecko Gender Temperature-Dependent?
One of the most common sex-determining mechanisms for reptiles is whether the sex is temperature-dependent.
In some species of reptiles, you will get more males when the eggs are incubated at a higher temperature and more females when they are incubated at a lower temperature.
Unfortunately, this may not always be the case with crested geckos.
Temperature is important to the health and size of your hatchlings.
However, it does not determine the gender of the rhacodactylus ciliatus.
If you are curious, inquire with your gecko breeder about the temperature when your egg was hatched.
They should have been kept between 70 and 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C).
While there may not be a strong connection here, it might be an interesting piece of trivia that can help you determine whether you likely have a male or female.