Leopard Geckos are amazing reptiles that have been a popular choice among pet enthusiasts for many years. These lovely creatures are not only charming but also very easy to take care of, making them a beloved pet for many.
However, there’s one behavior that often leaves owners puzzled and curious: the phenomenon of female leopard geckos laying eggs without any male involvement!
This may seem strange, but it’s actually quite fascinating and raises numerous questions.
Why do they produce eggs without a mate?
Is there a biological reason behind this intriguing behavior?
As a general rule, once a female leopard gecko reaches sexual maturity, she will start a normal body process known as ovulating. This will cause the leopard gecko to produce eggs regularly, and she will either lay them or absorb them back into her body.
It is essential to recognize the signs of pregnancy in your leopard gecko.
Even if the eggs are infertile, your lizard will need extra calcium and special care to ensure she does not have any issues such as egg binding.
Keep reading for more information on the signs of pregnancy in your leopard gecko, as well as how to tell if your leopard gecko is about to lay eggs.
We will also explore the possible scenario where the eggs may be fertile and tell you how to help an egg-bound leopard gecko.
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How To Tell If A Leopard Gecko Is Pregnant
Female leopard geckos reach sexual maturity between 18-24 months old.
If you’re unsure of your pet’s age, here is our guide on how to tell how old your leopard gecko is.
At this stage in life, the female starts ovulating and may become pregnant with or without mating.
There are a few signs of pregnancy in a Leo, and it is wise to learn what to look for so you can provide your lizard with proper care and nutrition during this time.
The most common symptoms include:
- A swollen abdomen
- Lack of appetite
- Behavioral changes
- Being able to see the eggs
This section will take a closer look at these symptoms, so you will be prepared if your Leo becomes pregnant.
A Swollen Abdomen
A swollen abdomen is the most obvious sign of pregnancy in a female leopard gecko.
This swelling is different from typical weight gain because it is usually symmetrical.
This is because leopard geckos have clutches of two eggs at a time.
If you would like to check whether or not your Leo is pregnant, gently press her belly to feel for the eggs.
They will feel like firm muscles or two lumps under the stomach.
Lack of Appetite
Once the pregnancy is near the end, your leopard gecko may be eating very little or not at all.
A Leo’s stomach and digestive tract become smaller once the eggs grow and take up space.
Ensure your leopard gecko gets enough nutrition by adding calcium and multivitamin supplements to every meal.
You may also notice your leopard gecko’s tail starting to get thinner, and this is due to the lack of appetite.
Leos store fat and nutrients in their tail to sustain them when they do not have enough food, so this is the first place they lose weight when they are not eating.
Another symptom of pregnancy in a leopard gecko is lethargy, which occurs for a couple of reasons.
Your lizard is moving slower because of the lack of energy from not eating while the eggs grow in her body.
Another reason your Leo is moving slower is because of her protective instinct.
Leo’s will hide in the wild to avoid predators, and this instinct kicks in even when the reptile is in captivity.
Therefore, you will likely notice your leopard gecko moving slowly and not going too far from her hiding spot.
Once a leopard gecko becomes pregnant, her protective instincts take over, and she becomes very alert.
This heightened alertness means your leopard gecko is more likely to display some aggressive or stressed out behaviors, such as:
- Running away from you
- Biting and hissing at you
- Dropping its tail
It is best not to handle your leopard gecko during this time, and you should also keep her away from loud noises and lots of movement.
This will help keep your Leo’s stress to a minimum so she can stay healthy during her pregnancy.
Placing a nesting box inside the enclosure will also comfort your pet by giving her a place to hide and keep her eggs safe.
Do Leopard Geckos Retain Sperm?
Leopard geckos possess a special trait, and I feel it is worth mentioning here.
This means they only have to mate once to lay fertile eggs during the year.
It is possible to purchase a leopard gecko who has mated without your knowledge, only to wind up with fertile eggs in her enclosure a week later.
Your Leo will continue to lay eggs until all of the stored sperm has been used up.
While this phenomenon is rare, it does manage to catch leopard gecko owners off guard when they weren’t planning on raising babies.
Leos have two eggs per clutch and can have as many as 16 eggs from mating just once in one year.
Leopard gecko eggs are not guaranteed to be fertile with sperm retention as there may not be enough sperm to fertilize the eggs adequately.
However, you should still be aware of sperm retention so you are not caught off guard.
And if you end up with eggs, we have a guide on how to incubate leopard gecko eggs if you’re interested.
How To Tell When Your Leopard Gecko Is About To Lay Eggs
A leopard gecko pregnancy lasts anywhere from 21-28 days, and then it will take another 35-89 days until the eggs will hatch.
If the eggs are infertile, they will shrivel up and start to mold, so it is important to remove any infertile eggs from the enclosure as soon as you find them.
There are several signs your Leo is about to lay her eggs, and it is important to recognize these signs so you can ensure the process goes smoothly for your pet.
These signs include:
- Excessive digging
- Muscle contractions in the hind limbs
- You will be able to see the eggs on the underside of your leo’s body
- Loss of appetite
- Clear fluid leaking from the cloaca
If you notice these signs, it is a good indication your leopard gecko will be laying her eggs within a matter of days.
Continue to monitor your leopard gecko to ensure she does not have any issues with egg binding.
If you know your Leo has never mated and the eggs are infertile, be sure to remove them as soon as you find them so they do not get moldy.
You would need to place fertile eggs in a plastic container filled with peat moss to retain moisture and properly incubate them by keeping them at a warm temperature.
The eggs will be tiny, so the container does not have to be very large, and if kept at an adequately warm temperature, they will hatch in a matter of weeks.
Helping An Egg Bound Leopard Gecko
Egg binding happens when a female gecko is unable to lay her eggs.
Low temperature and humidity in the enclosure, stress, and a lack of nutrition cause egg binding.
Complications occurring when a leopard gecko is eggbound include inflammation of the reproductive tract, peritonitis, and even death of the lizard.
Your leopard gecko will show signs of depression, lethargy, complete lack of appetite, and she may start digging a lot and will appear to be straining to lay the egg.
If you suspect your Leo is egg-bound, it is vital to see veterinary care right away.
Not only will the veterinarian be able to diagnose your leopard gecko properly, but they will also be able to give her the proper treatment before her condition becomes deadly.
Cracking the Code: The Mystery Behind Female Leopard Geckos’ Solo Egg Production
Leopard geckos make great pets; however, don’t be surprised if you find your female leopard gecko laying eggs without a mate!
In this guide, we have cracked the code behind the reproductive quirks of female leopard geckos. From pregnancy symptoms to postnatal care and how to help an egg-bound leopard gecko, you’ll find all the details you need to take good care of your pet.