Many reptiles, including leopard geckos, lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young.
You will notice her furiously digging in the enclosure when your female leopard gecko is getting ready to lay her eggs.
This constant digging is the gecko’s way of making her nest.
If you see eggs in your leopard gecko’s enclosure one day, and then the next day they are gone, you may wonder what happened to them.
So, is there a chance your leopard gecko ate her eggs?
Leopard geckos have been known to eat their own eggs, especially if they have a calcium deficiency. A female leopard gecko is more likely to eat unfertilized eggs since she knows they are not viable. The leopard gecko may eat the eggs to keep her habitat clean.
If unfertilized leopard gecko eggs are left in the enclosure, they will rot and spread bacteria.
Leopard geckos are one of the few reptile species known to eat their eggs.
Keep reading to learn how to prevent your leopard gecko from engaging in this odd behavior.
How To Prevent a Leopard Gecko from Eating Its Own Eggs
A leopard gecko eating its eggs is undesirable and could signal a problem with your reptile’s health.
Leos typically eat a regular diet of insects and are not naturally inclined to eat eggs.
Fortunately, there are a couple of easy ways to prevent this type of behavior.
Add a Calcium Supplement
If your leopard gecko is eating her eggs, this could mean she has a calcium deficiency.
A calcium deficiency causes severe health consequences for leos and may lead to metabolic bone disease.
Metabolic bone disease occurs when a reptile’s body begins to leach calcium from its bones.
This causes the bones to soften and results in debilitating deformities of the spine and legs.
The leopard gecko will become unable to walk and will eventually die.
There is no cure for metabolic bone disease and no way to reverse the damaging effects.
To avoid this painful disease, include a calcium supplement in your leo’s diet at least three times per week.
Calcium supplements for reptiles come in powder form and are usually sprinkled onto gut-loaded feeder insects.
Always remember to feed your gecko insects no larger than the space between its eyes to avoid a choking hazard.
Further Reading: A complete guide to leopard geckos and calcium
Remove the Eggs From the Enclosure
Another way to prevent your leo from eating her eggs is to remove them shortly after they are laid.
You may be able to tell whether or not the eggs are fertilized by shining a bright light through the shell.
In fertile eggs, you will see veins and a shadow.
When the eggs are infertile, they will appear slightly yellow inside.
If your female has recently mated and you know the eggs are fertile, move them to an incubator if you want them to hatch.
Be careful not to rotate the eggs in the incubator, as the embryo could drown in its fluid.
You do not need an expensive commercial reptile incubator to keep the eggs at an ideal temperature.
A small breathable container with substrate and a lid with air holes placed under a heat lamp will do just fine.
You must keep the eggs at an incubation temperature between 80-90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) and periodically mist the substrate to maintain proper moisture levels.
The egg temperature determines the sex of the hatchlings.
Higher incubation temperatures produce females, while lower temperatures produce males.
The egg incubation period lasts 35-90 days until they hatch.
A few days after hatching, you may begin offering the baby geckos food and a shallow dish of fresh water.
An excellent diet option for baby geckos consists of small crickets no larger than ⅜” of an inch.
You do not need anything special to get the hatchlings to eat.
As long as the food moves, the baby geckos will go for it.
Do Leopard Geckos Lay Eggs Without Mating?
When an adult leopard gecko female reaches sexual maturity, she begins ovulating.
Even if your female has not mated, she may periodically lay a clutch of eggs.
When your female gecko is gravid, offer her additional food with vitamins and calcium to ensure she receives plenty of nutrients to lay her eggs.
The female is most likely to lay eggs during the leopard gecko breeding season, which lasts from January to late September or early October.
This is generally not an issue since the eggs are unfertilized, but there may be complications such as egg binding.
Egg binding occurs when the gecko is unable to lay her eggs.
The eggs become stuck in the oviduct and lead to severe complications.
She could die if egg binding is not treated in your leo right away.
You will likely need the assistance of a reptile veterinarian to safely resolve the issue.
One odd quirk you need to know about leopard geckos is their ability to retain sperm.
A female leopard gecko can store sperm in her body for up to 9 months.
During this time, she may lay fertile clutches of eggs.
The gestation period in leopard geckos will last anywhere from 16-22 days after mating before they lay the eggs.
If your female mated with a male before you got her, you may be surprised with fertile leopard gecko eggs.
For the baby leopard geckos to hatch, you will need to move them to a separate incubator.
Do Leopard Geckos Take Care of Their Babies?
Female leopard geckos are not known for being attentive mothers.
Once the female gecko lays her eggs, she leaves them to hatch on their own.
If you want the eggs to hatch, move them to a separate container to incubate.
Even if the adult gecko tank has sufficient temperatures for incubation, there is likely not enough moisture in the nesting box to keep the eggs from drying.
Baby leopard geckos are independent from the moment they are born, and they must figure out how to survive without any intervention from their mother.
Will a Leopard Gecko Eat Its Babies?
Once the eggs have hatched, do not put the baby leopard geckos in the same enclosure as the adults.
An adult leopard gecko, especially a male, will eat its babies.
Always keep the hatchling leopard geckos in a separate enclosure to prevent this from happening.
There is no specific reason for a leo to eat its babies.
Most of the time, this behavior occurs simply because the adult gecko sees the babies as a food source.
Since hatchlings are such a small size, they have no way to defend themselves.
As previously stated, female leopard geckos are not good mothers, and sometimes they will eat the baby geckos because they perceive them as a threat or a nuisance.
An adult leopard gecko will rarely eat another adult except in the wild, but this does not mean it is always safe to house multiple leos together.
Pet leopard geckos will not eat each other, but they are unlikely to get along.
Never place two males in the same enclosure because they will become territorial and aggressive toward each other.
This aggressive behavior often leads to fighting, and your geckos could become seriously injured or even killed.
It is generally safe to house two females together as long as there is enough room in the enclosure for each lizard to have her own space.