How to Breed Crested Geckos: A Complete Guide for Beginners
Crested geckos are one of the most popular reptile pets in the world. They are easy to care for, have a variety of colors and patterns, and can live up to 20 years in captivity. But did you know that you can also breed them at home? Breeding crested geckos can be a rewarding and fun hobby, as well as a potential source of income. However, it is not as simple as putting two geckos together and waiting for eggs. There are many factors to consider before you start breeding crested geckos, such as their health, genetics, sex, age, diet, temperature, humidity, and more. In this article, we will guide you through the basics of how to breed crested geckos, from choosing the right pair to incubating the eggs and caring for the hatchlings.
- Breeding crested geckos requires careful planning and preparation. You need to make sure that your geckos are healthy, mature, compatible, and ready to breed.
- You need to provide your geckos with a suitable breeding environment, including a large enclosure, hiding places, plants, substrate, food, water, and calcium supplements.
- You need to monitor your geckos for signs of mating behavior, such as tail wagging, head bobbing, biting, and vocalizing. You also need to check for eggs every few days and remove them from the enclosure.
- You need to incubate the eggs in a separate container with moist vermiculite or perlite. You need to keep the temperature and humidity stable and avoid disturbing the eggs. The incubation period can vary from 60 to 120 days, depending on the temperature.
- You need to care for the hatchlings in a separate enclosure with similar conditions as the adults, but with smaller food items, more hiding places, and lower temperatures. You need to feed them daily, mist them twice a day, and supplement them with calcium and vitamins.
How to Choose a Breeding Pair of Crested Geckos
The first step to breeding crested geckos is to choose a suitable pair. You need to consider the following factors when selecting your breeding pair:
- Health: Your geckos should be healthy and free of any signs of illness, injury, or parasites. They should have a good appetite, clear eyes, smooth skin, and a full tail. They should also have a healthy weight, which is usually around 35 to 50 grams for adults.
- Genetics: Your geckos should have good genetics, which means that they have desirable traits, such as color, pattern, size, and structure. You should also avoid breeding geckos that are closely related, such as siblings, parents, or offspring, as this can lead to inbreeding and genetic defects. You can use a pedigree chart or a genetic calculator to track the lineage of your geckos and avoid inbreeding.
- Sex: Your geckos should be of opposite sex, as crested geckos are not hermaphrodites and cannot self-fertilize. You can sex your geckos by looking for the presence or absence of hemipenal bulges, which are two swellings at the base of the tail. Male geckos have hemipenal bulges, while female geckos do not. You can also look for preanal pores, which are small dots above the vent. Male geckos have more visible and larger preanal pores than female geckos. You can usually sex your geckos when they are around 6 months old and weigh at least 15 grams.
- Age: Your geckos should be mature and ready to breed, which is usually around 12 to 18 months old and weigh at least 35 grams. Breeding geckos that are too young or too small can cause health problems, such as egg binding, calcium deficiency, and stunted growth. You should also avoid breeding geckos that are too old or too large, as this can reduce their fertility and lifespan.
When Do Ball Pythons Stop Growing: Everything You Need to Know
- Introduction: Explain what ball pythons are, why they are popular pets, and what the main topic of the article is.
- How Big Do Ball Pythons Get: Describe the average size and weight of ball pythons, and how they vary depending on sex, genetics, and morph.
- How Fast Do Ball Pythons Grow: Explain the growth rate of ball pythons, and how it depends on factors such as age, diet, temperature, and health.
- When Do Ball Pythons Reach Their Full Size: Give an estimate of when ball pythons stop growing, and how to tell if your ball python has reached its full size.
- How to Measure Your Ball Python: Provide a step-by-step guide on how to measure your ball python’s length and weight, and what tools and methods to use.
- How to Track Your Ball Python’s Growth: Suggest some ways to record and monitor your ball python’s growth, such as using a growth chart, a journal, or a digital app.
- How to Feed Your Ball Python for Optimal Growth: Recommend a feeding schedule and diet for your ball python, and how to adjust it according to your ball python’s age, size, and activity level.
- How to Provide the Right Environment for Your Ball Python’s Growth: Advise on how to set up and maintain a suitable enclosure for your ball python, and what factors to consider, such as space, substrate, temperature, humidity, lighting, and enrichment.
- How to Prevent or Treat Common Growth Problems in Ball Pythons: Identify and explain some common growth problems in ball pythons, such as stunted growth, obesity, dehydration, parasites, and infections, and how to prevent or treat them.
- Conclusion: Summarize the main points of the article, and provide some tips and resources for further learning.
How to Prepare Your Geckos for Breeding
Before you introduce your geckos to each other, you need to make sure that they are in good condition and ready to breed. You can do this by following these steps:
- Cool down: You need to simulate the natural seasonal cycle of crested geckos by lowering the temperature and the photoperiod (the amount of light) in their enclosure for about 2 to 3 months. This will trigger their reproductive hormones and increase their fertility. You can cool down your geckos by keeping the temperature between 18°C and 22°C (64°F and 72°F), and reducing the light to 10 to 12 hours per day.
- Warm up: After the cool down period, you need to gradually increase the temperature and the light in their enclosure to stimulate their breeding activity. You can warm up your geckos by keeping the temperature between 23°C and 28°C (74°F and 82°F), and increasing the light to 14 to 16 hours per day.
- Feed well: You need to provide your geckos with a nutritious and varied diet to ensure that they have enough energy and resources to produce healthy eggs and offspring. You can feed your geckos a mix of commercial crested gecko diet, live insects, and fresh fruits. You should also supplement their food with calcium and vitamin D3 powder, especially for the females, as they need more calcium to form the eggshells.
- Check the weight: You need to weigh your geckos regularly to monitor their health and readiness for breeding. You can use a digital scale or a kitchen scale to measure their weight in grams. You should aim for a weight of at least 35 grams for both males and females, as this indicates that they are mature and healthy enough to breed.
How to Set Up a Breeding Enclosure for Crested Geckos
Once your geckos are ready to breed, you need to provide them with a suitable breeding enclosure. You can use the same enclosure that you use for housing your geckos, or you can set up a separate one for breeding purposes. The breeding enclosure should have the following features:
- Size: The enclosure should be large enough to accommodate your breeding pair and their offspring. A minimum size of 60 x 45 x 60 cm (24 x 18 x 24 inches) is recommended, but you can use a larger one if you have more space and budget. You should avoid overcrowding your geckos, as this can cause stress and aggression.
- Hiding places: The enclosure should have plenty of hiding places for your geckos to feel secure and comfortable. You can use artificial or natural plants, cork bark, coconut shells, cardboard tubes, or other items to create hiding spots. You should also provide a moist hide box, which is a container filled with moist sphagnum moss or paper towels, where your geckos can retreat and lay their eggs.
- Plants: The enclosure should have live or artificial plants to provide your geckos with climbing and resting areas, as well as humidity and oxygen. You can use plants that are safe and suitable for crested geckos, such as pothos, philodendron, bromeliads, orchids, or ferns. You should avoid plants that are toxic or have sharp edges, such as cacti, ivy, or aloe vera.
- Substrate: The enclosure should have a substrate that is safe, absorbent, and easy to clean. You can use paper towels, newspaper, reptile carpet, or coco fiber as substrate. You should avoid substrates that are loose, dusty, or edible, such as sand, soil, or wood chips, as they can cause impaction or infection if ingested by your geckos.
- Food and water: The enclosure should have food and water dishes that are accessible and clean. You can use shallow dishes or bottle caps to offer your geckos their food and water. You should change the water daily and the food every other day. You should also mist the enclosure twice a day to provide your geckos with drinking water and humidity.
How to Breed Your Crested Geckos
After you have prepared and introduced your geckos to each other, you can expect them to start breeding soon. You can follow these steps to breed your crested geckos:
- Watch for mating behavior: You can observe your geckos for signs of mating behavior, such as tail wagging, head bobbing, biting, and vocalizing. These are ways that the male gecko courts and mates with the female gecko. The mating process can last from a few minutes to an hour, and it can be repeated several times over a few days or weeks.
- Check for eggs: You can check for eggs every few days by gently lifting the moist hide box and looking inside. You can also gently palpate the female gecko’s abdomen to feel for any lumps. The female gecko can lay one or two eggs at a time, and she can lay up to 10 clutches per year. The eggs are usually white, oval, and soft, and they are attached to each other by a thin membrane.
- Remove the eggs: You can carefully remove the eggs from the moist hide box and place them in a separate container for incubation. You should avoid rotating or shaking the eggs, as this can damage the embryo inside. You should also mark the top of the eggs with a pencil or a marker, so that you can keep them in the same orientation during incubation.
- Incubate the eggs: You can incubate the eggs in a plastic or plastic container with a lid, filled with moist vermiculite or perlite. You should make sure that the substrate is damp but not wet, and that the eggs are half-buried in it. You should also poke some holes in the lid for ventilation. You should keep the container in a dark and stable place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. You should monitor the temperature and humidity of the container regularly, and adjust them as needed. The ideal temperature range for incubating crested gecko eggs is between 21°C and 26°C (70°F and 79°F), and the ideal humidity range is between 80% and 100%. The temperature and humidity can affect the sex and development of the hatchlings, as well as the incubation period. Higher temperatures and humidity tend to produce more females and faster development, while lower temperatures and humidity tend to produce more males and slower development. The incubation period can vary from 60 to 120 days, depending on the temperature and humidity.
How to Care for Your Crested Gecko Hatchlings
Once the eggs hatch, you need to provide proper care for your crested gecko hatchlings. You can do this by following these steps:
- Transfer the hatchlings: You can gently transfer the hatchlings from the incubation container to a separate enclosure for housing. You should use a soft and clean tool, such as a spoon or a paintbrush, to scoop up the hatchlings and place them in the new enclosure. You should avoid handling the hatchlings with your hands, as they can be very fragile and skittish.
- Set up the enclosure: You can set up the enclosure for the hatchlings similar to the one for the adults, but with some modifications. You should use a smaller enclosure, such as a 30 x 30 x 30 cm (12 x 12 x 12 inches) plastic or glass tank, to house up to four hatchlings. You should also provide more hiding places, such as egg cartons, paper cups, or plastic plants, to make the hatchlings feel more secure. You should also lower the temperature to around 22°C to 25°C (72°F to 77°F), and mist the enclosure twice a day to provide humidity and drinking water.
- Feed the hatchlings: You can feed the hatchlings daily with small and soft food items, such as pinhead crickets, fruit flies, or commercial crested gecko diet. You should dust the food items with calcium and vitamin D3 powder every other day, and with multivitamin powder once a week, to prevent nutritional deficiencies. You should also provide a shallow dish or a bottle cap with fresh water in the enclosure, and change it daily.
- Monitor the hatchlings: You can monitor the hatchlings for their health and growth, and record their weight and length every week. You can use a digital scale or a kitchen scale to measure their weight in grams, and a ruler or a measuring tape to measure their length in centimeters. You should aim for a weight of at least 2 grams and a length of at least 8 centimeters for the hatchlings, as this indicates that they are healthy and ready to be sold or moved to a larger enclosure.