If you’re someone who enjoys breeding leopard geckos or just so happened to have both a female and male gecko cohabiting together and you suspect that one of your leopard geckos may be pregnant but you don’t know how to tell, well, luckily, there are certain signs and behaviors that you can look out for to help you determine whether they are, in fact, pregnant or not. Take a look at what the signs are.
- Swollen Abdomen
- Not Eating
- Slow Moving
- Visible Eggs
- Sleep Issues
- Easily Irritated
- Thin Tail
As you can tell from the list, pregnancy is a very hard and stressful time for your leopard gecko and getting through it can sometimes be quite challenging for not only them but for you as well. Although it’s difficult to watch them go through these symptoms, keep in mind that it’s normal and shouldn’t cause concern if your leopard gecko is a healthy one. With that said, let’s go a little deeper.
What to Do After You Find Out
If you’ve suspected that your leopard gecko is pregnant and have confirmed it by adding up some of the signs listed above, then what you’ll want to do from this point on, if you haven’t already, is remove the male from the tank that your female is in and relocate him to another tank.
The reason for this is because although your female leopard gecko is pregnant, your male will likely not stop trying to breed with her and as a result will cause a lot of extra and unneeded stress to your female that she shouldn’t be going through while pregnant.
The reason why the male has to be removed opposed to your female is because relocating a leopard gecko from one tank to another can be very stressful due to the fact that it’s a new environment, but because it’s more important that stress levels are kept lower for your female leopard gecko while going through pregnancy, it’s better to move the male gecko instead.
If you’re a breeder and planned the pregnancy to happen, then hopefully you are already prepared with a tank. But if not, you will definitely need to get one ASAP. Because you don’t want your male to be too stressed out either, I recommend having a backup tank that mimics your primary one so that the new environment that they’ll be in won’t be as much of a shock when they’re placed inside.
It’s not important as to what kind of tank you put them in will be, but when it comes to their equipment inside of it, that’s what will really matter the most in keeping their stress down. If you’d like to know the tank I use, then check it out here on Amazon. As for your equipment, you’ll want to have the same things that you have in the tank that they were originally in.
Stress is a silent killer when it comes to leopard geckos, so whether they’re pregnant or not, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping it down to a minimum for both of them by having them separated in different tanks until your female gecko lays her eggs. Avoiding this will probably be the best thing you can do when caring for your female gecko.
Once They’re Separated
It’s important that we’re not putting our leopard gecko in any kind of stress no matter what the circumstances are, but when it comes to pregnant leopard geckos, they’ll need a little more care and space in order to keep their stress levels down so that the whole process is nice and smooth.
Now that we’ve separated the male from the female, you’ll now want to make sure you’re doing everything in your power to further make your pregnant leopard gecko comfortable from here on out. Don’t worry, you won’t have to do anything extra that you haven’t been doing already, but there are some things that you shouldn’t do because it could make your leopard gecko feel a little more crummy than she’s already feeling. Here they are:
- Holding Too Much
- Playing Loud Music
- Cleaning The Tank
- Relocating Her
- Spooking Her
- Introducing A New Gecko
- And More
When it comes to leopard geckos, honestly, there are a million things that could be done to cause them stress. And even though we shouldn’t be doing any of the things that I listed regardless of if they’re pregnant or not, having the occasional slip up every now and then is a little more acceptable when they’re not carrying.
Also, if you find that your gecko is spending most of her time on the hot side of the tank, then it’s okay, this type of behavior is normal while they’re pregnant and should be expected. The warmth on their stomach is comforting and helps to make sure everything is functioning right so that the babies come out healthy.
If at any point you think that what the leopard gecko is going through is abnormal, keep in mind that people go through the same things when pregnant. They get weak, tired, need proper nutrition, and move a little slower. There’s really no difference.
As long as your leopard gecko is getting her calcium, D3, and vitamins and is able to stay calm, everything will work itself out just fine.
After the Eggs Have Hatched
Once the eggs have hatched after 35 to 89 days after being laid and incubated, you’ll want to remove your new leopard geckos from whatever they’ve been held in and put them in a separate tank away from the mother and father.
The reason for this is because once they’ve hatched and are around your adult leopard geckos, there is a good chance that they could be eaten for nutritional reasons. This doesn’t make sense considering all the work the mother put in to protect them, but they are reptiles, so it’s expected.
Depending on what temperature you’ve incubated your eggs at (temperature determines their gender), you can either try housing some of your baby leopard geckos that are females in a large tank at least 20 gallons for the time being or buy separate tanks for all of them to stay in if you plan on being a breeder.
Please keep in mind that males cannot be housed together and each one will need their own tank unless you house them with a female where your leopard gecko could potentially become pregnant again once they’ve reached the age where they start ovulating (9 to 10 months).
If you’re not a breeder and never intended for your leopard geckos to get pregnant, then I recommend rehoming them right away. Leopard geckos can hatch up to 10 eggs for their first year of breeding, and dealing with that many eggs can be a handful, and expensive. So, if you want to be able to own a boy and a girl gecko at the same time but not run the risk of mating, then you’ll need to have them in separate tanks at all times.
Again, if you’re looking for a good tank for your leopard geckos, then this one here will work fine. Not only for those who don’t breed and want their leopard geckos to be in a separate tank, but for those who do like to breed as well.
A Deeper Look at the Signs & Symptoms
Swelling of the Abdomen
This may or may not be one of the obvious signs when trying to determine whether or not your leopard gecko is pregnant, but because they carry 2 eggs at once, you might find that both sides of your leopard geckos stomach or midsection is protruding pretty significantly as a result.
This swelling will go down after they have their eggs, but for the time being, it will stay that way until each one is released. A good way to tell that your leopard gecko is carrying these eggs is by looking for the curve in her body.
You will usually see that near the armpit area, it will start off very skinny and then when getting closer to the middle, their stomach will pop out quite a bit where it will eventually go back to being fairly skinny again near the start of their back legs.
Sometimes this curve can be mistaken for fat, but with leopard geckos that are larger in weight, their body will usually remain the same size and thickness throughout the entire length of their whole torso area.
Also, unlike leopard geckos that are overweight, their stomachs will almost always tend to be a little more on the firm side. To check, squeeze the sides of their stomach very lightly so that you can ensure you’re not causing any damage to the eggs. If it’s very soft, then it’s likely that your leopard gecko is not gravid (pregnant), but if it’s hard, then you might have a pregnant leopard gecko on your hands.
It may be tempting to feel around in this area often if you’re someone who has never had experience with a pregnant leopard gecko, but doing so could potentially put your leopard gecko’s eggs in harm and might even cause your leopard gecko to feel even worse than she probably already does.
Their eggs are usually very soft and have some flexibility to them which allows easy passing when they’re ready to give birth, but because of this softness, they’re a lot more fragile as well. The eggs will harden up, but that won’t happen until after your leopard gecko has laid her eggs.
This can be one of the scariest things to witness when your leopard gecko is gravid, but don’t worry, it’s completely normal. Pregnancy will zap a lot of their energy, so even doing something as simple as eating can be quite the challenge while they go through it.
Some leopard geckos have stopped eating altogether while others have eaten more than they usually would before becoming pregnant, so it’s hard to tell what each gecko will do, but you can rest assured knowing that both behaviors are not unusual at all and is something that should be expected with almost all carrying geckos.
Many people don’t know this, and it’s not necessarily healthy for them, but they can actually go up to 2 weeks without food. So, when or if your leopard gecko stops eating, please keep that in mind so that you don’t freak out even if they do go a little while without it.
If it’s too bothersome for you to watch them not eat anything, then I suggest trying to introduce them to a new type of food. We should all be providing our leopard gecko with a variety of different things no matter what the circumstances are, but if you don’t, then I recommend taking a look at this article here that I wrote and look at the many options that you could potentially be giving your leopard gecko.
Sometimes just switching their diet up will be enough to do the trick, but if not, just make sure they have a full cup of calcium in their tank to lick from and everything will be alright. Not eating during pregnancy is a very common occurrence and is nothing to be worried about unless they start to show signs of other symptoms that don’t fit what’s in the list above.
Tons of Stress
Like stated above, there are many things that could happen to make a leopard gecko stress out, so when gravid, you can only imagine that they’re going through a fair amount of it. You’ll see a lot of varying behaviors from gecko to gecko, but to give you an idea of what to expect when they’re overly stressed from pregnancy, check out this list here:
- Staying In Hide Excessively
- Loss Of Appetite
- Little To No Movement
- Change In Behavior
- And More
Unfortunately, until they lay their eggs, they will likely stay this way the whole time they are gravid. A leopard gecko can be as tame as can be before stressed out, but once it hits, they’ll start acting way different than what you’re used to. It’s fine, though, because it does eventually go back to normal with time.
Just keep in mind that they’re going through a lot and that they are lizards that get stressed out very easily over just about anything, so practice a little bit of patience with them while they go through this very draining time in their life and anytime after that as well.
Because they are lugging around two heavy eggs and are completely drained from the amount of stress that they’re both causing, it’s really no wonder that leopard geckos tend to move a little slower while pregnant.
Because of this slow movement, and if they do happen to be eating normally, it can be quite hard for them to catch their food as quickly as they normally would before the pregnancy. So, in order to solve that problem, I highly recommend getting your leopard gecko on something that they don’t have to hunt down or feeding them manually if they’re not too aggressive from the pregnancy.
If you’re dealing with a leopard gecko that just doesn’t want to take the food that you’re trying to give them, then I suggest looking into getting your hands on some Dubia Roaches. Not only do they not hop around like crickets, but many people have even chosen these insects as a replacement for them because they’re a little healthier for their leopard gecko anyway.
Not only that, but you also don’t have to worry about your leopard gecko getting attacked by the crickets while they’re in this state as well. They’re already prone to cricket bites when they’re not pregnant, so when they are, it’s even more of a nuisance for them to deal with. If you’d like to know where I get my Dubia Roaches, then check them out here on this page on Amazon.
With those bugs, you won’t have to worry about them putting in way too much energy in catching their food and you also won’t have to worry about crickets biting them and potentially causing sores and infections that have to be treated.
You Can See Their Eggs
Because leopard geckos have fairly thin skin on their stomach, you might just be able to see their eggs through it. While this seems like it would be the easiest way to tell whether or not they’re actually pregnant, sometimes it’s not.
Depending on the gecko, some eggs are a little more visible than others, but when found, they all always have the same shape. What you’ll want to look for when checking your leopard geckos stomach is two large white spots sort of shaped like baby carrots on each side of the vein that runs down the middle of their stomach.
Around these white spots will be a very faint pink/purple lining that will go around the whole egg. It can sometimes be very, very hard to see, but if you look hard enough and compare it with pictures of leopard geckos online, you should eventually find it.
If you see two small white circles with pink/purple rings around them, then it is likely due to ovulation or from fat reserves. Ovulation is when they’re fertile and will drop two eggs lower into their stomach in order for a male to breed with them and cause them to be gravid.
In addition to all of the other behaviors that you normally wouldn’t expect from them, you might also find that your leopard gecko is a little more skittish or scared than usual. This could be because they’re extra protective or because their hormones are going crazy, but either way, it’s very normal behavior to display when gravid.
For situations like these, this is when it’s best to have tanks that open up from the front rather than just from the top because reaching in from the top can scare them greatly and they might even mistake you for a predator. They already don’t like for their owners to reach down from above when not pregnant, so doing so when they are just makes matters worse.
No matter what type of tank you have, though, just make sure to always reach in very slowly so that you’re not startling your leopard gecko and causing her to freak out anymore than she likely already has.
Remember, our main goal is to keep their stress down as much as possible, so even though you might not feel like reaching in the tank that slowly, it has to be done in order to ensure their comfort and keep those nerves down.
This kind of ties in with their slow movements, but you might find that they are weak doing other things, such as chewing, as well. Because of this, this is likely another reason why some of them just do not have the appetite or energy to eat while they go through this.
On top of their already weak bodies, the lack of food could also be making them feel worse as well. But, as stated above, they can go quite some time without food and will usually be just fine with calcium in their tank.
It’s not that they don’t want to eat, it’s just that they don’t feel like they can stomach the food at the moment because of all of the stress. If you’re persistent enough with trying to feed them, though, and offer it to them on a regular basis, then sometimes they will start eating, but other times, you’ll just have to wait it out until they build up enough energy to do so.
To help replenish their bodies with vitamins, D3, and more calcium, then look into getting some of this stuff here from Amazon. It’s an all-in-one supplement that I use for my leopard geckos and will do great for providing them with what they need to gain some of that energy back in the case that they do start to get their appetite back a little bit.
When going through this, it’s no surprise that they will naturally become a little restless as a result. It can be hard for them to lay down and try to sleep with so much going on in their body and as a result, they might just skip out on sleeping altogether simply because they can’t.
The lack of sleep isn’t only bad for their health and well-being, but it may be a large contributing factor for why they’re moving so slow, not able to eat, and most other behaviors that they’re displaying as well.
The best thing you can do for this is to continue caring for them like you have been while they sort everything out themselves. We can assist them in some things, but we can’t make them sleep.
Snappy Towards You
You may think that your leopard gecko has betrayed you, but aggressive behavior is definitely something that they’ve been known to display while pregnant. Owners have reported that they’ve been bitten, hissed at, and even charged right before finding out that their gecko was pregnant.
There have also been people who have said that when reaching down into the tank to feed them, their moving fingers have been mistaken for food as well. In addition to not frightening them, this is another reason why I recommend lowering your hand down very slowly so that they can have a chance to familiarize themselves with you before they assume that you’re their next meal.
This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with them not having an appetite, but a thinning tail and overall weight loss is something that can be expected as a result of them not wanting to eat as well. The gradual drop in weight may be alarming, but after they’ve laid their eggs, they will slowly regain their appetite again and will regain all of their weight back fairly quickly as well.
Although there are foods out there can help them gain and retain their wait throughout this whole process, most of them are very addicting to your leopard gecko and getting them to eat other things once you try to get them off can be challenging. This is why it’s not recommended to feed them foods such as wax worms but once every two weeks.
Pregnancy in leopard geckos can be a very stressful and worrisome time for lots of people who have to go through it, but with enough care and knowledge, it doesn’t have to be. Before breeding, I highly recommend educating yourself as much as possible on the topic of gravid geckos so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before it happens.
The whole experience can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to do but if you’re mentally and physically prepared for it, you should have absolutely nothing to worry about. Be patient with your leopard gecko and remember that most of what you’ll be going through with them is completely normal.