Geckos are saurian reptiles living in most environmental environments: tropical, equatorial, forest, desert areas, etc… Insectivorous lizards with protruding eyes, they have fingers equipped with adhesive lamellae allowing them to adhere to any surface. Sexually mature from the age of one year, they reproduce very easily in captivity.
How to determine the sex of the gecko?
Sex differentiation is not difficult as it is for some species of animals. The male gecko generally has a more massive form than his female companion. In particular, a greater width can be observed at the level of its neck. Its head is also more voluminous than that of the female.
On the ventral face of the male, above the cloaca, is a series of small holes (or dots) drawing an arrow. These holes (or dots) are called pre-anal pores. The male also has, at the base of the tail, two small bulges that house the hemi penis. They constitute its reproductive organs. At the age of 3 months, it is much easier to tell the difference between a male gecko and a female gecko.
At what age do geckos reproduce?
For reproduction to take place normally, it is vital that geckos are in perfect health and have reached the minimum required weight. They must also be adult reptiles. Younger reptiles can reproduce, but they are exposed to various problems such as prolapse of the hemipenis. To avoid this, you should wait until the adults are at least one year old.
As for female geckos, their weight must necessarily be above 60 grams. They must also be two years old before mating. Perfectly trained at adulthood, these females will be able to bear the difficult laying stage more easily. Otherwise, their life span may be shortened. They will also be unable to expel some of their eggs. This is known as egg retention.
How does mating take place?
The mating period begins around February and March. Male geckos adopt a set of typical behaviors as a prelude to mating. They start waving their tail and then hit it against the ground. Then follows a chase where the chasers, the male geckos, try to catch up with the females. They then try to prevent them from moving and biting their necks. Once the female is immobilized, the male gecko can begin the act of copulation.
Unlike some other animals, mating takes place quickly: no more than 120 seconds! After mating, the two reptiles groom their reproductive organs thoroughly. The reptile owner must take a number of precautions during this period. He must put a laying box in the terrarium. The incubator is another indispensable tool during the period following mating.
Egg laying: the moment of truth!
The egg-laying period is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding moments for the breeder. It occurs three to five weeks after mating. It is easy to spot a female gecko preparing to lay eggs. On the lower part of its trunk, one can see a pair of white masses that gradually increase in size. Another clue relates to the reptile’s feeding habits. The latter becomes voracious for a while and then stops feeding. This disdain for food occurs gradually and becomes stronger as the eggs approach the spawning stage. Certain conditions will have to be met during this period and even before for everything to go well. Indeed, in the weeks preceding the laying of eggs, the female reptile is more in search of warmth. The uvb lamp will therefore play a crucial role at this stage.
The laying box, already prepared, will be used to collect the eggs. It will have to contain vermiculite in the wet state. The reptile will slide its eggs into it and then cover them with the present material. It is necessary to take care never to turn over the eggs present in the terrarium. This can, indeed, lead to the death of the embryos. It is important to know that their development is different from that of chicken embryos. During the laying period, the female gecko must be fed regularly. Calcium can be added to its meals to preserve its strength. In general, a gecko has a series of six egg-laying eggs. A period of about 3 weeks separates each laying.
Incubation: a crucial phase
As the days go by, the female gecko will eventually lay several eggs. It is necessary to quickly put them in a safe place. And one of the most suitable places is, without a doubt, the artificial incubator. Before removing the eggs from the laying box, it is wise to wait until the owner of the place deserts the place. Another precaution concerns the handling of these eggs. As mentioned above, it is necessary to avoid turning them over. In fact, they must be handled with extreme care because of their great fragility. It is also necessary to avoid depositing the eggs in a too humid place. They may become covered with mould and slow down their development.
The incubator will have to contain a box containing vermiculite connected to a heating system. This heating system will be used to maintain an appropriate temperature. The use of a thermometer will undoubtedly allow to know the temperature inside. Thanks to a good regulation of the temperature, it is possible to obtain the desired sex. For example, to obtain only males, a temperature between 31 and 32 degrees Celsius must be maintained. To have as many males as females, the ideal temperature is 29 degrees. A temperature of 27 degrees is indicated to have female geckos.
Small geckos will take more than an hour to get out of their shell. Some may be tempted to give them a hand. This is useless as the young can do it on their own. At birth, they are about eight centimetres tall.