If you’re interested in breeding crested geckos and want to know how to breed crested geckos, know first that this task isn’t very difficult, but it will require a monetary investment and plenty of time. You’ll have to pay attention to the breeding pair to make sure they do not get injured or stressed out during this time.
Before you even start breeding your cresties, you will need an egg-laying substrate, a way to incubate the eggs, then you’ll need housing for the babies and other items. Let’s dive into it and get started on how to breed crested geckos.
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Why Do You Want to Breed Crested Geckos?
Before we delve into the how let’s take a look at the why. What are the reasons you want to breed cresties? Is it because you love taking care of them and want more, or are you looking to try and make a profit from selling them?
There is no right or wrong answer, but deciding on the why before you get started is helpful. If you are looking to breed crested geckos as a way to make money, just know that there isn’t a very large profit margin.
When you weigh in the time, materials, possible vet visits, and the care you have to give to both the breeding pairs and the babies, you might find that you’re really not bringing in much profit. There are some breeders that do well enough, but most others stop after a year or two.
It could be that you didn’t realize you had both a male and a female crested gecko. One day you wake up to a few eggs in the enclosure and you need to know what to do with them. Whatever the reason, we are here to help.
How to Tell Male From Female
Sexing your crested geckos might be difficult, especially if they are younger. Most times you will have to wait until your crestie is at least four months old, or maybe even a little older. Once they are of age you should look carefully at their vents.
Males should have a rather prominent bulge just behind their vent, while in females this bulge will be absent. Males also tend to be larger and have a broader head than females, but this can be difficult to discern unless you know the exact ages of your cresties.
If your gecko isn’t being cooperative enough to let you check its vent you can put them into a clear container and observe its undersides from the container.
Of course, the best way to sex your geckos is to take them to your herp-qualified vet and have the vet tell you their sexes.
What You Need For Breeding Pairs
While you don’t really need any fancy equipment, there are plenty of options out there to make it easier for you. Most of the items you may already have lying around your house. For crested gecko breeding you will need:
- A small scale that weighs in grams
- Egg laying substrate
- An egg box
- Small misting bottle
- Incubation box
- Enclosures for babies
- Food for the babies
Your scale is to measure the weight of the adult breeders, and the babies. If you don’t have one, this Digital Food Kitchen Scale is a great option.
Female adult geckos should be at least 18 months old and weigh around 40 grams. Males can be a little bit on the lighter side, and they may not show interest in mating until they are nearly two years old or older.
It’s recommended to hold onto babies until they have been eating on their own for at least a month and weigh between four and ten grams. Once they are a healthy weight, don’t have any developmental issues, and are eating well you should be able to sell them.
For egg-laying substrate, you can use sphagnum or peat moss, HatchRite Reptile Incubation Medium, vermiculite such as Josh’s Frogs Sprig & Stone Vermiculite, or Josh’s Frogs ProHatch Incubation Media.
You’ll want to put a small container inside the enclosure with the egg-laying substrate of your choice for the female to lay her eggs. It needs to be moist, but not dripping wet. The container should be a small plastic bin with a few small holes drilled into the side for ventilation.
Since the female typically lays two eggs at a time over a period of a few months, it’s best to have an incubation box separately. You can purchase one online, but it can be expensive. For crested geckos, you can incubate the eggs in a dark room at around room temperature settings.
Use the same moist medium, but this one needs a lid with several holes drilled in the top for ventilation. When you know the female has laid eggs, carefully uncover them and put them into the incubation box. While handling them be sure not to rotate them.
Keep the eggs in the same position as you pick them up, move them, and put them into the incubation box. Rolling, shaking, or rotating reptile eggs can detach the embryo from the membrane of the egg, making it non-viable.
The eggs will be small, flexible, and white, sometimes you’ll see a small pink spot on them. Eggs that are yellow, soft, and have a very thin shell are not going to be viable.
Sink the eggs into the moist hatching medium about halfway covered—you may need to spritz the medium to keep it moist. Then put the box in a dark place where the temperature will stay around 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is important because too cold or too warm and the geckos might not hatch.
An incubator will hold the temperature steady if you don’t have a warm dark place for the eggs, or if you want to take the guesswork out. The Zoo Med ReptiBator Digital Reptile Egg Incubator will keep the perfect environment for your crested gecko eggs. It has digital temperature settings, and will constantly tell you the humidity.
The eggs will start to hatch around 60 to 120 days. Once a month has passed since the eggs were laid, check on them daily to see if babies are hatching.
Once the geckos start to hatch, let them come out on their own. You don’t have to help them out of their eggshells.
Hatching is a laborious process and the babies may poke their heads out and stay inside for a little while soaking up the remainder of the yolk. Let them come out when they are ready.
Caring For The Babies
Crested gecko care for babies will not be the same as full-grown adults.
Once the babies have completely evacuated their eggs, leave them inside the incubation box for the first 24 to 48 hours. Check the humidity, just like adult crested geckos, babies need a humid environment between 50% and 80% humidity. After their first 24 to 48 hours they should have completed their first shed.
Then move them very carefully to a small enclosure, between two and five gallons is sufficient for babies. Be careful moving them because babies can be skittish and jumpy, and they have very fragile bones. They may try to jump off your hand which could harm them very much if they land on a hard floor.
You can house baby crested geckos together for a little while as long as they have enough room. You shouldn’t house them in a terrarium bigger than five gallons, and not more than four or five babies together.
At around six months of age, you should start separating them. Males will start to get territorial, and they will need their own space.
Be sure to mist the babies daily to keep their new skin soft and supple, because they will often drink the mist of the terrarium or off themselves.
Substrate for babies should be nothing more than damp paper towels or newspapers. Small pieces of the substrate can be accidentally ingested by crestie babies causing several digestion issues, so it’s best not to have anything they can put into their mouths, except food.
Speaking of food, you should start them off with a commercial gecko diet, which usually comes in the form of a powder you mix with water. You can feed them tiny insects such as dubia roaches, or crickets, but make sure the insects are smaller than the space between their eyes.
This prevents choking or impaction because they swallow their food whole. Growing babies need to be fed every day, but should only be fed live insects once or twice a week, with the remainder of feedings consisting of a gecko diet mix.
What to Expect When Your Crestie is Expecting
When male and female crested geckos are living in the same habitat, they can be considered year-round breeders. During the spring and summer months, geckos typically start the courtship ritual, but it can happen at any time.
If you don’t want them breeding, you should remove the male and have him live alone. Males are very territorial and do better living the bachelor’s life, while you can put two to three females together in one enclosure.
During the courtship, you may hear more sounds coming from the enclosure…you know, gecko chirps, squeaks, and squawks. The male may act more aggressively during this time as well, such as head bobbing and biting on the female. This is normal.
If you do happen to notice wounds on the female because the male is getting a little too frisky, apply antibiotic ointment to the female’s wounds and separate them until they sort through their differences.
As long as the male isn’t stressing the female out or harming her, it’s okay to leave them together throughout the process, or indefinitely. If he is constantly chasing her, biting her, or otherwise being a jerk, set him into his own terrarium where he can think about his actions.
Once they have bred, the female will start laying a few eggs every month to month-and-a-half. This can last up to eight months. Then they usually take three to four months off (you may have to separate the male if he doesn’t give the female a break).
Give Momma Gecko More Calcium
While she is gravid—preparing to lay eggs—the female gecko will need a lot of extra calcium. This can be accomplished by adding a powder calcium supplement to her food, dusting, gut-loaded insects in a supplement, or purchasing a breeder feeding formula.
She’s going to be busy crafting eggs inside her and if she doesn’t have enough calcium, her body will take it from her bones. Also while she is gravid, it’s best not to handle her much. This can cause stress if she isn’t used to being handled often.
You also don’t want to breed your females year after year without taking a longer break. After about two breeding cycles, give your female a year or two off from the baby factory. They can continue to lay eggs for the remainder of their 20-plus-year lifecycle.
Not All the Eggs Will Hatch
Even the most experienced crested gecko breeders will get some eggs that just don’t hatch. This can be caused by a number of reasons.
The eggs may not have been fertilized, and the female laid a “practice” clutch. There could be a few that don’t hatch throughout the whole egg-laying cycle.
If she doesn’t have enough calcium in her system the eggs could end up non-viable. You should already be adding a calcium supplement to her diet prior to egg laying, but when you are planning on breeding them, go ahead and ramp the supplements up a little bit.
It could be the female is too young, or not healthy in some way. If you suspect any illness or egg-laying problems, contact your vet to have her checked out. She could be suffering from sickness or even be egg-bound.
Being egg-bound means the eggs are not able to be passed for some reason. This condition is serious and can lead to fatality if not treated early. The eggs get stuck inside and can break and cause infection, or simply be lodged inside.
Symptoms include sudden lethargy, listlessness, and loss of appetite. She may also dig a hole in which to lay eggs but nothing comes out.
If you notice her hovering over the substrate and straining, but no eggs show, you might need to get her checked.
How long does it take a crested gecko to lay eggs?
Egg-laying should happen around 30 days after the female’s eggs are fertilized.
How old do crested geckos need to be to breed?
Even though Crested Geckos are technically sexually mature at about 9 months old, it is advised to wait until they are 1 year old to start the breeding process.
How often can crested geckos breed?
As long as both the male and female are sexually mature enough to breed, Crested Geckos’ breeding cycle is 8 to 9 months between March and September.
Is it hard to breed Crested Geckos?
No. They are quite easy to breed; even a novice or first-timer can do it!
All Finished Up Here
While breeding geckos isn’t all that difficult, the aftercare will require a few steps. Keeping a good incubation box full of a moist substrate at the correct temperature will net a positive result.
And if all the eggs don’t hatch, don’t sweat it, that’s a natural process. Making sure the female is healthy and happy, that you have a good incubation set up, and that taking care of the babies after they hatch is most important. Good luck, and happy breeding.
More Crested gecko stuff
- Crested gecko care guide
- Types of Crested geckos (Different Morphs)
- Best food for crested geckos
- Discover the best substrate for Crested geckos
- A Crested gecko setup guide
- Crested gecko vs leopard gecko
- Plants for Crested geckos