How to Sex A Leopard Gecko

By Snaketracks / January 16, 2021

Leopard Gecko Gender

Learning how to sex a leopard gecko is not too hard and will help you to in caring for them. It’s also a key skill to have if you plan on breeding your leopard geckos.

Additionally if you want to keep leopard geckos together it’s also very handy since two males will more than likely fight.

Whether you are unsure of the sex of your leopard gecko or just want to know how to tell, there are some distinctive characteristics to look for when trying to figure out the sex of your leopard gecko.

Why It Matters

how to sex a leopard gecko
Male and female leopard gecko together looking at camera in grass

It is important to know the sex of your leopard gecko because it can mean a lot when it comes to the differences in growth rate, size, and most critically, whether or not you can keep two together.

Knowing their gender will help you care for them accordingly and properly. The humidity in their enclosure will play a huge role in female egg-laying and male hemipene impaction.

As many leopard gecko owners know, knowing the gender matters when you are hoping to keep two or more together in one enclosure.

Male geckos will respond to other males with aggression and will demonstrate courtship behavior towards a female due to the scent of their pheromones.

Knowing their gender will help you better prepare for the prevention of any issues.

Temp Sexed Leopard Geckos

Leopard gecko in grass
Leopard gecko in grass

Interestingly enough, leopard geckos’ sex can be determined during the temperature they were incubated in while in their eggs. Some breeders and owners will use the term “temp sexed” when referring to this method.

During incubation, 82 degrees incubation is more likely to yield females, whereas higher temperatures like 88 degrees will yield males. Any temperatures in the middle will bring a combination of both sexes.

All in all, knowing the gender will significantly help you provide your pet leopard gecko with everything they might need, ensuring them a healthier, happier, more comfortable life.

How to Sex Leopard Geckos

Keep in mind that juvenile geckos might be a little harder to sex than adult leopard geckos. It is recommended that you try sexing them when they have reached 5 to 6 inches long, or about 6 months old.

Handling Them

Woman holding a leopard gecko in her hand
Woman holding a leopard gecko in her hand

The underside of your leopard gecko is the spot you want to look at in order to properly sex your gecko. To look at it, though, you want to be able to safely pick them up and angle them so that you can see.

Since leopard geckos may drop their tails when they are threatened, it may react this way if it has not been tamed or is not used to getting picked up. To avoid this natural reaction of stress, you should try to approach your leopard gecko slowly and calmly.

Gently stroke your leopard gecko while they are still in the enclosure until they are comfortable. To pick them up, slide your hand underneath them and scoop them up slowly.

You want to handle them by their body, not by their tail. If they start to struggle, release your grip and allow them to walk freely on you. You don’t want them to feel trapped or anxious.

If your gecko is comfortable and you can get a hold of their body, try your best to get your gecko accustomed to being held this way and then keep trying to angle them so that you can get a peek at their underside.

Sexing Them

Once your leopard gecko is feeling comfortable with being handled and isn’t struggling, you can turn them at an angle so that you can peek underneath. 

Here are some things you want to look for that will help you differentiate their sex:

MALE

Male Leopard Gecko
Male Leopard Gecko on white background

Pre-Anal Pores: Male leopard geckos will have a V-shaped row of holes called pre-anal pores directly in front of their vent. These holes will grow more and more distinctive and may also release a waxy discharge as they age.

Hemipenile Bulges: Speaking of their vent, it is also called the cloaca and it is where they defecate.

If your gecko is male, you will find two bulges near that area as well where the hemipenes, or male reproductive organs, can be found.

They are essentially two penises that will pop out when it is time to breed. Look, but don’t touch and try to gender them in a non-invasive and unthreatening way.

Femoral Pores: This will be the most obvious way to tell that your leopard gecko is male. Males will have enlarged pores on the undersides of their thighs.

If you look at their legs and you find them, you will see they are in a straight line and look somewhat similar to the pre-anal pores, like a row of white dots.

FEMALE

Female leopard Gecko
Female leopard Gecko on white background

You can basically tell your leopard gecko is a female if she lacks all of the characteristics of a male.

Pores: Some female leopard geckos may have a similar row of small pores, but they will not usually be as prominent as the males. They also will not have waxy discharge at all.

Cloacal Spurs: Both male and female leopard geckos will have cloacal spurs, as that is where they release fecal matter, although there are differences. In females, they will not be as prominent or large as the males, so you can look for this distinction as well.

Whether your leopard gecko is male or female can impact the way you raise and care for them so it’s always a good idea to know what to expect.

It’s not hard to figure it out, but if you have any questions or aren’t sure what to look for, check out this informative, helpful video by YouTuber GoHerping below.

Conclusion

Make sure you are caring for your gecko in all the ways it needs depending on its sex. Provide for its life and all the processes it might go through as a male or female.

If your leopard gecko is too young, you will want to wait until they are 6 months of age in order to sex them properly.

You should also make sure they are well-accustomed to being handled before you try to pick them up and angle them in ways they have never been handled before.

When you are sexing them, please do so slowly and be gentle as they can get stressed out and drop their tails if they are feeling threatened by the way you are handling them.

This is a defense mechanism so you will want to make sure that your gecko is completely comfortable with being handled before you try to look at their undersides.

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