Leopard geckos, with their adorable spots and docile nature, have become one of the most popular pet reptiles worldwide. If you’re a leopard gecko enthusiast or considering adopting one as a pet, you might be curious about the reproductive habits.
It’s fascinating to think about the idea that leopard geckos lay eggs. It’s also important to know how many eggs they lay so you’re not surprised if a few show up one day!
So, how many eggs do leopard geckos lay?
Female leopard geckos can lay around 10 – 16 eggs per year. These eggs are laid in clutches of only two. Leopard geckos can lay clutches anywhere from 6 to 8 times a year. These numbers may differ in captivity because leopard geckos aren’t on the same seasonal cycle as they would be in the wild.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a thorough understanding of how many eggs, leopard geckos lay, and how often they lay them. First, let’s go over a little bit of basic leopard gecko reproduction, so you can have a better understanding of how the eggs develop.
Leopard Gecko Reproduction
Like many other reptiles, leopard geckos have a unique reproductive process. Understanding this process is crucial for anyone interested in breeding leopard geckos, or caring for a gravid (with eggs) female.
Leopard geckos are one species of reptile that exhibit sexual dimorphism. This means that males and females both have distinct physical characteristics. One of the most noticeable differences is the size of their bodies and the presence of hemipenal bulges in males. This makes it pretty easy to tell males from females.
For mating, leopard geckos are known to engage in courtship rituals. Ritual involves a male approaching the female, nudging her, and sometimes biting her on the neck, or at the base of her tail. And then this can look aggressive, it’s part of their natural mating behaviors.
Once leopard geckos have mated, the female can retain the sperm for several months. This allows females to lay multiple clutches of eggs without mating again that year. Now, let’s start talking about the eggs!
How Many Eggs Do Leopard Geckos Lay?
Mature, female leopard geckos typically lay up to 6 to 8 clutches of eggs per year. Each leopard gecko clutch is almost always made up of just two eggs. In theory, female leopard geckos usually lay anywhere from 12-16 eggs per year.
There is a lot of variability in these numbers however as females have been known to lay as few as 2 clutches or as many as 10 clutches in a year. That would mean some leopard geckos may be able to lay a total of around 20 eggs per year!
In the wild, these egg numbers are typical for female leopard geckos. But in captivity, everything’s a little bit different. Leopard geckos can and are often bred in captivity. Since life in captivity offers a stable temperature year-round, geckos can be bred at any time. There are many considerations to make if you’re trying to breed leopard geckos at home and it should really only be done by professionals.
Do Leopard Geckos Lay Unfertilized Eggs?
Even if you’re not breeding your pet, leopard geckos, you might still find eggs in their enclosure. Like many other animals, including chickens and ball pythons, leopard geckos can lay unfertilized eggs. Female leopard geckos are known to lay unfertilized eggs while in captivity.
It’s also not uncommon for captive females to never lay eggs. These lizards will instead resorb their eggs, and let their body retain the calcium used to produce the eggshell. There’s no standard for how many unfertilized eggs you can expect from a leopard gecko in captivity
How Many Eggs Do Leopard Geckos Lay Per Season?
In the wild, it’s typical for leopard geckos to lay one clutch every 15 – 30 days during the breeding season. In the northern hemisphere, the breeding season runs from early spring to late summer. The number of clutches a female can produce in a single season varies but can range from 2 all the way up to 10 even though these outlier numbers aren’t common.
Leopard geckos lay the same amount of eggs in one breeding season as they do in one calendar year. Mature adult females can lay anywhere from 10 to 16 eggs in one season.
How Many Babies Are In A Leopard Gecko Egg?
Eggs are engineered to only foster the life of one individual leopard gecko.
Reptile eggs contain yolk sacs, embryos, and albumin meant to support one baby at a time. There are cases of two reptiles being born from one egg. This is most often seen in snakes and is a bizarre phenomenon that’s pretty unusual.
How Many Eggs Do Leopard Geckos Lay At Once?
Usually, humans only have one baby at a time. But occasionally, humans may give birth to twins, or even triplets. This occasional occurrence is probably the same frequency at which leopard geckos lay a clutch of any size other than two eggs.
Leopard geckos usually lay exactly 2 eggs at once. Occasionally, a leopard gecko may only lay one egg. When a gecko lays just one egg, it’s possible that the other egg has been resolved by the female or is stuck inside of them.
In extraordinary circumstances, leopard geckos might lay three eggs in one clutch. These situations can put a heavy strain on the body of the female laying the eggs. As a breeder, if your reptile is laying clutches larger than two eggs, you’ll probably need to offer them special nutritional support.
Factors That Influence Clutch Size
Even though leopard geckos usually lay two eggs in a clutch, there are several factors that can influence clutch size. These factors play a part in clutch size in the wild and in captivity. Many breeders focus on maximizing these factors to get more eggs from their females.
Age and Size
The agent size of a female leopard gecko can impact the size of her clutch. Generally, older and larger females tend to produce larger clutches of eggs. Younger and smaller females may produce smaller clutches. Female leopard geckos aren’t sexually mature until they reach about 9 to 10 months of age. Up until this point, they won’t be able to lay eggs at all.
Diet and Overall Health
A healthy diet and proper care are essential for leopard geckos to reproduce successfully.
Female leopard geckos that receive proper nutrition and are kept in optimal conditions are more likely to produce larger healthier clutches of eggs. Nutrition is especially important for gravid females. Female leopard geckos that are about to, or have just laid eggs are at risk of becoming hypocalcemic. These females need supplemental calcium to be able to make up for losses in their bodies and to be ready to lay another clutch.
A huge part of the overall health of any captive reptile is the environmental factors in their enclosures.
Temperature and humidity can play a role in clutch size. Females under environmental stress may produce smaller clutches, or stop laying altogether. For leopard geckos, this means maintaining a temperature of about 75 to 85°F with a basking area that’s even warmer on one side of the enclosure. Humidity should stay around 30 to 40%.
Plus, if you want females to feel comfortable laying their eggs, you’ll need to make an egg box for them. We’ll talk more about that below!
Just like for any other animal, genetics can influence clutch size to some extent.
Certain genetic factors may predispose some female leopard geckos to lay larger or smaller clutches. The genetics of the male who is providing fertilization for the eggs also matter! Many breeders are aware of this genetic influence and will opt for leopard geckos from families who tend to lay more eggs in one clutch.
Where Do Leopard Geckos Lay Their Eggs?
Leopard geckos have interesting egg-laying behaviors both in the wild and in captivity.
Since leopard geckos are native to the arid regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, they’ve developed specific nesting behaviors that suit their environment. In their natural habitats, leopard geckos are ground-dwelling creatures, with a strong affinity for burrowing.
When it comes time to lay eggs, female leopard geckos typically seek out suitable burrows or hides. For this purpose, leopard geckos pick burrows made by other animals to minimize energy expenditure. At this point, leopard geckos will lay their eggs inside the burrow and leave them to incubate.
Do Leopard Geckos Incubate Their Eggs?
Like most reptiles, leopard geckos do not incubate their eggs or offer any parental care. Leopard gecko eggs are incubated in the warmth and darkness of the burrows they’re laid in. Female leopard geckos don’t sit on or protect their eggs in any way after they’ve been laid.
Do Leopard Geckos Lay Eggs In Captivity?
As we talked about above, most leopard geckos are able to lay eggs in captivity. These eggs can be fertilized if the female leopard gecko meets with a male prior to laying. Leopard geckos are also able to lay unfertilized eggs. In both cases, leopard geckos need special attention when laying eggs.
In captivity, leopard geckos are more likely to exhibit nesting behaviors when provided with suitable substrate. Many keepers, use a mix of moistened coco coir or vermiculite as a nesting medium. These substrates mimic the loose sandy soil, found in a gecko’s natural habitat.
Leopard gecko enclosures often include nest boxes, which can serve as artificial burrows for deposition. These boxes can be filled with the chosen nesting substrate and should be large enough to accommodate a female gecko comfortably. Signs that your female leopard gecko is about to lay eggs include digging in the substrate and creating a nest chamber.
What Should You Do If Your Pet Leopard Gecko Lays Eggs?
So, what happens if your leopard gecko lays eggs and you weren’t expecting it?
If your female leopard gecko hasn’t made contact with another leopard gecko, the eggs are probably unfertilized. Leopard geckos aren’t protective of their eggs so you can just simply remove the eggs from your leopard geckos enclosure. Remember that laying can leave leopard geckos with a calcium deficiency so make sure to get them a little extra sprinkle of calcium on their daily mealworms.
You should also make sure to check with your veterinarian and let them know that your gecko laid eggs. They may advise you on further actions to take if they think it’s necessary.
If your female leopard gecko has had contact with another leopard gecko, the egg she has laid may be fertilized. In that case, you have two options. Your first option is to remove the eggs and simply let them get cold. You can place the eggs in the refrigerator for a few days. This will ensure that the eggs aren’t incubated and that no babies ever hatch from them.
Your other option is to incubate the eggs and allow them to hatch. This process is more complicated than it may sound and requires some special environmental considerations.
The video below is a quick summary of what you should do if you want to try to incubate your leopard gecko eggs.
Leopard geckos can lay a lot of eggs, especially when all of the conditions are right. Older and healthier females that are genetically disposed may lay up to 10 clutches in one season. With each clutch being made up of two eggs, that’s 20 eggs per year!
Realistically, leopard geckos usually lay about 6 to 8 clutches per year or 10 to 16 individual eggs. Captive females can lay either fertilized or unfertilized eggs. If you want your female to lay eggs, you’ll need to provide them with good nesting conditions. And if your leopard gecko lays an egg unexpectedly, don’t worry, it’s natural!