Leopard Gecko Breeding
Supplementation is very important for females during breeding season. Offer vitamin and calcium coated food daily. Pinky mice are also a good food items to add once a week to the breeding female's diet. Calcium is lost by the female every time she develops a new clutch of eggs, and breeding can be stressful. Monitor the females food intake carefully while breeding.
Females usually lay several clutches of two eggs each during the breeding season, but occasionally a single egg is laid. Geckos which are very healthy and well cared for can lay as many as 8 clutches during the year. Older or very young geckos are not as fertile as young mature females. Older leopard geckos may stop producing any eggs during their last years.
Developing eggs will be seen as bulges on the sides of a female. There are two ways to set up an egg laying place for them. One is to daily mist one area of the substrate so that the medium is slightly damp and check the area a couple times a day for eggs. Another method (which I highly recommend), and one that is a little safer for the egg, is to construct a laying/humidity box made of a plastic container half filled with damp (but not wet) sand and sphagnum moss. Cut a hole in the side of the container just above the level of the damp vermiculite or moss; make it big enough for the gecko to enter and leave. (This container is also a good way to provide an area of humidity at all times to aid with shedding). The egg laying/humidity box is better for the egg as it is less likely to dry out before you find it and it won't get accidentally damaged by the geckos.
Freshly laid eggs are slightly sticky. If the egg is fertile, it will firm up and will feel slightly chalky to the touch. Infertile eggs are thin and soft and will yellow after a few days.
For incubation, combine 6 parts vermiculite with 4 parts water so that the vermiculite is just barely moistened. Without changing how the eggs were laid (limit movement as much as possible), place them carefully into the moistened vermiculite, half burying them in the medium. You can place a small container of water into the vermiculite to help keep the humidity up or spray the box daily.
Once your egg incubation boxes are prepared, you must incubate them (obviously). A Hova-Bator, sold in feed stores for bird eggs, works well. Follow the package directions for setting the incubator up and adjusting the temperature. Any place where you can keep the eggs safe from being jostled or shaken and where you can keep the temperatures constant throughout the incubation period will work. You will need to be able to get into the egg boxes to check the moistness.
If eggs are incubated at 79 F, the majority will be female. If incubated at 85F, you will get an almost equal number of males and females. At 92F, practically all will be males. Depending upon temperature, eggs will hatch in 6-12 weeks, with higher temperatures hatching sooner.
House the hatchlings separately in small enclosures complete with a shallow water dish and hide box. Adults and older geckos will intimidate baby geckos who may end up starving. Hatchlings will generally not eat for a week after hatching as they are still living off their yolk. After their first shed, they should be fed vitamin and calcium supplemented small crickets.