Sexing leopard geckos can be a challenging task for even the most experienced reptile enthusiast. These small lizards are known for their unique patterned skin and docile nature, making them popular pets. However, accurately determining the sex of a leopard gecko is important for a variety of reasons, including breeding and proper care. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to sex leopard geckos. We will cover the various physical and behavioral characteristics that can help distinguish males from females, as well as common mistakes to avoid. By the end of this article, you should have a better understanding of how to accurately determine the sex of your leopard gecko.
What Are The Physical Characteristics Of Male And Female Leopard Geckos?
Leopard geckos are a popular species of reptile that is known for their ease of care and docile nature. Male and female leopard geckos have some physical characteristics that are different from one another.
Male leopard geckos tend to be larger than females and have thicker bodies. They also have slightly larger and thicker heads. Males have hemipenal bulges, which are located on the underside of the tail near the vent. These bulges are used to store the male’s reproductive organs and are not present in females.
Female leopard geckos are generally smaller and more slender than males. They do not have hemipenal bulges and have smaller, more delicate-looking heads.
In both males and females, the tail is used for fat storage, so a healthy leopard gecko will have a fat, thick tail.
It’s worth noting that there can be some overlap in size and physical characteristics between male and female leopard geckos, so it is not always possible to accurately sex leopard geckos based on physical characteristics alone. The best way to determine the sex of a leopard gecko is by using a combination of physical characteristics and behavior, or by having a veterinarian or experienced reptile breeder do it.
What Are The Behavioral Differences Between Male And Female Leopard Geckos?
There are some differences in behavior between male and female leopard geckos, but it is important to note that these differences can vary from individual to individual and are not necessarily true for all males or females.
One difference is that male leopard geckos tend to be more territorial and may display aggression toward other males. This can manifest as head-bobbing, tail-waving, and lunging.
Female leopard geckos tend to be less territorial and may be more inclined to hide or retreat when confronted with another gecko.
Male leopard geckos may also be more inclined to mate with females, while females may show less interest in mating or may only do so when they are ready to lay eggs.
Female leopard geckos may also be more inclined to engage in maternal behavior, such as digging a nest and laying eggs.
How To Identify The Gender Of A Leopard Gecko?
It may be difficult to determine the gender of a gecko if you have never handled one before, especially if it is a young adult gecko. Lift the gecko gently in your hands to inspect the area underneath its hind legs.
It is a boy if it has boy parts. It’s a girl if you can’t see the boy parts! The characteristics listed below can help you identify the gender of a leopard gecko.
- Hemipenile bulges
You will notice two prominent bulges below the leopard gecko’s vent, close to the base of the tail, if it is a male. The vent has two bulges on either side of it.
The male gecko’s reproductive organ, which will protrude during mating, is housed within each bulge. These bulges are not seen in female geckos. The simplest approach to determine the gender of your pet leopard gecko is to look for these bulges or lumps.
- Pre-anal pores
Both males and females have pre-anal pores. They appear as little spots and are located right in front of the vent on the bottom. But in men, they are more pronounced.
Pre-anal pores are much tiny and barely perceptible in females. In males, the dots are clear and they get more apparent as the male leopard gecko matures.
Above the vent, you can see the holes making a ‘V’ shape. In addition, waxy substance is secreted by the pre-anal pores in male geckos. Males emit the sticky substance to scent their territory.
As a result, the area around the femoral pores will frequently be covered in wax. You won’t see any buildup because the female pre-anal pores don’t secrete anything.
- Femoral pores on the legs
Femoral pores can also be found on the thighs of the back legs. They resemble columns of tiny white dots. “Pheromones” are secreted through the pores. Leopard geckos can detect the gender in other leopard geckos by smelling their pheromones. These pores, too, are distinctly visible in male leopard geckos.
In female geckos, even though the pores are present, they are barely noticeable. Also, the pores are larger in males.
Why Is It Important To Know The Sex Of Your Leopard Gecko?
Beyond physical characteristics, leopard gecko breeding, and naming your new pet, understanding the differences between a male and female leopard gecko goes a long way.
When deciding whether to have a male or female leopard gecko, there are various more factors to take into account.
It is essential to have a male and a female gecko if you intend to breed them.
It’s crucial to know your leopard gecko’s sex because men and females behave differently from one another.
Additionally, leopard geckos have health issues that are specific to each gender.
How To Handle The Leopard Gecko When You Observe It?
It’s crucial to know how to handle a leopard gecko when you are sexing it if you have never done so before. Being nice and tolerant is essential. Give the gecko a couple gentle strokes.
Then, raise them up by slipping your fingers under them. Ensure that you are holding the leopard’s body and not its tail. The hold should be tight but not overly so. Release your leo if it exhibits indications of discomfort or attempts to flee, then try again later.
Lift the gecko carefully to inspect the underbelly once you’ve gotten used to handling it and, more importantly, the gecko has grown accustomed to your touch. If attacked, leopard geckos are known to drop their tails.
As a result, it’s important to handle this delicately. Do not try to flip the leo over to check the underside. Rather, look underneath them. They can also be laid out on a translucent glass surface so you can see their underside.
Some individuals have a tendency to push against the hemipenile bumps during sex in order to force the male reproductive organ out. To be absolutely certain that the leopard gecko is a male, they do this. This is not advised, though. Your pet may become hurt and experience severe pain as a result.
In conclusion, sexing leopard geckos can be done through a few different methods, including examining the size and shape of the tail, examining the size and shape of the preanal pores, and examining the size and shape of the hemipenal bulges. It is important to handle leopard geckos with care when attempting to sex them, as they can be sensitive to handling and stress. It is also important to seek the guidance of a reptile veterinarian or experienced breeder if you are unsure about the sex of your leopard gecko, as proper sex identification is important for breeding and housing purposes.