Wondering If Your Crested Gecko Is A Boy Or A Girl? This guide is for you!
Your crested gecko will be your close pal for a long time. So, it would be prudent to know whether this cherished companion is a boy or a girl.
There are many ways of telling whether your crested gecko is a ‘he’ or ‘she.’ Some of these ways are trusted and scientifically proven, while others are just guesswork. Choose wisely, especially if you are looking for a specific gender of crestie. By knowing the sex of your pet, you’ll be able to care for it more holistically.
You need to find out the gender of your crested gecko because males have different needs from females.
Seasoned keepers know you can’t keep certain gender combinations together, unless you want to end up with unplanned babies or injuries in the enclosure.
What’s the Importance of Finding the Gender of My Crested Gecko?
Boy crested geckos have different needs from their girl counterparts. By knowing the sex of your pet, you’ll be more responsive to its unique needs.
For example, did you know that you can’t keep male geckos together? Housing two males is a recipe for trouble, as the two constantly fight over the tank’s dominance.
It’s also evident that you can’t keep males and females together if you are not ready for breeding. As a result, you may find yourself with unplanned babies who will strain the available resources.
Also, some keepers refer to their pets as ‘she’ or ‘he.’ If you are one such keeper, it’s very much in the order you know the gender of your pet.
You’ll then be able to pick an appropriate name for it and treat it accordingly.
When is the Right Time to Sex Crested Geckos?
Baby crested geckos look more or less the same to the untrained eye. However, if you are not an expert, you may find it hard sexing your baby crestie.
It’s easier to tell the gender of older and larger geckos. Those that have reached about 3 months have started to develop characteristics common with their gender.
The pore, spur, and bulge size of 3-month-old cresties differ based on gender. So when your crested gecko is 6 months old, you can surely tell whether it is a male or female.
Old gecko keepers know it is easier to handle and determine the gender of a big crestie than a hatchling.
The sex difference between grown-up male and female geckos is quite apparent. A good reptile keeper could pick out the prominent differences and tell the sex of their pet reptile.
So, which are the best ways to determine your gecko’s sex? Before we look at these, let’s look at some of the misleading methods of doing so.
Misleading Methods of Telling the Gender of a Crested Gecko
Although a good number of newbies use this method, you can’t reliably tell the gender of a crestie by looking at its head.
Males, indeed, tend to have a bigger heads than females. However, this is not a rule, and it would be misleading to depend on it solely.
If you are to use head size to judge the sex of your crestie, use it alongside other factors.
Cloaca Spur Size
All crested geckos, male and female, have two pointy horn-like structures o either side of the cloaca. These are the cloaca spurs.
They are generally on the same area of the anatomy as the Hemi-penal bulge. Male cresties tend to have more prominent cloaca spurs than their female counterparts.
However, this is not a fact; it is not cast in iron. A good number of female crested geckos also tend to have large cloaca spurs.
As such, you can’t rely solely on the size of the cloaca spur to tell the gender of your gecko. Other factors must come into play if you employ this method.
Males take the top position during mating. Although this would be an excellent way to tell the difference between a male and female gecko, it doesn’t always hold true.
This is because before they get the hang of things, these reptiles often confuse their mating positions. As a result, it is not uncommon to find female cresties on top and males at the bottom.
As with the above two methods, do not use sexual behavior as the sole determinant of your crested gecko’s gender.
What, then, are the best ways to sex your crestie? Let’s have a look at that in detail.
Sexing a Young Crested Gecko
Because hatchlings don’t have sexual characteristics that distinguish them as male or female, it is very hard to sex them.
However, you can tell the sex of a juvenile crestie because they have developed certain distinguishable features.
A 4-month male crested gecko has well-defined pre-anal pores above the cloaca. At this stage, you can reasonably sex your crestie with a high degree of certainty.
However, only when the crestie is fully-grown can you say with absolute certainty whether it is male or female.
What Are Pre-Anal Pores?
These tiny indentations are located on your crested gecko’s lower belly, just above the cloaca. Unfortunately, because they are so small, you may be unable to study them in detail with the naked eye.
You can use the macro-photography setting on your camera to capture the area around your gecko’s butt.
Then, magnify the image and look more closely at the thin line spreading from one inner thing of the hind leg to the other.
If your crestie is a male, you’ll see some tiny dots that look like indentations. These are the pre-anal pores that females don’t have.
Being territorial, male cresties secrete pheromones through these pores to ward off competition. Also, they use these secretions to attract potential mates.
What Are Femoral Pores?
Femoral pores are very much like pre-anal pores, only that they are located in a different place. Femoral pores are located further back and at the center of the inner thigh of your crestie.
Do Females Have Pores?
Although pre-anal and femoral pores are exclusively male affairs, female cresties can also have them.
However, not all females have these pores, and those who do have pseudo-pores. In addition, the female pores are smaller and less significant than their male counterparts.
Also, the female pores are not located in a particular place. This fact means they are harder to find. Finally, because they are tinier than males, female pores are invisible in every way but name.
Additionally, the female pseudo-pores don’t secrete pheromones.
Sexing an Adult Crested Gecko
At around 8 to 9 months, crested geckos reach a weight of about 18 grams and are considered adults. At this age, it’s easy to see the sexual characteristics that distinguish males from females.
For example, the hemipenes bulge is already noticeable in males. This sex feature continues to grow as the reptile increases in size and weight.
What’s the Hemipene Bulge?
This is a swelling located below the cloaca in male crested geckos. Its separation and design more or less look like the separation in human testes.
The only difference is that it doesn’t have balls inside like the ones on human testes.
A male crested gecko belongs to a class of reptiles called squamates – meaning it has a special channel for passing sperm into the female’s body.
In the crestie, this channel is the hemipenes – lumpy mounds of flesh that do the same work as penises in mammals.
Unlike penises, hemipenes are not elongated.
The hemipenes bulge in adult males is so prominent that you can see it from above, below, and on either side.
Do Females Have Hemipene Bulges?
Since females don’t have hemipenes (structures for delivering sperms), they can’t have hemipenal bulges.
The female crested gecko’s anatomy is flat where the hemipenes bulges should be.
However, an overweight female crested gecko can have a pocket of fat where the hemipenal bulge should be.
This can be very confusing to the unschooled eye. To distinguish between female fat and male bulge, look at the protrusion on either side of the crested gecko.
The hemipenal budge is prominent from either side, while the female fat pocket is prominent only from below.
How to Use a Jeweler’s Loupe to Sex Your Crested Gecko
The world over, jewelers use special magnifying glasses to study pieces of jewelry. This is the jeweler’s loop, and its use is not confined to jewels.
You can use this piece of equipment to study the sexual features of your reptile more closely. This special magnifying glass helps you get a closer look at relatively small crested geckos.
It gives the kind of magnification you cannot get with an ordinary magnifying glass and a flashlight. A jeweler’s loupe enables you to sex your lizard as accurately as possible.
It makes the work easier and hassle-free. These are important considerations when dealing with a skittish crestie that doesn’t want you to get up close and personal.
How to Handle Crested Geckos While Checking Their Gender
You’d want to be gentle and loving with your crested gecko when checking its gender. However, you must be patient to ensure you don’t stress this animal during the process.
Here’s how to gently conduct the exercise:
- Move toward the enclosure calmly and steadily. Don’t do anything rush that would stress your pet or scare it away.
- Touch the gecko gently and reassuringly. Then, wrap your finger around its underbelly and gently lift it up.
- Be careful when handling this reptile not to pull its tail out. Unfortunately, crested geckos cannot regrow their tail when they lose them.
- You can get help from someone to check the sex of your gecko below. While one holds up the gecko in a vantage position, the other checks the lower belly and takes the photos.
- Examining the reptile within its enclosure would be a great idea, as it feels safe and secure in familiar surroundings. To achieve this, take photos as the reptile crawls along the glass walls of the terrarium.
Differences Between Male and Female Crested Geckos
#1 – Difference in Size
Some keepers believe that male geckos are bigger than their female counterparts. Males are said to be thickset and bulkier than females.
On the other hand, females are believed to be longer.
However, this comparison can be confusing, especially when dealing with breeding females. These females tend to put on weight, and it would be hard to tell them apart from bulky males.
As noted earlier, the size of the crested gecko alone cannot be used to judge whether it is male or female.
This is more so because each individual grows differently due to environmental conditions.
#2 – Health Issues
Because they don’t have hemipenes, female crested geckos are unlikely to have issues related to this organ, which is a common problem with male geckos.
Sometimes, the hemipenes get stuck outside the body – the male crestie cannot pull it back in after mating.
This poses a health risk to the male crestie as the hemipenes on the outside can be attacked by all kinds of parasites.
Should you notice this predicament in your male crested gecko, assist him by gently pushing the hemipenes back into the body.
This organ should not be exposed to the outside for an extended period, as this is likely to compromise your pet’s health.
Females, too, suffer some health complications unique to their gender. Take egg binding, for example. In this case, eggs get stuck inside the female’s body bringing untold suffering and stress to the animal.
Egg binding can turn fatal if quick medical intervention is not made. Also, rectifying this problem can be costly as it involves surgery.
#3 – Social Behavior
It’s almost impossible for two male crested geckos to stay in the same enclosure. Because of their territorial nature, male geckos will constantly fight for dominance.
If you insist on housing males together, be ready to treat injuries and pay the healing costs.
It is more likely that a male and a group of females will live harmoniously in the same terrarium. However, it would be unwise to house a single male with a single female.
This is because he will always wear her down by pursuing her. This may upset her cycles and lead to stress and poor health.
#4 – Life Span
Generally, crested geckos live to a ripe old age of 15 to 20 years. However, some live as long as 25 and even 30 years!
Crested geckos that have held the record for longevity have been males. However, it is not cast in stone that every male will outlive his female age mate.
Which Make Better Pets: Male or Female Crested Geckos?
This depends on your individual taste.
What kind of crested geckos do you want to raise and why? If you’re looking to breed and raise a young one, female geckos would be your choice.
However, if you don’t have the space or budget for hatchlings, babies, and juvenile geckos, you’d rather go for the males.
Males can be kept singularly, and you won’t have to worry about the complications connected to the females, such as egg binding.
Can a Dealer Know the Sex of My Crested Gecko?
Your dealer, breeder, or pet shop will likely know the gender of your pet, especially if you purchased it from them.
Sometimes, the breeder may not tell you the sex of the pet they sold you.
However, they will likely give you its hatching date, which will guide you to know when you’re likely to discover the sex of the pet.
It’s easy to tell the age of a crested gecko if it attains maturity. However, knowing the date it hatched, you can only tell if it’s nearing maturity.
Can a Vet Know the Sex of My Crested Gecko?
Your vet should be your first call whenever you have doubts about your crested gecko.
Talk to them about identifying the gender of your crestie, and you can be sure you’ll get all the assistance you need.
When it comes to the choice of whether to consult a vet or not, always bear in mind that cheap is expensive.
You may opt for a shortcut to resolve your dilemma, only to discover later that your path gave false results.
Your vet is trained to handle all issues related to your crested gecko. They have all the right equipment and skill to accurately tell whether your crested gecko is a boy or a girl.
An expert vet will also guide you to identify the pores, bulges, and spurs that distinguish male crested geckos from females.
You will be interested to know whether your crested gecko is male or female if you want a specific gender.
You may also want to distinguish your geckos to provide the best care possible to each of them.
Also, by knowing the gender of your pet, you’ll get ready to take up the activities that go with that particular gender.
Females, for example, are likely to bring forth hatchlings. Knowing the gender alerts you in good time to ready yourself to handle baby cresties.