Wondering how old your leopard gecko is? This guide is for you!
Do you know how well your leopard gecko is growing? Is he up to par or lagging behind? These are some of the questions leopard gecko pet parents are constantly concerned about.
Of course, to answer such questions, you need to know how old your leopard gecko is.
You can tell your leopard gecko’s age by measuring his length or weight or using colors and patterns. Your leopard gecko grows in stages, each characterized by various colors, patterns, length, and weight. However, these methods only apply if your leopard gecko is healthy and has led a normal life.
Although these methods are not foolproof, they give you a general idea of your pet’s age.
How Can I Tell How Old My Leopard Gecko Is?
Measuring Length to Determine Age
Determining age by measuring length only gives a generalization. Individual leopard geckos face different life scenarios that may interfere with how fast they grow.
To get the length of your leopard gecko, measure it from the snout to the base of the tail. The tail is excluded from this because leopard geckos don’t have tails all the time.
A leopard gecko may drop its tail as a defense mechanism to escape danger.
When this reptile faces a perceived or actual predator, it leaves its tail behind to preoccupy the predator while he makes good his escape.
The tail mesmerizes the predator by wiggling, and the leos escape will largely go unnoticed.
Although measuring a leopard gecko to determine age gives a pretty good idea, it is invalid after 18 months.
Leopard geckos don’t grow further after this age; they have fully matured.
Measuring Weight to Determine Age
Again, measuring weight gives a generalized idea of how old your leopard gecko may be. The weight of small reptiles is also highly variable, depending on many factors affecting the animal’s life.
As such, using weight in conjunction with other methods is recommended for a more accurate age record.
Using weight gives near-perfect results when the leopard gecko is young. However, as it grows older, this method becomes less reliable.
Adult leopard geckos rapidly gain weight due to overeating. Unfortunately, this also happens when they feed on high-fat insects and insect larvae for long.
Underfed leopard geckos soon become underweight. This also happens when the leo is sick or traumatized.
Gravid leopard geckos gain weight quickly but lose weight equally fast after laying the eggs. Weight also tends to shift greatly before, during, and after shedding and brumation.
Here’s a table that shows the correlation between age and length, and weight:
|Age (months)||Length (Inches)||Weight (grams)|
|Birth||3 “||3 “||2-5g||2-5g|
Using Colors and Patterns to Determine Age
By carefully observing the colors and patterns on your leopard gecko, you can have a good idea of its age.
Young and juvenile geckos have full bands around their bodies. Adults have spots rather than bands. If you don’t see spotted bands on your pet’s body, it is under 12 months old.
The intensity and type of color are influenced by age. For example, baby and juvenile leopard geckos have bright and intense colors.
However, as the gecko grows, these colors become a bit dull and muted. As the leopard gecko grows older, it puts on a more yellow color.
However, you can use color only with standard leopard geckos; this method does not apply to morphs.
How Long Will It Take for My Leopard Gecko to Reach Its Full Size?
Your leopard gecko keeps growing from birth to the age of 18 months. After this age, your pet’s length is unlikely to change.
This does not mean, however, that your leopard gecko reaches sexual maturity and 18 months. Size and sexual maturity are on different plans.
Males reach sexual maturity first, at the age of 10 months. Females closely follow at 12 months.
You can encourage the growth of your leopard gecko by ensuring he enjoys a hassle-free life. This entails consistently providing him with ideal living conditions and a proper diet.
Also, take care of his temperature and humidity needs.
What’s the Ideal Diet for Optimal Growth?
Leopard geckos feed on meat, and are particularly fond of crickets and mealworms. However, these are not the only insects or insect larvae your pet can eat.
He will relish a meal of silkworms, beetles, hornworms, roaches, and waxworms. Avoid feeding your leopard gecko food that can make him obese.
The rule of thumb is to give your leopard gecko insects he can consume within 10-15 minutes. Anything uneaten should be removed from the enclosure and set aside for another day.
Leopard geckos are fed every other day. However, you can feed the babies daily because their metabolic rates are high.
Avoid feeding your pet very large insects. Depending on the age and size of your leo, don’t give him an insect bigger than the space between his eyes.
Common Factors Affecting Your Leopard Gecko’s Growth
- Poor Accommodation
Your leopard gecko should be provided with an enclosure of the correct size. It should make him feel safe and secure.
It should also provide him with a sense of privacy. This means you should provide enough hides where your pet can retreat to handle the normal stress of life.
- Improper Lighting, Temperatures, and Humidity
To get the best out of your leopard gecko, you need to recreate the conditions of the native lands in the enclosure.
Leopard geckos are initially from the arid deserts of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine.
They do well in daytime temperatures of between 240 C and 320 C (750 F and 900 F) and nighttime temperatures of 180 C and 240 C (650 F and 750 F).
You should also maintain the humidity level between 30% and 40%.
- Use of Wrong Substrate
Leopard geckos can inadvertently ingest substrate. If you’ve used the wrong substrate, it will cause blockage in the leopard gecko’s digestive tract.
Using proper substrates such as shredded bark, coconut fiber, and reptile carpets makes life enjoyable for your pet.
- Parasitic Attacks
Parasites rob your leopard gecko of nutrients. Therefore, a leopard gecko with a heavy parasite load will likely experience stunted growth.
- Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
Reptiles suffer MBD when they don’t get enough calcium and minerals in their diet. This is a serious disease which, if not attended to in good time, results in 95% fatality.
- Transfer of Nutrients
Your pet’s growth will be affected if it has lost its tail and re-growing a new one. This is also the case if your pet has been sick and is now on a recovery path.
This happens because all nutrients have been rerouted to the task at hand – repair of damaged tissues and healing.
During this time, keep giving your pet a fat-rich diet and adequate supplements to aid in the recovery process.
- Poor Nutrition
Are you feeding your leopard gecko nutrient-rich diets? If this is not happening, your leopard gecko will not register growth commensurate with his age.
Correct this anomaly by serving him diets that will cater to his nutritional needs.
We love leopard geckos in our homes because they are beautiful, docile, and harmless. Also, they are highly adaptable and don’t have a high maintenance cost.
These cute pets easily motivate us to keenly follow their lives. They inspire us to find out how old they are and what we can do to improve their lives.