Interested in signs that your leopard gecko is pregnant? This guide is for you!
It may be confusing for a first-time keeper to tell if their female leopard gecko is pregnant.
Actually, even some seasoned keepers have difficulty distinguishing between weight gain and pregnancy in female leos.
However, if you know what to look for, this issue will not be so complex.
A pregnant leopard gecko has a swollen stomach and often displays signs of sleeplessness and restlessness. This leo may also lose appetite, show signs of stress and weakness, and move about sluggishly. You may also spot a number of eggs in her stomach through the skin.
You cannot rely on one sign to conclude that your leopard gecko is pregnant. Instead, you need to see a number of indicators, all pointing in the same direction.
If you’re still doubtful after all these signs, seek your trusted vet’s help. The vet will advise you whether your female leopard gecko is gravid and what to do about it.
Signs That Your Leopard Gecko is Pregnant
#1 – Swollen Stomach
Most animals have protruding stomachs as the most obvious sign of pregnancy. For example, your leopard gecko’s stomach swells because of accumulated eggs.
If you’re unsure whether this is a case of weight gain or pregnancy, just touch the underbelly. If you feel some lumps, those are eggs in the stomach; your pet is pregnant.
Remember to conduct this exam gently; you don’t want to break the eggs in your leos belly. At the same time, don’t put the leopard gecko upside down to examine her, as she may faint.
#2 – General Weakness
From the way your leopard gecko conducts its activities, you can tell she’s weak. This reptile is not as playful as when she is in her true element.
She’s likely to spend most of her time in the hide, not bothering to get involved in her routine activities.
You can tell the pregnancy is taking a toll on her because her vivacity is gone. A pregnant leopard gecko does not scurry around the enclosure, but drags herself wherever she goes.
Also, this reptile prefers to spend most of her time sleeping as she lacks the energy to engage in other activities.
#3 – Easily Frightened
A gravid leopard gecko gets easily scared. She gets skittish at the sight of you or on hearing an unexpected sound.
This is because, instinctively, this reptile is being protective of her unborn babies. Her hormones have run wild, and she perceives danger and threats even where none exist.
She may run into hiding when you open the tank to feed her. This lizard will dodge you when you try to reach down to handle her.
She feels you’re a threat to her unborn babies, the bond you had previously established with her notwithstanding.
Most of the sights and sounds she has been used to in the house have suddenly become a threat.
#4 – Loss of Appetite
This is one of the primary reasons your leopard gecko becomes weak: she doesn’t eat. As the pregnancy grows, her loss of interest in food becomes more pronounced.
This happens because the eggs are growing in her belly daily, filling up all the space. This means she has no room for food; the eggs have pushed her stomach in.
However, entice this reptile to take a bite, no matter how small. Give her insects every day with the occasional worm.
Although she may not eat much, the little she’ll bite will keep her going until she lays the eggs. The good news is that her appetite will come back full-swing as soon as she offloads the eggs.
#5 – Sleeplessness and Restlessness
This could be one of the reasons your leopard gecko is weak and sluggish. Try as she might, this female leo can’t seem to find sleep.
She becomes restless because of the raging hormones. Lack of sleep makes your female leopard gecko behave erratically.
She becomes restless and cannot keep still in one place for long. This further usurps your pet’s energy and contributes to her loss of energy.
The best you can do under these circumstances is to continue caring for her. Show her love by feeding and providing her with an adequate supply of clean drinking water.
Also, ensure that the tank conditions are at optimum.
#6 – The Eggs Are Visible
In some leopard gecko morphs, the eggs are visible in the stomach. Therefore, the eggs look like protruding lumps in the stomach.
If you’re seeing them for the first time, you may think they will burst out at any time. The eggs are more prominent in leopard geckos that have lost considerable weight over pregnancy.
Don’t be alarmed, however. This is a natural phenomenon that is common with a good number of pregnant leopard geckos.
#7 – Irritability and Anxiety
Your female leopard gecko will behave as if it doesn’t know you. Regardless of how strong a bond you have cultivated with this reptile, she gets snappy and irritable whenever you approach her.
It’s like this reptile wants nothing to do with you. Instead, she will hiss and bark at you, sensing your approach.
This may perplex you until you learn that your pet is pregnant. Then, you will appreciate that this behavior is typical of gravid females.
Your leopard gecko is just trying to be protective of her unborn babies. In this state, nothing in the world matters more to her than those babies.
As such, you may have to tactfully disengage yourself from her until she lays the eggs. This means you should avoid handling her.
Provide her with everything she needs – food, water, and proper accommodation – and let her be. She’ll eventually come around.
#8 – Sluggishness
Your leopard gecko’s hormones seem to run amok and turn her life upside down. What she used to do with enthusiasm now becomes an uphill task.
You can see her laboring to move from point A to B. Actually, she prefers to spend most of her time cooped up in her hide.
If she must move, she does so in slow, labored movements. This is because the eggs are heavy. Moreover, she doesn’t have the strength to be active because she’s not feeding properly.
If you see your female leopard gecko moving around the enclosure sluggishly, she might be pregnant. Check the other signs for confirmation.
#9 – Stress and Defensiveness
Does your leopard gecko seem stressed of late? Does it run away or chirp at you when you approach it?
Chances are that this female leo is pregnant. Gravid female leopard geckos display serious signs of stress and defensiveness.
Don’t take your little reptile friend wrong. Instinct has kicked in, and she’s seen the need to be protective of her unborn babies.
The fear of those babies falling into the hands of predators fills her with dread and stress and makes her defensive.
Give your leopard gecko time. The grumpiness will go away once she’s relieved of the eggs.
#10 – Thinning Tail
The tail is an essential appendage in the lives of leopard geckos. This is because this is where this animal stores extra fat and water.
A healthy leopard gecko is identifiable by its fat tail. But, of course, the tail should not be too fat as this would point to obesity.
So, what does it mean when the tail starts thinning? This indicates that your leopard gecko is not feeding properly.
This is a common characteristic of pregnant leopard geckos. Because this gecko does not feed properly, she heavily relies on her fat reserves from the tail.
The tail gets thinner with the growth and development of the pregnancy. So if your leopard gecko’s tail has been thinning, look for other corroborative signs of pregnancy.
The good news is that your leopard gecko will pick up weight as soon as she lays the eggs.
With a little enticement using treats and proper nutrition, your pet’s appetite will sharpen, and her tail will fatten once more.
Things to Avoid…
Handling the Leopard Gecko
Your leopard gecko is quite sensitive when she’s pregnant. As earlier noted, she may want nothing to do with you because her instincts tell her to give priority to her unborn babies.
Give her the space she needs to carry the eggs to term.
Also, handling her too much may cause her abdominal pain and put pressure on the eggs.
Housing the Female with a Male
Once you have confirmed that the female leopard gecko is pregnant, avoid housing her with the male leo.
The female leo needs space to herself; she needs to go through the pregnancy without being harassed by any other leo.
Relocate the male to another tank, as relocating the female would cause her undue stress.
Avoid Loud Noises and Lights
Your female leopard gecko needs to sleep and rest as much as possible. As such, you should keep the environment as quiet and friendly as possible.
Avoid making any sudden movement or causing noise. Don’t use harsh lights that could disturb your pet and destabilize her life at this juncture.
Keep Away Other House Pets
Prevent the other house pets from accessing the leopard gecko’s tank or room. Your lizard will get frightened when she sees other animals close to the tank or through the window.
At this point in her life, she perceives them as a threat.
Avoid Making Changes to the Tank
There are better times to start renovating the tank than this one. Avoid making abrupt changes to your leopard gecko’s environment.
She will not entertain changes at this time because her focus is on the wellbeing and safety of her unborn babies.
At the same time, ensure that enclosure temperatures and humidity do not change drastically.
Your leopard gecko needs a stable temperature and humidity to regulate her body temperature, which is essential for the eggs to form correctly.
How Long Does a Leopard Gecko Carry Her pregnancy?
A female leopard gecko becomes pregnant after mating with a male. However, this pregnancy does not last long; it takes 3 to 4 weeks for her to lay the eggs.
Not all leopard geckos that lay eggs have mated with a male. In reproduction, female leopard geckos are like hens: they lay eggs with or without a male.
A female leopard gecko can store sperm from one mating to fertilize up to last her 3 pregnancies. This serves them well, especially when they cannot readily find suitable mates after the first mating.
Interestingly, the incubation period for leopard geckos is quite long. It takes between 35 and 89 days for the eggs to hatch.
Just before they hatch, the eggs start shrinking in size, and beads of moisture gather on the shell.
What Happens After the Eggs Hatch?
As earlier noted, leopard gecko eggs hatch 35 to 89 days after they are laid. The best move after this is to separate the young from their parents.
Put them in a separate tank so that they are not eaten. Leopard geckos are notorious for eating their newborns for nutritional purposes.
The gender of the young ones depends on the temperature you incubate them under. Put the female babies in a 20-gallon tank in the meantime.
Each of the males will need a separate tank. Males never live together because they constantly fight over territorial rights.
You can house one male with a number of females for the time being. However, once the female attains the age of 10 months, she may get pregnant again.
This is the age when they attain sexual maturity and start ovulating.
If you don’t intend to breed new leopard geckos, rehome the females immediately. Keeping them around can invite an influx of newborns that may be too many for you to handle.
However, if you separate the males from the females, you eliminate the risk of mating and dealing with new baby leos.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I Take Care of My Pregnant Leopard Gecko?
Your leopard needs your care, love, and support during pregnancy. Although a gravid leo tends to be irritable and easily agitated, you need to be there for it during this trying time.
Ensure that the tank conditions operate at an optimal level. The temperature and humidity should be monitored to create the comfort your pet needs.
Also, provide your leopard gecko with quality vitamin supplements because she needs to stay healthy. Finally, create an environment conducive for this reptile to peacefully carry her pregnancy to term.
Why Shouldn’t I Handle My Leopard Gecko During Pregnancy?
Female leopard geckos are pretty irritable when pregnant. So, spurred by her instincts to protect her unborn babies, your leopard gecko will not want much to do with you.
As a loving pet parent, keep handling this leo to the minimum. Give her the space she needs to carry her eggs to term.
Where Do Leopard Geckos Lay Their Eggs?
Leopard geckos prefer to lay their eggs in a soft, moist area of the enclosure.
Suppose you notice your gravid leopard gecko digging the substrate. In that case, it’s likely looking for a suitable place to deposit its precious cargo.
This is your cue to ensure you provide her with a good nest for the eggs. Create an egg box using soft materials such as peat moss.
Also, cover the box to give your pet a sense of privacy as she lays the eggs. She may not release the eggs if she feels exposed and threatened.
Can Leopard Geckos Lay Eggs Without Mating?
Female leopard geckos lay eggs with or without the presence of males. This means your pet can get pregnant even without mating.
This is more common with younger females than older ones.
Your gravid leopard gecko needs your care whether the eggs she carries are a product of mating or not.
Ensure that this female leo gets the nutrient needed to stay healthy during gestation. Also, create the proper conditions in the tank to guarantee her safety and comfort.
If your leopard gecko feels insecure, she may suffer from egg binding. This happens when the eggs fail to come out despite your Leo’s best efforts to expel them.
Egg binding is a potentially fatal situation that requires the intervention of your vet.
If you have a young female leopard gecko, know she can get pregnant from the age of 18 to 24 months.
You need to be in a position to identify the signs of pregnancy so that you can support her when she’s gravid.
Some signs you should look out for are a swollen stomach, sluggish movements, irritable behavior, and loss of appetite.