Are you wondering whether your leopard gecko is male or female? It can be difficult to tell, but there are a few key differences between males and females that you should know about.
Knowing the sex of your pet helps ensure their needs are met!
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the differences between male and female leopard geckos and provide tips on telling which sex your pet has.
Differences between Male and Female Leopard Geckos
There are a few key differences between male and female leopard geckos, which you will be able to identify with some experience. However, each gecko is unique, so none of these differences are hard rules!
Leopard geckos come in a range of sizes, but when it comes to gender, there are some important differences.
Male leopard geckos tend to be the larger gender at an average size of 8-11 inches in length and weighing between 60 and 80g.
Meanwhile, female leopard geckos are generally smaller, typically ranging from 7-8 inches in length with a weight of 50-70g on average.
This makes them easily distinguishable from one another due to their size difference as they reach adulthood.
Male and female leopard geckos exhibit different behaviors in many ways. Male geckos are territorial, meaning they cannot be housed together or else they will attack each other.
They also chirp more often, usually to try to attract a mate or defend their territory. When hunting for food, male geckos tend to be more aggressive than females, who often seem calmer while hunting.
During mating and breeding season, males can be more playful and approachable while females may act more shy and hesitant.
Understanding these behavioral differences is important when taking care of leopard geckos, as it can help keep them safe and healthy.
How to Tell If Your Leopard Gecko Is Male or Female
Identifying the gender of a leopard gecko can be a tricky task. Male geckos have a pair of hemipenes visible near their vent or cloaca. These will appear like two bumps in line with each other towards the base of the tail.
Females, however, do not possess these bumps – instead, their tails are slightly thicker than males, and their vents are set further from the end of their tail. If a female is gravid (carrying eggs) she will also have an enlarged tail size, making them easily distinguishable from males by just looking at it.
So in short, by checking for unique markings between the hind legs of your leopard gecko, you can tell if they are male or female.
Let’s cover some important basics before moving on to the detailed explanation of how to actually sex your leopard gecko!
Handling your Gecko
Examining a Leopard Gecko in order to sex them requires patience and gentleness to ensure the safety of your pet. It is important to only pick up geckos that are used to being handled, as their first response may be fear or even dropping their tail if startled.
Once familiar with handling, start off with short, simple sessions before progressing to sexing. When ready, you can start the sexing process. Don’t rush into it, though, or you risk hurting the trust that your pet should feel for you!
How to Identify your Gecko’s sex
Identifying a gecko’s sex is called “sexing” – and is pretty easy if you know what to look for. Keep in mind that properly sexing a leopard gecko is only possible if they are at least 6 months old. (1)
As discussed, we are looking for specific signs that only show up on males. First, male geckos have femoral pores, which can be seen as tiny bumps on both sides of the ventral area.
Additionally, check to see if the gecko has pre-anal and/or post-anal pores. These are glands found near their ventral area and are usually quite easy to spot.
Another way to check for gender is by looking for a lump or bulge near its tail base, which typically only happens in males – this is known as a hemipenal bulge.
Here’s a video that shows you how to sex your leopard gecko much better than any text could:
How Incubation Temperature decides your Gecko’s Sex
One interesting aspect of leopard geckos is that their sex is determined by the incubation temperature during early embryonic development. Warmer temperatures tend to produce male hatchlings, while cooler temperatures can lead to female hatchlings. This process is similar to the way in which sea turtles’ sexes are determined by their surrounding sand temperature.
Although it may be difficult to regulate temperature during incubation, this method is used by breeders who want to influence more females or males into their lineages.
Incubating between 80°F and 83°F will create a higher percentage of female hatchlings. Temperatures ranging from 84°F to 86°F will result in an even ratio of males and females emerging, while any incubation temperature between 87°F and 89°F is likely to produce predominantly male leopard geckos.
Are Male or Female Leopard Geckos more aggressive?
Male leopard geckos are exceedingly territorial and as such, are more aggressive than females. They will often fight with other males in order to stake their claim over a particular territory, although they will not typically fight with other females.
While both male and female geckos can be happy to be handled by familiar humans, males tend to take more time to warm up to their owners.
Is a male or female leopard gecko the better pet?
Leopard Geckos of both sexes are great as pets, but there are some differences to consider.
Males tend to be more resilient, healthy and can have a longer lifespan than female geckos. For beginners, this can be the better choice. Additionally, when buying a male leopard gecko, you do not need to worry about your pet’s ovulation, breeding, or egg-laying.
Female leopard geckos need extra care during their ovulation periods – which are once a year in spring. They may even lay eggs without a male present, although these eggs are infertile and will not hatch. Hover, girl geckos may be easier to handle.
Can male and female leopard geckos live together?
Leopard geckos are solitary reptiles and should always have their own tank unless you are an experienced keeper.
Only for breeding should one male and one female be briefly housed together – if you know what you are doing. Keeping two (or more) leopard geckos in the same tank can lead to fighting and serious injury, even between females. Keeping two males in the same tank will almost always lead to the death of one of them.
Very large gecko tanks may offer an exception to this rule, but this is mostly for zoos and professional keepers – not for pets in your home.