To tell if a leopard gecko is a boy or girl:
- Wait until it’s at least six months old.
- Look at the underside: Males have dots and bulges, while females don’t.
- Notice size differences: Males are usually bigger, with distinct bulges. But size alone isn’t a reliable indicator.
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One of the most reliable ways to tell the gender of a leopard gecko is to look at their vent area, which is located at the base of their tail.
There are two main features that can indicate the sex of a leopard gecko: hemipenal bulges and preanal pores.
1) Hemipenal bulges
Hemipenal bulges are two swellings on either side of the vent that contain the male leopard gecko’s reproductive organs, called hemipenes.
Hemipenes are paired organs that are inverted inside the body when not in use, and everted during mating.
Hemipenal bulges are usually visible in male leopard geckos after they reach sexual maturity, which is around 6 to 9 months of age.
They can be seen as two distinct bumps that are separated by a V-shaped notch. Female leopard geckos do not have hemipenal bulges, and their vent area is smooth and flat.
To check for hemipenal bulges, you need to gently lift the leopard gecko’s tail and look at the underside. You can use a flashlight or a magnifying glass to get a better view.
Be careful not to stress or injure the leopard gecko while doing this, and avoid touching or squeezing the bulges, as this can cause pain or damage to the hemipenes.
2) Preanal pores
Preanal pores are small openings on the skin that secrete a waxy substance called femoral gland secretions.
These secretions are used for marking territory, attracting mates, and communicating with other leopard geckos.
Preanal pores are located above the vent, in a row that forms a U-shaped curve. Both male and female leopard geckos have preanal pores, but they are more prominent and active in males.
Male leopard geckos have larger and more numerous preanal pores, and their secretions are more visible and odorous. Female leopard geckos have smaller and fewer preanal pores, and their secretions are less noticeable and less smelly.
To check for preanal pores, you need to look at the area above the vent, where the tail meets the body.
You can use a flashlight or a magnifying glass to see the pores more clearly. You might also see some white or yellowish deposits on the skin, which are the femoral gland secretions.
Male leopard geckos usually have 20 to 30 preanal pores, while female leopard geckos usually have 10 to 20 preanal pores.
3) Femoral pores
Femoral pores are another type of pores that secrete femoral gland secretions. They are located on the inner side of the thighs, along the femur bone.
They are similar to preanal pores, but they are not directly related to the reproductive system.
Femoral pores are also present in both male and female leopard geckos, but they are more developed and active in males. Male leopard geckos have larger and more visible femoral pores, and their secretions are more abundant and pungent.
Female leopard geckos have smaller and less noticeable femoral pores, and their secretions are less frequent and less strong.
To check for femoral pores, you need to look at the inner side of the leopard gecko’s legs, near the knee joint. You can use a flashlight or a magnifying glass to see the pores better.
You might also see some white or yellowish deposits on the skin, which are the femoral gland secretions.
Male leopard geckos usually have 8 to 12 femoral pores on each leg, while female leopard geckos usually have 4 to 8 femoral pores on each leg.
4) Tail size and shape
Tail size and shape can also give some clues about the gender of a leopard gecko, but they are not very reliable indicators.
This is because tail size and shape can vary depending on the age, health, diet, and genetics of the leopard gecko. However, in general, male leopard geckos tend to have thicker and longer tails than female leopard geckos.
This is because male leopard geckos store more fat and water in their tails, which are used as energy reserves and for survival in times of scarcity.
Female leopard geckos have thinner and shorter tails, as they use more of their fat and water for egg production and laying.
To check for tail size and shape, you need to look at the leopard gecko’s tail from the side and from the top.
You can compare the tail with the body and the head, and see if it is proportionate or not. Male leopard geckos usually have tails that are wider than their heads, and longer than their bodies.
Female leopard geckos usually have tails that are narrower than their heads, and shorter than their bodies.
5) Head size and shape
The size and shape of a leopard gecko’s head can help determine its gender, but it’s not always a reliable method.
Various factors like age, health, diet, and genetics can influence head size and shape in leopard geckos.
Generally, male leopard geckos have bigger and broader heads than females.
This is because males have more muscle and bone density in their heads, which they use for fighting and biting during mating and territorial disputes.
On the other hand, female leopard geckos typically have smaller and narrower heads because they don’t need to compete with other females for mates and resources.
To check the head size and shape, observe the gecko’s head from the front and the side. Compare it with the body and tail to see if it’s proportionate.
Male geckos often have wider heads than their bodies and longer heads than tails. Female geckos usually have narrower heads than their bodies and shorter heads than tails.
Another way to tell the gender of a leopard gecko is to observe their behavior, especially during the breeding season, which is from January to September.
There are three main types of behavior that can indicate the sex of a leopard gecko: mating behavior, territorial behavior, and vocalization.
1) Mating behavior
Mating behavior is the most obvious and distinctive way to tell the gender of a leopard gecko, as it involves physical contact and interaction between males and females.
Mating behavior usually occurs when the leopard geckos are sexually mature, which is around 8 to 12 months of age.
Mating behavior can be seen as follows:
- Male leopard geckos will approach and chase female leopard geckos, and try to bite their necks and tails. This is a way of showing dominance and interest, and also stimulating the female to ovulate. Male leopard geckos will also wag their tails rapidly and vibrate them on the ground, which is a way of signaling their presence and readiness to mate.
- Female leopard geckos will either accept or reject the male’s advances, depending on their receptivity and preference. Female leopard geckos will signal their acceptance by lifting their tails and exposing their vents, which is a way of inviting the male to mate. Female leopard geckos will signal their rejection by biting, hissing, or running away from the male, which is a way of discouraging the male from mating.
- If the female accepts the male, the male will mount the female and insert one of his hemipenes into her vent. The male will then hold the female’s neck with his teeth and wrap his tail around hers, which is a way of securing the mating. The mating can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on the male’s stamina and the female’s cooperation.
- After the mating, the male and the female will separate and clean themselves. The female will then store the male’s sperm in her oviducts, which can be used to fertilize multiple clutches of eggs for several months. The female will lay her eggs in a moist and warm substrate, usually 2 to 4 weeks after the mating. The female can lay up to 10 clutches of eggs per year, with 1 to 2 eggs per clutch.
2) Territorial behavior
Territorial behavior is a way to figure out if a leopard gecko is a boy or a girl. It involves them being aggressive and competing with each other.
This usually happens when leopard geckos live together, especially in small or crowded spaces.
Here’s what territorial behavior looks like:
⇒ Boy leopard geckos will protect their space and things from other boys. They’ll try to be the boss and mate with any girl in their area, no matter if she wants to or not. You can tell a boy is being territorial if he raises his body, arches his back, lowers his head, opens his mouth, hisses, wags his tail, or bites or chases other boys.
⇒ Girl leopard geckos also defend their space and things from other girls. They try to avoid or say no to boys trying to mate with them. Girls also compete for the best spots to lay eggs. You can tell a girl is being territorial if she raises her body, arches her back, lowers her head, opens her mouth, hisses, wags her tail, or bites or runs away from other girls or boys.
Making sounds is another way leopard geckos show their gender. They make different noises to communicate with each other.
These sounds usually happen when it’s breeding time, but they can also occur at other times for various reasons.
Here’s what the sounds mean:
Male Leopard Geckos: They make loud and high-pitched squeaks, barks, or chirps. This is their way of attracting females, warning other males, or showing excitement or distress.
They also make soft and low-pitched purrs to calm females, express affection, or indicate satisfaction.
Female Leopard Geckos: They make soft and high-pitched squeaks, barks, or chirps to respond to males, signal if they’re receptive or not, or show excitement or distress.
Like males, they also produce soft and low-pitched purrs to calm themselves, express affection, or show satisfaction.
Q: When is the best time to figure out the gender of a leopard gecko?
The best time to determine the gender of a leopard gecko is between 6 to 9 months when they become sexually mature.
At this point, their physical features and behavior clearly indicate their gender. However, you can try to figure it out earlier or later since some signs may show up in hatchlings or adults.
It’s essential to use multiple methods and criteria because some indicators can be unclear or misleading.
Q: How do I distinguish between a male and a female leopard gecko hatchling?
A: Distinguishing between a male and female leopard gecko hatchling is challenging since they haven’t developed their secondary sexual characteristics yet.
One method is to check their vent area for hemipenal bulges or preanal pores. Male hatchlings might have slightly larger and more visible bulges and pores than females, but it’s not foolproof.
You can also observe their head size and shape—males might have slightly larger and broader heads.
However, confirming their gender becomes more accurate as they grow older and their features become more apparent.
Q: Can I house male and female leopard geckos together?
Yes, you can keep male and female leopard geckos together, but only if you’re ready to breed them and care for their offspring.
If breeding isn’t your goal, avoid housing male and female leopard geckos together. Their mating and egg production can be stressful and harmful.
Also, don’t keep more than one male leopard gecko together, as they’ll fight over territory and females.
While multiple female leopard geckos can coexist, ensure they have enough space, food, water, hiding spots, and substrate to prevent overcrowding and competition.
I am Abdul Kader, the founder of Hellocutter.com. I have a passion for all things tech and love finding ways to use technology to make our lives easier. I have a background in computer science and have been working in the tech industry for over 10 years.