Leopard Gecko Breeding Preparations
Leopard Gecko Breeding Preparations must be made if you intend on being successful at breeding. We have added some key things you need to be prepared for when you begin breeding your geckos. If you can't prepare yourself for what we have listed below then you should seriously reconsider breeding your leopard geckos until these needs can be met.
Your time is valuable. You have a job, family and friends that want your attention. You likely also have other pets that you need to care for. When you decide you are going to breed your leopard geckos you are also deciding that a portion of your time is going to be dedicated to the project. If you already find yourself rushing around in life to complete your day to day tasks, breeding may not be a great idea at this point as you are going to end up with more animals and care requirements than you currently have.
Breeding your leopard geckos is very rewarding and should be considered an investment. Breeding does cost money as additional offspring are produced. Your bills will increase as you increase your prey purchasing or breeding, supplements, housing, hides, food and water dishes, etc. You may find that the offspring you produce are going to be with you for an extended period of time and that means you will be required to care for them longer than you may have anticipated. If you are not financially comfortable right now you may want to put off breeding until you have some spare money laying around.
Breeding geckos is normally done by weight and not age. I personally will not breed a gecko that is not at least 45+ grams. This goes for both my males and females. In order to accurately know the weights of your current geckos and the offspring they produce, you will need to invest in a quality scale. I purchased an Acculab GSI-200. It is accurate up to .1 grams. It allows for tarring which is convenient when you are using a container to place the gecko in while they are being weighed. You first place the container on the scale, and then hit "tare". This will zero out the scale so that the only weight shown is the geckos and not the combination of the two. This eliminates any math on your part and the possibility for human error.
Successful breeders use incubators to hatch their offspring. Being able to control the temperature and humidity in which the geckos are being incubated allows you greater control over the sex and color of the animal. (See Temperature Effects On Leopard Gecko Incubation).
One of the most popular incubators being used by breeders is the hovabator. Hovabators are inexpensive and do an exceptional job incubating eggs.
It is possible for you to build your own incubator if you don't have the funds to purchase one. Fishtanks converted into incubators is not uncommon. (See How To Build A Fishtank Incubator)
If you don't have the supplies to build your own but do have a room in your home that doesn't drop below 76° (A reptile room is ideal.) you can incubate the eggs on a shelf. You could also incubate the eggs inside of a leopard gecko enclosure if you have the room and can stabilize the container so that other geckos don't knock it over.
Housing the new offspring must be taken into consideration before any breeding projects begin. While your intent may be to sell the offspring you produce it may not occur as fast as you anticipate. You must prepare yourself to be able to house the new offspring for an extended period of time. For the best growth rates, individual housing is suggested based on size. This means you should be capable of housing each gecko separately as they outgrow their cage-mates. A rack style set-up is ideal for this. (See Breeding Rack Plans)
Food - Supplements
Prey and supplements will need to be available for everyone. As you produce more offspring you will find that the prey consumption will increase as well and should be expected. If you breed your own feeders (See Breeding Feeder Insects) you should plan on producing more feeder insects during breeding season. Your new offspring will also require vitamin and calcium supplements and this should be readily available as well.
Take some time and get ahead of the game if you are considering breeding. Having everything in order will make the breeding process easier for you as well as less stressful on the geckos.