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Temperature Effects On Leopard Gecko Incubation

How Temperature Effects Leopard Gecko Embryos

Leopard Gecko Incubation

The temperature effects on leopard geckos incubating plays a significant role in not only the sex of the leopard gecko but also in the color of the leopard gecko, as well as how aggressive or passive it is.

If your intent is to breed for profit you should consider hatching a large amount of females. Females are more desirable than males as they are more communal and can often be housed together.

Incubation For Sex

If you are new to breeding, or have thought about breeding your leopard geckos, you have likely heard that it is possible to incubate your geckos so that the sex of the animal is determined during incubation. This is true and the sex is actually determined during the first 3 weeks of incubation.

The following temperature ranges will yield the associated sex of the leopard gecko.

  • Males: 88° - 91°
  • Females: 79° - 82°
  • Mixed: 83° - 87°

Prolonged exposure to temperatures below 74° and above 95° will kill the developing embryos.

The temperatures above are not foolproof, though they do offer a very good statistical analysis for the sex listed. On occasion males may be produced at lower temperatures and females produced at higher temperatures. These offspring often exhibit traits as a result of the off-temperature hatching. Males born in cooler temperatures are often smaller and less aggressive whereas females born in hotter temperatures are often larger and more aggressive.

Incubation Time-frames

The temperature you incubate at plays a significant role in how long the eggs will be incubating for before they hatch. Lower temperatures will require longer incubation times and higher temperatures will result in lower incubation times.

Geckos that are incubated at room temperatures between 76° and 82° will take 75-105 days to hatch. (Tremper 2005) My experience has been that geckos incubated between 79° and 83° typically average around 60-80 days of incubation before hatching. Higher temperatures can result in hatchlings incubating in as little as 35 days but these temperatures often result in a higher fatality rate than those incubated over a longer period of time.

Temperature Effects On Color

Temperature Effects On Leopard Gecko Incubation Some are not aware that temperature actually plays a significant role in the brightness of a leopard geckos colors. It has been shown that geckos incubated at lower temperatures will be darker than those incubated at higher temperatures. This offers breeders the ability to determine the intensity of the colors of their offspring.

Since geckos incubated at lower temperatures are typically darker compared to their counterparts incubated at higher temperatures, it goes to reason that males are typically brighter than females. This has changed over the years however as the knowledge of temperature effects on color has made its rounds.

Today you can set your incubator to determine the sex of your gecko for the first 3 weeks of incubation. Following this incubation period you can then transfer the eggs over to another incubator maintained at 88-90°. This will allow you to set the sex of the animal while then incubating it at optimal temperatures to ensure the brightest possible colors.


Author: Richard Brooks