It’s easy to tell the gender of a human baby but sexing your leopard gecko isn’t quite so simple.
While it’s impossible to tell the gender of a young leopard gecko, you can sex an adult leo by looking at the area between its legs.
If you see a gentle bulge and pores that shape a “V”, then you have a male leopard gecko. If there are no obvious pores, then your pet lizard is likely a girl.
But there are a number of other ways how you can find out whether your leopard gecko is male or female. Here is an easy guide on how you can identify the gender of your gecko (see also “Geckos Lifespan“).
Why Is It Good To Know If Your Leopard Gecko Is A Boy Or A Girl?
There are a few reasons why you may want to know what gender your leopard gecko pet is, from giving it a suitable name to gender-specific behavior.
Here are some of the key reasons why pet owners should find out whether their leopard gecko is a girl or a boy.
The temperament of male and female geckos are wildly different. Male leopard geckos are commonly aggressive in a male-only group.
This means that they can cause serious injuries to themselves and each other. They could even kill each other.
On the other hand, female leopard geckos are less aggressive, so you can house them together, whereas two male geckos should stay in separate enclosures.
Another important reason why many pet owners want to know the gender of their leopard gecko is that they want to give their pet a gender-appropriate name.
Although geckos don’t listen to their names, naming a pet is still an important part of the bonding process for humans.
If you are a leopard gecko beginner, then it is best that you don’t breed your geckos yet. It takes some experience with adult geckos before you can jump into breeding.
This being said, also experienced gecko owners may want to avoid breeding, simply because they don’t want to have eggs.
That’s when you need to identify the gender of all your mature leopard geckos to ensure you only allow female geckos to live together (see also “Do Leopard Geckos Need A Heat Lamp?“).
Keep in mind that female geckos can still lay eggs even without a male. However, these eggs are infertile and they won’t result in hatchlings.
Male leopard geckos are prone to certain health conditions, such as hemipenis prolapse, infections and impactions.
It’s important for gecko owners to be aware of this specific health risk, so they can keep a close eye on their pet.
How To Tell Your Baby Leopard Gecko Is A Boy Or A Girl?
If you have a baby leopard gecko, then there are no clear signs yet that could help you identify the gender.
While some breeders may be able to say what gender your gecko is (due to their breeding method), there is no 100% guarantee.
The first time when you can check your leopard gecko for gender signs is around four months after they hatched.
This being said, leopard geckos grow a lot throughout their first year, so these signs may not be so obvious yet even after half a year.
If you wait until your gecko is six inches long, then it’s easier to sex your pet and you can see the pores and bulges better.
Alternatively, you can also speak to a gecko expert or your vet for a clear identification.
How To Handle Your Gecko When Sexing It
In order to find out the gender of your leopard gecko, you need to check its underside. This means that you need to know exactly how to handle your pet.
If you never handled a gecko before or your gecko has been handled by humans before, then it’s important to slowly get your lizard used to it.
You can start off by gently stroking your gecko a few times every day. Don’t worry if your gecko doesn’t respond immediately. It takes time and patience to train a lizard.
Once you and your gecko are more familiar and comfortable with each other, you can check its gender.
Gently slide your gingers underneath your animal and softly lift it up. Make sure you hold the body instead of the tail.
It can happen that your leopard gecko drops its tail when it is anxious, so make sure that you only pick your leo up when it is comfortable with your touch.
If your leopard gecko is distressed or it tries to escape, then it is best that you let it go again and try at a later time.
Plus, never flip your leopard gecko over but just gently lift it up and look underneath. If it is easier, then you can also place your pet on a transparent glass surface and lift the glass up.
Best Ways To Identify The Gender Of Your Adult Leopard Gecko
The best way of identifying the gender of your leopard gecko is by taking a close look at its markings, pores and bulges.
This means that your gecko needs to be used to your touch and handling.
Keep in mind that baby geckos can’t yet be sexed, so it is best not to handle your animal until it reaches maturity.
As a rule of thumb, finding the answer to “Is my leopard gecko a boy or a girl?” is similar to identifying the sex of humans.
If your gecko has the bulges and markings, then it is a boy. If you can’t see any of this, then it is likely a girl.
Here are all the key characteristics you need to look for when trying to determine the gender of your gecko pet.
Hemipenal bulges are two small nodules underneath the skin near the vent of your leopard gecko. You can find the vent near the tail on the underbelly of your animal.
Only male leopard geckos develop these small hemipenal bulges, whereas females don’t have these nodules at all.
This means that if you spot these small bulges on your gecko, then chances are that you have a gecko boy.
However, geckos mature only between 18 and 24 months, so you may need to wait at least a year and a half until you can be absolutely certain that your lizard is male or female.
Some reptile experts also gently press against these hemipenile bulges to move the male sex organs but this can cause injuries to your pet if not done in the right way.
Another key criterion for the identification of gender in leopard geckos is the preanal pores.
Preanal pores sit around the vent area on the underside of your gecko.
They allow the animal to secrete a wax-like substance with pheromones. This helps them to mark their territory and find a mating partner in the wild.
Both female and male leopard geckos have praenal pores but the pores of the females are so small that you can’t see them with the naked eye.
This allows you to tell the difference between a boy and girl gecko. Check if your gecko has obvious preanal pores. If you don’t see anything, then you are likely holding a lady gecko.
Maturity Of A Leopard Gecko
The differences between male and female geckos only become obvious as the animals mature.
While checking the preanal pores and the hemipenal bulge are the two most reliable signs for sexing a leo, you can also identify a gecko’s gender by its maturity.
Leopard geckos sexually mature relatively fast compared to other gecko species, such as the crested gecko.
There are early signs of maturity showing in both gecko genders up from four months. However, they only reach full maturity after 18 months.
There are a number of individual physical differences between male and female geckos, including size, weight, age and temperament.
While these characteristics can’t be fully trusted because each animal is individually unique, they can give you some indication what sex your animal may be.
One of the most distinctive differences between the appearance of male and female leopard geckos are cloacal spurs.
These are small protrusions on the gecko’s back legs. While both genders show cloacal spurs, females have much shorter spurs than the males.
This is easier to see when you can see males and females side by side or you have experience in sexing geckos.
Male leopard geckos also have small pores along their thighs. These are known as femoral pores.
If you don’t see any of these pores and all the other signs point towards a female gecko, then chances are that you have a lady lizard.
Just like many other wild animals, leopard gecko males are commonly bigger than females. A boy leopard gecko is between 8 and 11 inches, while a female is between 7 and 8 inches.
Similar to the differences in size and age, female and male leopard geckos also vary in weight.
Male leopard geckos are typically between 60 and 80 grams, while females weigh between 50 and 70 grams.
The temperament of male and female leopard geckos vary, although there are also variations between individual animals.
Typically, male leopard geckos are more aggressive, while females are a lot more docile and calm.
This is important to remember whenever you want to handle your pet lizard as males might be more likely to bite and try to escape.
Male leopard geckos can live up to 20 years while female geckos usually only live between 6 and 10 years.
This being said, age is very specific to an individual animal. Some leopard geckos may not live as long as five years, while others make it all the way to 25 years.
As male leopard geckos are generally bigger, they also need more food to sustain themselves. This means that males usually have a healthier appetite than the ladies.
This being said, this is usually anecdotal evidence from leopard gecko owners, so it’s not a fully trustworthy identification criterion.
Can You Change The Gender Of An Unborn Leopard Gecko?
Yes, it’s possible that breeders can change the gender of a baby leopard that is still inside its egg.
The sex of a gecko depends on its incubation temperature which means that when you change the temperature around the eggs, then you can influence the babies’ gender.
A higher incubation temperature typically results in male leopard geckos, while a lower incubation temperature produces female gecko babies.
With a temperature between 88 and 91 degrees Fahrenheit, you can incubate male eggs.
In comparison, with an incubation temperature between 79 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect to get female geckos.
This is the main reason why your breeder will be able to tell what gender your gecko is. This being said, there are also mixed incubation methods, so this is not a fail-safe technique.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Age Can You Tell A Gecko’s Gender?
The earliest you can tell a gecko’s gender is four months, although you should allow at least six months after hatching until you sex your gecko.
If you are experienced with identifying the gender of a gecko, then you may be able to tell the early signs if your leopard gecko is a boy or a girl.
What Age Is A Leopard Gecko Fully Grown?
Geckos usually reach maturity after a year, although they typically only stop growing after 18 months.
If you want to be 100% sure whether you have a leopard gecko girl or boy, then it is a good idea to wait until a year and a half.
It’s relatively easy to find out whether your adult leopard gecko is a boy or a girl. Just take a close look at your gecko and check for the distinctive markings on males and females.