Cooling - Cycling Leopard Geckos
How To Cycle Your Leopard Geckos For Breeding
Cycling Leopard Geckos
Cooling leopard geckos is designed to induce the breeding response. Many people cool their geckos to ensure that they have this response whereas many don't and have no issues getting their leopard geckos to breed. I have only cooled my geckos during 2 seasons and saw no difference in their behavior or response to breeding and haven't done it since with no ill repercussions.
Cooling is done by limiting the food intake by your geckos and lowering their temperatures. This makes the geckos believe that cooler months are present, which happens naturally in most of the United States during our winter season. I believe that living in New England creates this natural cycle for my geckos, which is why I don't find the cooling process necessary.
The breeding season in the U.S runs from January to September. You should stop feeding your geckos roughly 2 weeks before you drop their temperature. This will allow any food they have eaten to be completely digested. Starting in early November, if you intend on breeding in January, lower the temperature by 5° the first week and another 5° the next week. This will lower the temperature by 10° total and should have you sitting around the 75-78° mark you will be shooting for. Maintain this temperature for 5-6 weeks and then reverse the process. Reintroduce prey the day you raise the temperature in the enclosure up the first 5°. Raise the temperature again the second week until you are between 88-90° on the warm end. Water should remain in the enclosure at all times during the cooling process.
If you are breeding a first year female, do not cool her. First year females are still growing and the cooling process can prevent them from reaching their full potential.
Intermatic TN311 15 Amp Heavy Duty Grounded Timer
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The timer displayed above is the light timer I use on all of my reptile enclosures. They have worked exceptionally well for several years, are relatively inexpensive compared to digital timers and are easy to set-up. They can also be set to go on and off intermittently throughout the day. The red tabs inserted indicate that the power is cut off. When it cycles over to the green tab, it triggers the power to return. It will turn on and off at every colored tab it encounters.
Since the timer outlet has a ground insert, a power strip can be plugged in and you can control several lights (pending they are on the same light cycle) with the use of one timer.
The winter months also mean that the days are shorter. In conjunction with the lowering of the temperatures, you should reduce the days photoperiod by 1 hour as you drop the temperature 5°. The second week should include another hour of light loss with the second drop of 5°. Your photoperiod should now be 10 hours of light and 14 hours of darkness. This can easily be controlled with the use of a light timer. As you come out of the cooling period, increase the lighting by one hour each week until you have a photoperiod of 12/12 again.
Cycling Leopard Geckos
Breeders cycle their leopard geckos so that they have a continuous influx of eggs. They may split their colony into breeding groups and will control the heating and lighting in a manner that allows them to have one group laying eggs and finishing their season while another group is just coming out of being cooled and starting their season. This requires strict control over the environment and normally requires the groups to be housed independently of each other.
Author: Richard Brooks