Grouping - Pairing Leopard Geckos
How To Pair - Group Your Leopard Geckos
Grouping - Pairing Leopard Geckos
The grouping and pairing of your leopard geckos that will be bred together will impact the morphs and color combinations that you create. First time breeders may not particularly care what the outcome is but those breeding for specific traits will need to plan out their pairing in advance.
Breeding does require you to keep records of the parentage of the offspring you create. Each time you breed a male to a female, a record needs to be kept of the genetics that the offspring are carrying. This isn't just so you can sell the offspring under the proper morph, it is so you know what genetics you will be working with if you have any holdbacks. Genetics play a very large role in the outcome of the crosses you make. The deeper you get into genetics, the more you will understand the desire and need to keep meticulous records. Creating certain morphs will require very specific genes from the parents. If you are unsure of the genes the parents are carrying, you can never know what the outcome of pairings could result in. I use Boaphile RhinoRaXX for my geckos and they are stacked 2 high. There is a small void between the first and second rack that was ideal for me to slip in a loose-leaf binder. This allows me to keep my records for those 2 racks directly within reach as I am pairing, feeding, egg collecting, etc.
Under most circumstances you wouldn't want to inbreed any animal species. This isn't the case with leopard geckos. Some of the largest breeders in the industry regularly inbreed their offspring back to the original parents to help enhance whatever genes or desired traits they may be working with. According to the Herpetoculture of Leopard geckos, inbreeding has been an ongoing thing in the wild as a result of the isolated colonies of leopard geckos. Ron Tremper has been inbreeding his geckos for many years without issues and suggests introducing new bloodlines every 4-5 generations to help strength the gene pool. Since many people breed for specific traits, acquiring new genes from another breeder that is working with the same genes is practical and thanks to the internet, not difficult to obtain.
Geckos being introduced for the first time are not always "friendly". This is especially true for geckos who have been previously housed alone. Whenever possible, try to keep harems of females together from juvenile to adulthood. I prefer to keep groups of 3 when I can, with each of them containing the same genetic traits that I am trying to work with. They will acclimate to having cage mates quickly when introduced young.
Males should never be housed together or introduced to one another as fighting will ensue.
I prefer to place the male within the females housing, though some breeders do the opposite. (I actually do the opposite when introducing single pairings but prefer to introduce the male to my groups.) He will display that he is a male rather quickly by rapidly vibrating his tail. (Another male would typically respond with his own tail vibrations.) You should observe your geckos during this time because fights could break out if the female does not want the male in her space or isn't receptive to his advances. The male will approach the female and may nip at her, this is normal. If the female is receptive to breeding, she will allow the male to move forward. This will result in the male biting her tail and back until he reaches her neck. He will grasp the female by her neck and they will intertwine their tails so that he can insert his hemipene into her cloaca. They will go through this routine several times throughout his stay with the females. I leave them together for 2-3 days. The male will breed with her numerous times during this period and I will then place him back in his enclosure or will move him on to another harem of females and will repeat the process. Sometimes I will reintroduce the male to the females a couple months into the season if I see a female isn't laying eggs or to ensure that everyone will continue laying eggs. I have had numerous single introduction breedings that have resulted in my females laying 10+ eggs each, all as a result of the first pairing. You increase your odds with each introduction and larger scale breeders introduce their males every few weeks to maximize fertility.
Author: Richard Brooks