Like most pets, gender plays a role in your leopard gecko experience. If you are thinking about getting a leopard gecko, you are probably wondering what is the better gender for a first time owner.
Or maybe you are veteran leopard gecko owner and you want your next experience to be perfect.
There are pros and cons to owning a male vs a female leopard gecko. In a nut shell, the largest issue with having a female leopard gecko is the health implications with egg laying. Male geckos, on the other hand, have more temperamental issues.
Although there are differences between the sexes, the differences are very small. You really can’t go wrong with either a male or female leopard gecko.
When you have the option to pick, go for it. If you don’t, then don’t worry about it.
With that caveat being said, let’s deep dive into the differences.
Pros and Cons: Female Vs. Male Leopard Geckos
Before we go into more detail, here’s a quick look into the pros and cons of getting a male or female.
Female Leopard Gecko:
- Less aggressive
- More explorative
- Stop eating during mating season/ovulation resulting in weight loss
- Ovulation can lead to serious health issues
Male Leopard Gecko:
- No ovulation
- Longer lifespan on average
- Some reproductive organ issues
How To Tell If A Leopard Gecko Is Male Or Female?
When you carefully flip your leopard gecko over while holding him or her between your index finger and thumb, you can fairly easily determine if it’s a male. Make sure you are careful handling them, do not squeeze them!
There are two clear sex features in male leopard geckos. There is a big pores V shape between their hind legs and two hemipenal bulges at the base of their tail. By process of elimination, if your leopard gecko doesn’t have these features, it’s a female.
Keep in mind. It’s not possible to determine the sex of a baby gecko by looking at them. Usually you can’t tell what sex they are until they are 6 to 8 months old.
However, leopard geckos are temperature sex determinated.
This means, a reputable breeder can basically guarantee what gender your gecko is based on the temperature they incubated the eggs.
Are Male Or Female Leopard Geckos Nicer?
The good news is that both male and female leopard geckos tend to be calm and docile. You really can’t go wrong with either gender.
The biggest difference in behavior, however, occurs during their breeding cycles. Overall, male leopard geckos tend to be more aggressive.
During the mating season, male leopard geckos can get aroused which can lead to biting.
When male leopard geckos mate, they will bite the side of the females head. So if they are aroused while you are holding them, there’s a good chance they might bite your hand.
Outside of mating season, there are some nuanced behavior differences.
Females tend to be less aggressive overall and less likely to bite you. Female leopard geckos also tend to be more explorative. Males, on the other hand, tend to be more lazy.
Male Vs Female Leopard Gecko Size
Size difference between the sexes can vary depending on the specific leopard gecko making it difficult to guarantee one sex being larger than the other.
Generally speaking, male leopard geckos tend to be bigger. The average adult female leopard gecko is 7-8 inches long and weighs between 45g – 70g. The average adult male is 8-10 inches long and weighs between 60g – 90g.
Female leopard geckos also tend to be skinnier than males. Again, this varies widely with the specific leopard gecko.
Also, females tend to eat less during their ovulation. This results in using fat stores from their tails giving the impression that they are skinnier.
Female Leopard Gecko Vs Male Leopard Gecko Lifespan
The average lifespan for leopard geckos in general is 10 to 20 years in captivity.
When it comes to the different sexes, male leopard gecko’s tend to live longer than females. They have more consistent feeding patterns and their mating cycle tends to be less taxing on their bodies.
Female leopard geckos that end up breeding will shorten their lifespan even more.
Do Female Leopard Geckos Lay Eggs Without A Male?
Yes, female leopard geckos lay eggs without males. Once a female leopard gecko reaches sexual maturity, she will start the normal process of ovulation.
Without a male, they can’t be fertilized, so you won’t end up with baby geckos with a female alone.
The fact that female leopard geckos lay eggs is a large reason why many owners tend to avoid female geckos.
The biggest inconvenience of female leopard gecko egg laying is the health risks.
Issues with Female Leopard Gecko Egg Laying
The first thing leopard gecko owners notice when they’re females are ovulating is that they stop eating. This may seem alarming at first, but really this is an issue most female leopard gecko owner sees.
Lack of eating leads to weight loss and stress on their bodies. If you were to plot your female leopard geckos’ weight every year, you would see a similar weight loss at the same time each year.
Unfortunately we can’t avoid this lack of appetite but you can prepare. Experienced leopard gecko owners recommend more frequent feeding right before the expected mating season.
This way your female leopard gecko can gain some extra pounds to lose before ovulation!
Egg binding is another issue that can arise with ovulation.
Basically, the egg is unable to expel from their body and can result in death of the leopard geckos. Some female leopard geckos are lucky and produce eggs without a hard shell. When this happens, the egg can be reabsorbed.
Male Leopard Gecko Reproductive Organ Issues
Male leopard geckos have less reproductive organ issues than females but they aren’t immune to them.
Here are some issues that can occur with male leopard gecko reproductive organs:
- Sperm plugs
- clogged hemipenal pores
- Hemipenal prolapse
These issues are not as serious as the female egg binding issue, but still a nuisance and something to consider!
Is Housing Male and Female Leopard Geckos Together A Bad Idea?
You may fall in love with your leopard gecko and think, should I buy a second one and keep it in the same tank? Would housing a male and female together end poorly?
You really want to avoid cohabitation of leopard geckos in general. When they are together for a long period of time, this can lead to aggressive behavior. This kind of aggression can ultimately lead to injuries or, even worse, death.
If you insist on cohabiting, it is important your leopard geckos have a lot of room.
Do Male Leopard Geckos Get Lonely?
Leopard Geckos are solitary animals in general. That’s why we discussed the importance of putting 2 of everything in a larger tank when you have 2 leopard geckos.
They are very territorial creatures, so it is important they have their own personal space.
So no, male leopard geckos do not get lonely.