Mourning geckos (Lepidodactylus lugubris) are fascinating creatures with unique breeding habits. Unlike many other geckos, they are parthenogenetic, meaning that females can reproduce without mating with males. This makes them an ideal species for beginners interested in reptile breeding. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about mourning gecko breeding.
Understanding Mourning Geckos
Mourning geckos are small, nocturnal geckos native to the islands of the western Indian Ocean. They are also commonly known as “Lugubris geckos,” “Smooth-Scaled geckos,” or “Singapore House geckos.” These geckos have a unique breeding habit, as females are capable of reproducing without males. This means that a single female can lay fertile eggs without ever having mated with a male.
Mourning geckos are relatively easy to care for, making them a popular choice for beginners. They are also prolific breeders, with females capable of laying eggs every four to six weeks. This makes them an excellent choice for those interested in breeding reptiles.
Setting up the Breeding Enclosure
When breeding mourning geckos, it is essential to set up the right type of enclosure. The enclosure should be large enough to accommodate a small group of geckos comfortably. A 10-gallon tank is typically sufficient for two or three geckos.
It is essential to provide hiding places for the geckos, such as plants, rocks, or branches. This will help the geckos feel secure and reduce stress. The enclosure should also be equipped with a heat lamp to maintain the proper temperature.
Temperature and Lighting
Mourning geckos require a warm environment to thrive. The temperature in the enclosure should be maintained between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and should not drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night. A heat lamp can be used to maintain the proper temperature.
It is also essential to provide adequate lighting for the geckos. A full-spectrum UVB light should be provided for 10 to 12 hours per day.
Food and Water
Mourning geckos are omnivores and require a varied diet. They should be fed a mix of insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms, as well as fruit and baby food. It is essential to provide a calcium supplement to ensure proper bone health.
Fresh water should be provided at all times, as mourning geckos will drink from a shallow dish.
Identifying Males and Females
Mourning geckos are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females have different physical characteristics. Male geckos have a more prominent, V-shaped vent, while females have a more rounded vent. Additionally, males have preanal pores on their undersides, while females do not.
Mating and Reproduction
Mourning geckos reproduce asexually, meaning that females can lay fertile eggs without mating with males. However, females will still engage in courtship behaviors with males, such as head-bobbing and tail-waving.
When a female is ready to lay eggs, she will lay a clutch of two eggs every four to six weeks. These eggs are usually laid in a secluded location within the enclosure, such as under leaves or in crevices.
a clutch of two eggs every four to six weeks. These eggs are usually laid in a secluded location within the enclosure, such as under leaves or in crevices.
Once eggs are laid, they should be removed from the enclosure and incubated separately. The eggs should be placed in a small container filled with moist vermiculite or perlite. The container should be kept at a temperature between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Eggs typically hatch after 45 to 60 days. It is essential to monitor the eggs regularly for signs of mold or fungus, as this can kill the developing embryos.
Caring for Hatchlings
Hatchlings should be kept in a small enclosure, such as a plastic container with air holes. The enclosure should be kept at a temperature between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit and should be equipped with a heat lamp.
Hatchlings should be fed a diet of fruit flies, pinhead crickets, and other small insects. It is essential to provide a calcium supplement to ensure proper bone health.
Common Problems and Solutions
One common problem in mourning gecko breeding is egg binding. This occurs when a female is unable to lay her eggs, usually due to a lack of calcium or improper temperatures. If you suspect that a female is egg-bound, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately.
Another common issue is cannibalism. Mourning geckos have been known to eat their eggs or hatchlings, particularly in stressful environments. To prevent this, it is essential to provide plenty of hiding places and reduce stress in the enclosure.
Mourning geckos are fascinating creatures with unique breeding habits. They are relatively easy to care for and make an excellent choice for beginners interested in reptile breeding. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can successfully breed and care for mourning geckos.