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  1. #1
    Registered User Lizrd_boy's Avatar
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    Leopard gecko breeding questions

    Soooo, Lea is large enough for breeding, and she was ovulating, so I put her in with my friend's leopard gecko, Scales, who is a male. They mated and Lea tried to stay away from the male, so I took her out and put her back in her own tank. a month and a half later, the ovulations are being reabsorbed back into her body

    BUT.... Lenetta was ovulating, and on the 1st of March I put her in with the male. They mated, Lenetta rejected the male and got him off of her, and walked away. at that point I took her out and put her in her own tank. Now, (I think it's the 11th??? I forget ) I can see through her belly that the ovulations are now about 2.5 times longer and white. I'm thinking eggs!!!

    I have a hova-bator incubator (I removed the egg turning mechanism) that I have calibrated to 89* F (I'm trying for males since I will be keeping one and the person getting the other one doesn't care which sex she gets, and there is still a small (about 2%) chance that one of the eggs will be a female and I don't want to accidentally get both females). I bought 12oz plastic deli cups from Walmart and horticultural vermiculite from Value (It doesn't have any fertilizers or other additives). I have enough vermiculite to experiment with to make sure I can get the right medium:water ratio. I mixed equal parts of vermiculite and water by weight, and got a mixture that (after being thoroughly shaken) feels damp, and sticks somewhat to my hand, and when I squeeze it no water comes out. When I cup some in my hand, tilt my hand, and shake it so it slowly falls off, it does not clump together, but when I squeeze it it clumps well.

    I still have a few questions, though.

    1). I will be checking the eggs every day or every other day. I was planning on putting 1 pinhole in each incubation box (I want to incubate the eggs seperately so that if one gets fungus or mold it won't damage the other one). Is that enough?

    2). If one of the eggs develops mild mold or fungus, should I moisten a qtip and wipe off the mold every day?

    3). what are the odds the eggs are infertile? Lenetta has never mated before, and has never layed eggs.

    4). The horticultural vermiculite I'm using has no additives or anything, but is it possible that it it contaminated with something that will harm the eggs?

    Also, any tips are helpful. Although incubation temps are different from species to species, a lot of tips from other lizard species would probably be helpful.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Lizrd_boy; 03-11-2022 at 01:20 PM.
    My name is Josiah, proud owner of Lenetta and Lea the leopard geckos and Bluebelly the fence lizard.

  2. #2
    Registered User Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    I've produced a few hundred leos, so here's my input.

    1) I don't ever ventilate my leo eggs in the incubator. They get a little air when I open the cup to put more eggs in, and I don't put more than 8 eggs in a cup.

    2) If the egg is molding, it is likely dead. You can screw around with it, but it likely won't do any good. Good eggs that get some surface mold are said to hatch out fine (I've never had good eggs mold).

    3)Pretty high. My first clutch or two of the year are often infertile, or bad in some other way.

    4) Possible? Yes, theoretically anything could possibly be contaminated. Extraordinarily unlikely, though, and I've not heard of such a thing (some people still like to mention asbestos contamination, which was due to one mine in Montana that closed in 1990. Vermiculite is now tested for asbestos).

    More input:

    I use regular vermiculite with good results -- I prefer Burpee brand, but this may be a superstition of mine. It took me a couple years to get good at incubating leo eggs, and I'm sticking with my little rituals. I do prefer a fine vermiculite, which is contrary to most breeders' preference.

    I use 80% hydration -- so 100 parts vermiculite to 80 parts water by weight. If you weigh things out it is easier to know how to adjust if, say, you get dehydrating eggs.

    I keep my leos together year round. If you get poor results, it may be that the one night stand thing isn't the right idea. Sometimes leo pairs don't like each other right away, and each spring I get some evidence of very physical interactions of them getting the breeding season started -- never any permanent damage.

    I used Hovabators for a handful of years, run first by the native thermostat (the one where you bang your head against the wall until the temp holds) and then a Herpstat. The hatch rate was not great -- temp variances in different locations in the incubator are too great for me to get good results, and opening the top lets all the heat out, even though I ran thermal masses in the incubator (jam jars filled with water) Once I switched to a C-Serpents incubator (OMG is it nice; I want to get another one for the living room just to look lovingly at), the hatch rates on all my animals went way up. So, if you don't get good results, consider that the incubator may be contributing.

    I don't pay any attention to ovulations or the like. I check the geckos every day or two, and pull eggs as they appear. Some people like to helicopter this sort of thing, but not everyone does.

  3. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Malum Argenteum For This Useful Post:

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  4. #3
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    Malum I think nailed it on all the big points.

    For your friend, they are aware that two males will typically fight? Just making sure before you send one thier way.

    I would try to avoid checking the eggs every day, unless your hoovabator has the little window you can peek through.
    Any time you open the incubator you'll be letting that heat out. Any time you disturb the eggs themselves, you can risk contamination or accidentally rolling the egg.

    What I've done with the eggs I'm incubating currently is leaving the later of vermiculite thin enough on the bottom to shine a light through for candling. That way I don't have to actually open the tub and mess with the eggs. I check on them once a week for molding until they're due to hatch. Then I'll begin checking more regularly.

    I threw my hoovabator in the closet and forgot about it. It gave me the same issues Malum had with temp ranged and inaccuracies. I've used the converted aquarium incubator for geckos before with success and my current is actually just an ice chest with some heat tape and a thermostat. Nothing fancy.
    Last edited by Armiyana; 03-11-2022 at 05:45 PM.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Lizrd_boy's Avatar
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    Re: Leopard gecko breeding questions

    Would it help the temp variances if the incubatorís fan was running? The containers will be covered so it wonít blow directly on the eggs.
    My name is Josiah, proud owner of Lenetta and Lea the leopard geckos and Bluebelly the fence lizard.

  7. #5
    Registered User Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    I ran one with a fan one season and did not, contrary to my expectations, see any improvement. YMMV on all this. You may pop out leopard geckos like guppies or something.

    I have come to believe that one of the main issues with these incubators is that the heat source is radiant -- so, in addition to the cold corners and heat escaping with every top removal, the heat source heats the top of the eggs in a way it doesn't heat the bottom. With chicken eggs on a turner (or manually turned, though they don't work well for this either, I can attest) this may be less of a problem. Other incubators (the one I use; heat tape DIY jobs) don't heat this way.

  8. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Malum Argenteum For This Useful Post:

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  9. #6
    Registered User Erie_herps's Avatar
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    I've only hatched a few leopard geckos last season, but here are my thoughts.

    1) I put around 5 pinholes in my containers. But that was only because I kept water in the bottom of the incubator, limited ventilation in the incubator, and made multiple test runs for the length of the incubation. I would recommend making a few cups just experimenting without eggs and see what works best.

    2) If they get mold or fungus you can use athlete's foot powder. I don't think that they are always dead because I've seen terrible eggs end up hatching. And also, it doesn't hurt to try to treat the mold in hopes that it might hatch. "Incubate until there's no debate"

    3) Most of the time first-time females' first clutch is infertile. You will likely get multiple clutches so you should have multiple chances. But, having only paired them one time lowers the chances of successful fertilization. Last year, I planned on pairing every 2 weeks until the first clutch.

    4) It could happen but it's not likely. If you're worried about it you can rinse it off and soak it in water (if you have a way of easily removing the water once it's done).

    Hovabators are infamous for being the wrong temperature. If you decide to use it you should at least cross-check the temperatures with one or two thermometers. You can also build an incubator very cheaply that will likely be more reliable. Last season I used a Farm Incubators Still Air Incubator model 2100 (which was given to me) and it worked great. I also liked that it had a window, because otherwise I would be opening the incubator a few times a day to check on the eggs. Which might have resulted in temperature inconsistencies.

    I think a 1:1 vermiculite:water ratio is perfect. That's what I used, I did need to add a little bit of water later in the season, but I used a lot of ventilation.

    Using a fan helps remove temperature inconsistencies inside of the incubator but it doesn't help temperature fluctuations. The best thing to do would be get another incubator, but if that's not possible you can make this one work.

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  11. #7
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    Re: Leopard gecko breeding questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Malum Argenteum View Post
    ... I switched to a C-Serpents incubator (OMG is it nice; I want to get another one for the living room just to look lovingly at)....
    Interesting choice for decor- but quite understandable. I love it when products of any kind far exceed expectations for design, operation, longevity & overall quality.

    (Maybe you should do an ad for them? I don't even need one these days & you've almost made ME want one! LOL)
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  13. #8
    Registered User Malum Argenteum's Avatar
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    Re: Leopard gecko breeding questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Interesting choice for decor- but quite understandable. I love it when products of any kind far exceed expectations for design, operation, longevity & overall quality.

    (Maybe you should do an ad for them? I don't even need one these days & you've almost made ME want one! LOL)
    Yeah, it is just a black PVC cabinet, but it works so well it is beautiful.

  14. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Malum Argenteum For This Useful Post:

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  15. #9
    Registered User Lizrd_boy's Avatar
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    Re: Leopard gecko breeding questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Armiyana View Post
    Malum I think nailed it on all the big points.

    For your friend, they are aware that two males will typically fight? Just making sure before you send one thier way.

    I would try to avoid checking the eggs every day, unless your hoovabator has the little window you can peek through.
    Any time you open the incubator you'll be letting that heat out. Any time you disturb the eggs themselves, you can risk contamination or accidentally rolling the egg.

    What I've done with the eggs I'm incubating currently is leaving the later of vermiculite thin enough on the bottom to shine a light through for candling. That way I don't have to actually open the tub and mess with the eggs. I check on them once a week for molding until they're due to hatch. Then I'll begin checking more regularly.

    I threw my hoovabator in the closet and forgot about it. It gave me the same issues Malum had with temp ranged and inaccuracies. I've used the converted aquarium incubator for geckos before with success and my current is actually just an ice chest with some heat tape and a thermostat. Nothing fancy.
    Yeah, my friend knows about them fighting.

    ill try to see if I can get a real incubator for reptiles. The hovabator was free (my grandma was moving out of state and she didnít need it for her chickens) so I figured Iíd use that, but if I can afford something for reptiles I will def get it. Lenetta could lay her eggs pretty soon here, and I donít want to mess around with making my own incubator. Does anyone have any suggestions for a cheap incubator? I will spend as much as I have to (within reason) for a good one, but I would rather spend less.

    thanks!
    Last edited by Lizrd_boy; 03-12-2022 at 05:09 PM.
    My name is Josiah, proud owner of Lenetta and Lea the leopard geckos and Bluebelly the fence lizard.

  16. #10
    Registered User Lizrd_boy's Avatar
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    Re: Leopard gecko breeding questions

    So i just found this reptipro 6000 online... it's used and has minor cosmetic wear and the seal around the door is pertially torn. Should it still work? It's barely torn and the cosmetic damage is worth saving $150, I think.
    Last edited by Lizrd_boy; 03-12-2022 at 06:28 PM.
    My name is Josiah, proud owner of Lenetta and Lea the leopard geckos and Bluebelly the fence lizard.

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