Readers’ Questions Answered: Geckos “Misbehaving”

This month’s Readers’ Questions focus on gecko behaviors that are worrisome to their keepers.  They will be answered by Aliza, one of Gecko Time’s co-editors.

Question 1:

I have a female leopard gecko that will not use the moist hide to lay her eggs. I have it over the heat set at 90f and she keeps laying them outside. What do you think is up with her?  She’s a snow raptor  about 14 months old and it’s her  first time being bred.  Is it me or is she just weird?

Aliza Arzt responds: Some egg-laying rookies just take awhile to “get it” and will lay eggs in the wrong place at first.  On the other hand, it’s not unusual for young, first-time breeders to lay infertile eggs, and some geckos seem to know when their eggs are infertile and lay them in the wrong place.  So . . . she’s either really clueless or really smart.  If you catch the eggs in time, meaning before they shrivel up, you could candle them to see if they’re fertile (look for a red “bulls-eye” shape inside the egg) or incubate them to see if they hatch.  If you feel she is laying fertile eggs and just doesn’t “get it”, you can also consider putting her in a smaller enclosure with a coco-fiber substrate, essentially a cage that is all “lay-box”.  That way, no matter where she lays her eggs, they’ll be in a good place.

A 14 month old female gecko would be considered old enough to breed assuming she weighs at least 50 grams.  Some geckos, however, may be technically the right weight, but have really not reached maturity yet.  I experienced this with one of my leopard geckos last season.  She was the same size and weight as another “rookie” but looked longer and skinnier than the other.  Sure enough, the smaller, fatter gecko laid 16 eggs all of which hatched.  The longer, skinnier gecko laid 12 eggs –all in the water bowl.  At the end of the season she put on 20 grams and is now, 1 season later,  ready to produce.


Question 2:

I have a crested gecko who is really ill.  He had trouble sticking to surfaces and when he tried, he just fell off, but this has been solved now since he shed.  He is only 6 months old and I”m unsure of the sex.  He is still unwell and his symptoms are shaking, agression and instability.  He is eating because the pet shop has been hand feeding him  but he is still losing weight.  I’m desperate as it has been 6 weeks now and he has been on a high calcium and vitamin D3 supplement as we thought it was MBD.

Aliza Arzt responds: I’m sorry you’re having so much trouble with your gecko.  You’re correct that frequently an arboreal gecko about to shed has temporary trouble sticking to surfaces.  I’m glad that’s cleared up. 

 The difficulty with your question is that it brings up more questions: How do you know your gecko wasn’t eating?  In what way is it being aggressive and unstable?  Is the gecko being kept at the pet store, or are you bringing it to the store to feed it? 

The answers to these questions may determine what the problem is and how to treat it.  For example, it can often be difficult to tell whether or not a crested gecko is eating.  When my crestie was young, I virtually never saw it eat.  However, the crickets disappeared, gecko poops appeared, and the gecko was growing.  A gecko that’s stressed out, including one that is being moved from place to place, or that is being checked on often out of worry, may demonstrate aggressive behavior.  My suggestion is to give the gecko a week in a stable environment that has places at ground level and above for it to hide if desired.  Provide regular food –Crested Gecko Diet (CGD) or equivalent and crickets or roaches– and leave it alone.  If there is no change in behavior, or if its behavior worsens, your only option at that point, in my opinion, is to take it to a reptile vet.

(Note: the Reader asking the question about the crested gecko informed us recently that the gecko had passed away from chronic kidney problems, as diagnosed by a vet, for which there was no treatment)

What do you think?

Written by Aliza

Aliza is a home care speech therapist living in the Boston area. She successfully bred a variety of gecko species between 2005 and 2017. She currently cares for a large number of geckos as well as a few frogs and bearded dragons. Other interests which she pursues in her copious free time include work in ceramics, practicing aikido and surfing the internet.


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  1. I have 2 young Sunglows (about 13-14 months old) and they were definitely two Gecko’s behaving badly! They were laying their eggs in the “Nest Box”, however they would immediately go back in the nest box (within 10 minutes) and stomp all over them. I then ended up with “ruined” eggs for the first few clutches after I bred them.

    There should be a forum of Breeders, Hobbyist, and Pet Owners and call it “Gecko’s Behaving Badly.” Where everyone can discuss about their Gecko’s and their strange behaviors. 🙂

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