Leopard Gecko Egg Development
An egg represents life. I wanted to talk a little bit about Leopard Gecko eggs in particular, and their characteristics and uniqueness. A Leopard gecko egg, once laid starts to develop an embryo. The four main contents of the egg are as followed; a yolk, which will provide nutrients to the baby, amniotic fluid, which is the fluid that fills the egg and surrounds the developing embryo, the embryo itself, which is the developing gecko, and airspace. The airspace is what the gecko will use to breath, that is why it is best to avoid turning gecko eggs and most forms of reptile eggs because if the airspace is turned to the bottom the embryo will drown.
One very interesting fact about Leopard gecko eggs is that they are temperature-sex determined. Which means if you incubate the eggs at a higher temperature (90 degrees) they will turn out mostly males and if you incubate them at lower temperatures (80 degrees) they will be mostly females. Not only does it determine the sex, it also shortens or increases the incubation time. At higher temperatures it can take as little as 40 days compared to lower temperatures where it takes around 60 days! There is also evidence that at higher temperatures the color of the gecko will be brighter. Breeders of Leopard Geckos use these characteristics in their favor by choosing how many male and female geckos they would like to produce, as well as color intensity.
As the egg incubates it actually grows larger and can even double in size! And after 40 or 60 days the egg will noticeably swell and even start to "sweat" where it looks like there are water droplets on the egg. Then the egg shell will collapse and it will look dented, this is right before the baby gecko "pips", which is when the gecko breaks through the egg shell with his "egg tooth", which in leopard geckos is a hard calloused piece of skin on the nose of the gecko which will come off shortly after hatching.
An Egg about to Hatch (left) A freshly laid egg (right)
In conclusion Leopard Geckos start their life in an amazing way, in an egg. Even after hatching hundreds of geckos, i'm always amazed at this incredible process.
- Rohman Taylor