Crested Gecko Egg Development (With Pictures)
You might be planning on breeding Crested geckos or just have one that’s going to lay eggs.Either way, every owner needs to know that there are three Crested gecko egg development stages – in the belly, incubation and hatching. What’s important is providing the eggs with the right care to successfully hatch.
In this article, we will be looking at all the steps in the Crested Gecko egg development process and what are the care requirements for the eggs.
Crested Gecko Egg Development – In The Belly
Normally, once mature enough to breed, the female Crested gecko will lay a batch of 2 eggs every 30 to 45 days.
The very first part of the Crested gecko egg development is in the belly of the gravid (pregnant) female gecko. It’s essential that you take extra care of the expecting mother’s health during the pregnancy.
The female’s health and diet will have a big effect on the health of the eggs and how they develop once laid.
You should ensure the gravid female is provided with the following:
- Correct diet. During pregnancy, you should ensure the female is getting all the nutrients she needs. A lot of those nutrients are now being used for the development of the eggs in her belly. She will also need an increased Calcium in her diet during that period
- Less handling. During the pregnancy, the female is more sensitive and even territorial. Therefore, she might not want to be handled as often or at all. To learn more about Crested gecko’s personality changes click here Crested Gecko Personality – Is Crested Gecko Right For You
- Nesting spot. If you don’t provide the female with a nesting spot, she will dig into the substrate trying to make one for herself. You want to avoid this as it’s always best to be pro-active
When you have a gravid female Crested gecko, you’ll have to provide her with a nesting spot. The ideal nesting spot is a plastic box, measuring around 8 inches in length, 5 inches in width and 5 inches height. The container should be filled with a moistened sphagnum moss 4 inches deep.
Once the nesting spot is set up, look out for the following behavior which indicates that the female has laid the eggs:
- Digging holes in the moistened substrate during the evening
- The substrate looks packed down and the holes are covered
The second step in the Crested gecko egg development is the incubation period and storage of the eggs.
To learn more about the Crested gecko egg’s journey from breeding to hatching click here Crested Gecko Hatching – What To Expect (With Pictures)
Crested Gecko Egg Development – Out Of The Belly
After you’ve provided the female gecko with an appropriate nesting spot and she has laid her eggs successfully, now is time to remove the eggs from the nesting spot and mark them.
Marking The Eggs
Before excavating the eggs, you need to mark each egg at the top, whilst they are still laying in the nesting spot. Just make sure you don’t press too hard as the eggs are fragile!
The reason for marking the egg is to ensure you know what way is up and to always keep it that way. If you rotate or keep turning the egg, it can be fatal for the embryo.
If you are breeding multiple geckos, you can write the date and the mother’s name on each shell. However, if the eggs are badly calcified, the shell will be too bumpy and you shouldn’t forcefully write on them and just use a different mark for each batch.
Crested Gecko Egg Development – Incubation Period And Storage
For the Crested gecko egg development to reach its final stage successfully, you will need to ensure you store the eggs in an environment that promotes growth. The best way to do this is by providing an incubation box for the eggs.
The good news is – these boxes are easily made at home. All you need for a homemade incubation box is the following:
- Material. A plastic box with a lid is ideal for this. However, other options are deli cup, craft container, G.E.O with Perlite
- Size. The plastic box should be minimum of 6 to 7 inches in diameter and 4 inches in height
- Incubation medium. Fill up 2/3 of the box with incubation medium such as Hatchrite, vermiculite, perlite and Superhatch (this can be bought online or from a gardening store). This should be moist enough to hold water, but not drip
- Placement of the eggs. The eggs should be dipped 0.25 inches into the incubation medium
- Ventilation. Ensure that you provide ventilation by poking up to 8 holes in the plastic box lid. The holes should be minimum of 1/8 inch in length
- Position the incubation box should be in a cool and dark place
Incubation Box – Temperature And Humidity
In order to have healthy eggs, you need to ensure that the temperature and humidity levels are correct – inside and close to the incubation box.
The following is recommended for successful Crested gecko egg development:
- Temperature – 68oF to 80oF
- Humidity levels – 85% to 90%
It’s ok for the temperature to vary – a bit cooler in the evening and naturally rising during the day. However, you should try to maintain the same levels of humidity.
Checking The Eggs’ Progress
During the incubation period, you should check on the progress of the eggs every few days.
Checking on the eggs is important to ensure:
- That the eggs are fertile. This is done through the use of the candling technique
- That there is no mould growing on the eggs
Are The Eggs Fertile
Once the eggs are in the incubation box, the best wat to check the Crested gecko egg development is through the use of the candling technique.
Candling is when you use a bright light to see through the semi-transparent shell of the egg. You can use the LED light on your smartphone to do this.
It’s recommended to first wash the eggs first by rinsing them off with cool water and gently removing the dirt with your fingers. However, be very careful as the eggs are slippery and avoid rotating them.
When checking on the progress of the eggs, look out for the following signs:
- Fertile egg – you’ll be able see red veins forming soon after the egg is laid
- Infertile egg – it doesn’t form veins and is only yellow on the inside. Even if you suspect the egg is infertile, you should not throw it away just in case it’s a late bloomer
Important part of the egg development is – the more the embryo develops in the egg, the less light should be able to pass through the egg when using the candling technique to check on the progress.
Another important reason to check on the eggs is to check for any mould growing. With that said, if you do notice mould growing on the incubation medium, you should remove the eggs and wipe off the mould with a paper towel.
If you need to do this, ensure you’re not rolling the eggs over as that can be fatal for the embryos.
Crested Gecko Egg Development – Healthy vs Unhealthy Egg
It’s hard to say what is the normal Crested gecko egg development as how the eggs look at different stages depends on various factors such as:
- Diet and health of female gecko
- The type of medium used in the incubation box. For instance, coconut bark/eco earth can stain the eggs
- The individual growth progress of the egg. Some eggs are just late bloomers!
Healthy Egg Appearance
As the Crested gecko egg goes through the normal development stages, it will change shape, size and even color (check the picture above). How the egg changes depends on its initial composition.
The following changes are normal and you should not be alarmed:
- Red veins forming soon after the egg is laid (this can be checked through the use of candling)
- If the eggs get very dark grey right before hatching
- The eggs will normally “sweat”. This will result in condensation that forms on the top of the incubation box, This normally happens when they are close to hatching
- In some rare cases, a healthy hatchling might not be able to get out of the egg on its own because of a tough and leathery egg shell
Overall, it’s important to remember that a healthy egg rarely needs any sort of intervention. This is true as long as you have provided the conditions the eggs need to develop in the first place such as:
- Correct temperature (68oF to 80oF) and humidity levels (85% to 90%). It’s recommended to maintain the humidity level inside the incubator as steady as possible. On the other hand, the temperatures can vary from cool at night with a natural steady rise during the day. However, a sudden temperature change can kill a whole batch of eggs
- Incubation medium’s moisture – It’s important to ensure that the medium is moist but not dripping water
- Not too much water – Too much water can be harmful to the eggs’ development
Unhealthy Egg Appearance And Ways To Fix It
Look for the following signs of an unhealthy Crested gecko egg development:
- White eggs turning brown – If the eggs start off white in color but then turn brown, it might mean they are going bad. However, you should continue to incubate the eggs as it’s hard to know for sure and there is still a chance of hatching
- Denting – Another possible sign of unhealthy egg is denting. This can be caused by lack of moisture and the egg drying out. To improve the health of the egg you can wash the egg gently, ensure the incubation medium is moist enough or place it in a new humid incubation box. This way it has a chance of recovering
- Swelling. If you notice the eggs’ shell swelling, it can lead to slowed down development. This normally occurs when the eggs are poorly calcified because of absorbing too much water through the shell. In addition, a poorly calcified egg can become leathery and hard to hatch. To help the hatchling, you should observe the egg when it’s close to hatching and help it get out once the slit in the shell has been made
Crested Gecko Egg Development – Hatching – Last Stage
The last stage of the Crested gecko egg development stage is the hatching. Normally, the eggs will start hatching anywhere from 45 days to 4-5 months. How long it takes depends on the temperature during the incubation period.
It’s recommended to incubate for at least 80 days as that have higher chance of creating better crest and tail structure. To hatch the eggs in around 3 months, you should incubate at temperatures between 72oF and 75oF.
In this article, we discussed the different Crested gecko egg development stages:
- In the belly
In terms of ensuing healthy egg development, every owner must know to provide the following:
- Correct diet for the gravid (pregnant) female Crested gecko
- Nesting spot for the female to lay the eggs
- Incubation box for the eggs
- Incubation medium that’s moist but not dripping with water
- Correct temperature and humidity levels – 68oF to 80oF and 85% to 90% respectively
- Keeping the eggs in the same position and not rotating them. This can be done by marking the top of the egg, so you know what side is up
- Checking on the eggs viability every few days or so. This can be done through the use of the candling technique that we spoke about in this article
In addition to the mentioned above, every owner needs to know the sign of an unhealthy Crested gecko egg development such as:
- White eggs turning brown
Most of the mentioned issues can be fixed as long as you catch them early enough. Even if you have an egg that you suspect might not be viable, it’s always better to wait and as it might still hatch.