Leopard gecko hobbyists often ask, “my leopard gecko laid eggs, what do I do?” The topic of leopard gecko incubation often comes up unexpectedly. Maybe you didn’t know the group of leopard geckos you are housing together contained a male. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to get into leopard gecko breeding, so the eggs are a pleasant surprise. In this article we’ll discuss the best reptile incubator money can buy in 2018. We will also go over specifics of leopard gecko incubation, such as ideal incubation medium, temperature sexing, incubation temperature, and egg incubation period.
The Best Reptile Incubator 2017 – 2018 – Natures Spirit
The best reptile incubator of 2018 is without a doubt, Natures Spirit incubator. It measures a whopping 24″ Tall x 24″ Deep x 19″ Wide.
These Natures Spirit incubators are solidly built. They come with 2 removable shelves, a large clear plexiglass door for easy viewing, heavy duty secure latches, air circulation fan, and they weigh only 40lbs. Put it all together, you have the best reptile incubator available for small to mid-sized breeders, no matter if you are an amateur gecko hobbyist or professional breeder.
While the $499 price tag may shock you at first, keep in mind the price includes shipping (packaging and shipping this monster incubator would’ve cost quite a bit). Plus it can hold way more eggs than other smaller incubators. And before you decide to go with a mini fridge style incubator because they are cheaper or look stylish, please note that many breeders have had bad experiences with them. Us included as we posted a blog article 4 years ago about our mini fridge incubator dying and costing us a season’s worth of eggs. Cheaper isn’t always the best way to go unless you are willing to lose your precious eggs.
Leopard Gecko Incubation – Egg Tray/Box
We like to keep things tidy and organized here at OnlineGeckos.com. This is why we prefer using the leopard gecko egg organizers as seen in the picture above. You can also purchase larger boxes such as OMEM Reptile Breeding Box, they hold 14 eggs in one box, which is nice. There’s also a smaller, cheaper 12 eggs box with organizer tray. All of these are great choices to use inside Natures Spirit. Of course you could also go old school and simply use standard rubbermaid containers without an organizer tray.
Leopard Gecko Incubation – Incubation Medium/Substrate
The ideal substrate to use is perlite. You want to purchase perlite without fertilizers. Simply fill the cup with enough perlite, sit the egg tray organizer on top of the perlite, and fill the water without overflooding the egg tray organizer. You don’t need to measure, just know you put enough perlite so the lid can close with the tray sitting on it. You fill enough water so it doesn’t overflow onto the egg tray when you close the lid. It’s that easy.
Some prefer to use brand incubation medium such as HatchRite and Pangea Hatch Premium Reptile Egg Incubation Substrate. While they do work and they can work very well, they are quite expensive. We find that perlite without fertilizers work just fine.
Leopard Gecko Egg Incubation Temperature – Sexing & Hatch Period
We use two Natures Spirit incubators, one for male the other female. For male leopard geckos, you want to incubate at 88-89 degrees Fahrenheit. Female leopard geckos, you want to incubate at 80-82 degrees. For a mix, you want to incubate at around 85 degrees. Leopard gecko’s sex is determined by incubation temperature. So you have creative control over incubation temperature based on what sex you are looking for.
Eggs incubated for females will take around 65 days to hatch, while males will take around 30-35 days. Plan accordingly.
Best Reptile Incubator 2018 – Reliable and Quiet
Back to Natures Spirit for a moment, we’d like to vouch for its reliability. We have been running both of our Natures Spirit incubators nonstop for 4 years in a row. They have kept the temperature steady for 4 years in a row without a hitch. This is truly amazing. On the contrary, our mini fridge style incubator lasted less than 1 year before it died and cost us a season’s worth of eggs. Not to mention the fans were loud, we could hear it power up and down as temperatures fluctuated.
Natures Spirit on the other hand operates silently, you can barely hear the fans. It keeps the temperature steady, there’s virtually no temperature fluctuation provided you use a good proportional thermostat. We also have a hydrometer inside and we see 80% humidity at all times.
Best Proportional Digital Thermostat – Spyder Robotics Herpstat
To keep the temperature steady, you will need to purchase a good proportional digital thermostat, such as Spyder Robotics Herpstat. Since we have two Natures Spirit incubators, we use Herpstat 2. Herpstat 2 allows you to connect both incubators to one thermostat. It’ll let you set two different temperature settings, which is very very nice. See below.
One Herpstat 2, two Natures Spirit incubators, this combination will give you reliable steady temperature for your egg incubation needs. Note that while we ran the two Natures Spirit nonstop for 4 years in a row, the Herpstat 2 also operated 4 years in a row without a hitch. We highly recommend this combination.
If you would like to know the difference between proportional vs non-proportional digital thermostats, read our article here for more information.
Best Reptile Incubators – Cheap Alternatives
While we wouldn’t recommend going cheap when it comes to reptile incubators, sometimes hobbyists just want a cheap way to try leopard gecko breeding. Again, we don’t recommend these. But if you must try something cheaper, you could try Zoo Med Reptibator, G.Q.F. Hova-Bator, and Hovabator Deluxe.
Leopard Gecko Breeding – Hatching Eggs
Once you’ve done everything right, the one last thing you need is patience…and a bit of luck. It’ll take approx 65 days for females to hatch, which is a long time to wait. There is a saying, “incubate until there’s no debate”. If you aren’t sure if an egg is fertile or not, just incubate it and see. You don’t want to ever accidentally toss out good viable eggs. So incubate until the egg either deflates or molds.
We wish you good luck! We’ll leave you with cute pictures of leopard gecko hatchlings, fresh out of the eggs. Please enjoy.