Breeding a Leopard Gecko with Previous Egg Laying Problems

I was thinking about my breeding projects for leopard geckos and I decided that I want to add albino, eclipse, and W&Y into super snow eclipse black nights and eclipse tangerine lines. I have no problem buying a new female for this but I was wondering if it was possible to breed my other female, the one that had egg laying problems. I’m in no rush for this and I have no problem keeping her as a pet-only for the rest of her life. If I were to breed her would it be best to see what happens with laying infertile eggs and breed her in 2023, or would it be best to pair her and see what happens with fertile eggs? Reading back through the thread about her egg laying problems I think these are the main points. How likely do you think it would be that these problems would repeat if she was bred again? I’m not planning to breed her but I’m just wondering if it’s possible since she’s been doing great (almost 60g and her tail fat is great, but a bit on the fatter side; I wouldn’t breed her unless she was almost 70g, in case of another fast). It’s likely best just not to risk it but I don’t know how much of a risk it would be.

  • Rapid weight loss and fast for 3-4 weeks- which is concerning and I don’t know why she lost so much weight.
  • One infertile egg with mold and blood- not unusual for a first-time female but the blood could have been from laying (which I was told isn’t unusual, is this true?).
  • Residue around vent- this was likely blood from laying and/or residue from the egg
  • The next infertile egg had a few drops of blood while she was laying- (I saw this since I accidentally disturbed her while she was laying, I was told that the blood wasn’t a problem), the egg looked solid and healthy, but it was infertile

I have to admit I’m not an expert on breeding, but I’ll definitely share my thoughts. My first thought was that your idea is an awesome project! My second thought was that I’m envious!

Bear with me- I’m thinking this through as I type it out. That almost always means I have run-on sentences and too many parentheses. Hehe. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

If the egg she previously laid was what I suspect- a collapsed egg, that means an egg that she could/did not immediately lay for some reason was crushed inside her uterine horn. The discharge from the vent would be the contents of the egg.

If it was only the egg that she laid that collapsed, and she just didn’t have a second egg in her other uterine horn because she’s a young female (was it intact or perforated at all?), then the question to be concerned with is what caused it. If she found her laying hide ‘inadequate’ for some reason (and this has happened to me before for no apparent reason, as well as because I accidentally walked in the room & made loud noises the night my girl was laying), she may have kept from laying it for too long & then experienced problems. The solution could be as simple as providing two quite different laying chambers and making sure to be extra quiet.

But if it happened for some other reason, it may be a greater cause for concern. If she was low on calcium or some other minerals (and I say that with zero judgment- I’ve done it), it could be that her muscle tone was too poor to lay without having to strain herself repeatedly. In that case, the solution would be to make sure she’s all amped up on supplementation and nutrition, which is an easy fix. I have zero idea if it’s a possibility that W & Y morphs can have neuro problems related to the contraction of their uterine muscles, I have not heard that, but it occurred to me as not an inconceivable explanation. Has anybody else heard anything like that?

What I’m most concerned about is if the collapsed egg/source of the goo is actually a second egg that she has not laid, and that the shell is still retained, unlaid, inside one of her uterine horns. I am actually dealing with this with one of my 19 year old geckos, Binky. I don’t know what would happen if an egg began to develop in the horn with the old egg shell still in it and then failed to be reabsorbed- I don’t know if a uterine horn can still function, or if the old egg shell would be stuck in place or blocking normal laying in some way.

I’m actually very worried about this for my gecko Binky, as I know from her radiographs that she has a calcified shape right in the spot where a collapsed egg would be. I’ll see if I can dig up a copy of her radiograph. Last breeding season she went off food for almost all breeding season, and I had to syringe feed her Grub Pie for several months & give her anti-inflammatory drugs (under a herp vet’s care). After the breeding season was over, she was her old self and eating like a little piglet again. My solution (because she is very elderly and not a great candidate for surgery) has been to put blackout drapes covering my new reptile room’s window, and creating an artificial 12/12 day/night cycle that doesn’t vary. I’m hoping this will help at least lower her hormonal response to the season change, and my herp vet thought it was a decent idea to try as well. I’m just going to have to watch her like a hawk for signs of egg binding, and probably feed her by syringe for a few months if it causes her to get uncomfortable again during this breeding season.

The good news is that, since your girl was able to expel the contents of the egg, I think it’s safe to assume that her uterine walls were not perforated, as she would have developed coelomitis & died. My gecko Steve-O died from a ruptured uterine horn following her surgery for egg binding, as the egg had gone unlaid for so long that she lost all muscle tone in one uterine horn. It wasn’t then able to drain normally through her vent, and when fluid built up, it ruptured through the horn and developed into sepsis, even though she was on antibiotics. (You don’t generally remove the uterus in a leopard gecko ‘spay,’ as they may have retained, microscopic egg follicles that get missed, and if they do, and there’s no uterus to lay the egg, they 100% will die if they don’t reabsorb or have surgery.)

So, I guess (I’m still thinking this through), if you wanted to know for sure if there is a collapsed egg shell still retained, a reptile vet could radiograph her for you & it would be pretty easy for them to tell. And, dude, let me tell you- a radiograph is a LOT cheaper than an egg-binding surgery. If there is no shell on the radiograph, I think it’s safe to assume that she only had one egg to start with, and that egg was definitely laid. In that case, I’d think it’s pretty likely that you could breed her successfully, with some pampering. If she does have a collapsed egg, I’d talk to a VERY experienced reptile vet to determine if she needs removal surgery first or just shouldn’t be bred at all.

That said, I understand that most people aren’t going to want to radiograph their gecko. In the event that you really want to try breeding her without a radiograph, I would take every possible measure you can to ensure her optimal health, choice of laying hides, and subdued external environment and watch her extremely closely for any signs of egg-binding. They are unfortunately more subtle than I would have thought, and pretty easy to confuse with laying behaviors.

My smaller females will sometimes go off food regularly when they have almost fully developed egg(s), then eat again immediately following laying, then go off again once their next eggs get large (~3/4 week cycle). Laying behavior also includes a lot of hanging out in the lay box and digging around. But my girls that were egg bound simply didn’t come out of their regular hides, at all. They wouldn’t eat. Major lethargy, but only one of them looked abnormally distended. Both were 15+ years old and had not been bred that year (obviously, heh).

Oh, I’m glad I’m re-reading, I had forgotten that she laid an egg afterwards! Depending on how long after it was, it could have been from the same clutch, or a separate clutch of one. My guess, because the first egg was in a bad state by the time she was able to get it out, is that it was the next cycle. But I have never seen drops of blood with laid eggs, and not mold, even on infertile eggs, unless I don’t discover them for days. Given how difficult the first egg was to lay, it seems pretty likely that at least one uterine horn had formed fibrin adhesions (major scarring) that made it physically traumatic to lay the second egg. Or, if it was from/in the other uterine horn, it could be that she had to squeeze the second egg past a retained collapsed egg.

I’m not sure what to make of the second egg she laid. I mean, on the one hand, it confirms that she was able to successfully lay an egg from one or the other uterine horn, but we don’t know which one, nor whether there’s a retained collapsed egg shell involved. I’d say that, ultimately, it’s sort of both good and bad, because it’s good that she successfully laid the second egg without seeming ill again, but it’s concerning that she had to strain/have tissue damage of some kind in order to lay it (extrapolating from the drop of blood).

Overall, I’d say my assessment stays about the same. Personally, I would get a radiograph before trying to breed her again (side benefit you’ll get a decent look at her bone density), but I understand that most people would not. If you do decide to try breeding her, I would just watch her like a hawk :bird: and be ready with the money to pay for emergency egg binding surgery or euthanasia.

I hope that helps. I’m really sorry it’s so long and that I’m so wordy, I promise it’s just my intent to help & not just to be super annoying, hehe.


Here are Binky’s radiographs. We do not know for sure what the material is that the arrows are pointing to in her coelom. I just thought it might help to show them because we suspect that the material might be a collapsed egg. Other things my herp vet thought it might be: cancer, foreign body, or possibly abnormally mineralized/radiopaque urates. Urates are generally not seen on radiographs but it’s my understanding that it’s variable. These were taken in April 2021 & she is currently doing very well, in January. (The arrow pointing to her tail is showing a likely unrelated chronic change.)


Thank you for all of the information, it’s very helpful. The first egg was intact but it was very weak, I don’t even know if there was a shell on it. If I tried to pick it up it would have fallen apart. The humid hide was clear so she may not have been comfortable in it (my other female didn’t use it, but I’ve seen them both in it before). I’m currently working on making new hides out of opaque food containers. I don’t even remember about how I was dusting. I knew that at the time I kept calcium in their dishes so the roaches would move around and pick it up (I’m dusting the food items themselves now). I know that the roaches picked up calcium and I had a dish of calcium in there. I have no idea if she had enough calcium or not, I assume she did but I’m not sure. She could have been low on other minerals because I was only dusting with calcium d3 (I currently use Calcium Plus) and mainly feeding roaches (with some BSFL earlier that month and mealworms). I personally think that the W&Y morph is different than W&Y syndrome. Because I haven’t known anyone that had a W&Y gecko with W&Y syndrome and I’ve talked to a couple people that breed them and they said that it was bred out. That theory makes sense but I think it would be known that W&Y geckos are harder to breed. So I think it’s unlikely but it’s still a possibility to keep in mind. I’m going to look around today and see about taking her to a vet, hopefully there’s one that can do this for a reasonable price (there aren’t many good reptile vets in my area). If she did have a collapsed egg where would I contact an experienced reptile vet? The second egg was only 3/4 days difference, so it was probably the same clutch. I left the egg for 12-15 hours but I don’t think that would be enough to let mold grow.
I was wondering if I would be able to see anything visually. I looked through her with a flashlight (I made sure it didn’t get hot) and saw a tiny (~1/8") white piece but I highly doubt that’s anything because it’s so small. I also noticed a shaded area on one side but I have no idea if that’s an egg, organ, or something else. I compared to my other female and she doesn’t have that shade but I’m guessing some organs could be in slightly different positions based on the gecko. When looking at her I saw something under each of her front legs. It didn’t look like a cyst/tumor or anything like that since it was equal on both sides. When she is standing it’s barely visible but when I felt it it was almost like it was filled with liquid. I’m guessing that this is excess fat since I ran out of dubias this week and fed mealworms (I’m going to get more dubias this week when I get adults to try a new colony). Do you know what this could be?

1 Like

It sounds like you’ve modified quite a few things since that first weird egg, all of which should make her even more likely to succeed.

I don’t have any personal experience with any W&Y animals, so I’m just listening to others that do have experience, like you.

That’s a really good point!

I made a post awhile back with some info, let me go look for it after I post this. I’ll edit this post to add it here.


If you mean for intact eggs, I’m not sure, but I suspect it might be simpler to check for eggs directly/externally. The thing to remember is that there will always be light spots that are fat pads (in a healthy gecko), and that eggs are more caudally located (towards tail). If you mean a collapsed egg, I don’t think it’s likely something you’d be able to visualize externally or using a flashlight.

I think those are likely fatty/mineral deposits. If you radiograph some geckos with those fat ‘armpits,’ they have radiopaque granules. It’s my understanding these form in response to high levels of supplementation and/or obesity. I am trying to observe my own guys to see how/if it varies based on supplementation schedule, but I don’t want to experiment on my guys drastically.

You could try slightly lowering the amount of multivitamin & calcium you give, and see if those axillary areas reduce in size. I don’t worry about the phenomenon much in my guys so long as it isn’t prominent. I mostly see it in my males, so I know to back off on supplementation for an individual boy just a bit. I assume it’s because females have a higher need for calcium when reproductively active, so end up with less surplus to store when on the same supplementation schedule as a male.

1 Like

This is very helpful, thank you!

I don’t think it’s from over supplementation because I’m only dusting lightly. I think it’s due to me feeding mealworms recently instead of dubias (which I’m planning on getting more of this week). I’m going to cut back on them and feed less.

1 Like

My male leopard geckos are still a bit young so I think I’m just going to wait until next year to breed her. That should tell me if there are any problems with laying the eggs.

1 Like