Is Your Gold Dust Day Gecko Male or Female? (Check the Pores!)
When you have limited free space at home but want unique pets, you’d likely want to keep small and relatively social animals like the gold dust day gecko. If you’re not planning to breed them, you’d want an all-female pair. But how can you tell a tiny male day gecko from a female?
To differentiate male from female gold dust day geckos it’s important to check the pores and bulges near the tail base and calcium sacs by the neck. Male day geckos have big femoral pores but small bulges and calcium sacs. Conversely, female day geckos grow big calcium sacs on their necks but have faint pores and flat tail bases.
These geckos are not among the most common geckos kept in America. However, their stunning colors have piqued the interest of many reptile owners. Just like any other gecko though, it’s important to know a gold dust day gecko’s sex. Keep on scrolling to find out how!
Sexing Male vs Female Gold Dust Day Geckos (3 Signs!)
A gold dust day gecko’s sex can be determined once it reaches 4–5 inches by 6–10 months old. They are suspected to be sexed based on their incubation temperature. Determine a day gecko’s sex by checking its pores, tail base, and calcium sacs.
Day geckos are part of the Gekkonidae family of geckos, which also includes the feisty tokay geckos . As a result, many expect gold dust day geckos also have sex chromosomes. According to experts though, this may not actually be the case.
Scientists believe that gold dust day geckos, specifically, may have their sex dictated by the incubating temperature they are exposed to for the majority of their time in the egg.
Nevertheless, with practice, you may be able to tell whether your day gecko is male or female by assessing its secondary sex features.
As you probably know, gold dust day geckos are pretty small lizards—commonly less than 6 inches in total length . Keep in mind, that includes their tails already. So you really need a loupe (here on Amazon) to clearly see their features.
Interestingly, though, there’s a day gecko specie that’s even smaller than the gold dust day gecko. More specifically, adult yellow-headed day geckos don’t grow any longer than 4 inches—usually they’re just a little over 3 inches!
But there are also other species that grow quite big. The Madagascar giant day geckos and Koch’s giant day geckos, for example, can grow up to about 12 inches.
1. Femoral Pores
Male gold dust day geckos have 1 W-shaped row of prominent femoral pores with waxy yellow plugs. By contrast, female day geckos may also have a similar row of pores but they are normally smaller and without any plugs.
Most male reptiles have one or several rows of pores on their bodies. Depending on where they are found in the body, experts and veterinarians may use different terms to refer to them.
For gold dust day geckos, they may be called femoral, preanal, or precloacal pores. This means that you will find these little pores right above the preanal slit, continuing into their hind legs—or more precisely, by their inner thighs.
In female gold dust day geckos, you may or may not see femoral pores—even with the help of a jeweler’s loupe. But even if you do spot a row of preanal pores, don’t be too quick to say that your gorgeous gecko is male!
Unless a day gecko’s pore has plugs coming out smack-dab in the middle of each scale, you can’t completely rule out the possibility that it could be male.
The femoral pores of male gold dust day geckos have those semi-solid plugs that are thought to help facilitate mating during the breeding season .
Such plugs are also believed to allow geckos to mark their territories. Experts say that they do this by letting the plugs drag onto the surfaces and substrate they walk on as they explore their environment.
2. Tail Base
The average male gold dust day gecko has small hemipenal bulges below the vent, on the base of its tail. However, a female gold dust day gecko will normally have a completely flat tail base.
As with other—more familiar—geckos kept in captivity, male gold dust day geckos also have hemipenes. These are a pair of penis tucked-in pouches that they have inside their cloaca.
Then, once they need to use it to either mate with a pretty lady day gecko or remove, sperm plugs lodged in their hemipenes.
But most of the time, gold dust day geckos have their hemipenes securely tucked away. Since their hemipenes are small just like them though, they barely make a readily notable bulge at the base of a male day gecko’s tail.
When seen from the side, male geckos generally have pronounced hemipenal bulges. But some species, such as day geckos, only have a slight bulge. A few even have no obvious bulge at all.
On the other hand, female leopard geckos never really develop a bulge by the base of their tails. Sure, it’s possible to form if they become obese but I have yet to actually see an incredibly fat gold dust day gecko—regardless of sex
3. Calcium Sacs
A male gold dust day gecko will have small calcium sacs found at the roof of its mouth near the back of its throat. Conversely, female gold dust day geckos have large calcium sacs which may extend to the sides of their necks as prominent bumps.
A calcium or chalk sac, more appropriately called an endolymphatic sac, is usually larger in female geckos than it is in male geckos.
Each gecko has two calcium-filled endolymphatic sacs on opposite sides of the roof of its mouth, near its inner ears by the back of its throat . The fluid calcium in these sacs makes them appear opaque in x-ray scans.
Scientists believe that calcium sacs have a big role in calcium storage and egg production. This could explain why only female gold dust day geckos grow exaggerated lumps on either side of their necks during the breeding season and when they are gravid.
Because gold dust day geckos have very small mouths, owners will not be able to clearly see how big their calcium sacs are for proper sexing. However, a veterinarian may be able to determine its sex via clinical techniques like ultrasound or radiography.
So don’t worry if you see neck bumps forming on your precious female gold dust day geckos—or any other day gecko, for that matter.
This is totally normal and not a sign of illness. A female day gecko’s prominent chalk sacs at the neck will get smaller and smaller as they use up the calcium inside.
Are male day geckos always more colorful than females?
Overall coloration can help distinguish males from females for various species of Phelsuma geckos, but this is not the case for all day geckos. For instance, male electric day geckos are a vibrant blue and females are a duller brownish blue-green. Whereas, male and female gold dust day geckos are both yellow-green with red, yellow, and blue patterns.
How do geckos mate with each other?
Mating between geckos is commonly initiated by the male through courtship. It will chase its potential breeding partner around and vibrate its tail rapidly. When the female accepts its advances, the male will gently bite on the female’s neck and align its body for sexual intercourse which only lasts a couple of minutes.
Summary of Is Your Gold Dust Day Gecko Male or Female
Male gold dust day geckos can be identified by their visible waxy femoral pores and small hemipenal bulges. However, their calcium sacs are small and don’t grow until their necks.
Female gold dust day geckos, in comparison, develop very distinct calcium sacs on either side of their necks. Meanwhile, their pores are either faint or non-existent and the base of their tail is completely flat.