Owners often don’t know their lizard pet’s gender when they get it. It is almost impossible to tell lizard’s sex until it is 4-6 months old, when the body forms and grows bigger. So how to differentiate between a male and female pet lizard? This post will help you learn about lizard gender determination. This is particularly important if you plan to breed your pet lizards.

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Most signs that point to the gender become apparent only when the lizard reaches adulthood. So, the seller will not be always able to tell the gender of a baby reptile.

To determine your lizard’s gender, you need to pay attention to so called sexual dimorphisms. These are various features that are different in male and female lizards.

Vent

Looking at pet lizard’s vent is often the easiest way to determine the sex. Different features, such as bumps of specific shapes and pores above the vent, can tell the gender of your pet lizard.

To look at your pet lizard’s vent, place it on a table and lift the tail up slowly and gently, to almost 90 degrees for a good view.

Crest

Most male iguanas, sailfin and basilic lizards have some features that differentiate them from females. Those male lizards have a distinctive crest on their head and back, which consists of small spikes.

Also, some male chameleons have skin spikes or small knots around their head. Male agama lizards often have both a crest and some pores on their inner hip side. One of the main signs of many male lizards are heel pores.

Pores

Anole lizards are quite different. You can determine a male anole by its flap of skin under the throat. Green anoles with red throats are usually ones puffing their throats.

Male anoles often have two big scales in front of their cloaca, which is situated close to the tail. Cloaca in lizards is the opening for urinating and defecating. Female lizards usually have an enlarged pore closer to cloaca.

Another characteristic that can help you determine a male gecko lizard is preanal pores. This also applies to others – such as monitor lizards, iguanas, lacertas (true lizards), anoles and agamas.

Preanal or hip (femoral) pores are sometimes used by lizards to mark their territory. Some geckos and bearded dragons leave their sticky secretions around the terrarium, to mark their space.

Please note, that trying to figure out lizard’s gender by looking at preanal or hip pores will not always give you positive results. The thing is, most lizards can change their pore size depending on the season.

There is one thing that will help you determine the gender – mating lizards. Most lizards mate in spring and the girl should be on the bottom, and the boy should be on top.

Color

What is more, almost every boy lizard has brighter colored skin. This is very common with other animals too, such as mammals and birds. Some male lizards may have bright coloration near their legs, neck or eyes.

Body size and energy levels

Most male lizards show higher activity levels than females. Male lizards tend to run around more than females, and tend to get especially active around spring/summer mating times.

It’s quite hard to determine the gender with body size. While most other animals have larger males than females, lizards are an exception. While most iguanas, geckos and anoles have larger males, other lizard types have bigger females.

Females of knob-tailed geckos are often bigger, with wider hips. I would not recommend deciding the gender by only comparing lizards’ sizes, as this is not a definitive indication.

Veterinarian tests

If you are having a difficulty with identifying your lizard’s gender, try visiting a reptile veterinarian.

They can use a special surgical probe and insert in into the lizard’s cloaca. Also, they can insert a small camera inside your pet’s body, so that they can see its reproductive organs.

Blood analysis is a test that will definitely give you right results. With blood test, male lizards will have higher testosterone (male hormone) levels, than female lizards.

Bearded dragon sex/gender identification

It is easy to tell bearded dragon’s sex when it turns 3-6 months old. Most male bearded dragons are larger than females and are more active. The main features that differentiate male and female bearded dragons when looking at the vent are:

Male bearded dragons have two oval bulges or swellings on both sides of the tail above the vent – hemipenes. There is also a dip between the two bumps.

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Female bearded dragons don’t have any bumps on the sides of the tail. Instead, they have a triangular bump just above the vent.

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Iguana gender identification

It is impossible to find out iguana’s gender until it has reached sexual maturity. This is around the age of 1.5-2. Examining the vent as well as looking at the general characteristics will help identify iguana’s sex.

As iguanas grow older, it becomes easy to tell the gender. This is true because male iguanas develop larger heads and cheeks. Large muscle cheeks in males makes them look swollen. Female iguanas have much smaller heads than males.

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Another way to determine iguana’s gender quite easily is to look at the vent area.

Male iguanas have large pores on the sides of their legs – starting from the base of the tail. These pores are filled with a fluid that iguanas use during a breeding season to mark their territory.

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Female iguanas have these pores, but they are very faint and not as prominent.

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There is another example of the pores.

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You can find out your iguana’s gender by looking at these pores and general characteristics.

Leopard gecko gender identification

Leopard geckos are hard to sex until they become bit older and start developing preanal pores and hemipenes. You can use a magnifying glass and bright light to look at young leopard gecko’s vent when it reaches 4-5 months old, but experts can try doing it at the age of 2 months.

The big difference between male and female leopard geckos is the head and neck size. Males have a larger head and broader neck than females.

But the most accurate way to identify leopard gecko’s gender is to look at its vent area. Male leopard geckos have a row of preanal pores in a shape of a letter V.

Females don’t have prominent preanal pores, and they look like dots rather than pores. What is more, male leopard geckos have a hemipenal bulge at the base of the tail – this is where hemipenes (sexual organs) are located.

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Crested gecko gender/sex identification

You can’t determine crested gecko’s sex until it turns at least 5-6 months old. The best age and size to determine crested gecko’s sex is when it turns around 8 months old, or reaches about 3 inches (7.6cm) in length, whatever first.

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Determining crested gecko’s gender by looking at the preanal pores is challenging. Both male and female crested geckos have a row of scales with pores on the bottom of the belly.

But there is only a little difference – males have slightly more prominent pores than females.

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The best way to determine a crested gecko’s sex is to wait until it reaches 5-8 months and check if it has started developing a hemipenal bulge. Males will develop a hemipenal bulge (reproductive organs), while females will have a flat area on the bottom of the tail.