Since 1991 when the first designer leopard geckos hatched, there has been a huge interest to breed these lizards with new and exciting color and pattern variations. This is one of the main factors that makes these little critters so fascinating.
Leopard gecko mutations include:
- High Yellow
When we refer to the albino leopard geckos, there are three different strains:
- Rainwater (Las Vegas)
All three strains of albinos are recessive traits. Meaning, if you were to breed a Tremper albino with a Rainwater or Bell albino, all of the babies would be normal looking but not albino. Recessive traits are the result of a mutation of certain genes that control a specific part of the development of the animal. These traits are usually manifested randomly, so there is nothing that can be done to increase the probability of discovering a new recessive trait. This kind of specific breeding depends on just plain luck.
In addition, it is very difficult to tell the differences between the three strains of albino leopard geckos. Sometimes, it is just an educated guess as to which strain an adult albino leopard gecko is.
The most common of the three albino strains in leopard geckos is the Tremper strain. They were the first of the albino strains to be categorized. A lot of times these albino geckos are actually brown and are then marketed as the “Mocha Strain”. To make things even more confusing, they can also be bright white or pink in color.
Eye color can range from slightly lighter than a “normal” non-albino leopard gecko eye, to bright red. Furthermore, the color of the body as well as the eye color can differ in geckos that are incubated at different temperatures. Typically, a higher incubation temperature leads to a leopard gecko that is slightly darker in color.
Rainwater albinos are the next most common of the three albino strains. It is thought that sometimes they are pinker then the other strains but that is not always true.
It is the Bell strain of albino leopard geckos that is still relatively rare. They often have more high contrast, with “pink” areas that are a lot of the time much darker than other albino strains. The eye color of the Bell albino leopard geckos is the reddest of the three strains. While the red eye color of young animals often changes as the animal get older, to the normal beige color typical in the other albino strains. The Bell albino eye color has a tendency to stay red or pinkish even in adult animals.
All three strains of albinos are sensitive to bright lights, and will close their eyes tightly if exposed to them. Plus, many albinos will not feel comfortable eating during the daytime because of their sensitivity to light.
Be aware that with any mutation, especially the albinos, there is greater chance for health problems later in life.
As leopard geckos continue to gain in popularity due to their easy-to-care-for nature, the potential for different color variations and patterns will grow. It is possible that many more dominant recessives will be identified in the next few years. The breeding of mutations with mutations will accelerate the rate of variation, making these already unique animals even more fascinating.