As their name suggests, blue leopard geckos boast a striking blue hue, which makes them stand apart from their commonly yellow and black-spotted counterparts.
This rare coloration is the result of a combination of different genetic traits, selective breeding, and sometimes, unique environmental factors.
Color and Pattern
Blue leopard geckos showcase an array of exciting color schemes. Their base color varies from lavender to tan, with yellow and white patches throughout. On top of this canvas, you’ll often see black, brown, or chocolate spots, sometimes accompanied by bright orange or even more unusual colors like electric blue.
Size and Shape
Leopard geckos are considered medium-sized reptiles, with adult lengths ranging between 7 to 11 inches, and males being slightly larger than females. Their shape is characterized by a thick body, robust head, and strong limbs that end in well-developed toes, perfect for climbing and exploring.
In addition to their distinctive spots and stripes, blue leopard geckos have some unique markings. The following features can set them apart from other gecko species:
- Lavender to tan base color
- Yellow and white patches
- Black, brown, or chocolate spots
- Bright orange or electric blue accents
Changes in Appearance During Shedding
As your blue leopard gecko grows, it will go through a shedding process, during which its scaly skin peels off to reveal a new, vibrant layer. During this time, you may notice temporary changes in its appearance:
- Colors may appear duller than usual
- Shedding skin may create an uneven pattern
- Reduced activity levels are common during the shedding period
Remember to provide your leopard gecko with the proper environment and care to ensure a successful and healthy shed.
Common Genetic Mutations
In leopard geckos, several genetic mutations affect their appearance and are used by breeders to create a variety of morphs. Some common types of mutations include:
- Albino: The absence of melanin, causing a lack of dark pigmentation in leopard geckos. There are three types of albino (Tremper, Bell, and Rainwater) which differ primarily in their eyes’ coloration.
- Melanistic: Increased pigmentation leading to darker coloration in the gecko, such as the Black Night and Black Pearl morphs.
- Hypomelanistic: Reduced melanin production that results in a lighter appearance compared to the wild type.
Leopard Gecko Morph Types
Breeders have developed numerous morphs through selective breeding. Some prominent leopard gecko morphs include:
- Wild Type: The original, natural coloration found in Eublepharis macularius.
- Albino Morph: The albino morphs, as mentioned, include Tremper, Bell, and Rainwater albinos.
- Black Night: A melanistic morph with an almost entirely black appearance.
- Black Pearl: Similar to Black Night but known for having a slightly different pattern and genetic background.
When breeding leopard geckos, genes play a crucial role in determining their offspring’s morphs. The genetic inheritance can involve dominant, recessive, or co-dominant traits.
- Dominant: A dominant gene will be visually present, even if only one parent carries it.
- Recessive: A recessive gene will only be expressed if both parents pass it on to their offspring. Otherwise, the gecko will be heterozygous for the trait, carrying it without visibly displaying it.
- Co-Dominant: A trait that can be passed on by either one or both parents and be visible in the first generation of offspring.
By understanding these genetic traits in leopard geckos, breeders can predict and influence the morphs of their offspring, creating a diverse range of visually stunning leopard gecko varieties for enthusiasts to enjoy.
Care for Blue Leopard Geckos
To create a comfortable and healthy environment for your blue leopard gecko, consider the following:
- Tank size: Provide at least a 20-gallon tank for adults, as they need space to move and explore.
- Temperature: Maintain a temperature gradient with a warm side (88-92°F) and a cool side (75-80°F) in the enclosure.
- Substrate: Use a smooth, easy-to-clean substrate such as reptile carpet or paper towel to prevent impaction.
- Hideboxes: Provide at least two hideboxes (one on the warm side and one on the cool side) for your gecko to feel secure.
- Humidity: Maintain a humidity level between 20-40% for optimal shedding and hydration.
Health and Wellness Checks
Regular health checks are crucial to ensure your blue leopard gecko stays fit and healthy:
- Weight: Monitor your gecko’s weight to help catch any potential health issues early on.
- Shedding: Ensure that their shedding is happening smoothly and provide a moist hide box to assist in this process.
- Tail: Observe their tail as it stores fat and nutrients – a plump tail is a sign of good health.
- Eyes: Keep an eye on their movable eyelids (unique to leopard geckos) to ensure they aren’t showing signs of infection or injury.
- Vet check-ups: Schedule regular vet check-ups to monitor their health and address any issues.
Feeding your blue leopard gecko is an essential aspect of their care, consider following these practices:
- Diet: Offer a varied diet of insects like crickets, mealworms, and the occasional waxworm as a treat.
- Frequency: Feed juveniles daily, and adults every 2-3 days, adjusting the amount based on your gecko’s weight and age.
- Supplements: Lightly dust insects with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements to ensure a balanced and healthy diet.
- Hydration: Provide clean, fresh water in a shallow dish for your gecko to drink, and refill it daily.
By following these care recommendations, you’ll help your blue leopard gecko thrive in a healthy and comfortable environment.
Popular Blue Leopard Gecko Breeds
Names and Unique Features
While blue leopard gecko morphs aren’t as common as other color morphs, there are a few impressive combinations with blue tones that have been produced through selective breeding:
- Eclipse: This leopard gecko morph features solid black eyes and a unique pattern, often creating a blue hue when mixed with certain color variations, such as the patternless morph.
- Blazing Blizzard: This rare combination of the blizzard morph and the eclipse morph features a striking blue hue, giving it a more icy appearance.
- Banana Blizzard: A mix of the rainwater albino and blizzard morphs, banana blizzards have subtle blue bands throughout their light-yellow bodies.
- Enigma: A distinct leopard gecko that may display a blue hue, alongside unusual patterns and coloration due to its marketability.
Please note that the apparent “blue” color in leopard geckos is actually a mix of other colors, as a true blue color does not occur naturally.
Prices and Availability
The prices for blue-toned leopard gecko morphs can vary greatly based on their rarity, traits, and breeder reputation. To give you a better idea, here’s a range of prices for some of the aforementioned morphs:
- Eclipse: $75 to $150
- Blazing Blizzard: $100 to $250
- Banana Blizzard: $80 to $200
- Enigma: $100 to $300
Keep in mind that these prices are approximate and may change depending on various factors. Most of these blue-toned morphs are not widely available compared to other more popular morphs such as the tangerine, mack snow, or diablo blanco. To find these unique blue leopard gecko breeds, you may need to seek out specialized breeders or attend reptile expos.
Controversial Breeds and Ethical Considerations
Controversies Surrounding Certain Breeds
Some leopard gecko morphs have recently generated controversy. These morphs include:
- Lemon Frost: A beautiful morph with a striking yellow color, but predisposed to skin tumors and other health issues. Due to these concerns, many breeders avoid breeding Lemon Frost geckos.
- Enigma: This morph is associated with the Enigma Syndrome, a neurological disorder that affects the gecko’s coordination and balance. Breeding Enigma geckos may pass this condition on to offspring.
Ethics of Breeding
When breeding leopard geckos, ethical considerations should be kept in mind:
- Avoid breeding geckos with known genetic issues. This includes Lemon Frost and Enigma morphs, as doing so might contribute to poor animal welfare.
- Promote healthy and robust morphs, such as the Black Night and Bold leopard geckos. These breeds are healthier than some controversial morphs and are less likely to pass on health issues to their offspring.
- Ensure animals are captive-bred to prevent depletion of wild populations.
- Practice responsible breeding techniques, like providing a clean and suitable environment, offering proper nutrition, and ensuring geckos are of appropriate breeding age.
By abiding by these ethical guidelines, you can contribute to the overall well-being of these fascinating creatures and their future generations.