- Leopard gecko morphs are variations of the same species of lizard that have been bred specifically for different colors, shapes, eyes, patterns, etc.
- There are almost endless possibilities when it comes to morphs, and the number of available species is constantly growing.
- The most popular leopard gecko morphs include the black night, albino, mack snow, super mack snow, fancy, blizzard, giant, tangerine, diablo blanco, and R.A.P.T.O.R.
- Some morphs are widely available and only cost less than 100 dollars, while others are rare and cost as much as thousands of dollars.
Leopard Geckos (1) (Eublepharis macularius) are species of lizards that are widely kept as pets; they are considered the first type of lizards to be domesticated. They can be found in the wild in different desert regions of south-east Asia, including India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Nepal.
Leopard geckos are nocturnal, ground-dwelling lizards that are relatively easy to keep and friendly. There is also a huge number of different types of leopard geckos, usually referred to as 'Morphs'. Some are natural species, while others are the result of breeding between different types of geckos in captivity. The result is that there is a lot of variety in types of leopard geckos that will surely satisfy the most demanding reptile lovers. Everyone can find a morph that they like!
In this article, we will be going through everything related to the world of leopard gecko morphs and the most widely kept ones. We will also be answering some frequently asked questions to help reptile lovers differentiate between various types of these beautiful creatures. By the end, you will have acquired everything you need to know about leopard geckos and will be able to choose the one you like without any problems.
Just keep reading through the article!
- 1) What Are Leopard Gecko Morphs?
- 2) Morph Terminology
- 3) Types of Leopard Gecko Morphs
Most Popular Leopard Gecko Morphs
- 4.1) 1) Black Night
- 4.2) 2) Albino
- 4.3) 3) Mack Snow
- 4.4) 4) Super Mack Snow
- 4.5) 5) Fancy
- 4.6) 6) Blizzard
- 4.7) 7) Giant
- 4.8) 8) Tangerine
- 4.9) 9) Diablo Blanco
- 4.10) 10) R.A.P.T.O.R.
- 4.11) 11) Black Pearl
- 4.12) 12) Lemon Frost
- 4.13) 13) Patternless
- 4.14) 14) Jungle
- 4.15) 15) Halloween Mask
- 4.16) 16) Dreamsicle
- 4.17) 17) Chocolate Albino
- 4.18) 18) Bell Albino
- 4.19) 19) Gem Snow
- 4.20) 20) Bandit
- 4.21) 21) Red Stripe
- 4.22) 22) Banana Blizzard
- 4.23) 23) Hypo Ghost
- 4.24) 24) Carrot Head
- 4.25) 25) Baldy
- 4.26) 26) Marble Eye
- 4.27) 27) Nova
- 4.28) 28) Hybino
- 4.29) 29) Blood
- 4.30) 30) Rainbow Stripe
- 5) Where Can You Find Leopard Gecko Morphs?
- 6) What Are The Rarest Leopard Gecko Morphs?
- 7) What Is the Most Expensive Leopard Gecko Breed?
- 8) Final Thoughts
What Are Leopard Gecko Morphs?
Leopard gecko morphs are basically variations of the same species of lizard. They have been bred specifically for different colors, shapes, eyes, patterns, etc. These variations are produced by selective breeding (2) over many generations. This means that each time a gecko is selected from the previous generation, it will carry the characteristics of its parents. This process continues until the desired variation is achieved.
The most common way to breed leopard geckos is by mating two individuals with similar traits. For example, if a male has blue eyes and a female has brown eyes, then the offspring should have both blue and brown eyes. If the parents are not compatible, then the offspring may inherit only one or none of the traits from their parents.
There are several ways to produce leopard gecko morph variants:
1. Selective Breeding: In this method, a breeder selects specific individuals based on certain criteria. Usually, the criteria include color, pattern, size, shape, behavior, temperament, etc. Then, he/she mates them together to create offspring with the desired trait.
2. Hybridization: In this natural method, two unrelated individuals (from different species or varieties) are mated together to produce offspring.
3. Crossbreeding: In this method, the offspring are created by crossing two unrelated animals, usually both purebreds.
Before we continue with our topic, it is essential to know some important morph-related terminology to ensure we can understand everything being discussed. This vocabulary can be especially handy if you are planning to buy a leopard gecko.
- Genetic traits: Everything that is determined by genetics, including color, eyes, shape, etc.
- Recessive trait: A trait that is displayed by a recessive gene. The gene must be inherited from both parents to show in the offspring.
- Dominant traits: Traits that show in the offspring even if only one parent has the gene. If one parent has a dominant gene while the other has a recessive gene, the dominant trait normally shows in the offspring.
- Co-dominant traits: A case where the offspring show a characteristic caused by two different genes that are equally dominant.
- Out-Crossing: The breeding of reptiles that exhibit different traits. By doing this, diversification helps avoid (or at least minimize) the possibility of any genetic defects. In addition, it is probable that the crossing will introduce a new trait in the offspring's appearance.
- Phenotype: This term refers to the observable characteristics of a specific organism.
- Genotype: An organism's genetic constitution.
- Heterozygous: A heterozygote is a reptile that possesses two different alleles at a particular gene locus. The two alleles are different, and each one is inherited from one parent (One wild trait and a recessive or designer trait).
- Homozygous: A homozygous gecko inherits two identical traits (copies of the same trait), one from each parent.
- Line bred (Polygenic traits): A-line bred gecko has more than one gene for a particular characteristic. That is, the parents display the same trait, and it will (hopefully) be reproduced or even improved in the offspring. It is possible to breed animals with different phenotypes but the same genotype.
Types of Leopard Gecko Morphs
Leopard gecko morphs differ primarily in color, but the differences are not limited there. Geckos can also differ in terms of shape, pattern, eyes, etc.
Leopard geckos can morph in six different ways in total. They are as follows:
Giant Leopard Geckos
These species are bred to be much larger than other types of leopard geckos. They can have different patterns and colors.
Blizzard Leopard Geckos
A Mack Blazing Blizzard
Blizzard leopard geckos are known for not having color patterns, but for displaying solid colors across their entire body.
Albino Leopard Geckos
The coloration and pattern on albino morphs of leopard geckos look much lighter than that of other types of leopard geckos. This is caused by the lack of an enzyme called 'Tyrosinase' (Pigmentation enzyme).
Melanistic Leopard Gecko
Based on how much melanin (the natural pigment in the skin) they have, leopard geckos can be either hypomelanistic (less melanin) or hypermelanistic (having more melanin).
Leopard Geckos With Eye Morphs
These leopard geckos have different eye colors and shapes than normal species. Examples include the baldy morph, the Carrot tailed, the Diablo Blanco, etc.
Striped Leopard Geckos
Striped leopard geckos are recognizable by the stripes on their backs. the colors of the geckos and those of the stripes can vary greatly.
Most Popular Leopard Gecko Morphs
When it comes to morphs, there are almost endless possibilities, and the number of available species is constantly growing. However, our main focus will be on the 30 most popular leopard gecko morphs. We will provide the distinctive traits for each morph as well as the average prices they can be purchased for. Some morphs are widely available and only cost less than 100 dollars, while others are rare and cost as much as thousands of dollars!
1) Black Night
We are getting started with one of the rarest and most expensive leopard gecko morphs that you can buy today. Black night geckos are (hyper) melanistic leopard geckos. Typically, they are all black geckos, but sometimes, they can be spotted.
Because of the rarity of this breed, you should expect to pay a premium if you wish to buy one. The price of a black night leopard gecko ranges between $1,000 and $3,000.
Albinos are another melanistic morph (hypomelanistic). They have a lighter pigmentation and color, compared to standard leopard geckos.
There are different types of albino geckos, but the original type is the one that is also called 'Tremper Albino' or 'Texas gecko'. These can be orange, yellow or pink with some orange or brown patterns ( either in the form of bands, spots or stripes).
To buy a tremper albino gecko, you will need to pay between 200 and 300 dollars.
3) Mack Snow
Mack snows are some of the most popular leopard gecko morphs (top three). They were named after the two herpetologists that originally bred them: John and Amy Mack.
These geckos usually have a main pale yellow or white color with black spots or bands covering the upper part of the body.
Despite being a widely popular morph, mack snow geckos are quite affordable, with prices of $85 to $150.
4) Super Mack Snow
Super mack snow leopard geckos are the same as mack snows, but they are lighter in color and have more spots on the body. They are the result of having two recessive or two dominant genes (Snow genes). They also usually have all-black eyes because of the presence of the eclipse gene.
Despite being named 'fancy geckos', these are some of the most affordable leopard geckos you can buy. On average, they come at a price range of $30-$40. However, you should include cages and habitats (for any reptile, like geckos and chameleons) in your budget.
This is a very common morph of leopard geckos. The word 'fancy' means a common gecko that is bred in a pet store, not a wild one. Therefore, any type of morphs in our list can be fancy, on one condition: not being a wild type morph.
As seen before, a blizzard gecko is one that has no patterns at all. This morph category contains many variants including Banana Blizzard, Blazing Blizzard and a mixture of the two (Blazing Banana Blizzard) which is still under development.
True patternless blizzard geckos usually have a base color that is lavender, white or gray. Still, banana blizzards have a yellow base color and cost around $75-$150.
Blazing blizzards have phenotypes from both albinos and blizzards. They have patternless pink bodies with a little blue color over their eyes. They can be purchased for $50-$150.
As the name suggests, giant leopard gecko morphs are about two inches larger than any other regular leopard gecko (around 10 inches); they weigh about 3.5 ounces.
Giant leopard geckos come in different colors and patterns (with a larger size similar to ball pythons growth). They can cost you anywhere between 100 and 250 dollars.
There are other variants of giant geckos: Super giant leopard Gecko. These have two dominant alleles (while giant geckos only have one). Super giant gecko morphs are another two inches longer than big ones (14 inches); they will cost you $200-$700.
Godzilla super giant leopard geckos are all descendants of a single gecko that holds the record of the heaviest leopard gecko at almost six ounces (named Godzilla). All the descendants of Godzilla are always above 4.3 ounces. A Godzilla giant gecko can cost up to 1200 dollars.
Tangerine leopard geckos can usually be recognized with their pronounced orange color with very dark and light patterns. They often sport unique patterns on the tail (usually orange or white).
Based on the intensity of colors and patterns, the price of a tangerine leopard gecko can vary greatly. It can cost as low as 75 dollars and as high as 400 dollars.
9) Diablo Blanco
The Diablo Blanco leopard gecko is a combination of the Blizzard and RAPTOR morphs. The result is an amazing looking all white body with no patterns, all combined with red eyes.
Surprisingly enough, these beautiful leopard geckos are not very expensive to get. They cost around $200-$350.
This is an eye morph (focus on the color of the eyes). In fact, the acronym R.A.P.T.O.R refers to 'Red-eye Albino Patternless Tremper Orange'. It's all included in the name: A patternless orange albino with red eyes.
Apparently, the RAPTOR morph took five generations to produce. However, the price is surprisingly affordable. You can buy a RAPTOR leopard gecko for 80 to 150 dollars.
11) Black Pearl
The black pearl morph is a very rare and extremely expensive type of leopard gecko that took years of selective breeding to produce. It is still one of the newest morphs, so there are very few black pearls available for sale today (all of which are females).
Black pearls are hypermelanistic geckos. The top of their body, including the head and tail, is entirely black, contrasting with their white lower body.
Because of the rarity of this morph, you can currently only buy female geckos for at least 3,000 dollars or more.
12) Lemon Frost
The Lemon Frost morph is still in the captive breeding program as it is a new morph that was first sold in 2015.
Lemon Frosts have a yellow base color with whitened eyes (that may seem blue sometimes). Their price ranges between 350 and 400 dollars.
As we have seen earlier, a true patternless leopard gecko comes in three different colors: Lavender, white or gray (even if other colors such as green and yellow do exist).
When a patternless gecko reaches adulthood, it doesn't sport any spots or stripes. The colors are also pale and less pronounced than other patternless morphs (like RAPTORs or APTORs, for instance).
Patternless geckos are sometimes also called 'Murphy Patternless', and they can cost 75 to 230 dollars.
Jungle leopard gecko morphs are recognizable with their broken patterns on the tail and body. These broken patterns are what distinguishes them from other aberrant morphs (since they are a variation of the aberrant morph).
Jungle morphs are commonly combined with other types of morphs; they can cost between 50 and 125 dollars.
15) Halloween Mask
The Halloween mask morph usually has a light white or yellow base color with different patterns (circles, lines, stripes, etc.) covering their body and head. The patterns are usually darker than the base color.
If you want to buy a Halloween mask leopard gecko, you should expect to spend between $200-$350.
You may be asking yourself: what's common between this type of leopard geckos and a real dreamsicle (the ice cream)?
The answer is: they both share the same bright orange and white colors!
To create the dreamsicle morph, breeders had to combine different other morphs: RAPTOR, Enigmas and Mack Snows. Still, the price of a Dreamsicle leopard gecko is quite affordable: between 80 and 200 dollars.
17) Chocolate Albino
Chocolate albinos share the same traits as other types of albinos. The only difference is that they are incubated at a lower temperature. The result of this process is that Chocolate Albinos are darker in color than other albinos.
The price of a chocolate albino ranges between 30 and 250 dollars. The price is determined by how dark the leopard gecko is.
18) Bell Albino
Bell Albinos were discovered by Mark Bell. They are one of the rarest breeds of leopard geckos.
Usually, Bell albinos have a yellow or lavender base color and some brown spots. Sometimes; the eyelids are blue. They can be easily recognized by their light pink eyes.
The price of a Bell Albino leopard gecko starts at $300 and can go as high as $700.
19) Gem Snow
Adult Gem Snows have a body that is white, light yellow or lavender with pink, white or yellow patterns. They are born with black bands that start to break as they grow and age.
Buying a Gem snow is quite pricey. It costs between 200 and 500 dollars.
A bandit leopard gecko is any gecko with black marks (of different possible shapes) covering the nose. As a result, many types of morphs are also bandit morphs; they include Halloween Masks, Tangerines, Bold Stripes, etc.
A bandit leopard gecko will cost you between 200 and 350 dollars.
21) Red Stripe
Red stripe leopard geckos have two orange or red stripes running down the back (on a yellow body). These stripes become visible only after the gecko reaches the age of six months.
Red stripe geckos can usually be purchased for $150-$300.
22) Banana Blizzard
A banana blizzard is a patternless leopard gecko with a solid yellow base color and no patterns at all. They are the result of mixing a blizzard with a murphy patternless.
The banana blizzard morph costs $75-$150.
23) Hypo Ghost
Hypo Ghosts are a pretty rare melanistic morph. They have a very light base color (usually lavender or yellow). The color fades with age.
The price of a hypo ghost is around 200 dollars.
24) Carrot Head
Any leopard gecko with an orange head is called a 'carrot head'. There are many varieties that can have the carrot head morph, including the carrot tail leopard gecko (orange tail), novas, aberrants, jungles, tangerines, etc.
You can expect to spend more than 200 dollars to get a carrot head, but sometimes they can cost up to 450.
A bald leopard gecko has a patternless head. This morph has either orange or yellow base colors.
Baldies are super hypo melanistic geckos, and darker variations usually cost more to buy.
Baldies can cost $50-$100, but you may have to pay more for darker-colored geckos.
26) Marble Eye
The marble eye morph is a recessive genetic morph that modifies the color of the gecko's eyes. Unlike the eclipse morph that results in black eyes, the marble eye gives a marble-like, three-dimensional look to the eyes. It was discovered for the first time in 2006.
Marble eye doesn't seem to affect anything except the eyes' appearance (Not related to body color, patterns, etc.). A marble eye leopard gecko costs $75-$100 on average.
Novas are the morph of a morph. To get a nova leopard gecko, the enigma and RAPTOR morphs are mixed. The result is that novas can inherit traits (coloration and patterns) from both parents.
Novas usually have red eyes, an orange body and a white tail. They cost about $160 – $225.
Hybinos are created by mixing a hypomelanistic morph with an albino. They usually inherit the eyes of the albino with a yellow or orange base color. Other variations can also be present in hybinos (translating into a higher price).
A hybino leopard gecko will usually cost anywhere between 60 and 200 dollars. Some special variations such as the Carrot head hybino morph or the blue amber eye hybino morph will be more expensive.
Blood leopard geckos are similar to tangerines (both sporting vibrant colors, and both costing more if the color is brighter), but instead of the tangerine orange, Blood geckos have a bright red (ish) color that they keep even after reaching adulthood.
Blood leopard geckos cost 200 to 400 dollars. Brighter specimens can cost even higher.
30) Rainbow Stripe
The body color of a rainbow stripe gecko is a mix of vibrant green and orange (in the form of stripes going all along the body). Usually, there are no patterns to hide the special look and coloration.
Rainbow stripe geckos are pretty rare, which affects their prices. You will need to spend between 250 and 750 dollars to get one.
Where Can You Find Leopard Gecko Morphs?
When looking for a good place to buy your new leopard gecko pet (or any reptile, like bearded dragons), we will always recommend good breeders, as they usually know what they are doing and make sure their pets are always in good shape and health. They also keep records of their pets' bloodlines and health history.
Here are the most important things to look for in a good breeder:
- Providing photos and videos of their work progress: A good breeder will always proudly provide pictures or even videos of what they are doing. If a breeder refuses to provide photos, most probably they are hiding something.
- Friendly and helpful: Good breeders are usually passionate about what they are doing. They will have no problems helping you learn how to properly take care of your new pet.
- Referrals and recommendations: Look for reviews and recommendations. Good breeders will always have excellent feedback and reviews online. They will also be highly recommended by people that have worked with them before.
On the other hand, the following are three important things to avoid in a breeder. If you see one of them, it is a sign that you shouldn't work with that specific breeder:
- No good reviews: If a specific breeder gets a lot of negative reviews online, then this is a red flag. You shouldn't do business with them.
- Lack of knowledge: If the breeder seems not to know a lot of things about the breed you intend to buy, or if they are constantly avoiding any questions you ask, then you should avoid them. Good breeders usually know even the scientific names of the species they breed and sell. This is called passion!
- No records: When buying a pet, you have the right to ask for the feeding schedule records and veterinary records. Good breeders usually have those for future reference.
What Are The Rarest Leopard Gecko Morphs?
The rarest leopard gecko morphs to this day are ones that are very hard to breed. Some of them are also some of the most expensive geckos you can buy. Here is a list of the rarest morphs:
- The Black Night Morph: This is by far the rarest and most expensive morph to get today. These leopard geckos are highly appealing because they are super hyper melanistic with bodies that are usually solid black and a white bottom side. Some specimens can be spotted, though. The price of a black night leopard gecko can sometimes go over 4,000 dollars.
- Bell Albino Leopard Gecko: New strains of the albino leopard geckos are constantly appearing. The Bell Albino is the latest morph and one of the rarest. They are special with their light pink eyes. They usually have a lavender base color with brown spots noticeable against the base coloration. These sell for as high as 700 dollars.
- Dreamsicle leopard geckos: These are also rare geckos with vibrant dreamsicle-like coloration. Breeding them can be very difficult, as it requires crossing several morphs together. Still, they are not very expensive, with prices around 100 to 200 dollars.
- Eclipse morph / Marble eye morph: These are two amazing eye morphs. The eclipse morph produces solid black eyes, while the marble eye gives the gecko a three-dimensional marble-like eye coloration. Geckos with the two eye morphs cost more than the standard variations.
- Super snow patternless geckos: These are produced by breeding the Mack snow morph with the Murphy patternless. They have black eyes, with grey or white bodies. They can cost up to 500 dollars; the more patternless they are, the more they will cost.
- Black pearl morph: This is another extremely rare and expensive morph. Just like the black night, it has a black body. These geckos have white markings on the body in the shape of pearls. They are very difficult to find and usually cost more than 3,000 dollars.
What Is the Most Expensive Leopard Gecko Breed?
The most expensive leopard gecko breed is one that we have talked about at least twice so far in this same article: The Black Night.
These are hyper melanistic geckos with a contrast between a black body and a white belly. They cost up to 4,000 dollars.
The black pearl morph is not far behind. It is another beautiful morph with a black body and pearl-like white markings. This breed costs above 3,000 dollars.
Leopard geckos are amazing little creatures. They are easy to keep and take care of as pets and don't require too much work to keep them happy and in good health. You can easily look for a cheat sheet for taking care of geckos, like this care sheet for ball pythons.
Today, there are around 30 recognizable leopard gecko morphs, with dozens of other variations combining genes from different morphs that provide a lot of diversity in the world of leopard geckos.
In this article, we dived into the topic of leopard gecko morphs. First, we went through a long list of the most popular morphs that people love to keep as pets. We also provided all the information you need to understand how the breeding process works.
Furthermore, we answered some very important questions to help you know how to choose the right leopard gecko morph for you without any problems. We also provided advice on where to securely buy your new pet from a good breeder.
All you need to do for now is follow our tips to choose a beautiful leopard gecko to keep as a pet.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We will be glad to help!
- Curated from: San Diego Zoo. https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/leopard-gecko
- BBC Bitesize guide. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/z6trd2p/revision/3