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 mutations. Leopard gecko variations include the leucistic, high yellow, and albinos.
When referring to albino leopard geckos, there are three different strains the Tremper, Rainwater (Las Vegas), and Bell. 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 discovered 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 a lot on luck.
Typically, it is very difficult to tell the differences between the three strains of albino leopard geckos. Sometimes, it is 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 seen. A lot of times these albino geckos are actually brown and marketed as the “Mocha Strain”. 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. The color of the body as well as the eye color can differ in geckos incubated at different temperatures. Typically, a higher incubation temperature leads to a leopard gecko that is darker in color.
Rainwater albinos are the next most common of the three albino strains. It is thought that 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 a 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 ages to the normal beige color 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 albino 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.
As leopard geckos continue to gain in popularity due to their easy to care for nature, the possibility of different color variations will grow. It is possible that many more dominant recessives will be realized in the next few years. The breeding of mutations with mutations will accelerate the rate of variation making these already unique animals even more unique.
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