I am not new to herps, having had a variety of scaled and slimy companions for the better part of 21 years, but I am new to Leopard Geckos. The “best pet gecko” had never really been on my wishlist until recently. I was heavily into chelonians and monitor lizards, and for a time I worked with rehabilitation of crocodilians. But now I am finally wanting to see what Leos are all about!
I made the decision some time ago to add a Leo (or ten, since I hear they are addictive) to the family at some point in the future, so I have spent the better part of the past few months admiring photos, reading and watching videos about keeping and breeding, and getting an idea on Leo patterns and prices. I am very confident in being able to provide everything they need, but deciding on “THE” Leo(s) to join the family is the biggest challenge! There are so many colors and patterns, and some of them look the same to me but seem to have completely different lineage, it’s confusing right now!
My future goal (in a year or two) would be to start breeding on a small scale. 1-2 males and 2-4 females to start. I am just now starting to dive into the genetics and must say, they are making my head spin! I understand the crossing of the three albino lines to be a no-no, but am confused as to how one can be sure the strain they are sold is what it’s supposed to be. How would one ensure they have a Bell, for example, aside from the word of the breeder? Is this just a 100% trust thing in this regard?
Also, is there some kind of “list” that tells me what other colorations are from an albino strain… so if I get a FancyNameLeo and breed it to a WhateverAlbino, is there a list that tells me FancyNameLeo has DifferentAlbino in its background somewhere and would have been a no-no crossing?
Also, I saw mention in passing of the NDBE visual females being unable to reproduce?? Why? Is this just for visuals? Is this just a rare occasion? Is it for every visual female? Should one stay away from NDBE entirely? Was this information incorrect?
For a beginner wanting to get some unique colors/patterns in their babies, but not be locked into only getting “pet quality” babies, what strains would you recommend I look into?
Obviously I still have a LOT of research and learning to do on the genetics side, which I definitely plan to do. I’m just having a bit of trouble finding some good websites or guides or books on strains and why they should/shouldn’t be crossed.
Also, if I can kind of figure out right now which strains are a bit less confusing as far as their genetics, it would help me focus on a smaller pool of ‘pretty colors’ and learn from there. Looking over Morph Market I see a good 40 different categories for Leos. Obviously there are some gorgeous gems I would love to grab, but I know nothing about their lines so wouldn’t know if breeding them together is a huge no-no or not!
I realize this was a LOT to read over, and if anyone happened to manage to read it I highly appreciate the time you took. Any replies are appreciated, even the ones telling me to go away and find something else to breed (or to just not breed at all). Yes, my goals ARE to breed Leos and I know some folks think the market is full enough as it is… no, I do not plan on making a fortune by breeding Leos en masse – but I also do not want to breed “just” pet quality babies. I want to do things right in the genetics department, I just… don’t know where to start! Help?