Leopard geckos are one of the most popular geckos kept as pets with crested geckos as the other. One reason is that are so very docile after a little training. The other is that they look so cool.
It’s no surprise where the leopard gecko got its name from. When you see a common or “wild” one it’s clear as day the bright yellow skin speckled with black dots resembles a big cat. The fact that this terrestrial animal stalks its prey like a leopard or jaguar only adds to the similarity.
But, there are many “leos” that don’t have that classic coloration. They are often referred to a morphs.
What is a Morph?
A morph is basically the result of crossbreeding leopard geckos with specific traits in order to produce a different looking gecko. It happens in nature but breeders can control it better in captivity using some science and a lot of luck.
It’s a very common occurrence in the pet industry as a whole.
1. Super Giant
One of the most popular morphs due to it being just completely awesome is the super giant. Instead of trying to get a specific type of color or pattern, super giants are bred to be, as their name suggests, much larger than a normal leopard gecko.
They are basically the Godzillas of leopard geckos, but they are much cuter.
For the sake of comparison a normal-sized adult leo usually measures up to eleven inches in length and will weight on average between 45 and 60 grams. A super giant however can grow as large as thirteen inches and weigh up to 125 grams.
Average Price: $100-300
2. Mack Snow
Mack Snow geckos are a morph that was created by the owners of Reptiles by Mack. They have since become one of the most popular morphs out there.
What makes a Mack Snow stand out is that their yellow pigmentation is dulled and much more white than yellow. That creates a lot of contract and the geckos’ back spots really pop.
Mack Snows can be bred together to create a Super Snow.
Average Price: $50-100
3. High Yellow
Almost the opposite of what a Mack Snow is, a high yellow leopard gecko has a much brighter and solid yellow coloration than a normal or wild type. They were actually one of the first captive-bred morphs created.
High yellows are popular because they are very eye-catching.
Some are even bred to reduce the amount of spotting making for an even brighter gecko.
Average Price: $50-80
If you want a really bright and colorful leopard gecko, you might want to consider the tangerine morph. As the name hints, these lizards have more orange associated with this coloration.
Some might still have black spots, but a hypo tangerine will have a reduction in the darkness of their spots making them brown and sometime even a dark orange.
Average Price: $75-175
Raptor or more technically R.A.P.T.O.R. is an acronym for for Red-eye Albino Patternless Tremper Orange. That’s a whole of of different traits wrapped up into one name.
What it all adds up to is a rather featureless body (minimal very light spotting, mild colors) and very cool red eyes.
A very similar morph is the APTOR which is basically the same minus the red eyes.
Average Price: $75-150
A blizzard morph is what many people actually expect to see when they think of the word albino. Blizzards tend to have almost no spots and are very pale and almost white.
Baby blizzards can almost look like raw chicken, which is both cute and a little odd. But, as they grow into adulthood they take on more of a white color and less of a raw chicken appearance.
Some people love the way blizzard leopard geckos look and some cannot stand it. It is one of the more extreme morphs.
Average Price: $75-150
Lavender morphs are one of the more difficult to breed. And, they tend not to be as easily identifiable as the more extreme morphs like blizzards and high oranges.
Lavenders have a light lavender or purple base that makes them quite unique.
One of the major drawbacks of this morph aside from the price is that the lavender coloration that is visible in a baby or juvenile may fade out when the gecko grows into adulthood.
Average Price: $150 – 300
8. Carrot Tailed
Do you like bright colors on your retiles? If so, you might want to take a look at the carrot tailed morph if you’re in the market for a leopard gecko.
The trait they are named after is having a large portion of their tail display a bright orange. Most breeders suggest to be an official carrot tailed leopard gecko the animal should have orange on at least 25% of its tail and many have much more than that.
Average Price: $40 – 80
9. Bold Stripe
Yet another very descriptive name, the bold stripe morph is very easy to recognize. There is a very large yellow stripe that runs down the back of the gecko.
The stripe is formed because the usually speckled black dots instead are grouped into two paralell lines that act as a frame for the yellow stripe.
They tend to have normal heads and tails though, though you’ll often see mixes such as lavender bold stripes or tangerine bold stripes.
Average Price: $100 – 200
10. Black Night
A newer morph to the scene, and an incredibly unique one at that is the black night leopard gecko morph. As the name implies this morph loses all the bright yellows and oranges for a nearly solid black coloration.
At quick glance they appear completely black, but upon closer inspection you may be able to see some spots. The spotting is still black though, just a slightly different shade. They also still have white bellies.
Black nights are rare and not easy to breed, thus they are on the high end price-wise.
Average Price: $1500 – $3000
Tips for Choosing a Leopard Gecko Morph
Deciding on what type of leopard gecko morph can be a bit stressful because there are so many cool options. The very first step is to make sure you only make your purchase from a reputable breeder. Spend a few minutes looking online for reviews, see if they have been in business for awhile, and just try to get a feel for how they handle their company and reptiles.
You might need to decide on the type of morph you want first though as some breeders specialize in specific morphs.
Color & Pattern
Some people know exactly what they want. They love the cool red eyes that the RAPTORs have or they really like the bight oranges that tangerines display.
Look around online and get a feel for the type of morph that catches your eye, and then go from there.
It should go without saying but you need to work within your budget. If you cannot afford a $400 leopard gecko morph, don’t get set on a very specific and higher end morph like a lavender super snow blizzard.
And, keep in mind you will need to both prepare a home for your new leopard gecko as well as take good care of it afterwards for many years to come.
While we took a quick look above at ten very cool leopard gecko morphs, there are so many more to choose from too like enigmas, black nights and several types of albino patterns. Whatever you eventually choose you will end up loving as keeping a leo is a great experience.