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Leopard Gecko Tankhood

Genetics and Temperament

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Missy has a kinky tail which I've heard is from inbreeding. The majority of generations raised leopard geckos are inbred, especially the specialized types or morphs like albino, giant, jungle, to produce that genetic trait in offspring. Some unwanted defects can occur like a kinky tail, offset hips, spinal curves.

Fancy Dance and Bean are actually 98% certain brothers (of Moose), but the females are unrelated, giving their offspring an increased chance they will have greater genetic diversity. Thus, less unwanted defects like spinal curve.

Primarily, what I'm after isn't specializing a particular morph, like all giant tremper albino's, but at least giant with interesting patterns and colors like jungle, yellows, melanistic (more black)and I like the Mack Snow. Personally I like the diversity, such as if I got any more females I'd likely get something different from a tremper but I wouldn't mind finding a super giant tremper female that I like either.

The best chances of gathering an outbreeding of leopard gecko would be with the normal ones. They are less likely to be inbred and fairly cheap. I even checked with the breeders I got mine from for the most part, about how related my geckos were to each other at each time of purchase if they came from the same place. I just want to give myself the best chances of what I think I'd like my geckos to breed without loosing too much of the genetic diversity.

If I were to suggest what to get to make a diversity in offspring a little less expensively than I did, I would say get a specialized (morph/type) male and then get normal females. That's pretty much what I'm doing anyway. My females are diverse, but most father males are going to be giants. The chances any offspring will be giant are good and what I'm looking for. If not, well, they still got some beautiful, interesting momma's.

'Het' (heterozygous) basically means the genes that have come out in dominance or are recessive. Having to do with genetics, there really isn't such a thing as a leopard gecko being a Het for anything. They are the dominant trait they came out with such as giant, tangerine, melanistic ect.

Something like, being Het for carrot tail, only means it's possible their own offspring will or can come out being a carrot tail even though the dominant parent(s) doesn't show the trait, but is recessive. Two carrot tail parents would have the most often carrot tail offspring, the chances they're closely related are also high. A carrot tail parent with a different type of Leo will have more varied results and the genetics will come out greater in diversity. All in all I'd say if you wanted the most in something like carrot tail offspring but have more genetic diversity, it'd probably be better as a carrot tail parent with a 'het' parent and/or pair the most geneticly carrot tail offspring with 'het'. And it just goes on and on.

A good spot to try to figure out the gene details is at VMSherp.com site.

Temperament

I think the temperament of a gecko has even more factors to it than the genetics. Nice parents, overall good health, enough space, the right temperatures in egg incubation, and handling/stress and proper care.

As far as I know, leopard geckos are very easy to care for and passive. They can be handled if done gently with coaxing and some minor attention like handling them with an open hand rather than grabbing them. Particularly, getting them while they're resting or cool without ever chasing them.

They live together well even if they do just as well by themselves and might prefer it.

Originally, I had Missy, JJ and SuseQ living together in one tank and Fancy Dance all by himself. I changed hides around with them to get used to each others smells and I had the tanks within range they could see each other. Later, I put JJ in Fancy Dance's tank. They lived together for about a year before I put everyone in the same tank.

Each time the usual thing went on. Tails waved in the air while they established with each other who was the dominant character but none of them ever went as far as biting or hissing and sometimes even Fancy Dance wasn't the dominant despite being bigger. He'd cave in to his woman and let her wear the britches, unless he wanted a spot bad enough. After some time of getting used to each other they sort of established who would be where. On occasion I had to add a hide or move someone out just for a week or so because they weren't able to share and left that particular one out in the cold so to speak. Even longer after that, they've established an equalness these days where they'll all share the same places, even if they end up laying on each other in the substrate box.

Overall, I think all leopard geckos need are time, patience and good care. They have allot of character, each unique to themselves just like having a cat or a dog. I gave them really long times to adjust with each other and myself while I learned about them and their type of nature.

Characteristics

They may not exactly be all furry and cuddly and I don't really handle them unless I have to but they are very tame. They think I'm another gecko, one who bears the crickets and without really making a point out of it I will touch them, let their tail glide through my fingers and things like that. I might rub a head when they're being particularly itchy from a molting or pester at them to let me have a pinch of it to peel away from it. They're pretty laid back and easy to handle but they will still startle on occasions like being touched during a molt at a bad time or being taken completely out of the cage, so I'm fairly particular about them being handled at all. I want them to feel more like geckos doing their gecko thing as much as I can. Pretty much the thing they like most is the familiarity and routine. I do keep in mind when I'm taking them out of the tank, they know right away that familiarity and routine just flew out the window.

I find leopard geckos to be very bright and alert. They can see uncannily well with a very broad range of their environment, well past the confines of the tank. They're watching me gather the crickets they're going to eat very soon across the room. When they're particularly hungry, every activity interests them but I think maybe the neatest thing about it is them being able to recognize another gecko in a whole other tank well across the room.

They are very strong and fast when they want to be. I like watching them dart for crickets, sometimes with tails up and slightly waving. With the newspaper substrate there's even a little 'swish' sound when they nab at a cricket like some kind of mini-scale Jurassic park. They can also be very ginger and I'd have to say rather creative, especially when it comes to trying to take a mealworm out of my fingers without taking some of me with it or lip at a piece of shedding halfway across their back.