Leopard gecko morphs are some of the most popular – and most fun – reptiles to keep as pets, but with so many different kinds and so many different colors out there to pick and choose from it’s not hard to feel overwhelmed when searching for the perfect one for you. Very friendly, very docile, and (relatively) easy to care for, all of these leopard geckos have beautiful colorways that help them stand apart from the rest of the reptile kingdom – and it certainly helps that they are pretty cute, too!
Below we dig a little deeper into the ins and outs of everything you need to know about “morphs”, shining a light on these amazing little reptiles. You’ll learn how they differ in size, color, pattern, and overall physical features, the kind of colors and patterns you can find out there on the market (and in the wild) today, and will even dig into the most common type of leopard gecko morph that a lot of people love to keep as a pet. On top of that, we also dig into some of the genetic traits that these reptiles have, how morph versions are being cooked up in laboratories and by hobbyists still today, and a whole bunch of extra inside information that you wouldn’t have found anywhere else.
Ready to dive right in? Let’s get to it!
Leopard Geckos 101
Before we dig into the different types of morphs you can find out there today we thought we would cover some of the basics of keeping these reptiles, making sure they are able to lead happy, healthy, and enjoyable lives for just as long as possible. For starters, you’ll want to know that deciding to keep leopard geckos is a decision that can last a whole lot longer than you might have anticipated at first – considering the fact that a morph can live for 20 years or even longer.
As a general rule these amazing little reptiles are going to live for anywhere between six and 10 years. But if you are diligent about taking care of them and serious about feeding them a high-quality daily diet on a very consistent basis it’s not hard to stretch their lifespan out to double the average – and start pushing those twenty-year lifespans we highlighted a second ago.
Super docile and very family-friendly, these reptiles are not at all nervous or skittish around people. They love to be held, they love to be handled, and while you’ll want to make sure that they have a safe enclosure to live in most of the time you can get away with letting them out for a bit of “playtime” every now and again as long as you watch them closely and are diligent. It’s critically important that you stay on top of their health and wellness, though. Signs of a healthy leopard gecko include:-
- Healthy looking claws and toes that are 100% intact·
- A general alertness and high activity level·
- Bright, clear eyes without any cloudiness or drooping·
- A clean nose and a closed mouth…and (course) a full, healthy, intact and round tail.
An unhealthy morph is going to display some pretty common and easy to spot symptoms that should send off alarm bells in your mind, including (but not limited to):-
- Sunken eyes that are drooping or inattentive.
- Any kind of discharge around their mouth, eyes, or nostrils.
- Lethargic behavior and an inability to move around with ease.
- Difficulty closing their mouth completely.
- Claws and toes that are missing or are in some way deformed.
- Obvious signs of malnourishment, like visible ribs and hip bones…and you want to be on the lookout for details that look flat, thin, or are otherwise damaged.
If you notice any issues like the ones we highlighted above with your morph it’s a good idea to seek out legitimate veterinarian assistance ASAP. Don’t be shy about reaching out even if you are unsure of their overall health and wellness, particularly if you are new to the leopard gecko world. It’s important that you jump out ahead of these issues before they become major problems later down the line!
How Many Leopard Gecko Morph Are There?
While the overwhelming majority of people that are familiar with leopard gecko morphs see them as pets almost exclusively, it’s important to understand that these reptiles (obviously) found in the wild and in their natural environment – though there are far fewer subspecies and color patterns in the wild than there are in captivity. Science recognizes five individual sub species of the “common” leopard gecko, with these leopard geckos traditionally found in the Middle East – and Afghanistan, India, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan (for the most part).
Wild gecko morphs absolutely love living on the fringe edges of deserts and are especially bountiful in more arid grassland regions. It’s always a good idea to try and make sure that the enclosure you have created for your own morph (or morphs) as closely matches their natural environment as humanly possible.
In the “pet world” of morphs, though, you can find more than 100 different colors, patterns, and variations of leopard geckos. On top of that, as we mentioned earlier, breeders are still finding ways to tinker with the genetics of these amazing little reptiles and producing new color patterns that haven’t ever been seen before. This is what makes finding the perfect leopard gecko so difficult at times. Let’s take a little bit deeper into all the different types of leopard gecko you might be interested in keeping and raising yourself!
Highlighting the Different Types of Leopard Gecko Morphs
Aberrant Leopard Gecko
Aberrant leopard gecko morph reptiles have a pattern that is pretty broken up and down their back and throughout their tail, with the break usually appearing right on their back hips. A lot of aberrant morphs have gorgeous bands that run up and down their body and throughout their tail with a big old oval break in the middle, making them relatively easy to identify. It’s important to remember that aberrant morphs, and all colors, shapes, and patterns and can combine with pretty much any of the other ones we highlight throughout the rest of this list.
There are a number of different albino patterns in the albino leopard gecko world, but three major types are completely incompatible with one another. Albino morphs are easily recognized by their complete lack of black pigment anywhere and everywhere on their body, usually having a cream or slightly pinkish color where you would have seen black pigment otherwise. It isn’t at all uncommon for these kinds of leopard geckos to have red eyes, either.
At the same time, not all albino more geckos are going to have red eyes (this isn’t necessary for them to be classified as albino). Some have pinkish eyeballs that eventually transition to a lighter and silvery kind of color as they get older. Bell, Rainwater, and Tremper albinos round out the three major types that are incompatible with one another.
Baldy Leopard Gecko
A Baldy morph is a specific type of super hypo gecko that isn’t going to have any spotting whatsoever on their head and towards their neck. These kinds of morphs matchup with other different colorways and types as well, with an almost endless amount of combinations that are very popular these days. Breeders in specific usually look to combine Baldy morphs with their breeding pairs in an effort to create “new morphs” that haven’t yet been established. It’s not at all hard to find Baldy leopard geckos that cost a few hundred dollars (sometimes quite a bit more than that) if the morph is particularly rare.
Blizzard leopard gecko are completely are completely patternless leopard geckos, the kind of gecko morph that look almost colorless – a lot like a glass of milk or a blizzard (no surprise there). Not exactly an albino leopard gecko – not just because they don’t always have red eyes, but also because they still have black pigment – The blizzard leopard gecko are not so much colorless as they are white, yellow, or even a very pale purple.
If your blizzard leopard gecko is a pale purple the odds are pretty good that that purple or lavender shade will fade as they get older, and they will start to look like a silver leopard gecko – and albino leopard gecko but with darker pigment (and not necessarily having red or pink eyeballs). The darker shades in the blizzard family are sometimes called “midnight blizzards”, and they usually have very dark – or almost completely black – eyes.
The patternless leopard variation of these geckos can make them difficult to identify by those that aren’t well-versed in the different morphs and variations out there. If you’re having a tough time spotting a patternless leopard compared to and albino you want to look for the lack of black and dark pigment (as we highlighted above).
Carrot Tail Leopard Gecko
Another morph that can be combined with a lot of different colors and a lot of different patterns, a gecko that hands at least 15% of its tail covered orange – and you can kind of eyeball it (doesn’t have to be 15% exactly) – is going to get the carrot tail designation. Leopard geckos have round, full tails when they are healthy it should come as no surprise to anyone that those that have a splash of orange them get the designation “carrot tail”.
Halloween Mask leopard gecko almost always have very bold patterns on their head, which is where the name came from. These little reptiles look like they are all dolled up for trick-or-treat 365 days of the year! It’s not uncommon for these kinds of reptiles to have carrot tail coloring, either, but it’s very rare for these types of morphs to combine with albino options or Blizzard options – but it does happen every now and again.
Before breeders really started to tinker and toy with the coloring and the dwarf variations of leopard geckos you really only had two different options “in the wild” – the Normal coloring of the leopard gecko that we will dive a little bit into in just a moment and High Yellow geckos. Yellow leopard geckos are not quite as common these days (they are in the wild, but new morph variations have sort squeezed out yellow leopard geckos a little bit in the retail and pet world) but are very easy to spot. These geckos have a lot more yellow – A LOT more yellow – then you’ll find on Normal colored leopard geckos but they also have fewer spots. These geckos can combine with other morph variations (like Jungle leopard gecko morphs, for example) and the coloring can get really wild because of it.
Hyper Melanistic Leopard Gecko
Hyper melanistic coloring is very dark (we are talking super dark, close to black) but isn’t actually black – more of a really deep navy blue or purple, really. These morphs and of having a lot more melanin than their traditionally colored brethren, and that’s what contributes so much to the deep shades of their colorings. You will still be able to see little spots and leopard patterns all over their bodies, though they may be difficult to distinguish depending on the types of morph that they have been crossed with.
Hypo melanistic leopard geckos, on the other hand, have the opposite kind of condition that the hyper melanistic geckos have – and that’s a real lack of pigmentation that almost completely eliminates their spotting from head to tail. To be technically considered a hypo melanistic leopard gecko these reptiles have to have 10 spots or fewer on their body. A couple of extra spots on the head or tail is allowed by those that classify these reptiles, but for the most part they have to have as few spots as possible while still belonging to the leopard gecko family. Any leopard gecko that has NO spots on its body – though it might have a couple on its head or tail – is technically considered a Super Hypo leopard gecko.
To the surprise of no one, lavender leopard gecko morph reptiles have a lavender color that’s really prominent on their body and their tail – though the color can be a bright or pale violet or a very deep, very dark sort of purple. A lot of times lavender geckos will lose a bit of their purple coloring as they get older and mature (with the purple usually transforming to a silver kind of color) so it’s easy for these morphs to confuse people when they have a couple of years of life under their belts!
Mack Snow Leopard Gecko
Mack Snow (and Mack Super Snow) morph reptiles are designated as “co-dominant”, a designation that simply means they have reduced – sometimes dramatically – the amount of yellow and the amount of orange that you’ll usually see on these kinds of reptiles. Traditional Snow morphs are going to be close to black and white with maybe just a little bit of yellow or little bit of orange, with Super Snow morph geckos having an almost unbelievably bright level of contrast between the white and the black on their bodies and tails.
Normal leopard gecko morphs were one of just two wild types before breeders started to fiddle around with different colors and different patterns. Usually the least expensive of all the different morphs – and found in pet stores all over the world – these are super common but still very attractive reptiles all the same! You’ll recognize them by their pretty plain yellow and black pattern that helped these geckos get named after leopards in the first place.
RAPTOR (Red Eye Patternless Tremper Orange) gecko morphs are pretty unique in that they are not only albino geckos that have red eyes, but they also have a bit of orange on their body, too. These are some of the most popular combination morphs you’ll find in the reptile market right now. RAPTOR gecko morphs will never have black spots anywhere on their head, body, or tail. They can be pretty rare – and pretty expensive – but are also some of the most interesting looking reptiles you’ll find on the planet today.
Though the overwhelming majority of morph designations leopard gecko lizards almost exclusively refer to their coloration on the skin or the color of their eyes, Super Giant leopard gecko lizards are designated this way because of their sheer size. Much larger than the traditional leopard gecko, these Super Giants can grow to as large as nearly 12 inches (which is just how big the world record holding Super Giant is right now). Slightly smaller – but still bigger than traditional leopard gecko lizards – morphs are going to be given the Giant designation.
What is the Most Common Leopard Gecko Morph?
We have only barely begun to scratch the surface of all the different types of leopard geckos out there in the world right now, but there is one color pattern and morph that his head and shoulders the most common on the planet today – and that’s the Tangerine morph. No, the most common leopard gecko morph is not the Normal or the High Yellow morphs (the only two colorations that are found naturally in the wild) but is instead the Tangerine morph – a morph that has a little bit of extra orange on it.
This orange adds a lot more visual interest and flair to these kinds of reptiles, which played a huge part in breeders all over the world really trying to find ways to unlock the genetics of their breeding pairs to add more orange to each successive generation. Today it isn’t at all difficult to find a Tangerine morph anytime you go to look for a leopard gecko you’d like to add to your collection, with almost all of them having a character a as well.
Of course, a tangerine morph doesn’t necessarily have to have a carrot tail (though it’s not hard for many of them to have 15% of their tail covered in orange). They can be combined with a lot of other morph designations – pretty much any other designation, for that matter – with some of them really presenting a lot of orange that get the designation Super Hypo Tangerine.
Super hypo tangerine leopard gecko morphs will usually have very few black spots as well. They are some of the coolest looking tangerine leopard gecko varieties you can find, but again they can get pretty expensive in a hurry. Though the traditional tangerine leopard gecko morph is very common, the second you get into Super hypo tangerine (or even just a regular hypo tangerine) leopard gecko options you start to get into some pretty rare colorways and the price climbs dramatically for this popular morph.