What is an Albino Leopard Gecko?
An albino leopard gecko is a particular type of leopard gecko that has albinism. There are three main types of albino leopard gecko: Tremper, Rainwater and Bell.
A Tremper’s eye is often silver or pale in colour and they have red veins surrounding them, which helps to distinguish them from the other two types. They are the most common type of albino leopard gecko and can have a few different colour pigments in their skin such as light brown, yellow or orange.
A Rainwater Gecko often has paler skin than either a Bell or Tremper Gecko and is normally smaller as well. They can have a pink tint to their skin and normally have darker eyes.
A Bell Albino Gecko (sometimes called a Florida Albino) is often slightly blue coloured with tiny brown spots on their body. They also have pale pink eyes giving them a unique appearance in comparison to the Tremper or Rainwater Gecko.
There are also a lot of other types of leopard gecko aside from albino, including Blizzard (often mistaken as being albino) and Red Stipe among others.
Why are they albino?
Albinism in leopard geckos is caused by a recessive gene. This means that the albinism gene isn’t the dominant gene when two leopard geckos are breeding. It’s quite common for a non-albino to produce albino offspring, but normally the partner is albino. This is because the non-albino gecko carries the albino gene but doesn’t display it in its appearance – this type of carrier gecko is known as a Het.
Generally, a leopard gecko is born with albinism because they don’t produce melanin – most creatures with albinism can’t produce melanin at all but the albino leopard gecko simply doesn’t produce it despite being able to. Because of this, it’s fair to say that albino leopard geckos aren’t technically “albino” which is why they can have different strands of colour on their bodies.
It’s also worth noting that the parent geckos have to be of the same strand in order to produce albino offspring. So breeding a Rainwater Leopard Gecko with a Bell Leopard Gecko won’t produce an albino.
How does this affect them?
Due to their albinism, they are more sensitive to light but this can become less severe the older they get.
A young gecko should not be exposed to too much light until they are a few months old (4 months ideally) as their skin is very sensitive to it. They will also struggle to eat whenever the light is on so you should always turn them off or dim them down when feeding a baby albino leopard gecko. Baby geckos can find their prey in the dark using their keen sense of sight and smell so they won’t need the light on to eat anyway.
It’s very important not to over expose them to light as it can lead to sight problems and even blindness as they get older.
What is Shedding?
Shedding is a process by which your albino leopard gecko will remove a layer of skin to replace it with a new layer of skin from underneath. Unlike other reptiles which shed their skin gradually and in small pieces, an albino leopard gecko will shed its skin all at once. After they’ve shed their skin they’ll most likely eat it in a process known as dermatophagy.
An albino leopard gecko should shed its skin at least once a month but there is no set frequency and factors such as health and pregnancy can affect the rate of shedding. Furthermore, a baby albino leopard gecko will shed its skin more frequently than an adult.
Problems with Shedding?
Whilst shedding is often a straightforward process, an albino leopard gecko may occasionally struggle to shed their skin and this can cause great discomfort for your pet. If the Gecko doesn’t shed its entire skin, it’s important that you take measures to help complete the process to avoid more serious health complications down the road.
If the air is dry the excess skin can become too firm to shed, particularly around the geckos toes. If it’s not removed, this extra skin will cut off circulation to the foot and your albino leopard gecko may end up losing a toe.
You can help with this by spraying water vapours into the cage to increase the humidity as your gecko will find it easier to shed in a humid climate. You can put a moist hide into the cage to provide a more humid climate but it’s important to also put rough materials into the cage as some geckos prefer to rub against them instead.
You can also create a makeshift steam room for your gecko to help him shed his skin more easily. To do this just punch a few holes into a Tupperware box and line it with something which will absorb water. Put the albino leopard gecko inside and add warm water (no higher than the geckos elbows) and this will help it to shed its skin more easily. Once the humidity is right you can even use a pair of tweezers or a Cue Tip to remove the leftover skin.
What does an albino leopard gecko eat?
Their basic diet should consist of live prey as they are natural predators and will be happier with the opportunity to “hunt.” These geckos eat baby mice, crickets, mealworms, super worms, wax worms and other small creatures – the more active the better to keep that hunting instinct alive and fed.
Remember, when you buy live food that you have to take care of the prey as well or it will die before you can feed your albino leopard gecko. Please take care of your live food as – regardless of their purpose – they are living creatures as well.
Besides, you don’t want them to escape and run rampant throughout your home.
To be honest, looking after their live food is extremely important simply because many leopard geckos will actually refuse to eat food that is already dead.
Whilst a lot of people generally stick to one type of food for ease, it’s extremely beneficial to give your gecko a mixed diet. This will stop the gecko from getting bored and will also give it a mix of vitamins and minerals to help it stay healthy.
It’s vital that you give your lizard the right-sized food or they’ll end up either undernourished or overweight. If you’re feeding your gecko a cricket, it shouldn’t be larger than the lizards head (length.)
Geckos store fat in their tails which they use for energy during hibernation, so it can be hard to know if your gecko is overweight but sticking to a regular diet should help to avoid this issue.
When selecting the live food for your reptile, it’s important to feed the prey beforehand. This is known as “gut loading” and is as easy as giving your cricket or worms some special insect supplements loaded with calcium alongside some basic fruit – this will make sure the gecko receives the nutrients it needs from its food.
As geckos need Vitamin D3 in their diet, you should try and coat their prey in a vitamin D3 rich supplement powder. To do this, you just have to put your crickets in a container with the powder and shake it a bit until the crickets are covered in powder.
If you have a baby gecko or pregnant gecko, every meal they eat should include calcium and vitamins. However, a healthy adult gecko will only need to be fed in this manner twice a week.
How much do Geckos drink?
Whilst their natural habitat is dry you should make sure your gecko has enough water to remain healthy. You will probably have to refill the geckos water twice a week to provide a sufficient amount. Geckos also require a humid climate so spraying the cage with water vapours is important – particularly is your gecko is starting to shed its skin.
Remember, you want to try and replicate your gecko’s natural habitat as much as possible.
What is their natural habitat in the wild?
Leopard Geckos are normally found living in Asia and India. They tend to live in desert areas or very rocky areas with patches of dry grassland. In the wild, they tend to burrow underground during the day and come out to hunt at night – they also hibernate during the winter.
Albino Leopard Gecko Housing
It’s important to remember that Geckos have naturally evolved to run in the wild and travel quickly across deserts and sand dunes so their tank must be large enough for them to run freely.
As with many other household pets, if they’re not given the right living space or conditions your gecko is more likely to become ill and depressed.
Your albino leopard gecko will most likely live in a tank made of either plastic or glass – if the tank is plastic you should make sure it’s completely see through. This will enable you to monitor your geckos with ease and will also help them get used to seeing you as well.
Personally, I prefer a glass tank because I think they’re a lot more durable over time but a plastic tank is a lot lighter to transport and can often be a cheaper option.
Don’t worry about your albino leopard gecko escaping. As long as the tank is tall enough they won’t be able to climb out because leopard geckos lack a sticky adhesive on their feet that other geckos use to climb smooth surfaces.
Ideally, you want to give a single gecko a 10-gallon tank to live in as this will give it enough space to roam. The tank should be over 14 inches tall and should have a mesh wire roof so neither your albino leopard gecko or it’s live prey can easily escape the tank.
The tank must also be well ventilated and contain at least the following items:
- A sleeping box
- A water source
- Hiding Box
- A substrate (Bedding)
- A heat source
- Place for the prey
- Decoration (optional)
The Sleeping Box
This will be the area of the tank that the gecko sleeps in. You should try and buy one per albino leopard gecko but don’t be surprised if they share anyway. Your gecko will need to feel secure when sleeping and the sleeping box will provide it with that security.
A Water Source
Having evolved to live in the desert, geckos naturally require very little water to survive and actually get most of their nutrients from their prey. However, it’s important to give your gecko a small plate of water to sip from but it has to be shallow to prevent prey or your gecko from drowning.
The hiding box (or a hide) is a very important part of the tank because it is the area in which a gecko will go to shed its skin. It should be kept humid in order to make the shedding process more comfortable for the gecko.
You should have a hiding box for every gecko you own but again don’t be surprised if they end up sharing. Without a hiding box, you’re unlikely to be able to breed geckos because they often use this area to lay their eggs since it’s dark and hidden away.
This is the bedding which will line the tank and it should be a material which mimics the gecko’s natural habitat. A few suggestions are woodchips, paper towels, specialized reptile carpeting and/or flat stones.
A Heat Source
Your gecko can’t produce it’s own body heat so it’s important you take measures to keep it warm. You can use a heat pad or a heat lamp to warm their tank and a thermostat to monitor the temperature – which should be around 85°F during the day and 75°F at nighttime.
I’d also recommend keeping one end of the cage warmer than the other – easy to do with a heat pad or flexible heat lamp – so your gecko can move into the cooler end if it gets too hot. Having one end of the cage at 80°F and the other at 85°F is ideal (70°F to 75°F at during the night.)
Place for the Prey
Depending on the prey you use you’re going to need to buy a small area to keep them in. If you’re using crickets you can simply drop them into the tank but for other prey such as mealworms, you’ll need to buy a small bowl to prevent them spreading around the tank.
Obviously, this is entirely optional but a few artificial plants or rocks will make your gecko feel more at home and give it things to climb over. Whilst you don’t need to use decorations, your gecko will certainly feel happier and is more likely to be more active if it has something to do. You wouldn’t like your house if it was empty, neither will your pet lizard.
What is their average lifespan?
Geckos have quite long lifespans and many often live until they’re older than 20. Keeping their tank clean and making sure they’re well fed (with gut loaded food) will help them enjoy long healthy lives.
Albino Leopard Gecko Trivia
- They have around 100 teeth which they replace every few months (polyphyodont)
- A small set of new teeth continuously grows next to their current set of teeth
- They swish their tail from side to side when hunting – much like a leopard
- If their tail is cut off in the wild they can regenerate it
- Temperature is thought to determine their gender at birth
- They tend to lay up to 16 eggs at a time
- Arguably, they are considered to be the first lizard species to be successfully domesticated
Are they sociable creatures?
Whilst your albino leopard gecko can become accustomed to being held by you, they are naturally quite solitary creatures. If you’re putting more than one gecko in a tank, you should make sure they both have their own hiding box and sleep box respectively as they can be very solitary reptiles.
It’s also worth noting that female geckos are more likely to live together peacefully together than male geckos (although it’s no guarantee the females won’t fight as well.) A male and female together will most likely breed rather than fight.
How big will my gecko grow?
The size of your albino leopard gecko will vary depending on age and gender. Most hatchlings (baby geckos) are only 3 to 4 inches long but adult geckos generally grow up to either 8 inches (female) or 10 inches (males.)
Whilst you might be eager to handle your gecko, it’s important that you wait until they’re at least 6 inches long so their body is strong enough. Most geckos will become used to being held after a couple of weeks if handled every day for about 15 minutes, making it easy to develop a bond with your pet quickly.
Do They Make Good Pets?
If you regularly handle your gecko and help it to get used to being in your presence, then you’ll be able to enjoy a great relationship with the lizard. They’re often considered a good “introductory” reptile to have as a pet because they’re relatively easy to care for.
It’s important to ensure they have the correct diet and living conditions as this will help them thrive – particularly if you’re looking to breed them. Remember, the happier your gecko is the happier you will be with your gecko.
All in all, raising an albino leopard gecko can be a very rewarding experience for both children and adults.