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Investing in High Quality Reptiles

Updated on March 17, 2008
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises and other exotics since 2003

Breeding Reptiles

If you missed the news, I breed reptiles. It's a a weird hobby, especially for a girl, but I love animals of all shades of the rainbow. I'm fairly new to breeding, but I'm pretty old and experienced the the reptiles that I choose to breed- leopard geckos, African fat tail geckos, crested geckos, and gargoyle geckos. I breed responsibly, as to not cause harm or neglect to the reptiles.

Now, that said, I was talking to a buddy of mine who breeds mainly Rhacodactylus geckos (crested geckos, leachies, etc.) and a few leaftail gecko species (cork bark leaftails- his favorite), and he suggested that I write about investing in high quality reptiles that lead you to a new existing morph (color or pattern).

I thought it was a great idea, so I'll write about the new thing in leopard geckos- the Enigma- and in crested geckos- the Mardi Gras.

Enigma Leopard Gecko Pictures

Mack Snow Enigma
Mack Snow Enigma
Super Snow Bell Enigma
Super Snow Bell Enigma
Bell Enigma
Bell Enigma
Tremper Enigma
Tremper Enigma

History Behind the Enigma

The Enigma leopard gecko morph is just that- a mystery. From my understanding of the morph, Mr. Bell from the original Bell albino found this mysterious little gecko in his collection after it hatched. I'm not sure if he found one or several, but in either case, recognizing that he didn't have to time to prove out and spend the time that the interesting gecko needed, he sent it to Kelly with HISS.

Kelly and her husband worked with the gecko, breeding it to Bell albinos and other geckos to attempt to figure out the morph. It turns out that the Enigma is a dominant gene that can lead to very interesting hatchlings.

Kelly sent most of her revenues from selling the critters to Mr. Bell, keeping just a little herself.

A few years later, the more is more prevalent among breeders who can afford paying up to $2,500 for one leopard gecko. Me, I can't, but applaud those who can. But, just because the gecko morph is more known amongst breeders, it doesn't mean that its genetic make- up has been fully discovered and understood.

Currently, some of the more common Enigma combo morphs include:

  • Bell enigma
  • Tremper enigma
  • Snow enigma
  • Super snow enigma
  • Tangerine enigma
  • Enigma (the all natural and hets)

When choosing to invest money in these morphs, you are looking to spend a good deal of money, but because the enigma morph is a dominant gene, you will be successful in breeding even just a plain enigma to a normal leopard gecko. You should result in a 50-50 pairing. Now, although that doesn't mean 1 gecko in every clutch will always be enigma- you may get 2 or you may not get any- on average for every non- enigma you should get an enigma.

Mardi Gras Crested Gecko

Mystique (2 red spots)
Mystique (2 red spots)

History Behind the Mardi Gras

Although, this is a lesser known crested gecko morph, it is a beautiful morph that people will soon come to know and love once the breeder furthers its development.

Spade reptiles has been working on this particular morph for a while now. Alex Spade has been finding crested geckos with a more tangerine background and red dalmatian spotting. He hops to create a crested gecko with large red spots.

To start his new morph, the perfect geckos had to be chosen and invested on. Geckos with red spotting was sought after, and still is to some extent. By selective breeding, the red spotting will eventually become more prevalent in the hatchlings of the pairings.

The Mardi Gras morph is different than the Enigma morph in the sense that it is selectively bred for versus genetic. So, when improving upon the Mardi Gras or breeding with a Mardi Gras, your best bet is to invest in another similar crested gecko- one with red spotting- in order to get the most out of your investment.

Investing in a Reptile

Now, the normal reptile owner may not want to fork out $2,000 for a gecko, but as an investment, these geckos, as well as other gecko and reptile morphs, will definitely pull in some money when breeding them.

But, that isn't saying that you have to purchase an Enigma combo morph in order to make money. You can spend $100- $200 on a nice leopard gecko and still pull out in the long run; short run, you'll always be in the red (in debt).

(The cheapest high quality gecko that I've purchased is probably $130 for a SHTCTB, whereas the most expensive would be around $300 for a SHTCTB and $300 for a RAPTOR)

Unfortunately, the pet trade is as changing and varying as electronics. Where one day your extra large, flat- screen HD TV may cost $7,999, the next week the price may change to $5,999. Reptile morphs are just as varying, so when investing in high quality reptile morphs to breed and make money, you need to do so before the price starts to drop.

The higher the number of individual reptiles with a particular morph, the less the average price. The more understood the morph is, the less the price becomes.

The enigma, has dropped in price just a little since its debut, but because it's still a mystery, the morph is still pricey. Just about every day something new pops up with the enigma traits, and until everything about the morph is understood, breeders will not know it's true potential, which means they'll keep breeding it to this morph or that, trying to bring out every possibility.

So, my suggestion when investing in high quality reptiles is to do it soon and do it early in order to get the most out of your money.


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    • AdamCairn profile image


      9 years ago from UK

      I have never considered investing in reptiles, but it sounds like a great job!

    • highwaystar profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      Hmmm, reptiles are on the come back so you could get into breeding geckos... you're cute, adorable colors and who knows the market might even go for ittle gecko designer clothes, don't laugh, dog clothing is going off, cheers!

    • Whitney05 profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Georgia

      Yes, Olive the Mardi Gras gecko is gorgeous. It's the creation of a friend of mine.

    • Olive S. profile image

      Olive S. 

      10 years ago

      oo! I love the mardi gras gecko! it's a beauty!

      great investment hub by the way. =)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Utterly fascinating page!


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