Hypo Melanistic Leopard Geckos are quite a sight to behold. Many variations of Hypo Leopard Geckos exist, including Hypo Mack Snows, Tangerine Hypos, and even Hypo Albino Leopard Geckos. For a leopard gecko to be considered hypo melanistic, it must have no more than 10 black spots on its body. If it has more, then it’s considered a High Yellow Leopard Gecko instead. On the other hand, leopard geckos with no black spots are called Super Hypos.
Quick Facts about Hypo Leopard Gecko
|Species Name:||Eublepharis macularius|
|Common Name:||Hypo Leopard Gecko|
|Care Level:||Low to moderate|
|Adult Size:||8-11 inches|
|Minimum Tank Size:||10 gallons|
|Temperature & Humidity:||70-88 degrees F and 30%-40% humidity|
Do Hypo Leopard Geckos Make Good Pets?
Leopard geckos are some of the most popular pets in the reptile world. They’re relatively easy to care for, come in a variety of brilliant colors, and they’re enjoyable to watch. Hypo Leopard Geckos are no exception. In fact, there’s very little difference between a standard leopard gecko and any morph, including hypos.
They’re pretty much the same temperamentally and caring for a morph is no different than caring for a standard leopard gecko. The only real differences are visual, and these differences can add up to some serious price discrepancies. Aside from this, Hypo Leopard Geckos make great pets, just like any leopard gecko does.
Hypo Leopard Geckos are special because they have significantly less black pigment than most leopard geckos. A majority of these little lizards are covered in black spots, but Hypos have 10 or less of these dark areas. Super Hypos have no black spots at all, and they’re even rarer and more expensive than Hypos. Both Hypos and Super Hypos can still come in a variety of colors, they just don’t have the numerous black spots found on most leopard geckos.
How to Take Care of Hypo Leopard Gecko
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup
For a single hypo leopard gecko, you’ll only need a 10-gallon tank. Each additional gecko will necessitate an additional 10 gallons of space. However, only one male should ever be kept in an enclosure, so other members of the tank should all be female.
You can decorate the tank with hiding places such as coconut shells, logs, and large rocks. The cage should be routinely cleaned out and disinfected. Also, be sure to remove uneaten food a few hours after feedings so that no insects are left in the cage.
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Leopard geckos are nocturnal, so their lighting needs are minimal. Still, you should run lights on a standard lighting cycle to replicate the sun. UVA bulbs can provide needed nutrients, but leopard geckos don’t need UVB bulbs since they’re nocturnal.
Heating (Temperature & Humidity)
It’s vital that you keep your gecko’s habitat at the proper temperature. You’ll need to provide both hot and cool areas, so your gecko can regulate its temperature. The warm area should be a basking spot under a heat lamp that’s between 85-88 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other side of the tank, the temperature should be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, providing enough of a temperature gradient that your gecko can regulate its temperature as needed.
Humidity needs are minimal. Leopard geckos are naturally found in desert environments, so you won’t need a humidifier. However, if humidity levels get too low, it could create issues with shedding. Roughly 30%-40% humidity is ideal for a hypo leopard gecko, which should be close to the average humidity in your home anyway.
There’s a lot of debate about what substrate is best for leopard geckos, but several materials are widely accepted as good choices. Paper towels and newspaper are both cheap, absorbent, and easy to replace. Eco earth is another great choice, made from coconut fibers. You just don’t want anything that your gecko might accidentally ingest while feeding, such as small gravel, because it might cause impaction.
|Tank Type:||10-gallon glass vivarium|
|Heating:||Heat lamp and heating pad|
|Best Substrate:||Eco Earth|
Feeding Your Hypo Leopard Gecko
Feeding a Hypo Leopard Gecko is easy. They’re insectivores, so you’ll need to provide a diverse array of insects. For geckos in captivity, the most common insects for feeding include crickets, waxworms, and mealworms. Adults can eat the rare treat of a pinky mouse, provided the lizard is large enough.
You can feed your gecko in its tank, or you can use a separate tank for feeding to avoid messes. Juvenile geckos will need daily feedings of several crickets, but adults only need to be fed two or three times each week.
Make sure you gut load any insects before feeding, which means letting them engorge themselves on nutritious foods for your lizard’s benefit. You should also dust them with a calcium and vitamin D supplement since Hypo Leopard Geckos are susceptible to metabolic bone disease.
|Fruits:||0% of diet|
|Insects:||95% of diet|
|Meat:||5% of diet|
|Supplements Required:||Calcium and vitamin D|
Keeping Your Hypo Leopard Gecko Healthy
Keeping your Hypo Leopard Gecko healthy is pretty simple. Make sure you provide plenty of clean water and fresh food. The habitat must be kept clean and at the correct temperature with 30%-40% humidity. Under normal circumstances, your gecko should be fine. But you can easily contaminate the enclosure by putting in unsterile objects or feeding wild-caught insects, so avoid such behaviors and your gecko should be alright.
Common Health Issues
Of course, you could do everything right and still have health problems arise. One common health concern for Hypo Leopard Geckos is metabolic bone disease due to a lack of vitamin D and calcium. Metabolic bone disease can cause deformities of the bones and limbs, and can even cause tremors. Gastroenteritis is also somewhat common in Hypo Leopard Geckos, signified by watery stools or a shrinking tail.
With proper care, some Hypo Leopard Geckos can live for up to 20 years. Males tend to live longer, generally enjoying lifespans of 15-20 years in captivity. Females don’t usually live as long because the birthing process is difficult on their bodies, so females can be expected to live for 10-15 years if they reproduce, longer if they don’t.
Leopard geckos only breed during the breeding season, but for these reptiles, the breeding season can span from January to September! Females lay just one or two eggs at a time, but they can lay a total of 16 in a single breeding season and more than 100 babies throughout their lifetime.
To breed, a male and female will have to be kept together. Once they mate, they can be separated again. It should take about three weeks for the female to start laying eggs. They’ll need to be incubated at approximately 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 weeks. Then, your baby leopard geckos will arrive.
Are Hypo Leopard Geckos Friendly? Our Handling Advice
One reason why leopard geckos are such popular pets is that they’re easy to handle and rather docile creatures overall. Hypo Leopard Geckos are no exception. They tend to be handleable, so long as you’re gentle. The more you handle your Hypo, the more comfortable it will become with handling, so handle it as often as you can. Just make sure you never pick your gecko up by the tail!
Shedding & Brumation: What to Expect
Adult geckos generally shed their skin once each month. For juveniles, it can happen more frequently. Make sure your gecko’s enclosure has 20% humidity at a minimum, or it could cause problems with your gecko’s shedding.
Brumation is sort of like hibernation for lizards. During this time, leopard geckos might not eat for a while, but there’s no reason to worry. Their fat tails are filled with energy reserves to keep them going. Brumation will generally start around December, but in captivity, you’ll have to take very specific steps if you want your gecko to brumate.
How Much Do Hypo Leopard Geckos Cost?
Leopard geckos are very affordable pets, and even though Hypos are pricier than standard leopard geckos, they’re not out of reach for most. You can pick up a beautiful Hypo Leopard Gecko for $60-$80, plus the cost of shipping. Of course, there are some rarer Hypo morphs such as Hypo Mack Snows that might cost you $125 or even more.
Care Guide Summary
Hypo Leopard Geckos are beautiful lizards that make great pets with relatively simple care requirements and minimal upkeep. They’re easy to handle and fun to feed, and even though hypos are pricier than standard leopard geckos, they’re still affordable enough to be well within reach of most herpetological enthusiasts. If you want a slightly more exotic leopard gecko, then the Hypo morph is a great choice.
Featured Image Credit: BANK lloyd LIGHT, Shutterstock