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Black Night Leopard Geckos: Interview with Jayden Coleman of Eco Geckos

The Black Night Leopard Gecko, an extremely hypermelanistic (very dark) leopard gecko has generated a lot of interest since it came on the market. One fortunate Black Night breeder is Jayden Coleman of Eco Geckos in the UK. Gecko Time was able to interview him recently to educate our readers about this fascinating new morph.

First, tell us a little about yourself and your gecko business.

My name is Jayden and I run Eco Geckos. I’m 22 years old! I have been working with leopard geckos since I was 15. I started my project with pure white leopard geckos (Diablo Blanco). However my popularity and followers began with my Black Nights.

For people who are unfamiliar with the “Black Knight” leopard geckos, can you say a little about what they are and their most common features?

The Black Night Leopard Gecko is a line bred trait with over 15 years of work from Ferry Zuurmond. The Black Night line configures of black leopard geckos! 

There have been a number of lines of very dark leopard geckos developed in the past.  How do these differ and what’s your opinion about their viability as a morph?

The most popular is Black Night due to the darkness the line gives off. Unlike the other lines, Black Night is the only one to produce full black leopard geckos with no pattern that I have seen!

What got you interested in working with Black Night?

I have always wanted to work with the most intense pure colors! I have always wanted the purest whites, the purest blacks and brightest oranges. Although the tangerines is my new project I plan to be able to produce the deepest orange ever seen of leopard gecko!

Tell us something about what you’ve discovered in terms of the development and genetics of the morph, and how the Black Night trait interacts with other traits.

Black Night is a line bred trait; it’s not genetic. In terms of working with other genetics it can take many years for the Black Night trait to show. However I personally work with the worlds darkest male and I find he passes on a lot of darkness in earlier generations. In development I found due to the inbreeding in the genes they are slow growers and bad breeders. I found whilst breeding this trait females tend to lay bad eggs and the good eggs don’t seem strongly fertile and tend to die. I have also found a few to hatch with kinked tails. 

How does the visual Black Night look develop in a Black Night gecko from the hatchling stage through maturity?

So when a Black Night hatches it can show pattern. However the pattern does seem to be swallowed up by blackness. Furthermore the darkness is very influenced by heat. I have come across other breeders that keep black nights on lower temperatures to increase the darkness but when they are sold and put back on normal temperatures the blackness fades away. I personally like to breed the darkest in spring raised on normal temperatures.

A number of new stunning gecko morphs also turn out to have significant health problems.  Has any of this surfaced with the Black Nights and, if so, has there been any progress made on eliminating them through selective breeding?

As I have mentioned, 15 years of line breeding will have an effect on health. They are small geckos with breeding issues. However this is no different to any other line bred trait.  For best results, it’s a good idea to outcross them responsibly in order to keep them as healthy as possible.

Currently the Black Nights tend to be fairly expensive.  How do you imagine the future pricing of the Black Nights as they disseminate into the hobby?

 I always hear how the Black Night price will go down but from my experience producing a pure black leopard gecko with true darkness is extremely rare! Due to the issues with breeding you can’t mass produce this morph. I don’t believe the price will change any time soon as there just aren’t enough breeders producing the pure blacks as I do.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the Black Nights?

 I absolutely love breeding this morph. It’s the most beautiful gecko and seems to be the most popular with my following. I really started to focus on outcrossing the Black Night morph. I have managed to produce pure black outcrossed Black Nights, for example Black Night Mack Snow het Eclipse. I believe with these outcrosses it eliminates the issues with the Black Night breeders!

What do you think?

Written by Aliza

Aliza is a home care speech therapist living in the Boston area. She successfully bred a variety of gecko species between 2005 and 2017. She currently cares for a large number of geckos as well as a few frogs and bearded dragons. Other interests which she pursues in her copious free time include work in ceramics, practicing aikido and surfing the internet.

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