New Breeder Chronicles: 2011 Breeding Season in Review

It’s hard to believe but one full year of breeding is now under my belt and as usual things didn’t go as planned, but they were fun. At this point I thought I would have 2 full racks of hatchlings, a couple of sales and be setting up for my first show. As things stand, I have 6 hatchlings from 9 total eggs, not one gecko sold and not enough stock to bother setting up that section of my website let alone be a vendor at a show.



When I set up my plan for my first year I figured that with the 3 females I had I would be looking at least 5 clutches each for a total of 40 eggs and conservatively 30 hatchlings. The reality was that only 2 of the three females produced and the egg production was much lower than I thought it would be. It may sound disappointing but I’m glad it turned out that way. I was not
prepared to handle 30 or more hatchlings and having only a few made it easier to set up a maintenance schedule. I had definitely forgotten how time consuming feeding a batch of babies can be.

I also realized that I wish I could go back and change the morphs that I started with. At the time I was very eager to get started and put together a loose plan at the show where I bought the geckos with what was available on the table. It was only after the fact that I realized there wasn’t a lot of interesting offspring from the collection I had. Thankfully I researched my options and realized that after 2 years I should be able to create Snowglows. I’m still waiting to confirm the gender of the hatchlings from the Mack Snow Eclipse by Sunglow het RAPTOR pairing but hopefully I’ll be able to breed the siblings and get a Snowglow or two next year.

What I Learned

The moral of this part of the story is heed all the advice you read about this. Don’t just breed any two geckos. The ones I have are still desirable and have some nice yellows. I was even lucky enough to get some Snow RAPTORS. But they aren’t the top end geckos that will fetch top dollar and unless you want to keep most of the geckos you hatch, that’s what you need to produce. Yet another reason why the low egg production this year was really a blessing. I added a Sunglow RAPTOR female mid season that will be in the breeding rotation next year and will look to add another at the show next weekend.


Ok, so let’s look at the expenses for the season. For the longest time I have been down $818.73. That includes the original geckos, buying feeders until my mealworm colony got off the ground, the new Vision rack and the cage items and other miscellaneous things. I did not include the electricity to run the heat or the incubator. I did incur one more expense: setting up my new roach colony. I don’t have the exact number in front of me but I believe it was $65 for everything I needed plus the roaches. That bring our grand total to $883.73 in the hole. If I hadn’t set up a feeder colony that number would be much higher.

Many people would consider this a failure. I would completely disagree. I have loved every minute of this breeding season. I was giddy when I saw my first clutch in the lay box and actually shed a tear when I found my first hatchling in the incubator. I actually can’t imagine selling any of my geckos especially any of the first year babies. I know that given the chance I would have to so that I can produce more but I don’t think I would nearly as excited as I had thought I would be when I first started. I can’t wait to check on them each day to see how their color is changing. Even the more “boring” of the group has made really interesting advances.

Future Plans

So the end of a season also brings the beginning of another one. Here are some of the things I have planned for the upcoming year:
● Build two incubators with proportional thermostats and retire the mini fridge.
● Get a large hatchling rack.
● Set up my basement with heating and cooling and move my collection down there.

That last one is going to tough and expensive but I have added other animals to my herp collection and it would be nice to display them somewhere other than my office which has become less of an office and more of a zoo every day. I’m replacing the mini fridge not because it failed me but because I’d like two units, one each for male and female incubation, and I’d rather spend the money on a good thermostat and build the container myself. Finally, the hatchling rack will free up tubs in my larger rack and allow me to have more breeders.

This past season has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait for the next one. I hope that it has been interesting for you all to follow along and I really hope you were all able to learn something from my mistakes. I know I did. Next month will be my first installment of the second breeding season. I’m going to talk about the changes in my routine from when I first started. Thank you for following this past season, I hope you stick around for the next one. As usual if you have any questions or comments, please post them below and I’ll respond ASAP.

What do you think?

Written by Justin Hansen

Justin Hansen's first reptile, an African Fat Tailed Gecko, sparked an interest that ended up consuming a dorm room in New York City and almost getting him expelled. Now that he has the space he is renewing his passion for breeding geckos. Currently focusing on Leopard Geckos he hopes to be able to branch out to other gecko species. He will be found at once he has a spare moment to finish the site.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

One Ping

  1. Pingback:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Why Do We Do What We Do?

Conservation Biology in Namibia