We had the opportunity to interview Kevin of New England Reptile Distributors, asking him about the amazing Tokay Gecko morphs they are working with. Here is what Kevin had to say:
Who exactly is NERD and how did they start?
I started out as a hobbyist with a decent collection of snakes and such…..a very strong interest in any types of herps. I used to have a good job and had my animals as my hobby. Eventually I left the high tech field to pursue my “dream”. That was around 15 years ago and I started NERD from my original collection and a bit of money I had saved up. Lots of learning and lots and lots of mistakes later I ended up building a new facility where we are today.
My primary focus has been snakes with a strong focus on Pythons, I have also done a fair bit of fiddling with keeping Monitor Lizards. NERD is now focused on breeding Albino Water Monitors and we should see some CB Albino babies this coming year.
I have always liked Tokay Geckos. Just as they stand they are amazing to look at and so inexpensive. Back in the mid 90’s I felt this way about ball pythons and focused on breeding and creating new crazy mutations. To date we have made a plethora of new ball python mutations and I see Tokay geckos as having great potential for a similar thing.
Tokays are easily overlooked and misunderstood. I keep lots of Reticulated Pythons which are also in a similar situation. Retics are amazing, smart animals and once they are understood a keeper can have lots of fun with them. I regard the Tokay as a Retic in a Gecko’s body, very smart, high strung and an animal that deserves respect. I tend to get interested in things that other people don’t seem to notice or appreciate.
The Tokay came onto my radar a few years back as a “dinking” project; I found myself not understanding much about this lizard initially. I had very poor success breeding them due to my limited knowledge of the species. As time passed and the new building was built I rethought the Tokays and decided that I had better focus on them or get rid of them. I stopped having employees taking care of them and did it myself. Within a short period we started getting some breeding which encouraged me to jump in further and expand on color variants from the wild.
My strong interest in them encouraged a friend, Darren @ Crystal Palace Reptiles over in the UK. We started to utilize a new contact over in Indo and encourage them to be on the look out for any interesting Tokays. We started being offered some crazy animals for equally crazy money. We basically bought everything we could get and it cost some decent money. I was having some success at breeding them but was getting and still am confused by all of the weird mutations we are seeing…. This helped us continue acquiring more unusual animals. I wanted to get as many cool animals that I could get for our collection, trying to pair up animals and create projects. Then some of the Albino stuff came along which was what I was after, we spent the money and started getting some very important animals for the collection.
What geckos does NERD currently work with?
I mainly breed Tokays… we may fiddle with other geckos but I have learned it is better to focus and understand your captives. I have spent many years dividing my attention and not being as productive as I would like. Best to work with a core group of species but do them well.
Where did the Tokay Gecko morphs originate and what current Tokay projects are you working with?
We basically have all of the Tokay mutations that we know of represented in the collection. There are MANY variations of Tokay, we have proven out a number of them and many more to go.
This includes Powder Blue, Melanistic, Blue/Green, Olive Patternless, Blueberry, Calico, Leucistic, Psychadelic, Super Red – multiple forms, Powder Blue Red Spot, Super Yellow, Multiple forms of Caramel, Amelanistic Albino, Pied, Pinto, Blue Granite, Blue Granite Orange Spot, Grey Black Granite, Charcoal Orange spot, Lavender, Albino Pied…….plus others I have no idea what to call them…
What do you see in the future of tokay geckos?
I see a big future and we are just at the beginning!!!! Once people find out how many variations they come in it will get more and more attention. Once we start having Captive Bred Tokays to work with people will do far better keeping and breeding them and having friendly Geckos.
Why would you recommended tokay geckos as a pet with their reputed poor disposition?
Tokays are very interesting in the fact that most keepers consider them aggressive and unsuitable pets. The reality is that they make great pets and you have to earn their trust and work a bit to tame them. I have been fairly good at taking wild caught animals and taming them. Although not quite a Leopard gecko, they can be very tractable. A big Tokay is about as impressive a gecko as they get.
They can be tamed but it is best done by a person with some advanced keeping and handling experience…… Once we understand what makes them tick and what to do to tame them it works quite well.
Its all about TRUST!!!!! I have a way to tame them that seems to work well.
That’s a wrap!
Thank you very much to Kevin for his time! Be sure to visit NERD online at newenglandreptile.com.
Why not leave us a comment and tell us what you think about Tokay geckos and their morphs that are being developed!