In March of 2011, Gecko Time began publishing  monthly articles by Justin Hansen detailing his experiences as a new gecko breeder.  Justin has decided to continue his account for a second breeding season and we are happy to have him.  Note that we have omitted the “New” from the title, since Justin has successfully completed his “trial by fire” as a new breeder. And now, without further ado…

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So this is the start of my second year as a breeder and while I’m excited it hasn’t started that great. I found three of my hatchlings dead in the rack at the start of this month. Two of them had issues with stuck sheds and I wasn’t able to get it under control. The third was a gorgeous reverse strip mack snow but it seemed to have seizures when stressed. He wasn’t really eating that well so I might have had to put him down anyway but it was still disappointing.

With the sad news behind, everything else has been moving in a positive direction. The Suglow Raptor female that I added mid-season has started eating really well and it looks like I’ll be able to use her this season with my Sunglow het Rator male. All of my other breeders and hatchlings are also pigging out so I’m hoping this season will be more successful than my first.

Changes for the New Season

I’ve thought about making some changes to how I ran things last year that I hope will help in production this year. The first thing is so obvious to me now that it’s almost embarrassing. I’m going to introduce my males to my females more than once even if I see a successful mating. I didn’t get as many eggs as I thought I should have last year and this could be due to the females being first year breeders but I think I would have gotten a few more had I allowed for multiple successful mating attempts.

I’m hoping to pick up another male. I tried last year but wasn’t successful in adding a new male with different genetics into the equation. I haven’t settled on what morph I’d like to bring to my group but I’m definitely leaning toward going high end and something with enigma in it. Possibly a BEE. I have also thrown around trying to get a White and Yellow male as well. Both of those seem hard to come by but I’m not going to add any more mid to low end breeders that I don’t hatch myself. It just isn’t worth the money.

New Directions

As you can read in my bio at the end of the article my first reptile experience was with an African Fat Tail and I plan on adding those to my Leos at some point during this season. I’m not sure if I’ll breed them this year but I am going to try and start collecting some high end hets like Patternless and Whiteout with the hopes of getting in on all the new high end AFT action. It reminds me of my first go around with Leos when people were first discovering Albinos and Blizzards.

I believe that to take breeding from a losing to break-even financial endeavor you need to be on the cutting edge of genetic morphs or you need to be a very innovative line breeder. I did get three really nice looking hatchlings from my mid level breeders and I will have to see what I get in the coming years to determine whether I can go the line breeding route. The fastest way to some higher end geckos is to pick up a male and possibly another female for a specific project. I’m also hoping that even though Fat Tails aren’t as popular as Leos I can be the only one at the show with them. I haven’t seen any Fat Tail morphs at my local show at all.
None of that is revolutionary; buy good breeding stock and get good offspring is as obvious as obvious gets but I failed to listen to myself when starting this venture so I have to play a little catch up. What higher end morphs do you guys see as the future? I’m curious to see what direction you think I should go in. Please post in the comments below any suggestions or questions you have. I look forward to reading them.

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Justin HansenVisit Website

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 LongIslandGeckos.com once he has a spare moment to finish the site.

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