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What Is an Albino Leopard Gecko?

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  • Written By: N. Swensson
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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The albino leopard gecko is a small lizard, 10 inches (25.4 cm) at the largest, which is native to the deserts of south Asia and can be kept in an aquarium as a household pet. The main difference between albinos and other leopard geckos is coloring. Albinism is a genetic mutation that occurs in humans and animals, causing complete or partial absence of pigmentation. Therefore, while leopard geckos are yellow or tan in color with a black pattern, albinos are usually white or pale yellow with a pink pattern and pink or red eyes. Although their coloring gives them a distinctive appearance, the albino leopard gecko usually has most of the same characteristics, habits, and care requirements as its non-albino counterparts.

Albinism is a recessive genetic trait that interferes with an animal’s ability to produce melanin, the substance in the body that pigments the skin, hair, and eyes. There are albinos in most animal and human populations throughout the world. Their main characteristics are white hair, very pale skin, and pink or red eyes. The albino leopard gecko has distinctive coloring, usually in a combination of white, pale yellow, and red. Like most albinos, they have pink or red eyes.

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The main difference between albino and non-albino leopard geckos is that albinos have greater sensitivity to light. They may close their eyes firmly and refuse to eat if they are exposed to brightly lit areas. In most other ways, however, the two types of lizards are similar. They are native to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other desert areas in south Asia. The males can reach a size of more than 10 inches (25.4 cm) and have an average life span of 20 years.

A popular household pet because of its unusual color patterns, the albino leopard gecko can be purchased from pet stores that sell reptiles and kept in a 10- to 20-gallon aquarium. Although more than one lizard can be housed in the same tank, the males can be territorial and usually should not be kept together. As with most lizards, geckos require a source of warmth, which may be a pad underneath the aquarium, a heated flat rock, or a heat lamp. It is also important to provide cooler areas in the tank, because reptiles are unable to internally regulate body temperature and can quickly become too warm or cold. The albino leopard gecko eats live food such as crickets, mealworms, and small mice, which can all be purchased in pet stores.

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