I attended the North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Chicago last fall. One of my objectives was to find a really nice pair of young crested geckos to add to my collection. After stopping by 3 or 4 vendor tables, I realized a young 'pair' of cresties would completely deplete my wallet and guarantee a night sleeping in the car from my wife.
So what influences crested gecko prices and what was the 'HOT' morph at the show. I spent the next couple of hours walking the show floor, taking a look at all the different crested geckos being offer and their prices, and trying to understand what the difference was between a $40 crested and a $400 crested gecko. What I found interesting was that the high end crested geckos were made up of many, many different morphs. A morph is a different color pattern. The higher priced cresteds included some fire morphs (highlighted color on the dorsal stripe), harlequins (fire morphs with additional highlights along their legs and lower body), pinstripes (highlighted tips of the crested running the length of the body), ‘super’ dalmatian (increased number of spots on the body), and creamsicles (red-orange with light cream highlights throughout the dorsal and sides). Other geckos were in demand too, such as brilliant reds, bi-colors, yellows, moonglows, and tigers but not as high priced as those mentioned above.
Most vendors were selling younger crested geckos- 3-5 months old. Even at this age, some geckos were being offered for up to $ 400! Adult males were abundant (many with missing tails). Adult females, as expected were at a premium. Nice Harleys were offered as well as yellows, bi-colors, and tigers. The higher priced females I noticed were generally really outstanding examples of solid reds.
I do want to also note that examples of cresteds with emphasis on physical characteristics were also available. Notably available were animals with larger crests and heads. While these geckos drew attention, the prospective buyers seem to be less than those looking for a specific color. While I’ve included pricing in this article, I don’t mean to indicate that the amount a gecko is being offered for is the sole indication of how much of a demand there is in any one of these morphs.
While I continued my search for an outstanding red crested to add to my group at home and a couple of young creamsicles as an introduction into this project, others were scrambling for the ‘super’ Dalmatian or a ‘full’ pinstripe pair. I heard a couple of other hobbyists insisting that they couldn’t find a descent yellow at any vendor’s table.
What it all comes down to is that ‘what you like’ is ‘what you like’. The market for crested geckos seems driven by some of the higher-end color morphs, as depicted by the prices at the show, but if a nice, pure yellow is what you have your heart set on, that is the HOT gecko of the day. By the way, I did find the adult female red I was looking for and she is gorgeous!
As a note, the Chicago show certainly shouldn’t be the only yardstick used to gauge the demand of crested geckos. However, with the quantity and diverse offerings available, it should certainly be one of the sources.