Designer geckoes, the latest trend in the reptilian world


Posted Tue, Sep 11, 2012

“Leapin’ Lizards!”: Morphs (geckoes) are specially bred to enhance their unique colors. (Photo by Simone DeAlba)

HYGIENE, Colo. — The latest trend in the reptilian world is one that boasts bold colors, unique patterns and high quality. In one of the worst economies since the great depression, Ray and Carol Roehner decided to sell Geckoes. But not your everyday, run-of-the mill geckoes–these are designer reptiles.

Nestled between Longmont and Lyons in the little town of Hygiene, you will find a quaint brick building on Hygiene Road and 75th Street, home to the Roehner’s business dubbed appropriately, Designer Geckoes.

“The cool thing about them is you can kind of determine what you want,” said Ray. “You can get an orange gecko and a lavender gecko and produce an orange baby with lavender spots. You can kind of create you own gecko.”

Upon entering the store “Buffalo Bill” greets you from his terrarium. He has become one of the most requested specimens in their inventory. A crowd favorite, “Buffalo Bill” is an example of the very popular leopard print design. Known as morphs, these geckoes have evolved and been bred to enhance their unique colors. Native to the Middle East, the reptiles are known in the wild to have lackluster colors in order to camouflage in the desert terrain.

“Through the years, and through selective breeding and use of genetics many morphs have developed, probably 200 different morphs and they are bred for various colors, patterns, and sizes.”

The couples’ love of animals was what originally brought them into this untapped market. Their main goal is to educate their customers about how to care for these beautiful creatures. The geckoes can live up to 15 years and they want people to realize that it’s an investment, much like a dog.

HANDLE WITH CARE: Many species will drop their tail if frightened. (Photo by Simone DeAlba)

On average they have an inventory of around 100 animals, all ranging in size and price. Due to the quality of the geckoes that are bred, some can run upwards of $600! However, for those who are looking to spend less for a family pet, they have some family-friendly prices.

The lower priced ones, under $200, are more for the cost conscience families, not everybody is a high end collector that can afford a thousand dollars for a gecko, so we try to make them affordable.

Despite having a unique market niche, the Roehner’s say they have found success with their business both locally and internationally, attributing it all to a simple formula of good price, good quality, and good service.

“To have a small business survive…you can do it… one of the take away things is now-a-days you have to really keep focused on high quality customer service, high quality products, and if you have that, even in a bad economy, you will thrive.”


* Keep your gecko in a glass vivarium with a volume of 10 or 20 gallons depending on the species you choose. Provide a sterile substrate appropriate to the species; sand for ground geckos and coconut husk for forest species.

* Feed your gecko on live food such as crickets, mealworms or flies. Larger species, such as leopard geckos or tokays, can also be fed with live or warm pinkies or day old mice.

* Handle your gecko with extreme care as many species will drop their tail if frightened. A gecko that has lost its tail of part of its tail should be kept in a clean tank until the wound has healed. Treat the wound with an antiseptic cream from the vet. The tail will grow back but will be smoother and shorter than the original.

* Purchase a proven pair of geckos if you want to try to breed them as many species are very difficult to sex. Provide plenty of extra cover to allow the pair to mate in peace and lay eggs. Gecko eggs are always laid in pairs. Have a second tank prepared for the hatchlings as some adult geckos are aggressive towards their own young.



About Simone DeAlba

Former CU Buff (Political Science), here at Metro State to finish a second degree in Broadcast news. Marathon runner, political junkie, and cheap sunglasses connoiseur.

View all posts by Simone DeAlba

6 Responses to “Designer geckoes, the latest trend in the reptilian world”

  1. KevinHall Says:

    This was a really cool story, the visuals really helped bring this story together.


  2. Joshua Schott Says:

    Nice pictures. And I had no idea you could customize the colors of the geckoes.


  3. Michael Wilson Says:

    I really enjoyed this story. Very well written and informative.


  4. Stephen Young Says:

    This story is very unique.
    While the numbers help highlight that geckos, like other pets, are an investment, the “Caring for Your Gecko” section really helps reiterate that though these geckos are customizable, they are more than an accessory and are to be cared for.


  5. Rachel VR Says:

    Great article. Good idea for a present. Want one Simone???


  6. Leah Raaflaub Says:

    Very interesting! Really enjoyed the background of the Geckos, as well as the section “Caring for your Gecko.”


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