What is a Mack Snow Leopard Gecko?

by David Lowbridge
A mack Snow leopard gecko

One of the most popular morphs that we’ve worked with is the Mack Snow leopard gecko. This morph is often requested by those looking to take home a new family member. What is this morph and what are the possibilities with the genes?

What is the Mack Snow Leopard Gecko?

There are a few features of the Mack Snows that make them different to normal leopard geckos. As hatchlings, they lack the yellow bands that normal leopard geckos have. However, these white banks will disappear over time and will turn yellow but generally a lighter version.

Another key feature is that Mack Snow leopard geckos are not temperature sexed, unlike others. Generally speaking, a cooler temperature during egg incubation will produce more females while incubation at higher temperatures will produce more males. With Mack Snows it is more random, and that is something that we’ve noticed with our breeding.

The Mack Snow Leopard Gecko in Breeding

The Mack Snow has become a staple in the leopard gecko collection. This is normally because their black and white appearance as a hatchling is very striking. They are also a great gene to mix into other combinations.

The Mack Snow was thought to be a co-dominant gene. However, after lots of breeding projects, the gene is now considered an incomplete dominant gene. There are three forms of the Mack Snow gene. One is normal, this has now elements of the Mack Snow gene and will display as normal or as the other genes present.

The next form is the Mack Snow. A pure Mack Snow hatches black and white. Though there are some combinations (like ghost) which change the initial appearance. In most cases, the Mack gene creates white bands.

Then there is the super form, the Super Mack Snow. These are white with black spots that appear all along the body. They also have completely black eyes, like they’re an eclipse, but no eclipse gene is required.

They are a stunning leopard gecko morph and highly sought after. The Super Mack Snow must have both parents carrying the Mack Snow gene. If both parents are Mack Snow then there is a 25% chance of this happening. If one parent is a Super Mack Snow, then there is a 50% chance of this happening.

Issues with the Super Mack Snow

A super mack snow leopard gecko
A Super Mack Snow Leopard Gecko

The Super Mack Snow can be a controversial morph and one that we don’t particularly breed very often. Some Super Mack Snows struggle with feeding. It is not entirely known why this is, but it could be because of the changes to their eyes that happen because of the mack. This often results in them growing at a slower rate.

Others have suggested that the Super Mack Snow can over-eat, resulting in obese geckos. More research does need to be conducted in this area. We have one male in our collection and we noticed that he prefers to eat crickets, locusts and roaches. He can sometimes seem to miss that there are mealworms in his bowl.

However, the Super Mack Snows tend to be a very friendly and loving leopard gecko. In three years we’ve bred five and have their father. While this is a small number, we’ve never seen any hesitation from them to interact with us. In fact, Leo, the father, was chosen because of his willingness to walk onto David’s hand when we went to choose a male from a new breeder.

Super Mack Snows have also been known to have deformed faces. These deformities usually present themselves as sunken eyes and pointed noses. However, we’ve not noticed this and researchers believe this is more due to brother/sister or other close relation inbreeding. Others think that this could be because of mass-production of this popular gene.

As a result of these new findings, we are unlikely to produce Super Mack Snows in the future unless the morph improves in terms of structure and genetic variety. Mack Snows are a much healthier morph to keep as a pet.

Conclusion

The Mack Snow Leopard Gecko is one of the most popular morphs. On its own, it is beautiful and can be combined with other genes to make stunning additions to any family or reptile enthusiast’s home. The Super Mack Snow is a project that needs a little more work however with some known problems that first time keepers need to be aware of.

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