View Full Version : Whats up with Aussie Geckos?

11-29-2007, 09:51 AM
Just something I have always wondered about. Before I get into it, its all a matter of taste and Im not trying to offend anyone.

But my question boils down to this, how in the heck are the available Aussie animals commanding prices like that? 90% of the Aussie species in captivity are decidedly not rare in captivity or the wild, many dont exhibit alot in the way of behaviors, and most are about as attractive as the average gecko. So whats the deal? In fact, what gets me is that some of the highest end Aussie geckos Ive seen are extremely common in captivity. These things are everywhere, supply seems to exceed demand most times, but people still get away with charging exhorbitant prices?

Honestly, Im interested in alot of Aussie species, but I refuse to work with the majority simply because, in my opinion, who wants to pay that much for something everyone has, that doesnt exhibit a whole lot in the way of behavior other than "sit here and hope I dont get eaten", and for which there is no joy of discovery as their are "recipes" easily obtainable for the breeding/husbandry of said species? When it comes to the species I would snag up, its "well, you see how much the common cost syndrome".I have far rarer geckos, cooler (in my humble, crappy opinion, lol) in my collection youd never catch me charging prices like that.

So, is there a reason for the pricing other than the fact that Australia doesnt allow importing and the fact the US market is what it is for these animals? And is another reason the prices have stayed that way a result of the culmination of many people entering into this hobby to make a buck, and seeing these Aussie species as "where its at", and just not knowing any better? Thus further propagating this pricing whether it makes sense or not?

In my opinion it just makes no sense and borders on snake oil.

Chewbacca is a wookie.

11-29-2007, 11:14 AM
This is a common problem for a lot of us, Tom. I for one am fed up with the Australian gecko cartel. Most of the diplodactylid/ carphodactylid species in the market are decidely the among easiest of geckos to breed and rear (on par with Eublepharis) and most originated from questionable means. I recall being a teenager in Daytona when Saltuarius wyberba made their US debut. Most of them were infested with red mites. That, and the fact they were described in 1997, clearly calls their legality into quesiton. It doesn't take much poking around the net or some of the more senior members of this hobby to hear similar stories.

That being said, they are interesting animals. But in terms of pricing, they are inflated. Why charge several thousand for an animal that breeds well and can be kept in Spartan conditions? There are other species out there that require much more devotion and skill in keeping that, when they sell, are orders of magnitude less.

Anyway, this is coming from a guy who just added Hemidactylus mabouia and was excited to do so.

11-29-2007, 12:05 PM
I agree.It has always been somewhat perplexing regarding price.I do find some of the geckos interesting,yet when you realize there is a limited gene pool,and a lot of the animals are related after a few years,it just doesn't seem to hold water as to the validity of prices staying that high,not even considering most are relatively fecund species.Well,I have my preference as most here know,but the only other gecko I would keep is an Aussie,but only because it looks like Felinus.Someday Carphodactylus Laevis.

11-29-2007, 12:20 PM
We all definitely have our own preferences, perhaps part of it is just the fact a majority of people are interested in Aussie species (making them the Justin Timberlakes of the gecko hobby :D).

It kind of bothers me that two experienced, long standing members of the gecko community cant point out any rhyme or reason to this though. Im of the mind that every single species out there is worth keeping, they all have different aspects to their behavior and biology that theyve attained through developing and evolving over time in that unique habitat theyre found in. While I agree there should be price differences among different species for whatever reason (ranging from appearance to the lengths gone through to attain them), the whole this one is lead, this other one is a fine diamond type of disparity is mind boggling and does the greater number of species (about 1100+ outside of Australia unless Im mistaken) a great disservice... Ive always thought if our hobby was more about diversity rather than a myopic attention to small groups of animals within the greater body, wed all enjoy the experience even more and the market would be far healthier.

EDIT: on a side note, it really freaking sucks to have an awesomely cool species, and have to clear it out simply because the babies pile up and you cant give them away. I wish I was rich........

11-29-2007, 04:26 PM
Why are the people who started this boom getting out of Ausie geckos if they are getting asking dollar from a productive species. They are not, so they get out, sell off at what price they can get and leave the market upside down. A lot of unsuspecting buyers with hopes of making big bucks as well are trying to hold this market to re-coop losses. It worked for those savvy breeders with $ on their mind and you cant blame them, we have no stability in our market so those who can profit off of geckos even if doing damage in the process, will do so.

11-30-2007, 12:19 AM
I think because of the limited gene pool the price should remain high. This I would hope will keep too many irresponsible breeders breeding closely related animals and ideally (not realistically) would keep a better awareness on which individual geckos get paired up to maintain quality and thus price. But appearance is part of that high price i believe. A spiky gecko is pretty freakin' cool.
I think one of the stranger things is how Sphaerodactylus are so uncommon in captivity, so prevalent in the wild and not any more prolific than most geckos, yet they draw tiny prices.

11-30-2007, 02:36 AM
So how much are things like levis going for over there? If breeders start to drop prices surely everyone would have to match them in order to sell their animals? levis go for around $200 AUD here

11-30-2007, 10:53 AM
:idea: Rather than suggesting that Aussies are priced too high, perhaps other species are underpriced.

11-30-2007, 02:23 PM
:idea: Rather than suggesting that Aussies are priced too high, perhaps other species are underpriced.

Well, maybe. However, small semi-tail-less $1000-2500 Nephrurus are really not much different than say a Teratoscincus with his tail busted off and a mutant regenerated tail. What's more, at least Teratoscincus has a very unique scalation, and verifiably more challenging to breed (a simple cause and effect of supply and demand).

Next, Phyllurus and Saltuarius $700-3000? What about Uroplatus, they have leaf-tails too;-)

If Carphodactylus laevis were to ever hit the soil here, what do you think they'd deserve? Hopefully, not much more than the harder to keep, much harder to breed and vaguely similar Paroedura masobe:biggrin:

I will not pick on any more Aussie geckos, cause they are cool, but they're not that cool.


11-30-2007, 06:29 PM
Great thread.

I agree, Carphodactylus Laevis would be awesome, but their price would be so astronomically high, not even worth it.

I agree with you Tom,
why are people paying 2000 for a gecko that isnt too rare in captivity anymore, as well as being abundant in the wild, when there are species that will not be exported any longer and are far less often kept, not to mention doing less then well in the wild, going for $10 on wholesale import lists?

11-30-2007, 07:05 PM
I know I'd pay a pretty penny for the C. laevis.

Masobe should be worth their wait in gold (a personal favorite, so maybe I'm biased).:biggrin:

I'm sure forums such as this will enlighten other herpetoculturists that yes, there are tons of interesting, unique and bizarre species. Some that need and deserve attention.

Rather than "knock" species due to their geographic origin, I'm sure pics and tidbits of info about other (ie: not the Aussies) species will be a great way to introduce them to the public.:idea:

I 'm amazed that no one has hinted to the fact that the shady importers might be at fault for some of this "pricing discrepency". I mean, come on. $16.50 for a Teratoscincus? They can't even leave it at $17?:scratchhead:

Maybe the "answer" to all these questions is to simply stop selling geckos. We can just trade them (?).:coverlaugh:

BTW: I'd still keep every species I'm working with, even if I had to PAY to have the privilege to own them.

11-30-2007, 08:46 PM
Rather than "knock" species due to their geographic origin, I'm sure pics and tidbits of info about other (ie: not the Aussies) species will be a great way to introduce them to the public.:idea:

BTW: I'd still keep every species I'm working with, even if I had to PAY to have the privilege to own them.

Nobody is knocking Aussie geckos due to them coming from Australia. They're being debated as to why they command misplaced prices - not more. Indeed, there are interesting animals from there. But the facade of them being rare has worn away yet the prices remain high (I guess because few people are buying).

Your statement about paying to own them is true blue. We all do it in some way or fashion.


11-30-2007, 08:58 PM
I think we all have paid something to enjoy the geckos we keep.Most times there are quite a few sacrifices involved.Back to the point at hand,Paroedura Masobe is a fine example of a gecko that needs more of our attention.If my OCD wasn't so bad:evil:,and I wouldn't end up trying to collect every species of Paroedura,I would be working with them.They have some of those same similar physical qualities of the Carphos and the Felinus.The point being made,and would be driven home by those two geckos just mentioned,Masobe were being had for under 100.00,while you would have to smoking something good to believe you could find Carphos for that price.:biggrin:It's easier working with monotypic genuses,only one species to collect,just a lot of Localities.

11-30-2007, 11:43 PM
I think we all have paid something to enjoy the geckos we keep.Most times there are quite a few sacrifices involved.Back to the point at hand,Paroedura Masobe is a fine example of a gecko that needs more of our attention.If my OCD wasn't so bad:evil:,and I wouldn't end up trying to collect every species of Paroedura,I would be working with them.They have some of those same similar physical qualities of the Carphos and the Felinus.The point being made,and would be driven home by those two geckos just mentioned,Masobe were being had for under 100.00,while you would have to smoking something good to believe you could find Carphos for that price.:biggrin:It's easier working with monotypic genuses,only one species to collect,just a lot of Localities.

I wish I had taken advantage of them when they were under 100.00. Thats just another lesson learned, taking advantage of incredible species while they are available and cheap, because soon they wont be so common and obtainable.

11-30-2007, 11:52 PM
Peter,I don't think there isn't a one of us who feels exactly as you stated.I think we will see a lot of things go by the wayside.

12-01-2007, 12:56 AM
Peter,I don't think there isn't a one of us who feels exactly as you stated.I think we will see a lot of things go by the wayside.

Ya, I regret not holding on to more Geckolepis, as like many others, I do believe Madagascar will eventually close, and we will be left with just a bunch of Uroplatus phantasticus

12-01-2007, 03:30 AM
I think the high prices by designers and Ausie geckos have overshadowed the other geckos not only by demand and their looks but also by marketing set to not only get highest dollar but also to be the diamonds of the gecko world. Those rare and very difficult Mosabes are in reality a much more valuable gecko than most Ausie or designer geckos if you take in all factors. I think Australian geckos hit a "hot" period due to marketing, TV and lack of this from other locals to compete with in interest, but it shows to be getting stale. Since it overshadows just as interesting geckos that sell for more realistic prices, people stand against the issue, and its not jelousy.
I had 10-15 years ago, either purchased or was offered these prices (for fun to see price changes over the years)...
Rankins Dragons $50ea.
Pinecone Skinks $300ea.
Australian fat-tail geckos (Diplo) $25ea.
Uroplatus fimbriatus $300
P. mosabe $700 at first / $75 for half deads / now priceless
U. phantasticus $35-175
U. malama(labeled wrong as phantasticus) $50
Cataphractus /Armadillo Lizards $35
Chillian Chuckwallas $40 (awesome!)
Blue Tegus $75
Monkey Tail Skinks $35
Parsons Chaneleons (I am crying right now)

12-01-2007, 03:46 PM
Interesting points all, and to reiterate, noones saying keeping them is a bad thing, what there seems to be no real reason for is the pricing on these animals.

Robert, interesting points about the genetic issues with these animals. Not to be overly critical but in my mind that is a factor that should lower the price on them... its like manufacturing hammers and saving the ones with flawed handles to sell at a higher price to "qualified" carpenters who know how to work around such issues. Granted, that analogy is like comparing hammers to geckos, heh. That said, I do see your point about the fact they should only be going to individuals willing to do the extra work and research to keep the bloodlines as pure as possible, I fail to see how a higher pricetag would attract that type of individual however (another interesting point, after all these years of no new blood, is this even possible or are they all just a mish mash of 20 year old genetics stemming from a handful of animals?)

The marketing aspect is very valid in my mind, unfortunately it reminds me of fast food... Buy unhealthy greasebomb A, over unhealthy greasebomb B.. its the Jewel of the unhealthy greasebomb world!

Dah dah dah dah daaaaahhh.. Im loving it! (which is an anagaram for "ailing vomit" btw)

12-01-2007, 04:41 PM
Well not all aussie geckos are so expensive, you can find the most common Dipodactylus (vittatus,damaeus,stenodactylus) from 80 to 150€ for unsexed specimens but maybe it's still too high for some of you.You can also find unsexed N.l.levis for 200US dollars, somewhat similar to R.chahoua. Well the price given to a species is something quite subjective but always related to offer and demand (the difficulty to breed a species will be a component that will play on the ratio offer/demand).
For exemple the rarer Diplodactus/Strophurus are quite expensive, but the breeders have no problem to sell them at the price they think right (that others will maybe claim is a steal).
The price just follow the balance demand/offer; if there are no demand you can't hardly advertise a gecko at an expensive price, if the demand decreases, you will have to decrease your price or you won't sell your animals. An exemple for that is with N.w.cinctus whose prolificity make the available specimens more numerous than the buyers are interested in.
Another species, quite similar is N.amyae. Nevertheless I have always had most of my offspings booked before they hatch. The demand for them has already been high and the hatchlings have not surpassed this last years the demand. Time will tell if that will last...
About the rarer smooth knob tail N.laevissimus and N.stellatus, I'm pretty confident they will remain expensive for quite a long time (Jon, I bet that in 2 or 3 years they will still be more expensive that most Terato). Those are kept only by a small number of breeders (counted on the number of one hand I believe in Europe) and most of them know how delicate they can be.
I clearly understand some are harassed by the prices of some aussie geckos and for sure some species you keep are rarer than even the rarer Nephrurus species and their price has nothing to compare, but as most of agree this not related.
Something also I have been surprised to hear is that in Australia the Nephrurus are alo not so cheap (even if not the same prices as outside) how much cost Nephrurus asper in au? how much would cost N.w.cinctus? more I believe than outside now.
At least, from time to time, wc specimens are found all over the world each year, always in small quantities, but enough to add bloodlines to those that are interested to keep strong animals, and that even with the most common species found in captivity.
To conclude, maybe the price is (found) too high for some species but if so, the ratio offer/demand will just readjust it

12-01-2007, 05:45 PM
Informative post but not the answers Id hoped for when I started this thread. Youre points are valid about all the species you have listed but Im just not seeing any cold hard reasons these animals are so expensive other than the fact theyve been "marketed", and now it's all just "the market". Its strange that the rules of this "market" only extend to certain species. There are many spikey geckos out there, there are many colorful geckos, many leaf tailed geckos, velvety geckos from all continents, animals coming through importers hands that are far rarer, yet because of the accent these other species are really worth this much more?

Dont get me wrong, most of my animals sell fairly well being the luxury expense they fall under, but Ive become more and more selective with what Ill deal with.... what has always gotten under my skin is the fact that Ive had to move out species like Gekko monarchus, C. quadrivirgatus, H. frenatus, H. tanganicus, H. garnoti, P. kuhli, T. steudneri, P. androyensis, just because you could barely give the babies away. Active, hardy, visually interesting, behaviorally "there", yet $5 is all theyre worth?

12-01-2007, 06:41 PM
Yes, they all just worth what people are willing to pay for them, that's what we could resume when we want to link a living creature with a price. That in anyway means the 1$ gecko is less interesting than a 1000$ one. Also I understand it's a pity to breed some species and offer strong specimens without being able to sell them for 5$. I also recognize people use to make too strong link between the price and the interesting aspect of a species and I believe there is no sense to sell a gecko at 5$ as too often, lower is the price and lower is the interest of people. So breeding this kind of species seems to be quite problematic, above all if the issue of the offsprings is to end in petshops.
I would also like to see the biggest array of species being kept and flourish in captivity, but I also think the community of serious people is not so wide, so I also see a limit to that idea, far from me the idea to tell you keep only one kind of species, but I understand some species are quite in demand at one time and others not at all, but also the wheel turns one day.
There are for sure some conditons for a species to be sold at a more expensive price than others and to find interested buyers, among them is the fact there are no or a really few imports. For sure the day Madagascar will limit the export of Uroplatus to US, you will see their price increase up to asking yourself if it is still decent. Those are such appealling geckos that they will for sure carry on drawing a big demand, even bigger du to the limit offer (what is rare can only be interesting (lol), we come back to what make the people not interested in your 5$ geckos today)

12-01-2007, 08:25 PM
Well written response, Fred.

Just a comment: how have Aussies been so "marketed"? I 've never seen a commercial for them, or caught a catchy 'lil jingle on the radio about them. In publications such as Reptiles, Vivarium, Fauna, Dactylus I find that the coverage has always been quite well distributed amongst many genera.

People like them, they sell.

No one has even mentioned the designer leopard gecko market yet.

As I expressed earlier Starry Night Exotics, you work with some awesome, obscure, downright freakin' cool species that I have always been a fan of. I've also kept many of them. They are all "undervalued" IMO.

12-02-2007, 02:59 AM
If any of those on your $5 list came from Australia, they would be worth more. It is the concept that everyone wants to collect a group, genus or continent. The reason Marcus does not work with Mosabe or he would have to take in the whole genus, I feel the same. As for being "marketed", they along with leopards and New Caledonian species all are very marketed in the hobby more so than any other geckos. Australia has been very marketed in all aspects...thats where the "women blow and the men thundaa!" (theres your jingle) The reptile diversity is like no other and amazing, and many old timers came home with suit cases of them when that was easy. Now they slip a few here and there as there is a glorified market and worth the efforts. I think the most genius person would be wise to find another undescribed species outside of Australia, and call it Australian to fetch a $3,000 tag instead of a hard to pull $300.
But, greed always catches up, lets see how many of those highly marketed geckos fall under the disease rampant in those collections not admitted by most Ausie,NC and leopard breeders.

12-02-2007, 11:33 AM
Im not so sure theyve been "marketed" on any sort of scale.. but word of mouth, opinions of respected individuals, can all amount to the same thing (although I do see pop culture as factoring in the whole Australia craze, so perhaps some by blow marketing) I wasnt being very clear there, but thats just another thing that didnt make much sense to me, as they arent marketed the way Leopards etc are. Although to clear one thing up froma previous post of mine.. I do see our "market" as of course being the biggest issue.. I think priority number one should be making the market make sense.

It all boils down to what people will pay, and Im really just trying to figure out what makes these geckos illicit that response, whether for some its something intrinsic or a product of some sort of hype?

I agree, most geckos are highly undervalued, in reading through the stable market postings, alot of those folks have great points too.. at the very least if we had pricing guidelines these disparities wouldnt be so huge, as the commonalities between these animals would serve as a level starting point. In my minds eye, off the top of my head, the ideal would be to see the upper end of gecko prices drop by 20% while seeing the lower range rise by a a larger margin, simply due to the bottom of the range being so far down among the rocks. Honestly, I see $5 dollar pricetags on some things and it just seems insulting, then you turn around, see nearly the same thing from a different place go for exponentially more, and theres a little injury to sweeten it.

Bottom line, "theyre worth what people will pay", I wish more folks would think hard on that phrase from all angles.. theres a ton of power hidden inside it.

That said, I appreciate all the replies.. and I appreciate this not degenerating into something it didnt need to be. Also hope my attempts at interjecting humor werent taken the wrong way. We're all in the same boat and I really dont think alienating people is the way to go.. but sometimes you just have to be honest about what youre really thinking.

12-02-2007, 12:03 PM
Another great post SNE.

12-02-2007, 01:54 PM
Starynight, Honesty is the only way to do it, nice post. I do think as "marketing" on the level of comparing who has received more pro-photography, pro-website sales, book and magazine coverage with high detail, shown on TV and offered at high prices at shows with banners, I think Australian Geckos, New Caledonian Geckos and Leopard Geckos have been marketed better than say Bowfinger geckos. It is the subtle "marketing" we forget, yet uncontiously we remember when prices are offered. I like to add a twist to the phrase, "they are worth what people are convinced they are worth." I guess I need to market other species better...

12-02-2007, 02:18 PM
I think you hit the nail on the head, Bowfinger. It is up to the herpetoculturist to help elevate their species to "moviestar" status. EVERY species is "cool" in their own way, and sometimes needs help in their presentation. I have to "work" hard sometimes to impress upon someone why a $300 drab coral is my favorite. 9 out of ten aquarists don't listen. It is such a reward to have the 10% come back, and thank me for introducing them to it.

12-02-2007, 02:35 PM
One other thing I forgot to mention:

All the great photography work of their animals, awesome in-the-field shots of habitat, and especially, examples of what Healthy, CB offspring look like are all influencing the "market" already.

An example that comes to mind is of the recent posts made of H. africanus. The CB animals are simply gorgeous. While the imports are a little "rough" to say the least.

CB G.gekko and G. vittatus are also pretty obvious examples of this.

While I'm sure I'll always be an Aussiophile, I also look forward to seeing what the "next wave" in this hobby will bring:yahoo:.

Ken Bartenfeld
12-03-2007, 07:36 PM
Hmmm...Aussies are BANNED from being exported and you GOTO JAIL if you get caught smuggling them. Maybe that could be a reason?

There are some bowfinger geckos that would demand a hefty price i'm sure...same with some of the Gonatodes. It's personal opinons on what you like. Some years with Aussies you have great years and productive ones, while some years you just don't get any geckos or very very few. I'm sure it's like that with a lot of other geckos too. I don't even like most of the Aussie geckos, only a few. And I would love to keep some of the cooler climate species or some of the ones who demand increased levels of humidity, I just don't have time to mist 2-3 times a day or maintain them like I(or others) would. It would be a shame to have them die while someone else can keep them and attend to them more than I would. I don't really know the point of the whole post, just my two cents again ;-)

12-03-2007, 10:39 PM
What Ken said is relevant. It's kind of like the narcotics market minus addiction, killing and movies. Anything made illegal is worth more and more desirable. "You always want what you can't have". I think one market that is dumbfounding in the fact that it has not risen to Aussie 'stardom' is South American and Caribbean geckos. Gonatodes are making their way but still prices are only mid-range when these animals are very rarely imported. They happen to also be extremely beautiful (especially males) and fun to watch diurnal geckos. Only Phelsuma could truly rival them in being display geckos.
Leopard Geckos I see as an investment and natural art market. They have fabulous colors but most people get in to make a few bucks off pretty lizards. Crested Geckos are the same but with a lack of simple recessive genes it seems and a "box of chocolates" for that years offspring. Still the geckos are sold at high prices for low quality gene pools and the two most common CB species in the US (probably elsewhere too).
Are South American species illegal to bring in? I don't know, but if they are why aren't YOU paying $2k/pair for them?

12-03-2007, 11:01 PM
Before I'm attacked, YOU in my last sentence is directed to any person reading this, not any individual. Rhetoric.

12-04-2007, 12:14 AM
It seems to me like a lot of people who sale these gecko's look for who is charging the most, and then charge a little more than that. They try to constantly find the limit of what people will pay. Kind of bad for their wallets in the long run, because the gecko's will sell much slower, and in smaller quantities.

12-04-2007, 12:23 AM
Australia is most definitely NOT the only country that has banned export. Matter of fact, there are more countries that DO NOT allow export that DO. And to honest i think I'd rather be in an AU prison that a Nicaraguan prison...but thats just me. Aussie geckos are cool....some of em are down right insane....but so is Phyllopezus......so is Luperosaurus....etc. When you flip through an old(or new) GEKKO magazine, you will see many articles about various AU geckos...keeping, breeding, etc. You dont see many articles about keeping and breeding other obscure species....you DO see them, but not as often. Most articles written about obscure species are more of a natural history report, or something similar. Bottom line, people dont get the info they need. If i was just getting into geckos, or just about to drop my first big piece of cash on a gecko...i would feel a lot better having an article in a mag, or a section in a book to go to, rather than take a stab in the dark and drop $500 on an animal that may die because i dont know what the hell im doing. A second point....the "big black curtain". Alot of extremely rare species are in captivity and the people that keep them dont want people to know they have em. They dont want to sell em. They dont want to ever see them be sold on a forum. Its a serious slap in the face to some people to see a species like D.tesselatus go from about $400 to about $200 in 10 years, but Hemi triedrus goes from $300 to $50 in one year!!?? Dont blame the gecko..... AU geckos are great geckos, and if the demand is there, get what ya can! But geckophiles.....blame the knuckle-heads low balling, and selling species for dirt cheap, and applaud the guys putting in hard work and scratching out a monthly cricket bill when they sell an animal for the price it deserves...AU or not. If you cant sell your babies.....big deal....quit crying....this aint the stock market. last i time i checked we were hear cause we loved geckos.

12-04-2007, 03:16 AM
Well maybe prices remain high because it's fairly certian that no new animals will come in in theory. Even if they did they'd command high prices (self creating cycle) simply because the current prices are so high. Now if only a few people have these and if they are willing to sit on them until they sell the price stays the same. When new people aquire them if they do the same thing price changes very slowly.

Also, assume most people breed for money. They want a sure thing. What better way then to work with something that will not be undercut (i.e. 10,000 wc coming in). As long as people don't get desperate and start massive price cutting things will just stay high.

There's an assumption that if someone can afford a 1000 lizard they must somehow be better or they'll treat it well which isn't always the case. I've seen enough reject birds of high value donated to zoo's and put up for adoption that were worth more then 1K.

If you really like a cheap species then simply keep enough that you have your own self sustaining or almost self sustaining colony. You don't have to breed them every year and as long as you don't think they need to "earn" their keep you won't necasarily be stuck with a ton of unsellable offspring or be worried about the food bills. Keep a bunch of males and you can generate a lot of unrelated offspring. Can't do it for everything, but you can probably do that for a few favorites.

12-04-2007, 02:55 PM
Awesome points everybody, wish I had more time to touch upon everything thats been brought up.

Ken, the point is that the Aussie situation is in no way unique, but still the animals command prices like they do, I guess another point is Aussie species dont have a monopoly on being "awesome". There is an assumption out there that if you can spend $1000 on a gecko you are somehow more qualified or something, or will appreciate it more. While I find that true to an extent, Brian brought up a great point there... and Id have to add, when does the point of making sure the animals go to people who understand their worth, cross the line?

As far as Gonatodes goes, I talked alot with the few others I could find working with them, and the consensus is that the price ranges we're working with are not only reasonable for the animals in question, theyre also accessible to most people, with the added bonus that, these prices should remain stable for years and years to come. I know you wont see my prices get any lower (or higher)than they are right now. Ill decorate my house with them if I have to :) I mean, itd just be a matter of sticking to our guns and waiting until people gave in to command high end Aussie like prices, and I suppose, to extrapolate, this is a great example... and Ptenopus touched upon it rather well.. which prison would you rather be in? South American or Australian? Id also rather be driving through the Pilbara at night with a beer in one hand and the AC cranked as opposed to slogging through some dense jungle ( to paraphrase someone who knows first hand).

One of those things thats neither here nor there, but it makes you think, not to mention the simple fact of how many SA (just for example) species do you see in the hobby as opposed to many other regions? And Im sorry, but I fail to see how a limited gene pool is good reasoning for higher prices. If its really to that point the breeders should be getting together and working on diversifying the bloodlines as much as they can before releasing animals to the public in which case theres really no control.

Id argue that although difficult, it is possible to bring things back legally from SA, Im sure there are loopholes in the Australian laws as well.. you just have to find them, it seems as though there are a very few select individuals in the states who have their thumb on the Aussie pulse, perhaps the information is already out there.. in fact I recently saw a thread on this forum about obtaining new blood from Australia, dont remember the details but perhaps someone who does or who has time to find that thread could chime in.

Im not trying to pick on anything here besides discrepencies and double standards (and honestly, some of the elitist attitudes Ive run into over the past few years).. not any individuals or species. Geckos is geckos and peoples is people, the problems are some of the things that get blindly accepted as right and/or unchangeable. Again, I think its pretty cool we can have this discussion maturely, thanks everyone.

12-04-2007, 09:56 PM
While we have picked on Aussie geckos here, bare in mind that there are a "few" others that are also priced very high that have yet to be toppled (ex. Naultinus, Rhaco. leachianus, etc.). But, the topic here is why Aussie geckos are still high in price. There are a few reasons for it. Number one - supply and demand around the time Aussie geckos were first really popularized (mid 1990's). This was largely driven by the sudden appearance of various Nephrurus in the hobby and the breeders who stood their ground and demanded price tags that befitted their investment costs to get them going. And then, bang! - albino pilbarensis, patternless pilbarensis, etc. The lure of big money into geckos was a sensation. Almost immediately, other Aussie species were "automatically" dubbed "rare" too. Diplodactylus appeared, and were sold for prices that were 4-10 times greater than I saw them advertised at by dealers just a few years before (ex. Hogtown Herp in Gainseville, FL - Strophurus elderi for under $100each). Oedura escalated too - particularly with the commercial lure of "yet another albino" (despite the fact that a breeder in San Diego, CA bred the first amel of this species back in about 1984!!!!!!!). Nowhere else in the gecko hobby could one find the layers of marketable species and the stout price tags that went along with it. Phyllurus came in, Saltuarius came in, I even brought Rhynchoedura in. Should we discuss the legality of that? You might as well close this forum. I, personally, imported to the US several Aussie species (with valid documents) for the first time. Sure there are loopholes. There are loopholes in daycare regulations too - who gives a damn? The fact is that Australia is one of about 90% of the countries on the face of this planet that protects their native fauna. That's not exactly special. The real question is - which countries do allow export? There are not very many. The rest of the facts surrounding import/export is superfluous drivel - unless of course, you're importing and exporting.

The reason Aussie geckos have not descreased in value is simple - the breeders that advertise them have chosen to not disturb their market (by a pop-surprise "lookie get em while they're cheap") primarily due to the fact that they want their money back for their investment. In the mid 90's a precedent was set with these species, and anyone who elected to buy them subsequently stuck to their guns to insure they got their money back. The prices have been dropping, that you can be sure of. I remember damaeum and tesselatus going for $400-500each. I remember levis going for $1000each. The point is that these animals had a long way to fall from their unprecedented price tags they were commanding just a few years ago. I remember popping out a pure white pilbarensis (snow white with eyes that were so red you could not find the animal's pupils) in the mid 90's. A dealer was talking with me on the phone and offered an absolutely silly price for the beast - sight unseen (I turned it down because the creature was in my mind - blind).

Other geckos have dropped quicker because of the low prices they started out at. Start a rare and unique gecko at $50 and guess what happens? I saw this crap happen with Phelsuma in the mid 90's. Nephrurus were going through the roof, and Phelsuma guttata were being sold to pet shops for $9each. People threw their Phelsuma out and "invested" in Aussie geckos. Today, I'm still trying to fix the Phelsuma shortages and all the while fighting the officials for bonafide CITES documents just to get them re-established here in the USA. Do you think after I get them here after years, countless hours, expensive travel, very expensive shipping costs, possible deaths along the way, dealing with selective enforcement from agencies around the world - that I'm going to sell my Phelsuma for $20ea.? Do I think that Phelsuma heilscheri is worth $1000? Not really. But I'm not selling any Phelsuma comorensis anytime soon for $15-20each! People just do not understand the work involved in getting species through legal channels and into the US and the gecko hobbyist's hands. It only takes one person to be the fly in the ointment with a market, as I remember several years ago the following add -
I also have a few baby Rough Knob Tails!
I have decided to let 3 of my 4 month old N.asper go!
These are awesome shades of grey with cool green/purple eyes! I am desperate
for room so I will take just $300 each or all 3 for $750!

Posted by: Frank
Homepage: n/a
Posted on 10/06/99 20:24:11 PDT

Female Knob Tails!!!!!
Well here we are! I have 5 awesome orange female
N.levis levis! They are only 1 year old and never have bred! I am asking only
$250 each! These are healthy butterballs! Just need room! Hurry!

Posted by: Frank
Homepage: n/a
Posted on 10/06/99 20:20:53 PDT

Someone posted an add just to create a ripple in the market. Nobody in October of 1999 was selling Nephrurus asper for $300each. That you can be sure of. However, the thought of seeing prices like that disturbed the market and prices, especially when posted on Kingsnake.com (yeah, I saved it in a humor file!). I remember circulating a word document price list of mine around the same time. On the list were several "rare Aussie" geckos I routinely bred at that time. I had several Diplodactylus, Oedura, etc. I sold most of my Diplodactylus galeatus in the last 90's for about $700ea. Someone forwarded my list on to others, and with it being a Microsoft word document, they just went in and changed my prices of various species to their liking. I had a "breeder" in the pacific northwest screaming about why I had ruined the market for galeatus. I did not. All it took was someone posting/manipulating an advertising medium. Needless to say, when someone asks me to forward a computer generated list these days - well, I do not.

So what it boils down to is several things. There is not a simple answer to a complex problem. There are many factors that play into the marketability of a species. The first and most obvious - the breeder just wanting to recoup what he invested in the animal in the first place. When it's a high price - he will most likely not sell them for $20ea. The next biggest factor - the different levels of the market. Importers offering something (fresh from nature) for nearly nothing when you're trying to sell your captive born for substantially higher on the same advertising medium. Someone overseas offering the species for 20% of what you would offer them for is another wrecking ball (and then the buyer thinking - huh, I'll just go to Hamm and get them cheaper - without thinking about shipping costs, etc.). The internet is a marvelous tool for both front end and rear end work.

The rest is just dealing with it.

Collect on!


12-04-2007, 10:22 PM
which countries do allow export? There are not very many.

Id be interested in seeing a list

great post Jon&everyone

12-05-2007, 07:41 AM
Wow Jon, puts things in perspective!

12-05-2007, 12:36 PM
It's expensive to fly to South Africa and back to get your own geckos? Who would have known...LOL. At $300 a pop somebody is making a major profit now on those asper ;-)
It would be very interesting to see which countries do and don't export. Jon where could we find such a list?

12-05-2007, 02:00 PM
Id be interested in seeing a list

I do not think that such a list exists. Just think about what countries actually export commercially. Egypt, Madagascar (becoming more and more limited with Phelsuma and Uroplatus now CITES II), Ghana, Tanzania, Surinam, Malaysia, and Nicaragua. I know there might be a couple of more, but really not many more. Take these known exporting countries and factor that into the "rare gecko" recipe/definition.

Sure, there are exceptions made for people in various countries, depending upon how the proposals, connections, and other factors (scientific, zoological, research, etc.) weigh in. Then there are the sporadic ones that ship for a year or two and then shut down. But the meat of it - most countries are not exporting.....period.

Even Australia exported up until 1974.


sune jensen
12-05-2007, 05:51 PM
hey, I just discovered this thread and I love it!
But to be honest, I feel that Aussie geckos are really cool and nice, and I keep quite a few of them. I also keep Goniurosaurus....and pachydactylus and uroplatus and paroedura and ptenopus and geckonia and Aeluroscalabotes and bavaiya and rhacodactylus and teratoscincus and stenodactylus and.......I feel no need to choose, and certainly not to rule out any Aussie stuff, just because it is not truly rare.
What beats me, and what I consider the real enemy, is the color morf trend. That genetically crippled stuff, inbred on purpose, demanding crazy prices. That is the real enemy to me. Not geckos who happen to be from Australia.

12-05-2007, 10:10 PM
I see strength in discussion and unity...we are right now. Honestly, I have learned a lot about getting along with people I do not see eye to eye with on this forum. If I do not make big bucks on my non-ausie geckos, I have became rich in knowledge here regardless.

12-06-2007, 05:59 AM
What beats me, and what I consider the real enemy, is the color morf trend. That genetically crippled stuff, inbred on purpose, demanding crazy prices. That is the real enemy to me. Not geckos who happen to be from Australia.

That are exactly my thoughts!

I do not have many Aussie geckos so far but I like many of them just because of their look and behavior. I love my levis for an example. But I like my angulifer the same and those are much lower priced.

You have this price phenomenon in SA geckos too. Why is Pachydactylus tsodiloensis so cheap though it has a distribution range of just 6 squarekilometers in Botswana. THAT´S rare in my opinion.
Then again P.occulatus or P.rugosus for an example are much higher priced. Why?



P.S. That is a really nice thread and I´m glad,too, that people can discuss factually. Thanks.

12-06-2007, 10:02 AM
You have this price phenomenon in SA geckos too. Why is Pachydactylus tsodiloensis so cheap though it has a distribution range of just 6 squarekilometers in Botswana. THATīS rare in my opinion.
Then again P.occulatus or P.rugosus for an example are much higher priced. Why?

P.S. That is a really nice thread and Iīm glad,too, that people can discuss factually. Thanks.

The term "rare" has two components in its definition when relating to the gecko hobby. First, availability from nature. Second, availability from captive bred sources. When one definition is true, then it's not as effective when both are true. Moreover, when they are not available from captive bred sources (or in captivity) - then that, to the average gecko keeper, can be termed "rare". When they're not available from either source = rare. When they're not available from either source and very sought after = rare & expensive.

Sure, Pachy. tsodiloensis is very rare in nature! However, they're quite common now in captivity, and most people who want them - have them. To try and sell more at this point for some high price would be like trying to extract orange juice from an apple. If my primary focus of breeding P. tsodiloensis was to make my money back, well, I wouldn't be trying to pump out 40-80 juveniles each year, because I'm going to be keeping a lot of juveniles around for a while! Then, I'll get desparate and start dumping them at shows or, worse yet, on the net and advertise my desparation here in the US - and ultimately in your back yard (Europe) too.

P. oculatus or P. rugosus being expensive? Because a lot of other people want them and cannot find them. Supply = not equal to demand. Many people have sought after P. rugosus for decades. They're fascinating to look at, they're fascinating to keep and breed. The species can speak for itself - it does not need me beating the cowbell in order to ring in interest.

Why are there such price differences between the species? Like anything else (cars, women, real estate, stock, and everything) some species are nicer, rarer, and more sought after. I've had some cheap dates:banana: and I've had very expensive dates with women:yawn:.

I think there are differences between both US and European standards of rarity and the degree of interest and determination to keep geckos. The internet brings us together as a common community as we set here in almost real time discussing these matters internationally over a forum, although with very different economies and cultures.

This "rare" phenomenon is expressed in a lot of geographic regions of the world. But none more so than Aussie geckos. Sure there are other areas, several of them. As more and more species are being captive bred, with more and more people looking for something different than run-of-the-mill Aussie geckos, the possibility to keep animals from other areas will help drive the hobby into the next phase of the future. I see Sphaerodactyline geckos becoming more popular (growing very fast here in the USA), S.E. Asian species becoming more popular, African geckos becoming more popular. People are just tired of dealing with powdered diets, automated gecko collections, stamping out new color patterned mutants - like chocalate chip cookies, and being told by the internet and everyone else (instead of their own pursuit of what is interesting) what is rare and most valuable. People are beginning to pull their heads out and see there are other species besides what is commercially driven by commercializers.

For me, I can tell a serious gecko keeper/breeder from a $$-charged buffoon at a moment's glance.....almost completely defined by what they keep and what they're looking for next. I had a guy recently email me looking for Phyllopezus. When I asked what else he keeps, he answered "nothing, I just want to keep some Phyllopezus, not more". My kinda guy:!:

Peace out,


12-06-2007, 06:04 PM
I have never seen a photo of Phyllopezus of Hemiphyllodactylus. These are both South American species I believe...? Any possibility you could provide pics or links to them Jon?
This may be a bit of a personal questions to put up in public, Jon, but when you have very fecund species such as Hemidactylus sp. and some Pachydactylus sp. (like tsodiloensis), what do you do with excess? I know some will get traded and some will get sold but like any gecko collector your collection is always growing.Do you eventually seperate geckos so that you prevent overbreeding? And if you do that....do you have a whole house for geckos next door to the ones for humans? LOL.

12-06-2007, 09:31 PM
Hemiphyllodactylus is SE Asian. Another salamander of a gecko.