Soft Scales & Super Softs
As many of our Facebook followers have heard about over the past year or so, we have a very strange, and very cool, new type of morph to introduce to the Crested Gecko community.
The Super Soft Scale, as pictured above, is really what makes this project special - this is not a selectively bred appearance, but rather one produced by breeding two Soft Scales together.
This is a project I have been working on, albeit slowly until about 5 years ago, since I acquired a clean/pretty chocolate colored female Soft Scale in 2004 from a wholesaler. I immediately noticed a difference in her look and feel, and I decided right then that I would at least hold back all of her offspring for the first couple years to see what happens. Since it was a unique scale structure or texture that I hadn't seen (or felt) before, I decided to breed her to Harry, an unusually spiny/shaggy looking male that matched her color and pinstripe pattern. I figured that way I would have two unique "side projects" in one. What a project that turned out to be. The softness was inherited by several of the first generation of Soft/Harry offspring. Some had it, but some clearly didn't, and the funny thing is that none really had Harry's spiny structure. That would take years of outcrossing and selective breeding to develop. I thought maybe the softness was just a general "some kids look like mom, some look like dad" kind of thing, basically. I went about my business, crossing those geckos into other lines of Pinstripes.
It wasn't until the first Super Softs (like the one pictured to the right) hatched, and put on some size, that I realized this might be a genetic mutation, not just a selectively bred trait. When the first few Super Softs hatched, just a few years ago, I was pretty impressed - I thought we were finally getting somewhere. By 20 grams I was in utter shock - we weren't getting somewhere, we were THERE, and selective breeding wasn't how we got there! It wasn't like they just got a double dose of the Soft Scale trait - it was like a quadruple dose. Unlike most Soft Scales, that you need to see up close, or even touch, to recognize, the Super Soft form is extreme and different enough to recognize from across the room. Very extreme, very soft, and even the color is drastically brightened and cleaned up. I realized then that this form was distinctly more extreme than the original form. The best part was that this is not something I had to selectively breed for over 5-10 generations. That's HUGE, not only for moving the project forward, but for the crested gecko market/hobby as a whole. Something this cool and this easy to reproduce is bound to be wildly popular, and will bring popularity to other projects that combine well with the Super Soft Scale look. These are going to generate some major interest when they make their way down to a hobby-level price range.
There's a lot more going on with the Soft Scale and Super Soft Scale morphs than just the softer feel. The color, as I mentioned in the paragraph above, is generally enhanced and cleaned up, often making orange pigment appear brighter than anything you'll find on a non-Soft crested gecko. Another strange thing we're noticing is the appearance of a subdued, or not-so-subdued in some cases, grey ring around the eye. Some even have a more grey-blue toned eye color, rather than the copper and warmer tones you normally see. The pinstripe scales also tend to be bulbous and rounded-off, which sometimes combines (in a very cool way) with the spiny structure they get from the Harry line DNA. While any of these attributes may or may not be noticed on non-Softs, these are just attributes I tend to find as a common denominator with many Soft Scales across a range of colors and patterns. We are still learning more about them, and the Super Softs, as we go. Exciting times in the crested gecko hobby.
This year, 2017, we are finally starting to offer a small number of Soft Scales in yellow, orange, and red base colors, in addition to the lavender, lavender/black, and chocolate (original color) ones. We are also starting to offer a select few Super Softs, which can only be produced by breeding two Soft Scales together.
The above gecko is a Super Soft Scale with excellent Harry line "spiny" structure with some Tangerine pigment added in. The dark rings around the eyes are also quite evident on this example.
The gecko above is a Super Soft Scale Red Extreme Harlequin - this particular lineage is still incredibly rare and will not be released for another several years.
Above is a hatchling Super Soft Scale Tangerine x C2 Citrus line Yellow-Orange Quad Stripe. This gecko is absolutely gorgeous in person.
This is a Soft Scale Extreme Whiteout Yellow-Orange & Cream Pinstripe. This is a great example of what can be done when the Soft Scale gene is bred into an already clean/bright colored lineage. This morph is going to be huge!
2017 Soft Scale Project Pricing
Soft Scale - $500-1,500 depending on size, color, pattern, and sex
Super Soft Scale - $1,000-2,500 depending on size, color, pattern, and sex