Phelsuma klemmeri AKA Neon Day Gecko
Phelsuma klemmeri (Pronounced fell-sue-mah clem-mer-eye), known as the Neon Day Gecko or yellow-headed day gecko, are blue, black, and yellow geckos that measure approximately 10 cm (4 inches) from nose to tail tip. Active during the day, fast, and small, these geckos are best left to the advance gecko keeper. Escapes can and will happen with these fast, tiny geckos. Part of the hobby since the mid 90s, these geckos breed well in captivity if you take the time to get things just right for them.
Minimum Enclosure: 30cmX30cmX45cm(12”X12”X18”)
Heat: 18°C-27°C (65°F-80°F)
Phelsuma klemmeri geckos are not too variable in their coloring. They are a bright blue gecko with a vibrant yellow head and black striping down their sides. Some specimens are more green than others, having a faded green segment between the blue and yellow areas. A maximum whopping 10 centimeters (4 inches) in length, these tiny micro geckos are quite small and agile. No sexual dimorphism has been recorded yet.
Distribution and Natural Habitat of Phelsuma klemmeri Neon Day Geckos
Phelsuma Klemmeri Neon Day Geckos are native to two very small regions of Madagascar. These geckos are arboreal and typically make their homes on the leaves, bark, and branches of the trees and bamboo in their habitat. They have a natural affinity for bamboo, and can often be found on it, or inside it. They often lay their eggs inside bamboo as well. The IUCN Red List lists these geckos as an endangered species. Mostly due to collection for the pet trade, this species’ population is small and fragmented. At the time of this writing they are protected under the C.I.T.I.E.S act under appendix 2. Currently there are no legal exports of these animals from their wild populations. Fortunately, they do breed well in captivity. We are working with several individuals and have sourced out different genetic bloodlines from the limited amount of captive populations within Canada.
The Phelsuma geckos are diurnal meaning they are awake during the day. They are arboreal and typically prefer to stay above the ground. They like to perch on broad leaves, tree bark, and especially bamboo stalks and leaves. Klemmeri live near streams and ponds, or right on the edge of slow moving water. Very active geckos, they can often be seen scurrying from location to location, or at rest, basking in the sun. Once mature, the males will boldly approach the females, bobbing their heads and licking the faces of their potential mates. Groups of klemmeri will form a hierarchy and the top male will get his choice of mate first. Other males will fight for remaining females. Males will display tail wagging when arguing about whose female is whose, and females may also do this in response to unwanted advances from an obnoxious or overly pushy male.
Life in the Vivarium
Phelsuma geckos require a humidity range of 70-90%. You can place a bromeliad or small shallow dish of water in the enclosure or add a pond feature to achieve this. Klemmeri are acrobats however if their toe pads get too wet they can’t stick well to vertical surfaces. They cannot swim well, so ensure that the water source is shallow and easy to get out of should a gecko fall in.
Klemmeri thrive at temperatures near 22-25°C (71-77°F) but can survive a range of 18°C-27°C (65°F-80°F). Never exceed 32°C (90°F) as this can be fatal to the geckos. Ths is ok as a backing temperature provided the gecko is allowed to thermoregulate. Generally a heat source such as a pad or light is not needed on a gecko vivarium however greatly appreciated.We provide a basking spot of aprox 85-90°F . UVB for these geckos is also recommended for these geckos, we use 5.0-10 UVB bulbs for our Klemmeri geckos. This will depend on how fine the mesh screen you use is. Phelsuma geckos are diurnal and display basking behaviors in the wild so the use of a UVB bulb is beneficial in preventing MBD or metabolic bone disease, caused by lack of vitamin D3. A similar result can be accomplished by dusting their food with a D3 supplement. However UVB bulbs are strongly recommended. Do not rely on sunshine from a window, because the UVB from the sun does not go through the glass and will heat up the enclosure to extremely unsafe temperatures very quickly. Keep note of any air conditioning or heaters used in your home as well, as they may affect the temperature in your gecko cage. These geckos will appreciate a slight temperature drop to 20C (68F) at night.
It is possible to house a single juvenile klemmeri in a 10 gallon aquarium. We recommend larger than this, with 30cmX30cmX45cm(12”X12”X18”) being fine for 2 geckos – but bigger is always better.
As juveniles you can house several klemmeri together, and as adults they do well in groups or colonies. Remember to increase the enclosure size the more geckos you add.
It is possible that your Phelsuma will live to 10+ years in a vivarium. Please consider this before deciding to take them home to your family.
Klemmeri require small live prey to hunt. This is easily achieved by providing them with flightless or wingless fruit flies and crickets. Baby and juvenile klemmeri will eat Drosophila hydei. Crickets at 1-2 weeks are an acceptable size for adult klemmeri. The flies and crickets on their own are a poor nutritional source. We recommend “dusting” your fruit flies or crickets with a high quality vitamin and mineral supplement. Include D3 if not providing the geckos with a UVB bulb. Juveniles and adults will also benefit from mashed or pureed fruit or day gecko meal replacement powder.
It is very common to build a bioactive vivarium for your geckos. This is achieved by introducing isopods and springtails into the environment. These little land crustaceans (no they are not insects!) will eat the decaying and decomposing bio matter as well as any excess feces in the vivarium. Some of these micro fauna will be eaten by your gecko, as a little snack.
As with all our geckos, we do not recommend that you house multiple species or morphs together. Please supply each group with a vivarium to call their own.
Breeding Phelsuma klemmeri Neon Day Geckos in Captivity
klemmeri are fairly easy to breed in captivity. The problem lies with the size of hatchlings. Males hit sexual maturity at about 5-6 months of age, and females at around 8 months. When ready, licking and bobbing behaviors will begin from the male directed toward the female. The female will lay 2 eggs every 3-5 weeks while in contact with an active male. Right before the female lays, she will become restless, looking for the perfect place to deposit her offspring. Females very often choose the inside of dry bamboo shoots to lay. They may also use film canisters positioned at 90 or 45 degrees from the ground and firmly attached to a wall or decoration. The eggs will be glued to the chosen surface. If glued to a film canister, eggs can be removed and incubated. At Jungle Jewel Exotics we incubate our klemmeri eggs ar 77-85°F Extra humidity will be appreciated during this time. Eggs will take approximately 44 days to hatch. Hatchlings will be only 10-15mm in length and very fragile. Keep these hatchlings misted well, but use a fine mist as they can drown in droplets. Unfortunately, adult geckos may see a baby gecko as prey, so it is advised to remove the hatching from the adult enclosure. Once hatched, babies can be transported to a rearing cage with temperatures that match that of the adults, and high 75-95% humidity levels. These tiny babies can escape from the smallest hole and are excellent at getting into trouble, so take care in selecting an enclosure. Youngsters will take small fruit flies, pinhead crickets, mashed fruit or high quality day gecko meal replacement paste.
Phelsuma klemmeri are tiny, lightning fast, and curious troublemakers. Watching them hop around teasing and playing with their tank mates will become a favorite pastime of the established, experienced keeper. With their little yellow heads and big, curious dark brown eyes, their gaze will convince you to feed them any time you make eye contact. A bit on the shy side, but clever and fast learners, these tiny treats will warm up to you if you spend the time to get to know them.