Neon Day Gecko

By Snaketracks / July 5, 2020
Neon Day Gecko (Phelsuma klemmeri)
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Neon Day Gecko Care Sheet

Neon day geckos are restricted to a very small area in bamboo forests in North West Madagascar.  They are rare and were only discovered and described in 1990.

Day geckos are a common name for a group of over 60 species of small lizards that vary in size, appearance, and behaviors. They are native to the islands of the southwest part of the Indian Ocean with most living in Madagascar and Mauritius.

Even if this species is endangered in the wild, has been successfully bred in captivity and is available for sale in pet shops and web stores.

Virtually all of the specimens in captivity across the world descended from the 14 originally collected by Robert Seipp. After collecting them he ended up breeding them at the Senckenberg Institute and named the species after Konrad Klemmer, the former director there.

What Do Neon Day Geckos Look Like?

Neon day geckos have extraordinarily bright colors and their heads are a canary yellow that sometimes is speckled with dark spots which sometimes extends down their back. Their bodies are turquoise and their sides are flanked by a thick black line.

These geckos are one of the smallest day gecko species, reaching just a little under 4 inches as adults. Compared to other day geckos, Neon Day Geckos are relatively slender-bodied.

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  • Experience level: Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific name:  Phelsuma klemmeri
  • Other common names: Klemmer’s day gecko, Yellow-headed gecko, Cheerful day gecko
  • Average adult size: 2.5 – 3″ (10 cm)
  • Lifespan: up to 10 years in captivity
  • Lifestyle: diurnal, arboreal
  • Sexual maturity: 10-12 months of age
  • Clutch Size: two eggs once every four weeks or so. They will take a 2-3 month break after laying 2-3 clutches before reproducing again.
  • Egg Incubation Period:  60-80 days.
  • Food: omnivores, eating both insects and fruit in the wild.
  • Temperature: Day:72-78ºF / 22-26ºC (ambient), 84-86ºF / 29-30ºC (basking spot); Night: 65-70ºF / 19-21ºC
  • Humidity:  60-70%
  • UVB lighting: yes
  • Average price range: $ 150
  • Conservation Status: Listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/172981/6952389

Neon Day Gecko Facts

Neon Day Geckos are gregary individuals that live in groups in the wild and often travel long distances in search of a mate.

If you decide to keep a male with a female, you should have several females with the male. If there is only one female the male will try to mate with her often and could cause her to “burn out” of egg-laying.

If a female happens to be alone with a male, another way to slow down a female’s egg-laying and help her not burn out is to cool down the terrarium during the winter months. Cooler temperatures will slow down breeding.

Neon Day Gecko Habitat

Enclosure

A 12x12x18 enclosure will house one or two adults (18 being the height). One thing to note is that while Neon Day Geckos are reportedly not as territorially aggressive as other day geckos, it is still recommended to house them solo or in a pair.

If you keep too many geckos in cramped quarters, it will stress them out and make them attack the other geckos.

Since these geckos are small, an enclosure that is too large (like a 36″ long ) may intimidate them. That being said, a larger enclosure is better than one that is too small.  

Also, spot cleaning should be done daily. Remove any visible feces and do a full cleaning with a reptile-safe disinfectant once a month.

Substrate

For this species a sphagnum moss/sand mix substrate is a good choice as it can hold humidity.

Cypress mulch & orchid bark are also good substrate options for the Neon Day gecko.

Temperature

Temps should be kept between 75-80 F with a basking spot around 90 F.  You can monitor the temps with a digital thermometer.

Make sure to keep the temperature from falling below 65 F at night.

For heating you can use light bulbs as your primary heat source. To change the temperature you can move the light closer or further away. Just make sure the basking spot is kept at 90 F. If more heat is needed, especially at night, you can use ceramic heat emitters or under tank heating pads.

To avoid burns, do not place heat sources too close or in direct contact with your gecko.

UVB lighting

To achieve and maintain the beautiful colors found in Neon Day Geckos, you need to provide them with lots of bright, hot light as well as UVB.

A 5.0 or similar strength UVB light is ideal. Mercury vapor bulbs produce UVB light as well as heat. Make sure to monitor the temperature and adjust it as needed.

Because of the large amounts of UVB and heat emitted from these bulbs, you may find your geckos develop their best color under these lights. Without adequate heat and light, even the most beautiful day gecko will eventually become drab and dark.

Humidity

Neon Day Geckos should be provided a humid but well-ventilated setup between 60-70%.

Ambient humidity should be monitored with a digital hygrometer.

There are two ways of designing a humid habitat for your reptile pet: by adding a fogger or by adding a mister (see our article on foggers vs misters).

The practical difference between the two is that the misters form a rain like environment and produce little droplets, while the foggers are used to introduce fog in the habitat.

Using a fogger is a good idea, because the water vapor will condense on the enclosure walls and anything else inside, thus raising the humidity level and will create water droplets for drinking.

 A water dish can be provided but is not necessary with regular misting.

Accessories

Since these geckos natural habitat are bamboo forests, providing bamboo placed both horizontally and vertically in the enclosure is strongly recommended for this species.

Because of their small size, they are also a bit more skittish and require many places to hide. If holes are cut in bamboo hollows, you get great hideouts as well.

A bioactive setup with live plants is as an alternative to the bamboo set up. Live plants add humidity, are aesthetically pleasing, and they can also provide places to hide.

The sansevieria plant and the pothos plant are both recommended by experienced Day Gecko keepers. Two other plants that are healthy for geckos are the Syngonium podophyllum and the Schefflera arboricola.

Neon Day Gecko Feeding

In the wild, Neon Day Geckos are omnivores, eating both insects and fruit.

In captivity, they will thrive on a diet of gecko diet mix and feeder insects.

Hatchlings and juveniles should be offered ⅛-inch crickets or fruit flies until they are large enough to eat ¼-inch crickets (as a reference, insects fed should be slightly smaller than the space between the gecko’s eyes).

Feeder insects should be dusted with a calcium and multivitamin supplement.

Neon Day Gecko Temperament & Handling

Since these geckos are so small, lots of interaction could make your gecko nervous. Still, some geckos will become tame and will allow you to handle them.

However, they are generally pretty fragile, and it is not a good idea to handle them since their skin is quite delicate. So the best is to offer them your hand to climb on but avoiding picking them up.

Another reason for not picking them up is because geckos can drop their tail when they are spooked or feel threatened. While the tail will regrow, it won’t look the same.

Common Health Concerns

Neon Day geckos are prone to a few health problems:

Skin disorders: Like most other reptiles, geckos need to shed their skin to grow and keep healthy; unsanitary conditions, improper humidity, or parasites can cause partial sheds.

Parasitic infections: These can cause weight loss, bloody stools, vomiting, skin disorders and require an antiparasitic medication for treatment.

Metabolic bone disease: This potentially fatal illness caused by a calcium and vitamin D deficiency leads to weakened bones; it can be treatable if caught early.

To take into account: Captive-bred Neon Day geckos are less likely to have diseases. Healthy geckos have clear eyes and healthy appetites.

As long as the animal doesn’t refuse food, you can expect it to be in relatively good health. If you notice a gecko with dry, flaky areas on its skin or difficulty shedding, this could be signs of a parasite, infection, or inadequate husbandry.

Pricing and Availability

You can find them for sale at JoshsFrogs.com or saurian.net.

Conservation/Threats?

Neon Day geckos are listed as endangered in the IUCN Red List https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/172981/6952389

Despite the above, it is an open debate as to how endangered Neon Day gecko is. In the wild it’s only found in a handful of extremely localized bamboo thickets, where there are a lot of them.

On top of this, since they do well in bamboo – a crop cultivated by the Malagasy as a building material – it’s range could arguably be seen as expanding thanks to the ‘slash and burn’ clearing of primary forest for such agriculture, which threatens less adaptable species.

Others put the flattened body of this species down to an adaptation for living in the cracks in the bark of large tropical forest trees – their probable habitat before the propagation of bamboo.

Their original biotope is unfortunately disappearing at an alarming rate. One thing is for sure, there aren’t many left – their numbers may only stretch to a few thousand in their natural range, and they are still relatively rare in captivity. (Source: https://www.daygeckos.co.uk/product/phelsuma-klemmeri-neon-day-gecko/)

Neon Day Gecko Overview Video

CONCLUSION

Neon Day geckos make good pets but are pretty fragile, and therefore are better as display pets thank pets you handle.

Since this species of day gecko requires daily attention, we recommend that only experienced keepers get one of these, as long as it is captive bred that is.

I hope you found this informative and helpful, let me know in the comments below about your experience with these beauties!

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