Phelsuma klemmeri

Joe Farah

New member
Phelsuma klemmeri
Care, Compatibility and Breeding
By Joe Farah


Phelsuma klemmeri juveniles

Captive Care:
Phelsuma klemmeri are small and non-aggressive when compared to the majority of other Phelsuma. So, their space requirements are also relatively small. I have kept 1.1 Adult klemmeri in various sized enclosures (up to 20 gallons) and I am currently keeping my adult pairs in ExoTerra 12x12x12 cubes. This is about as small as I would recommend for an adult pair of klemmeri, and bigger (i.e. 12x12x18 exoterra) would be better.

These little geckos like a well-planted enclosure and will display themselves more often if they feel that they are in a secure, natural setting. Pothos, Sansevieria, and other broad-leaved plants are ideal in klemmeri cages, and will add beauty and humidity to the enclosure. In addition to live plants, P. klemmeri very much appreciate some hollow bamboo in their enclosure. If you watch a klemmeri move in and out of the cracks in a piece of dried, hollow bamboo, you will see right away how exquisitely adapted to it they are. Their flattened bodies slip into the narrowest of cracks and the yellow head coloration is likely a form of camouflage, allowing the animal to stick its' head out of a bamboo hollow without being seen by predators. P. klemmeri will spend almost all of their time in, on, and around the bamboo in their enclosure. They have a natural affinity for it, and when given a choice, a gravid female will lay her eggs inside a horizontally-oriented piece of bamboo almost 100% of the time.

Phelsuma klemmeri do best when kept warm all the time. They seem to prefer ambient air temps of 80 F or higher during the day with a heat gradient that reaches 95 F or higher in the "basking spot". Nighttime temps can be lowered into the 70's with no problems.

High humidity is a must for all klemmeri, but especially for the young ones. Their tiny bodies desicate quickly in hot, dry conditions and arrangements must be made to provide constantly high humidity, but also adequate ventilation. They do best if they are frequently misted and will eagerly lap up the water droplets.

Whether or not UVB and UVA lighting is necessary for maintaining healthy klemmeri is a matter of debate. The strong majority (including myself) believe that klemmeri benefit enormously from Ultra-violet radiation and also from bright, high intensity light. My klemmeri are under 2 florescent bulbs, one Reptisun 8.0 and a Phillips high lumen/high CRI bulb for brightness and true color. I go so far as to give my klemmeri small amounts of direct sunlight by placing them outside in a screen enclosure. I feel that it is very good for all klemmeri, but especially gravid females and for the developing youngsters. I like to refer to direct sunlight as the "breastmilk" of baby Phelsuma. It is very important that you do not kill your gecko while attempting to "give them some sun". They can overheat and die surprisingly quickly for a diurnal reptile from the tropics!

The diet of Phelsuma klemmeri is like that of other Phelsuma. They enjoy a variety of appropriately sized insects, including crickets and fruit flies, but will also eat fruit baby foods. Mine seem to prefer guava, papaya, and peaches. However, they will accept many other types of fruit baby food and I like to mix some "Day Gecko Diet" or "Phelsumax" into my baby food as a nutritional supplement. Plain yogurt mixed with fruit baby food is an excellent way to add some calcium and protein to a klemmeri's diet. Honey may be added to the mix to sweeten it up a bit. Water should be added to achieve a "runny" consistency that they can lap up with their tongues. Phelsuma klemmeri, like so many others, will accept and likely benefit from a wide variety of foods. I have even seen mine eat small "guppy" fish.

Compatibility: I've decided to address some of the most common questions and misconceptions that people have regarding the aggressiveness of P. klemmeri towards each other when housed together. Keep in mind that these are only my experiences, and I keep my klemmeri in relatively small enclosures. Those who keep them in larger enclosures may experience different behaviors.

The prevailing thought held by most people who have never kept them seems to be that the adults are completely non-aggressive towards each other, and can be housed in groups with multiple males and females. In my experience, adult males are territorial, and a dominant male will persistently attack and harass any subordinate males in the enclosure. However, they will not take it to the extremes that other Phelsuma do and will not directly kill the male. Adult females are also territorial (although less so than the males) and will sometimes harass other adult females in the enclosure. It is believed by many that a dominant female will surppress the breeding of other females in the enclosure. I have personally observed very sporadic and infrequent breeding when females are kept in the same enclosure. Usually only one will be gravid at a time.

Young klemmeri are not aggressive towards each other, and adults are not aggressive towards the immature ones. So, that means you can keep youngsters together in groups without any problems at all. Keeping juveniles with adults works well also and makes for a great community tank. The adults almost never show aggression towards other klemmeri that are not yet sexually mature. When keeping juveniles together of various sizes, the larger ones will sometimes bite the tips off the smaller gecko's tails. This unfortunate behavior seems to be an attempt to get a meal, rather than an attack, and klemmeri's tails grow back much nicer than other Phelsumas.

Breeding: Phelsuma klemmeri are fairly easy to breed and when housed under proper conditions. Males hit sexual maturity at about 6 months and females will start producing eggs at around 8 months of age, although this varies. Maturity seems to depend on size more than age and klemmeri will start to breed when they are about 85% full grown. P. klemmeri will breed at anytime during the year and females will often lay eggs every 3-5 weeks for many months of the year. The developing eggs become visible through the underside of the female about 3-4 weeks before the eggs are laid. Approximately 1 day (occasionally 2 days) before the female lays her eggs, she will become very restless and look as though she is frantically looking for a way out of the enclosure. She will often move in and out of the bamboo where she will later lay her eggs. By this time her once flattened body is so large it looks like she will explode! This swelling of the lower body is especially pronounced in heavily gravid klemmeri because of their flattened bodies and because of the relatively large size of klemmeri eggs. Like most geckos, klemmeri usually lay 2 eggs at a time. Occasionally a single egg is laid. Provided with the opportunity, females will lay their eggs inside a hollow, horizontally-oriented piece of bamboo almost every time. Curiously, I have never seen an infertile egg laid inside bamboo. After laying her eggs, the female will be sexually receptive almost immediately and I have witnessed mating occur almost immediately afterwards.

Once the female has left her eggs, they may be carefully extracted and placed in an incubator or left to hatch inside the enclosure. If you decide to attempt the latter, make sure the enclosure is sealed to prevent the extremely tiny babies from escaping. The eggs do best when incubated in the 80-90 F range and near 100% humidity at all times. It is also important to regularly flush the incubation atmosphere with fresh air. My incubator varies from 80-88 degrees during a 24 hour period and at those temperatures the eggs take an average of 44 days to hatch. So far the offspring have been roughly 50/50 male/female. The eggs do not have to be incubated in the dark, but should never be allowed to be in the sun. I have also heard that they should not be rotated after they have been resting in their original position for more than a day or so. Personally, I have never had problems with eggs that were rotated not hatching. It is important that the eggs are incubated in a place where the hatchling can not escape or injure itself. I prefer to incubate my klemmeri eggs inside clear plastic deli cups with some moist paper towels at the bottom.

Babies from the same clutch will often hatch a few hours or even a full day apart from each other. Shortly after emerging, the tiny geckos will drop their yolk sack and shed their skin. Occasionally a baby will have trouble with its first shed. This can be a sign of serious health problems, or it could be from low humidity or other environmental factors. If it has a good shed right after hatching, I consider it to be a good sign of a strong, healthy baby. They are incredibly iridescent and look like perfect little copies of the adults. Newborn klemmeri weigh about 0.1g at birth.

The newborns and juveniles require constantly high humidity to prevent them from dying from dessication. They do best under bright, intense lighting with sufficient UVA and UVB output. These slender geckos can escape through cracks of only 1mm when they are first born must be housed in escape-proof quarters. I prefer clear, plastic deli cups with a partially screened top to let in UV light and to allow for ventilation. The youngsters can be fed fruit flies, pinhead crickets, and fruit baby food.


New member
I have been searching the net and comparing care sheets all week, this by far is the very best one.

Thank you


New member
Excellent caresheet, i got my couple of P. Klemmeri 2 days ago they are not eating yet, hope they will get confortable soon :)


New member
Simply asking if anyone breeds a gecko is not the same as saying "I have money and want to buy one right now". Wouldn't a classified post be misleading, if you were simply curious whether anyone in your country was interested in them as well?

Also, great article, but can anyone tell me where these guys are found in the wild?
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New member

Simply asking if anyone breeds a gecko is not the same as saying I have money and want to buy one right now. Wouldn't a classified post be misleading if you were simply curious whether anyone in your country was interested in them as well and you just wanted to chat?

Also, great article, but can anyone tell me where these guys are found in the wild?
simply asking where these guys are found in the wild is not the same as saying i like these geckos in there un captive enviroment. what a dick. i was interested because i want to buy a breeding pair and am new to forums ect