Phelsuma Klemmeri Care Sheet

CJ's Klemmeri

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Neon Day Geckos

Neon Day Geckos are a species of gecko native to the coastal bamboo forests of North Western Madagascar. In the wild, they live in groups, often traveling long distances in search of a mate. Adult Neon Day Geckos can be up to four inches long and live for up to ten years. Because of their small size, these geckos are skittish and require many places to hide. All geckos have special requirements for nutrition, cage setup, care, substrate, and breeding. This guide should tell you all you need to know to successfully keep Neon Day Geckos.

Setting Up Your Terrarium

Terrarium size
The minimum terrarium size for a Neon Day Gecko is 12x12x18” 18 being the height. You could keep up to two geckos in this small size, but if you plan on breeding your geckos, it is recommended that you use a 18x18x24” terrarium, 24 being the height, because this can house 3-4 geckos comfortably. Since these geckos are small, a cage too large (like a three foot or 36” long cage) could scare them. But too large is always better than too small. If you keep too many geckos in cramped quarters, it will stress them out and make them attack the other geckos, and diseases will spread quickly.

Substrate is the layer of material that goes on the bottom of your terrarium. It can absorb waste and be used as a humidity holder. Substrate is not optional. It must be used in every terrarium. Some types of substrate, such as Zilla Reptile Terrarium Liner, can simply be taken out and washed with warm water, although it doesn't hold humidity. Other substrates, like Eco Earth and Sphagnum Moss, hold humidity and look much more aesthetically pleasing but must be removed and replaced. Keep in mind that if you use Sphagnum Moss it will need to be placed on top of another substrate.

Since Neon Day Geckos are very small, they are shy and require many places to hide in their terrarium. Bamboo hollows are highly recommended for Day Geckos, as when they are placed near the top of the terrarium, they provide a basking spot. They also remind geckos of their natural habitat, and tend to be Day Gecko’s favorite place to relax. If you cut holes in bamboo hollows, they make great hideouts as well, and you will often find a gecko relaxing in them.
You also want (but don’t need) a moist hideout. This is a place with high humidity, usually because of a humidity holding substrate. Another type of hideout you need is a cooler one that stays on the floor of your terrarium.

Live Plants
Live plants are encouraged in terrariums for many reasons. They add humidity, are aesthetically pleasing, and they can also provide places to hide. Your geckos will enjoy having live plants in their home because the plants will remind them of their natural habitat. The sanseviera 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.

Humidity and Temperature
In the wild, these small diurnal geckos live in a hot, humid environment where there is a slight range of temperature. To mimic this in captivity, your gecko’s cage temperature should be in the mid to low 80s (Fahrenheit) with a basking spot in the low 90s. Gecko keepers should keep a thermometer and a hygrometer inside their terrarium. The thermometer should measure the temperature of the basking spot, with an optional second thermometer measuring the temperature of the rest of the terrarium.
For those of you who do not know, a hygrometer measures the amount of humidity in a space. Hygrometers measure on a percentage scale of 0% to 100%. Neon Day Geckos thrive in humidity between 60% and 70%. You can keep up the humidity of your terrarium by using a humidity holding substrate like Eco Earth (see “Substrate” page 2), or using a fogger. A fogger is a tool much like a humidifier, except that it’s designed for reptiles. The fogger should be turned on at least twice a day for 30 minutes at a time. The problem with a fogger, although they are convenient, is that they are expensive. Foggers are usually about $30, although if you want a high quality fogger, they could be up to $50. Another alternate option to the fogger is simply spraying the leaves of your terrarium a few times a day. If you choose this option, you must have live plants in your terrarium for it to be effective. Otherwise, it will barely increase the humidity.


Choosing a Gender
Choosing the gender of your geckos is very important because some gender combinations will attack or even kill each other. Since these geckos live in groups in the wild, they are very social creatures, so it's recommended that you keep at them in groups. The groups should consist of one male and up to three females. You should never keep two males together. The males will attack and possibly kill each other. On the other hand, if you keep two females together, one will exhibit dominance, but they usually will be calm around each other. Keeping multiple females with one male is recommended because keeping just one female with a male could make a female “burn out” of egg laying because the male will try to mate constantly. One way to slow down a female’s egg laying and help her not burn out if she’s alone with a male is to cool down the terrarium during the winter months because cooler temperatures will slow down breeding.

Sexing a gecko is generally hard, especially with Day Geckos. The males and females both look the same from the top, so you have to flip them over to tell their sex. The male gecko will have a large V indent along his lower stomach, while a female has less of or no V. This V shape is made up of many femoral pores. A male will also have hemipenal bulges. These are large bulges right under the tail.

Neon Day Geckos are mainly insectivores. They will eat a variety of invertebrates, including crickets, hornworms, silkworms, fruit flies, and super worms. They will also eat tropical fruit such as peaches, papaya, and guava. However, if bugs aren't your thing, you could also feed your Neon Day Geckos Meal Replacement Powder. Meal Replacement powder is simple way to feed your geckos. Just add water to the powder and it’s ready to eat. Repashy Crested Gecko Meal Replacement Powder is recommended by many experienced non-bug gecko keepers, but Repashy also makes a specialized blend just for Day Geckos called Repashy Day Gecko Diet. Keep in mind that the size of your feeder insects should not exceed the width between your gecko’s eyes.
It is better for the health of the geckos to vary their diet. For instance, you could feed your geckos Meal Replacement Powder, but also give them crickets twice a week. However, Neon Day Geckos can survive on simply Meal Replacement Powder alone.
Your geckos should also receive supplements. Calcium should be given every other feeding for non-egg laying geckos, and every feeding for egg laying females. Calcium can be supplied by dusting insects, or just providing a small bowl of calcium for your gecko to lick. Preferably, you should supply your geckos with calcium that has D3.
A bowl of water should be supplied at all times, although be aware that your geckos probably will not drink from it, preferring to lick up the droplets sprayed on the leaves of your plants.

Since these geckos are so small, lots of interaction could make your gecko nervous. Some geckos will become tame and allow you to handle them. Many fearless males will climb onto your hand and eat from it. Neon Day Gecko’s skin tears easily, so instead of prying their sticky toes off whatever surface they are on, let them walk onto your hand. One way to do this is to put a bit of fruit purée on your thumb, put your pinky finger against the cage, palm up, and let them walk onto your hand to reach the fruit. Another thing to remember is not to grab your gecko’s tail. A gecko can drop their tail if they think it will help them survive. The tail can regrow, but it won't look the same. The tail will be puffier and whiter, so if you want these geckos for show, definitely avoid touching or pulling their tail.


Preparing for Eggs
Before you breed your geckos, you should have all the supplies ready to incubate your eggs and raise your babies. Way too often, people will say “I have eggs! What do I do?” If you are not prepared to care for your eggs and babies, you are putting the lives of the geckos in jeopardy.
First, you will need an incubator. An incubator is used to keep the eggs at the exact right temperature, constantly. Neon Day Gecko eggs incubate between 79 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Gecko eggs do not have a predetermined sex like humans do. Instead, the sex is determined by the temperature the eggs are incubated at. If the eggs incubate at a cooler temperature, they are more likely to become females. If the eggs incubate at a warmer temperature, they are more likely to become males.

79-82 degrees= female
83-86 degrees=male

To incubate your eggs, you'll need a medium to place them in. Some examples of mediums are vermiculite, perlite, and Hatch Rite.
Here is a step by step guide on how to incubate your eggs.
Gently remove the eggs from the terrarium. They will be stuck to the surface they were laid on.
Take out a plastic sealable container.
Fill the container with the medium about half the length of the egg deep.
Press two indents into the medium.
Place the eggs in the medium. They should be halfway in.
Close the container, and label it with a piece of masking tape. Label the parents, the species, and the egg number.
Place the container in the incubator.
Turn the incubator on to the correct temperature.
Check every morning to see if they hatch! If an egg grows fungus, remove it as soon as possible.

Caring for Babies
Babies can be kept in the same enclosure as their parents because unlike some other gecko species, Neon Day Gecko parents are not cannibalistic. They can also be kept temporarily in small containers with many holes poked for ventilation. If they are kept this way, you must add some fake foliage and a round hide such as a bit of bamboo or the inside of an athletic tape roll. Unlike adults, babies don't need complicated or expensive substrate. A simple misted paper towel will suffice. The babies will also eat the same food as the adults, with pinhead crickets instead of regular sized crickets. Their portions should not exceed the size of their head. Since these little guys are so tiny (only an inch long) handling them is not recommended, although it will be tempting to hold your baby gecko.

-CJ's Klemmeri