Neon Day Gecko
- Common Group: Day Geckos
- Common Name: Neon Day Geckos, Yellow Headed Day Geckos
- Scientific Name: Phelsuma klemmeri
- Distribution Area: Madagascar
Compared to other day geckos, these brightly colored geckos are relatively slender bodied. They have brilliant yellow heads and turquoise bodies, with black stripes running down the length of their bodies. They are one of the smaller species of geckos, and are found throughout northwest Madagascar. While they can be kept in groups of one male and multiple females, often the dominant female in the group will prevent any other female from breeding.
Size and Longevity
Neon Day Geckos typically reach lengths up to 4”. With good diet and proper lighting, these geckos can easily live 10 years or more in captivity. Housing
While these geckos are relatively small in size, this does not mean they should be kept in cramped quarters. The minimum cage size for Neon Day Geckos is at least a 12 x 12 x 18” terrarium. Due to their high level of daily activity, larger cage sizes are highly recommended. For a pair of animals, especially if you intend to breed them, at least an 18 x 18 x 24” cage should be used. Because they make such exceptional display animals, even larger cages can and should be used to house these beautiful geckos.
Substrate for these geckos depends on how you are setting up their cage. A planted, naturalistic vivarium is not only looks the best, but will also meet your geckos’ needs admirably as well. In a naturalistic vivarium, expect to use a combination of hydroton balls for drainage, polyfoam as a divider between your drainage and planting layers, and Ecoearth and Moss Growing Substrate to provide a nutritious soil mix for your live plants.
In a cage with artificial plants, a substrate that holds humidity and is easy to clean is ideal. This includes cypress mulch, orchid bark, Ecoearth, or other forms of compressed coconut husk. It doesn’t hurt to experiment with several types of bedding before deciding on a type you prefer.
Decor and Cage Furnishings
When designing the cage for your gecko(s), keep in mind their natural behavior. These small geckos are bite sized, and in the wild they are easily preyed upon by just about every other animal larger than they are. This means they need plenty of hiding places, especially horizontal and slanted basking sites. In order to avoid “floppy tail syndrome”, Neon Day Geckos do best with numerous hiding places that are both flat or slanted, so that they can hide comfortably without hanging upside down, which will lead to their tails developing a kink in them at the base.
They love to climb, and every opportunity should be taken to provide them with plenty of vertical hiding places. Use of ZooMed Cork Rounds and Bamboo Hollows is highly recommended, as they provide similar hiding opportunities as the round tree branches they would hug in the wild. When they feel threatened, these geckos will immediately retreat to the opposite side of whatever surface they are on, and offering several cylindrical objects for them to hide on in their cage will help them follow their natural instincts. Cylindrical basking perches are especially favored. Not every surface in the cage needs to be a cylinder, however, and use of Cork Flats, Grapevines, Magnetic Ledges, and other wood products will add visual interest to your cage as well as offer hiding options for your geckos to choose from.
In addition to wood products, serious consideration should be given to providing Live Plants or other foliage options for your geckos to hide on. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, live plants also increase relative humidity in the cage, providing a beneficial microclimate for your geckos within their leaves. Since these geckos won’t eat the leaves, you can use just about any plant you desire within your cage. However, it’s probably best to use plants that can take tropical temperatures and moisture levels. Tropical Vines, magnetically attached Jungle Vines, and naturalistic fake plants can all be included as well.
Heating and Lighting
In order to achieve and maintain the beautiful yellow and teal colors found in these geckos, they require lots of bright, hot light as well as UVB. Without adequate heat and light, even the most beautiful day gecko will eventually become drab and dark. With this in mind, there are a few different ways to light and heat the cage, depending on your budget and preference.
The first and most traditional method is with fluorescent strip lighting, such as a ZooMed Reptisun bulb, used in combination with a basking light, such as a ZooMed Basking bulb or Halogen Light. In smaller cage setups, this is usually the best way to go, as you can use lower wattage basking bulbs in order to ensure you do not overheat the cage. Basking spot temperatures can and should reach into the low 90s, while the coolest side of the cage can drop down into the low 70s.
An alternate method that can be used if you are housing your geckos in larger terrariums is the use of a mercury vapor bulb, such as a ZooMed Powersun bulb or a T-Rex Active UV Heat Floodlight. Mercury vapor bulbs produce lots of UVB light and lots of heat, so care should be taken to ensure that your cage does not heat up too much when this bulb is on. 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.
For the hardcore gecko keeper housing their animals in the largest possible cages, it is worth looking into more advanced (and expensive) lighting systems. Use of lights designed for growing plants indoors, such as Sodium Halide or Metal Halide bulbs, can develop the absolute best color in your geckos. However, these lights are very large, very hot, and typically very expensive, so research should be done prior to attempting to use these on your animals at home.
Water and Humidity
As a small, tropical dwelling species, Neon Day Geckos need to be misted with water at least twice a day to increase the humidity within their cage, as well as provide water droplets on leaves for them to drink. While they may not often take advantage of it, a water bowl with clean, fresh water should be provided for them at all times.
In addition to misting with a hand spray bottle, use of a Terrarium Fogger is also highly recommended. While being aesthetically pleasing, these foggers will also increase humidity in a natural way, by providing a fine fog that will make condensation on leaves for your geckos to drink. Used on a naturalistic vivarium, it can be so effective at maintaining humidity that you find you no longer need to hand spray your cage again!
In captivity, these geckos readily feed on most commonly available feeder insects. This includes (but isn’t limited to) small to medium sized crickets, small roaches, small mealworms, waxworms, silkworms, reptiworms, and hornworms. Every opportunity to provide variety to their diet should be taken, as this list of feeder insects is extremely short compared to the variety of insects they would consume in the wild. Because of this, supplementation with a high quality reptile multivitamin in combination with a high quality reptile calcium (containing D3) is highly recommended. Generally speaking, calcium should be offered about every feeding for egg-laying females, and every other feeding for non reproductive animals. Multivitamins can be offered weekly, or as often as is recommended on the label.
In addition to insects, Neon Day Geckos readily consume most commercially made gecko diets. This includes the ZooMed Day Gecko Diet or the Repashy Meal Replacement Powder. Either one of these powders can be combined with the ZooMed canned fruit Mixins, providing a rich, nutritious treat for your geckos.
Handling and Interaction
While very cute and pretty, regular handling of these geckos is not typically recommended. They are small and easily stressed, and it is best to limit handling to times when it is absolutely necessary. Like other day geckos, their skin tears easily and they can also lose their tails. Their tails do regrow, however the regrown tails do not look the same as the original, so if exceptional display animals are your goal keep that in mind!