Crested Geckos, Geckos, Habitat and Enclosures

Can Crested Geckos Climb Walls?

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by The Pet Engineers


Yes, crested geckos can climb walls.

A crested gecko is an interesting species with a lot of idiosyncrasies – one of which is its uncanny ability to climb on vertical surfaces.

Your pet crested gecko can climb not only the smooth glass walls of its own enclosure, but also the walls of your house, the doors, cabinets, mirrors, windows, and almost every vertical surface within.

How Can Crested Geckos Stick To Walls?

For a long time, scientists have been curious about what causes crested geckos, or any geckos for that matter, to be able to adhere to surfaces.

Suction cups, sticky secretions, and other things have all been the subject of numerous theories and ideas.

And eventually, after many years, the notion was proven. Researchers have now figured out what makes crested geckos attach to even flat surfaces, and they’ve also managed to mimic that stickiness to create commercial adhesives that many of us use every day.

Crested gecko climbing up wall

Your crested gecko’s feet are sticky because of something known as the Van der Waal’s force. Let’s briefly explore the science behind Van der Waal’s forces:

What exactly is Van der Waal’s force?

Van der Waal’s force, to put it simply, is the attraction between molecules that is weak across vast distances but is stronger as that distance is shrunk. It functions by drawing the neutral molecules together and maintaining their bond.

Crested geckos contain microscopic setae, which are fibrous, hair-like structures, on their foot. They resemble tiny hairs in appearance.

Van der Waal forces begin to work between the setae and the wall’s surface molecules when these feet are put on a wall. As a result, the crested gecko can easily and pleasantly attach to a flat surface.

Which Surfaces Can Crested Geckos Climb?

Crested geckos are excellent climbers, thanks to the microscopic hair on their feet. Your pet crested gecko can climb on almost any surface.

Some of the common surfaces within your home that can be climbed easily by your pet crested gecko include:

  • Walls of your house
  • Glass walls of your pet crested gecko’s enclosure
  • Wooden surface of your house’s doors
  • Vertical surfaces made of plastic or glass fiber
  • Kitchen cabinet doors made of polished plywood
  • Mirrors
  • Windows
  • Vertical surfaces made of metals

Which Surfaces Can They Not Climb?

The aforementioned surfaces cover almost all the surfaces available in an average home. Then, are there any surfaces that a crested gecko cannot climb? And if so, what would they be?

Yes, there are surfaces that even your crested gecko’s super sticky feet cannot stick to. These are usually surfaces that are either wet or too contaminated. Some such surfaces that a crested gecko cannot climb are listed below:

  • Wet marble of bathtubs and wash basins
  • Wet or contaminated glass walls of your pet crested gecko’s enclosure
  • Wet or contaminated mirrors
  • Wet or contaminated doors of any material

Basically, as long as any vertical surface is wet and/or contaminated, it will inhibit the adhesion of your crested gecko’s feet’s microscopic hair. This will make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for your crested gecko to climb onto those surfaces.

wet marble
Crested geckos can’t climb wet marble

Can Crested Geckos Climb Soft Surfaces?

Yes, your pet crested gecko can climb every flat smooth, and soft surface as long as it is dry and clean.

The setae on the feet of your crested gecko interact with surfaces using Van der Waal’s forces, and not friction.

If it were friction that helped crested geckos stick, then they would slip off soft and smooth surfaces.

However, since it is Van der Waal’s forces that come into play, your crested gecko has strong adhesion at the intermolecular level with every flat surface.

If the surface has water or impurities, that is, if the surface is wet or contaminated, the adhesion of a crested gecko’s feet will be inhibited.

crested gecko
Cute crested gecko

This happens because the source of adhesion for a crested gecko is the set of microscopic hair that cover its feet.

So, when the surface is wet or contaminated, the hair on your crested gecko’s feet will not be able to make complete contact with the surface of the wall.

This will reduce the Van der Waal’s interactions between the surface and the feet of your crested gecko, and thereby, inhibit adhesion.

If your crested gecko tries to climb on a soft surface such as one covered with velvet paper or cloth, your pet will still be able to climb comfortably.

This is because now, along with Van der Waal’s forces, even static friction between the feet of your crested gecko and the material of the surface will come into play. This will increase the adhesion of your crested gecko’s feet to the surface.


Especially if you are new to the world of crested geckos, or just geckos in general, it may intrigue you when you see your pet crested gecko climb completely vertical, and even upside down, walls with ease.

The adhesion of a crested gecko’s feet is very strong and it is because of the microscopic hair called setae on its feet.

As long as a flat surface is clean and dry, chances are very high that your pet crested gecko will be able to climb it with ease.

The Pet Engineers

A team of pet lovers. We have owned various pets over their years. From dogs to reptiles, etc. Our love of pets, strive to us to create up-to-date and accurate helpful guides on pets.

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