Crested Geckos, Geckos, Habitat and Enclosures

Can Crested Geckos Swim or Not?

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by The Pet Engineers


A crested gecko, like all other reptiles, has the instinctive ability to swim. So, yes, a crested gecko can swim. But that does not necessarily mean that a crested gecko likes to swim or be in the water.

Crested geckos are arboreal animals. This means they don’t even like to spend a lot of time on the ground, let alone in the water.

Moreover, swimming is more of a survival instinct for crested geckos, than an actual skill. This is why your pet crested gecko will not want any pool of water inside its enclosure that has the potential to drown it.

So, while crested geckos do have the ability to swim to save their lives, as a pet owner of a crested gecko, it becomes a part of your responsibility to ensure that your pet crested gecko is not put in a position where it has to swim to survive.

Will A Crested Gecko Drown?

The ideal depth of water in which a crested gecko will be able to swiftly swim and come to the shore is between a half and a whole inch (1/2 to 1-inch depth).

If the depth of water increases beyond that, then your crested gecko will be at risk of drowning.

In the wild, crested geckos stay at a safe distance from big water bodies like lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. Instead, they find alternative sources of clean drinking water.

This usually includes small pools of water formed in a depression, puddles after rains, and small pools of water that are near, yet at a safe distance away, from open water bodies.

Inside the enclosure of your pet crested gecko, you need to provide a fresh source of drinking water – preferably a disposable or reusable bowl that is about half an inch in depth.

If the bowl of water is deeper than an inch, your crested gecko will be at risk of drowning by accidentally falling into it.

Do Crested Geckos Like To Soak?

No, crested geckos are not a fan of bathing or soaking. They are arboreal species and prefer to spend most of their lives on trees and branches – at least a foot above the ground.

In the enclosure, your pet crested gecko may alternate between spending time on the foliage branches and spending time on the ground.

But your pet will never be tempted to or interested in soaking itself in the water source provided by you.

Can Crested Geckos Swim?

Yes, crested geckos have the intuitive ability to swim to save their lives. Swimming is a survival instinct for crested geckos, and not a learned skill or a hobby.

So, if things become desperate, a crested gecko will be able to swim to the nearest shore to save its life. But a crested gecko will never willingly go into or near a deep pool of water.

This is why even the water bowl that you keep in the enclosure of your pet crested gecko should not be deeper than an inch.

Because while jumping around in the foliage, your crested gecko may fall into the water bowl every now and then – but as long as the depth of water in it is less than an inch, your pet will be able to swim and come out to save its life.

If the water is deeper than an inch, your pet crested gecko will be at risk of drowning.

Can crested geckos swim?

Are Geckos Good Swimmers?

All geckos can swim to some extent because all reptiles have the intuitive ability to swim. But this is more of a survival instinct than a proper set of skills.

Most species of geckos can only swim enough to save their lives – they aren’t exactly good swimmers.

In fact, most geckos can only swim in shallow water. The deeper the water, the greater the risk of a gecko drowning.

Some species of reptiles, like the bearded dragons and caiman lizards, are good swimmers and even enjoy swimming. But this isn’t the case with most gecko species.

How Do Crested Geckos Swim?

A crested gecko’s swimming technique is a mix of flapping, swimming, running, surface tension, and skin. Let’s break it down to understand it simply:

A crested gecko, when in water, starts flapping all four of its limbs, and its tail. The flapping of the tail is in an up-and-down direction.

The flapping of the limbs gives the crested gecko a running motion. Moreover, the surface tension of water also helps the crested gecko to stay afloat.

If you put a crested gecko in soapy water, for instance, it will quickly drown and sink to the bottom because soapy water has a lower surface tension than clean water.

One last factor that plays a role in helping the crested gecko stay afloat and move swiftly through water is its super hydrophobic skin.

Hydrophobic essentially means that the skin of a crested gecko repels water, and thus, makes it easier for the crested gecko to stay afloat.

Should You Force Your Crested Gecko To Swim?

You should never force your crested gecko to swim. Swimming is not something a crested gecko would ever like to do. Instead, it is only a survival instinct that helps it save its life in desperate times.

So, if you force your crested gecko to swim, you will be recreating a desperate situation that activates the flight response of your pet crested gecko.

This will stress your crested gecko out and it may lead to health and behavioral issues and in the worst case, lead to tail dropping.

How Long Should A Crested Gecko Swim?

crested gecko
Never force your crested gecko to swim

An ideally healthy and fit crested gecko can swim as long as it needs to get to the shore and save its life. But when asked how long a crested gecko should swim, the answer would be almost never.

A crested gecko only resorts to swimming in a life-or-death situation, or when the weather conditions in the wild get too hot and desperate.

In captivity, therefore, your pet crested gecko should not be put in a position where it has to swim for any duration. The temperature and humidity levels of the enclosure should be in the ideal range at all times.

Even the water bowl kept for drinking water should be less than an inch deep. This way, if your pet crested gecko accidentally falls into the bowl, it will be able to come out in a couple of minutes quickly.

Can You Give Your Crested Gecko A Bath?

As a pet owner, you may sometimes be tempted to bathe or soak your crested gecko to clean it. But you shouldn’t bathe or soak your pet crested gecko.

If you’ve seen cats and dogs get agitated during bath time, you’ll know that animals don’t really like bathing like humans. In the case of a cat or a dog, however, it is manageable and sometimes even necessary to bathe them.

In the case of a crested gecko, bathing is neither necessary nor advisable. This is because your crested gecko will feel really stressed out.

crested gecko in water bowl
Crested gecko taking a bath

And crested geckos are animals that are very sensitive to stressors. Too much stress can start impacting their appetite, behavior, and even health.

If in a rare case, you need to clean your crested gecko, you can do so by soaking it. For this, you need to place your crested gecko in a humid container with a damp paper towel.

Simply let your crested gecko soak in the moisture of the container. This is the maximum bathing that your crested gecko will ever need, that too not very often.


Crested geckos, like all reptiles, have the intuitive ability to swim. But this swimming ability is a survival instinct and not a particular hobby or interest for crested geckos.

Your pet crested gecko will never intentionally want to swim in a pool of water. That means you should never cohabitate your crested gecko with another amphibian that needs a water-based terrarium.

Crested geckos can swim for a long period of time to save their lives, but forcing your pet crested gecko to swim will activate its flight response as it will find the situation to be life-threatening.

This will stress your pet crested gecko out. Such stress can lead to loss of appetite, health and behavioral issues, and in the worst case, even tail dropping.

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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