Can Crested Geckos Swim? – Everything You Need

Crested Geckos are part of the lizard family. And, like all lizards, can swim on instinct. But, this isn’t normal for them to do and they aren’t used to swimming in a body of water. Even though they love a relative amount of high humidity, swimming isn’t their favorite thing to do. So yes, Crested Geckos can swim. But this is only on an as-needed basis as it is a very stress-inducing thing for them to do. Therefore, they have more practical reasons for swimming.

Can a Crested Gecko Swim?

Crested Geckos are semi-arboreal, which means they like to climb trees. However, they also love to be in sticky, hot humidity. So while it may be tempting to try to bathe or get your Crested Gecko go swimming, it isn’t advisable to do.

Drinking ; Misting Water

The only amount of water a Crested Gecko should have is what’s in their water bowl and the regular daily misting. This is because Crested Geckos have a special self-cleaning mechanism, also known as shedding, that doesn’t usually need the assistance of water.

As far as drinking water, you’ll notice that this lizard prefers droplets of water from the leaves in their cage after misting. They will drink from the dish too, but they prefer leaf droplets. So, make sure you spray extra onto the leaves so it drips a little.

Do Crested Geckos Like To Swim?

Understand that swimming is a stressful activity for Crested Geckos. They really don’t like it. So, you should keep it away from large quantities and bodies of water. But, considering how much they don’t like to swim, they’re actually quite good at it when they do have to do it.

Swimming Is Practical

A Crested Gecko’s swimming activity is only for practical purposes. They aren’t fast or elegant about it, albeit decent swimmers. That said, there are a small number of Crested Gecko owners who say their lizard doesn’t mind an occasional swim. But they came upon these discoveries by accident and not something the owner forced onto the animal.

How Do Crested Geckos Swim?

When Crested Geckos do swim, it’s similar to how they move on dry land. It’s a slight sideways movement with all limbs paddling to stay afloat. They will also use their tails for added propulsion; Crested Geckos can move quite rapid if they have to. But even then, they will try to exit the water as quickly as possible.

No Gills

Crested Geckos don’t have gills combined with a low lung capacity, so they’ll hold their breath underwater, just like humans do. But they don’t dive and don’t have the capacity to hang out under water for an extended period of time. This means if they can’t get up from the water for air, they will drown.

Why Would a Crested Gecko Ever Need To Swim?

The only time a Crested Gecko would ever need to swim is as a means of evasion from a predator or to escape imminent danger. On rare occasions, they may even roll around in a pool of shallow water to help with shedding.

But that’s it; those are the only two circumstances where a Crested Gecko would spend any amount of time in water. So, it’s an instinctual process as a last resort for survival. This is not for any type of recreation, desire or need.

Do Crested Geckos Swim To Help With The Shedding Process?

No, Crested Geckos do not swim as a regular part of the shedding process. In the wild, they may roll around in a very, very shallow pool of water. But this is only in rare circumstances and they don’t swim to slough it off either. Crested Geckos only stay in this water for a short time, just long enough to help remove the dead skin cells.

Younger Crested Geckos will shed more often than adults. But adults will shed about once per month. Shedding helps their skin to stay clean and free of filth. This process allows them to grow and stay comfortable.

For Help with Shedding

Sometimes, juveniles have difficultly shedding and, in this case, you may want to consider giving them a very shallow dish of warm water so they can mimic what they’d do in the wild. But only do this if you notice them struggling with it.

An Alternate Method of Assistance

For an alternative method to help with the shedding process, place the Crested Gecko in a humid container with a damp paper towel. Ensuring the container has plenty of breathing holes, leave the lizard in there for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Afterwards, use a cotton swab in gentle stroking and circular motions on the surface of the Crested Gecko’s skin. This will help remove excess dirt or any skin that didn’t come off on its own in a gentle way. Don’t pull or yank their skin. In the event that you notice your Crested Gecko is still having problems shedding, take it to the vet right away.

Why You Should Never Force Your Crested Gecko To Swim?

Because Crested Geckos aren’t aquatic reptiles and prefer life among the trees, they don’t like swimming. If it’s forced upon them, it becomes a source of tension and stress. Forcing them to swim can lead to things like a loss of their tail, distrust of you and, in severe cases, drowning to death.

Force Equals Stress

Bonding with humans is difficult for Geckos in general. Forcing them into a stressful situation may cause serious behavioral and health issues. Some reactions may include hiding from you, acting aggressive every time you come near or they can become lethargic in abnormal ways.

The Fight or Flight Response

If you force your Crested Gecko into a body of water, it will trigger their fight-or-flight response in the same way as would be their need to get in the water to evade danger. So, it’s best to never ever put a Crested Gecko in any body of water against their will. Even if you think it will be for their own good, don’t force them.

Do Crested Geckos Like To Bathe In Water?

No, Crested Geckos do not like to bathe in water and it often isn’t necessary. They don’t require bathing or soaking the way other pets do. The only amount of water that should ever touch their skin is the occasional misting you offer to keep it hydrated and humid.

Humidity ; Hydration

Therefore, it’s more important to keep them in a humid environment than drenching them in water. Keeping them hydrated is crucial for their survival and cyclical shedding. But this does not mean dunking them into a mass of water.

Proper Levels of Humidity

Ensure they aren’t too humid for an extended period of time because it can cause discomfort for a Crested Gecko. If they sit at a humidity level of 90% for too long, it will cause them to be uncomfortable and may even make them irritable.

Maintaining a humidity level between 60% and 70% is ideal for most Crested Geckos. Getting a hygrometer can help you monitor humidity levels to ensure you recreate their native habitats near South Asia. Using a substrate that holds moisture will be good too, like coco coir or peat moss.

Keeping Them Hydrated ; Misting Practices

To ensure they stay hydrated and clean, remove droppings often and mist the area regularly. You should mist about two times a day. You may have to mist more if you live in a cooler climate and it’s wintertime. Always have a shallow dish filled with fresh, clean water for drinking.

Only mist when humidity levels get too low to keep your Crested Gecko moist and to help with shedding. It’s also advisable to get a fogger to automate the misting process. This will ensure the humidity will always be at the right level.

How Long Should a Crested Gecko Swim?

You shouldn’t bathe a Crested Gecko because it’s most likely not needed. The only time you’d ever have to put a Crested Gecko in water is if you see it struggling to shed its skin. In that rare, if ever, occurrence, limit their time to about 20 minutes or less.

Only When It’s Struggling to Shed

In the rare case your Crested Gecko is struggling to shed, then offer it a shallow dish of warm water. If it takes it, just let the Gecko do what it wants to. Don’t make it go into the water or force it in any way.

If they do enter the little bath-like setup, limit their time and watch them carefully. You may have to do this more often with juveniles than adults because of the frequency with which juveniles have to shed. In all honesty, though, you shouldn’t have to do this.

Use Quality Water

But, any water you do use should also be the kind you would drink with or use on your own skin. Filtered tap water is best. This is so you can be sure the water is free from chlorine, fluoride and other harmful chemicals. Avoid giving your Gecko distilled water because there are no nutrients or minerals to it.

Also, don’t use a garden hose because it can present even more toxic dangers than straight tap water. Ensure the amount you put into the tank or cage is small and shallow. You should also change it every few days or so to keep things fresh and clean.


Because Crested Geckos are lizards, they can and do swim. But, swimming is not something they like to do and don’t require water in that way. So, only give them water in a shallow dish for drinking and when misting the inside of their cage or tank. Don’t fuss with them over water.

It’s more important to keep them hydrated and in a humid environment than it is to bathe them. If they’re having serious problems shedding, then offer them a shallow dish of warm water and let them do what they want with it. Whatever you do, don’t force the Gecko into the water.

This will create health problems and stress in addition to the Gecko’s distrust of you. They aren’t like other pets, so it’s simply not necessary. In the event you try to help your Gecko out with its shedding and it’s still having problems, take it to the vet. There could be something more going on with your Crested Gecko.

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Can Crested Geckos Swim? – Everything You Need

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