Can Crested Geckos Swim? Is It Safe?

The answer to Can Crested Geckos swim is yes, but it isn’t something I recommend doing as an activity with your pet. 

Cresties typically only swim in a fight-or-flight response to imminent threats and will use water in hopes of evading predators.

Can Crested Geckos Swim?

Yes, they can swim, however, Crested Geckos are not natural swimmers. In their native habitat, they’re semi-arboreal and they’ll primarily inhabit trees and aren’t exposed to large bodies of water. 

While they possess the capability to float and move through water to some extent, they’re not adapted for swimming like aquatic reptiles such as turtles.

Anatomy and Swimming Abilities

Close up of Crested Gecko on a branch staring into the camera

Crested Geckos bodies lack the streamlined shape and webbed feet necessary for efficient movement in the water.

They’re capable of swimming instinctively if in a situation requiring survival. For example, if they’re being chased by a predator, a Crested Gecko will utilize water to escape.

Risks Of Letting Your Crested Gecko Swim

As I’ve mentioned above, Crested Geckos aren’t aquatic reptiles, and forcing them to swim poses risks to their health.

Drowning

The first and most apparent danger of allowing your Crested Gecko to swim is the risk of drowning.

If you want to have a water feature as well as a water dish in their enclosure to increase humidity, I recommend only having the water about half an inch in depth. This allows your crestie to bathe safely without the risk of drowning.

Stress

Some lizards, like Bearded Dragons, enjoy swimming and can have time in a short paddling pool. But for Crested Geckos this isn’t the case. 

Introducing cresties to water environments can induce stress. This stress can manifest in various ways, including increased heart rate, decreased appetite, and behavioral changes.

Can I Bath My Crested Gecko?

You can bathe your Crested Gecko, however, it isn’t necessary. Like all reptiles, Crested Geckos shed their skin regularly. The shedding process helps keep them clean and as they’re ectothermic they lack sweat glands.

This means they don’t naturally smell. The reason your crestie will ever kick up a stink is if their enclosure isn’t cleaned. It’s important to maintain a clean and hygienic environment for your pet.

Summary

While Crested Geckos possess the ability to swim, it’s crucial to understand it isn’t a natural behavior for them. 

Their native habitat and physical attributes are not adapted for prolonged or regular swimming activities. Swimming can pose serious risks to their well-being, including the danger of drowning and undue stress.