Can Crested Geckos Swim? (Watch Out!)

Wondering If Crested Geckos Can Swim? This guide is for you!

Like most geckos, crested geckos don’t like water. This means they won’t willingly take to swimming. Your crested gecko will swim only when there’s no other option.

Crested geckos find swimming and other water-related activities stressful. However, when it finds itself in water, your crested gecko relies on its intuitive ability to stay afloat. Under no circumstances should you force your crestie to swim or bathe in deep water because it might drown.

The only water your gecko needs is for drinking, misting, and a water bowl for bathing. Although your crested gecko can swim well instinctively, don’t force it into deep water.


Crested Geckos Innate Ability to Swim

Like most reptiles, your crested gecko has an innate ability to swim. However, swimming is not something this animal enjoys doing.

It swims to save its life, only when it is compelled to. As such, making your crestie swim adds to its stress burden.

Since your interest is to keep your pet happy and healthy, you’re advised to keep it away from deep water.

When an enemy confronts your crested gecko, it may throw itself into the water to escape the situation.

This is not to say that this reptile likes water. On the contrary, the gecko uses its instinctive ability to run away from danger by swimming.

Its goal is to get to the nearest safe spot away from the enemy and out of water.

Despite their distaste for swimming, crested geckos are remarkably good swimmers if they have to. All the same, this lizard cannot survive for long in deep water; it would drown.

This tells you never to keep your crested gecko in a fish tank; this is not the right home for them.

Do Crested Geckos Need a Lot of Water

Some people claim you must dip crested geckos in water to help shed. This is a fallacy and should be discounted.

You don’t need to get your crested gecko wet to help it with shedding. Actually, your crestie needs adequate misting to shed successfully.

Instead of dipping your pet in water, just provide it with the proper humidity. The right living conditions enable your crestie to stay well hydrated.

A humidity of between 50% and 80% is ideal for your gecko’s tank. This, combined with good temperature levels and appropriate nutrition, keep your crestie happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.

Ensure the humidity is not too high as this could stress your pet.

Also, remember to provide fresh drinking water for your gecko. Distilled, chlorinated, or filtered water will do just fine.

Can Crested Geckos Swim Safely?

Crested geckos have an inborn ability to swim. However, you may only know this once your gecko finds itself in the deep end of a water basin.

Your crestie is not really proud of this skill; it is not something he’d like to show off of his own volition. However, his swimming skills become noticeable when he inadvertently finds himself in deep water.

Crested geckos enjoy being arboreal creatures. They enjoy hanging on plants and jumping from one branch to another.

Given a choice, they would shun aquatic life altogether.

If compelled to move in a pool of water, the crestie swims expertly using its tail and claws for balance and propulsion.

A casual observer may think that this creature is actually walking on water. However, a crested gecko can also hold its breath underwater for limited periods.

They can’t last long underwater because they don’t have gills. If the water becomes too strong for your pet, it will likely drown.

For this reason, don’t keep too much water in the enclosure. All your crestie needs is a shallow dish of water from which it can drink.

Ideally, this water should not be more than 1” deep.

How Do Crested Geckos Swim?

Crested geckos use their tails and feet for swimming. The tails create a swaying movement that balances this animal and propels it into the water.

Although cresties cannot be said to be the fastest or the most elegant of swimmers, they will safely sail through a pool of water to escape a threat,

Being more arboreal than aquatic, crested geckos don’t swim out of choice. Actually, they find swimming quite stressful.

It is not uncommon for cresties to lose their tails while swimming. Also, there have been records of cresties drowning after being forced to swim.

Forcing your crested gecko to swim will create a major rift between you; your trust may be irreparably damaged.

Should I Force My Crested Gecko to Swim?

Definitely not! Forcing your crested gecko to swim is akin to creating a myriad of problems you won’t be able to solve.

Many inexperienced keepers feel the urge to teach their geckos to swim. Unfortunately, this is a misdirected urge because crested geckos dislike being in the water.

Insisting that your crestie must swim will bring serious repercussions that can create a long-lasting rift between you and your pet.

Forcing your gecko to swim puts it in an uncomfortable situation that degenerates into stress. You don’t want to distress your pet if you have its best interest in your heart.

Bear in mind that cresties are not meant to be aquatic animals. That’s why you don’t find them swimming in the wild.

You may end up killing this animal if you keep forcing it to swim.

Can My Crested Gecko Learn to Swim?

Swimming skills are ingrained in the crested gecko’s DNA. So your crestie will instinctively start swimming if it falls into the water.

Your crested gecko does not swim because it doesn’t like to, and not that it cannot. Unfortunately, this means you can’t teach your gecko to swim – it instinctively knows how to.

Teaching your crestie to swim would be putting it under undue pressure. Because this creature does not like water, it considers swimming a stressful activity.

It is the kind of activity that would rob your beloved pet of joy and send him into hiding. But, unfortunately, a good number of crested geckos have lost their tails as they tried to escape this ordeal.

If you are trying to teach your gecko to swim out of the kindness of your heart, your crestie would not perceive it as such.

Your pet may consider you a threat, and will break off any trust it had established with you.

Why You Shouldn’t Compel Your Crested Gecko to Swim

Forcing your leopard gecko to swim raised its stress levels. Although your crestie is a natural swimmer, it prefers not to have anything to do with water.

As such, you don’t need a pool for your crestie when creating a home for them. Though the pool may look good, it will add no value. Your cresties will not frequent it willingly.

Forcing your crested gecko to swim will bring about health issues. This will occasion numerous trips to the vet, hefty treatment bills, and stress for you.

In the worst-case scenario, your crested gecko may drown and die. Unfortunately, this is not what you envisioned when you brought this animal into your home.

Can I Bathe My Crested Gecko?

Although crested geckos do not like water, your crestie must bathe occasionally. Bathing helps in easing your pet’s shedding.

However, don’t bathe your gecko all the time, as this will likely elevate its stress levels.

Unlike leopard geckos or bearded geckos that are okay bathing once or twice a week, crested geckos should be bathed fortnightly.

It would also be okay to immerse your crested gecko in a warm bath if it experiences shedding problems.

Remember not to dip your gecko in too much water.

A better way of helping your crestie shed is by using a sauna bath.

How to Make a Sauna Bathe for Your Crested Gecko

  • Get a plastic or glass container with a lid
  • Ensure the container has many holes on the side and top to allow airflow. This will enable your crestie to breathe during the bathing.
  • Soak a paper towel in warm water and put it in the tank
  • Put the crested gecko in the tank and close the lid
  • Your gecko will be exposed to humidity that will loosen the skin and help the reptile shed
  • After 15 – 20 minutes in the container, get your gecko out
  • Use a cotton wool or Q-tip to remove any stuck skin from your crestie

How Do Crested Geckos Meet Their Moisture and Humidity Needs

Your crested gecko does not need lots of water to cater to its moisture and humidity needs. This animal will be well hydrated if you mist the enclosure regularly and give it adequate drinking water.

Crested geckos get most of their moisture needs from the food they eat. So by providing this creature with the proper nutrition, you can be sure its moisture needs are well taken care of.

Any balance can be offset by misting and provision of fresh drinking water.

In the same way, your crested gecko does not need to be immersed in water to shed. This reptile will shed just fine with a water dish and good nutrition.

However, you may have to intervene with a sauna bath if the crestie experiences shedding difficulties.

A sauna bath helps your gecko get rid of the stubborn skin that doesn’t want to come loose.

Mist the walls of your pet’s tank about once or twice daily. Also, lightly spray on the substrate to keep the humidity at the appropriate levels.

Take care, however, that the humidity level does not go too high as this would inconvenience your crestie.

Use a hygrometer alongside a thermometer to monitor the humidity and temperature levels. These are essential components of your pet’s living conditions.


Crested geckos are relatively good swimmers. However, swimming is not their preferred pastime, and they’ll do it only under duress.

Left to their own devices, such as in the wild, crested geckos do not swim unless their survival depends on it.

This is your cue not to force your crestie to swim. Neither should you try teaching it how to; those lessons will likely do more harm than good.

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