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Can Crested Geckos Swim And Is It Safe?

A photo of a crested gecko in a bowl

Crested geckos are honestly one of my favourite pet lizards. They are awesome little creatures that each have their own big personality. But can crested geckos swim?

They do not mind some light handling and they also like an exciting and varied diet. This makes them a pleasure to own and also to look after.

As owners we like to make our crested geckos happy by giving them great environments to live in. With that in mind it may have crossed your mind that your gecko may like to have a little water feature.

But then the question arises, can crested geckos swim? And if so do they actually like being in the water?

Well I have done a lot of research to bring you all of the answers so that you can decide if you would like to let your crested gecko swim.

Can crested geckos swim?

Straight off the bat I am going to answer the main question with all of the information that I have found out. I will then go on to give you tips and advice so that you can make an informed decision as to what you want to do.

Can crested geckos swim? The simple answer to this is yes, crested geckos can swim. However there is a catch, they do not swim for pleasure and will only swim in the wild if they have to. Most crested geckos will not enjoy swimming as they are not natural swimmers. You should not try to force your gecko to swim.

So that was the quick and simple answer to the main question. However read on because there is so much more to know on this interesting topic.

Crested geckos are honestly one of my favourite pet lizards. They are awesome little creatures that each have their own big personality. But can crested geckos swim?

Can crested geckos swim?

Can you let your crested gecko try to swim?

I know I said above that you should never force your crested gecko to swim and I stand by that. However that does not mean that you cannot allow your pet the opportunity to try.

Now if you are planning on letting your crestie try I recommend that you stay around so that you can keep a close eye on the situation. Supervising what is happening will be essential because if anything goes wrong your gecko could drown.

If you would like to try this you could place a small container of water near your crestie and see if it tries to go into the water. I can pretty much guarantee that it will not try and you should not force it in any way.

Below I have included a video from YouTube that shows you someone forcing their crested gecko to swim. You can see that it is stressed and panicking and is trying to swim to survive.

To me the video represents animal abuse and shows you why forcing your gecko to swim is a bad idea. Fortunately the crested gecko in the video does not appear to be harmed (physically).

Reasons why you should not let your crested gecko swim.

Now I am going to tell you about some of the reasons why you should not try to get your crested gecko to swim.


The first one up on this list is stress. Crested geckos have a natural instinct to swim, however they are not natural swimmers.

This means that the only time they will swim is either if their life depends on it or they need to cross some water for a particular reason. They do not willingly enter the water for no good reason.

Because of this if a crested gecko is forced to go into the water it can end up getting very stressed. It may also feel as though it’s life is in danger and that is not good as stress can play a major factor in a geckos lifespan.

As you saw in the above video, swimming really does stress a crested gecko. It literally is swimming to survive.

Accidental drowning.

This one goes without saying really. There is a strong possibility that your crested gecko could actually drown if you force it to swim.

Although they can swim when needed they are not great at it. There is also the shock and fear to factor in which can cause your pet to drown.

Unfortunately I have heard of several reports of drowned cresties due to owners forcing them to swim. That is awful and should serve as a warning as to why it is a bad idea to even try.

Can you teach a crested gecko to swim?

Ok so we know that forcing a crested gecko to swim is a bad idea and is basically animal abuse. But can a crested gecko be taught to swim? That is a question that I saw on the related questions section of google.

Well the answer to that is no you cannot teach a crestie to swim. The reason for this is because it already naturally knows how to swim. It has a survival instinct that covers this.

The fact still remains though that it does not like to swim and more importantly does not want to swim!


Hopefully after reading this article you will now know that it is a really bad idea to try to make your crested gecko swim.

If you decide to introduce a small water feature into your cresties tank this is fine and you can keep an eye on your pet to see if it wants to swim on its own accord. From what I have found though this will not be the case.

Related questions

What about bathing a crested gecko? Bathing a crested gecko for shedding reasons is slightly different to making one swim. There is such a small amount of water used that it will not stress or harm your pet. I have a guide on this website about bathing geckos for shedding purposes if you would like to read it.