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Can Geckos Swim? (Running in Water/Bathing/Soaking)

If you have a Gecko, you may be curious to understand if they can swim. Obviously making sure they are feed and looked after comes first (Click here to see my best Gecko food Cup, on Amazon). But let me clarify if they can or not…

Can geckos swim? Yes, geckos can swim. However, they do not really love swimming. In reality, this is something they do by necessity rather than enjoyment. It is a basic survival skill that they have that is used sparingly.

Now that you know that Geckos can swim, let me reveal if they can run on water. Also, if you should be bathing them, the benefits of soaking them and much more. Keep reading…

Can they also run on water?

Yes, they can run on water. In fact, according to atlasobscura.com, a biophysicist reported witnessing a house gecko running over a puddle. Not through it or swimming in it, but, actually running over the puddle! This was in an effort to get away from its predators.

It is probably hard to articulate how spectacular this really is. Unless you actually see it happen, words probably cannot do it real justice.

But, how could this be physically possible?

As crazy as this sounds, this is definitely possible. And in fact, geckos are not the only lizards that can run on water (Click here to see if the Common Basilisk Lizard can run on water too).

It has been observed that these geckos can run up to a few feet per second. And in fact, they can typically move faster than a duck can swim, while they run across these water verges.

There are four key techniques used to do this…

Firstly they utilize surface tension. Secondly, they have the ability to slap the surface of the water with all four of their limbs simultaneously.

This creates an air trap allowing them to defy the laws of gravity. This is similar to Common Basilisk lizard, who can also run across water.

Their third technique is undulating their bodies. Which is a similar method used by butterflies to take flight. Finally, the Geckos skin is water-resistant, which is a very final part of their secret to run across water.

The combination of all of these four techniques gives them the ability to skip over the water effortlessly.

Swimming anybody?

You may be thinking to yourself, OK, now that you understand that geckos can actually swim. Does this mean that you should actually be providing swimming facilities for them as an activity?

The short answer is, no. As mentioned previously, they can swim but it is something that they do not enjoy. They definitely will not like to have this as a day-to-day activity. Think of this as more of a defensive or lifesaving skill.

Should you be bathing your gecko?

As a general rule for Geckos, you do not really need to bathe them. The reason for this is, they have natural abilities to keep themselves clean.

For example, they will regularly shed their skin, assuming they’re in good health, which helps to keep their skin clean.

Also, general maintenance on your behalf such as clearing up old feces and old uneaten food will help to keep them from infection and keep them clean.

In fact, you should have a cleaning schedule in place (Click here to see how often you should clean a Leopard Gecko’s Cage). This is based on a daily quick clean, weekly deeper clean. And, a periodic deep clean. This may sound a bit much, but do you love your Gecko? Then, this is part of the deal.

Should you soak your Gecko in the water?

With all this talk about water and swimming, you may be wondering is it a good idea to soak your lizard.

Yes, you now understand that they don’t necessarily like swimming. But, you may have heard that soaking is a good thing.

Generally speaking, it is a good idea for most lizards to have a bowl of water for them to soak at their leisure.

Shedding Benefits

One of the benefits of this bowl of water is, that during shedding, in particular, they can use this to help remove the unwanted skin.

There are certain lizards, for example, the Bearded Dragon (Click here to see if Bearded Dragons like to be handled), that typically have leftover skin sheds on their toes or in other difficult areas. This leftover skin can cause the lizard some severe pain and discomfort. So, it is important to help your lizard through this.

This water bowl can help by soaking their skin and letting the skin shed more evenly, are you with me?

Obviously, if this doesn’t work it is not a good idea to try and manually shed the skin and pull at it. Because this will cause damage and injuries to your lizard. Also, you could actually tear skin tissue that was not due to be removed, are you with me? Which, as you can imagine is not a good idea.

If that is the case you need to consult your vet to clarify what the next step is.

So what do lizards do when it starts to rain?

You may be thinking, if this is the case, in their natural habitat, in the wild, how do they deal with natural weather conditions such as rain? Good question.

When it comes to natural rain, lizards are not necessarily scared of it. Why? because they know how to deal with it.

If the rain causes the temperature to drop significantly, they can simply hide away until the warmer weather comes back. Some lizards look forward to the rain. Why? Because this is their natural source of water. And, they look forward to drinking it as it comes down.

In fact, there are some lizards that will flat out reject any other form of drinking water, unless it is rainwater. Or simulated to look like rain. Such as the Green Anole (Click here to see what can live with Green Anoles).

Related Questions:

In this section, I will be answering some related questions, based on Geckos and swimming. If you feel that you have an unanswered question in your head. Please, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Can lizards drown?

Yes, it is possible for lizards to drown. The reason for this is their breathing is very similar to us humans. Lizards have lungs and consume oxygen much the same way we do.

Therefore, any animal that has lungs and consumes air, the way we do, has the ability to drown.

If you watch a lizard breathe you will see their chest expand and contract as they inhale and exhale. This is visual evidence of it actually consuming the oxygen.

Q:  Does this mean that they cannot breathe underwater?

Yes, they cannot breathe underwater for the said reason discussed above. Only fish (or other related creatures) are able to breathe underwater.

Q: Can lizards regrow their legs?

No, once a lizard loses any of its limbs, apart from its tail (Click here to see how many times a lizard can regrow its tail), it won’t be able to regrow it back.

As I just mentioned briefly, their tail is a different matter. This can grow back. However, when it grows back it’s never the same.

Q: Do lizards cry?

Yes, lizards can cry. However, it is very different from human tears. Why? Because the chances are they’re not crying because they’re feeling emotional or unhappy. It is more of a practical reason, such as clearing and cleaning their eyes. Therefore it is not the same as we humans do.

Ever heard of the term “Crocodile tears”? Well, for lizards, this is a similar concept. Their tears are not at all linked to feeling or emotion.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.