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Can Leopard Geckos Swim Banner

Leopard geckos are adorable creatures, and sometimes, owners want their reptiles to have fun. Many new leopard gecko owners think it’s a good idea to bathe their leopard gecko or allow them to swim. But can leopard geckos swim?

No, leopard geckos can’t swim. Geckos don’t have the natural body design of expert swimmers. Most leopards that attempt to swim could end up having health issues, become stressed, or end up drowning. DO NOT make your leopard gecko try to swim as you may be putting it at risk.

It is important to know what your leopard gecko can, and can’t try out. That’s why this article presents all the details on why leopard geckos shouldn’t swim.

And that’s not all!

The post goes several steps further to show how to effectively use water to keep your leopard gecko healthy.

Jump to..

Can Leopard Geckos Stay in Water?

Leopard geckos cannot stay in water. Since these reptiles aren’t actually great swimmers, they can’t immerse in water without consequences. While water is essential for living organisms, leopard geckos need liquids mainly for hydration.

Wild leopard geckos are familiar with arid regions and leverage fat reserves to survive in cold seasons. These reptiles avoid wet landscapes as much as they can. Leopard geckos only come in contact with water when it’s absolutely necessary.

When Do Leopard Geckos Need Water?

Even if leopard geckos hate to be in water for longer than necessary, they can’t do without it. Leopard geckos need water for:

Moisture Regulation

Geckos regulate their body temperature to a desired level. With this process, they can get thermo-regulate at any spot in the tank without issues. Water is an essential ingredient to help leopard geckos regulate their temperature. Placing a water dish in your gecko’s tent helps it regulate its temperature with ease.

Shedding Aid (Misting)

Leopard geckos need to shed their hide when it’s time. Some geckos could shed their hide without fuss, but others could find shedding a tall order. Dipping geckos in water could help them shed off their skin much faster.

Place your gecko in a shallow water dish provides much needed moisture to aid misting. With the right water supply, your geckos may not need a bath for as long as possible. Only consider giving your geckos a very short bath when substrates stick to its hide. Other than that, it doesn’t need a full bath to shed its skin.


Most living things need to drink water regularly, and geckos aren’t any different. Leopard geckos could need a drink whenever what you feed them doesn’t offer much moisture. Most well-fed leopard geckos could do without water for long.

Check your leopard gecko when it’s having a drink. Confirm if it’s taking more water than before. If you notice your gecko drinks more water, it’s a sign to work on its diet. Consider gut-loading your feeder insects more and spray some water on veggies your leopard gecko consumes.

Also, ensure to change water in your leopard’s dish, as it could need a drink at regular intervals nonetheless.

Why Letting Your Leopard Gecko Swim Could Be a Bad Idea

So many reasons make keeping your leopard gecko away from water a great idea. Here’s a look at some of the main reasons why keeping your gecko from swimming makes total sense:


Unlike crocs and snakes, leopard geckos aren’t born swimmers and may drown within a few minutes of being in water. Geckos will try to stay afloat on water for as long as they can. But eventually, they tend to give in out of fatigue.

Respiratory Problems

If you keep exposing your leopard geckos to cold water, it could develop respiratory issues as a result. Leopard geckos don’t have the organs required to swim effortlessly. The lungs of your leopard gecko could give out when it stays in water for too long.

Extreme Body Temperature

Thermo-regulation could go awkwardly wrong for some leopard geckos. If your leopard gecko stays in cold water for too long, it could suffer immune response problems. Some other times, it may not grow as expected.


Can a leopard gecko drown?

Leopard geckos detest being in water and are prone to drowning within minutes of being underwater.

Are leopard geckos good swimmers?

Leopard geckos are native to arid regions with scarce concentration of water and hate to swim. Geckos can only remain in water for a few seconds and hate being underwater for long. However, some species of the leopard gecko can sprint through water if they have to.

Can leopard geckos get wet?

Leopard geckos have a soft hide that can get wet when exposed to excess moisture. Geckos hide should be around room temperature. Your geckos should not rest on a cool side of its tank. If the hide of leopard geckos gets wet, it could develop health issues.

How long can a leopard gecko stay underwater?

Leopard geckos can stay underwater without discomfort for about 1 minute. These reptiles can hold their breath underwater, but not as long as other reptiles like bearded dragons. However, leopard geckos can run through water, as they naturally hate to be underwater at all.

Final Thoughts: Can Leopard Geckos Swim?

So, can leopard geckos swim? Not really

Leopard geckos need to have a drink of water every now and then, but hate taking a swim. If you need to give your leopard gecko a bath, consider doing so with warm water in a shallow bowl. Don’t use soaps to bathe your gecko, or you could run the risk of giving it more problems.

Give your leopard gecko a drink when it needs it, and don’t take it on a swim for any reason.  You don’t want to have a dead gecko on your hands after it spends some minutes in the water.