Short answer – No. Leopard Geckos cannot swim. Their natural habitat consists of dry, rocky deserts or mountains so they are not well adapted to, or particularly fond of, swimming or living in an aquatic environment.
What Happens When Leopard Geckos Go In Water?
If they happen to find themselves in a body of water, being non-swimmers doesn’t mean Leopard Geckos immediately sink – they actually float.
They can’t keep this up for long though so there is a very real chance that your gecko will become tired, sink, and drown.
Dangers of Letting Your Leopard Gecko Swim
As we’ve already mentioned, drowning should be your main concern when your little friend thinks about taking a quick dip in the pool.
Even though they can look calm and serene as they gently float on the water’s surface, it still takes effort to stay afloat so better to get them out of there sooner rather than later.
As you would imagine, being in (or on) water when you can’t swim is pretty darn stressful! Your little lizard friend won’t have a clue what’s going on but they’ll know something’s not right and will go straight into panic mode.
This can lead to increased stress levels which can, in turn, lead to health complications if not managed properly.
Excess stress is no good for anyone (human or lizard) so best avoided if at all possible.
Leopard Geckos use their environment to regulate their body temperature so suddenly finding themselves submerged in water that’s a different temperature could be a real (and dangerous) shock to the system!
How much of a shock will obviously depend on the temperature of the water that the unfortunate gecko finds himself in but if his body gets too hot or too cold it can be enough to kill the poor little guy.
Should Leopard Geckos Stay Away From Water?
So swimming is a no-no and floating can be risky, does that mean these cute little critters need to avoid water entirely?
Well, like all living creatures, Leopard Geckos need to drink water to survive so leaving a dish of fresh water in their tank will give them easy access to a quick drink when they are thirsty.
Additionally, like all other reptiles, they shed their skin so a quick 15 minute soak in a shallow container around this time can help if your gecko is struggling to get rid of that old skin.
The key word here is shallow – your gecko should have enough water to bathe but definitely not enough to swim in!