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Do Leopard Geckos Like To Climb?

by Lucy

Geckos are arguably the cutest reptiles you can own as pets. Not only are they easily handleable, but it’s fascinating to watch these tiny creatures defy gravity. You will find that your leopard gecko may not appreciate climbing up a tree much like the rest of the gecko species, but leopard geckos are pretty brilliant at climbing too.

Do leopard geckos like to climb? Yes, leopard geckos like to climb, but they are terrestrial animals, which means they generally climb over flatter surfaces rather than steep or vertical ones, usually in order to bask. They do not have the hairs or setae that allow other geckos to climb walls.

If you’re curious to understand more about this adorable and beautiful species and how best to accommodate them in their enclosure, read on!

Can Leopard Geckos Climb?

Most geckos have a sticky property that helps them scale and climb walls. Fundamentally, it is Nature’s unique gift of bulbous toes that allows them not just to scale walls with relative ease but also to crawl across ceilings too. These toes are covered in microscopic hairs or setae that can grip almost any surface.

These microscopic hairs break off into tinier bristles called spatulae. It is the spatulae in unison with the Van der Waals force that makes it possible for the ordinary gecko to traverse walls so remarkably. Move aside, Spider-Man.

The Van der Waals force is where the positively charged electrons of the hair molecules and the negatively charged molecules of the wall or ceiling combine forces to create an electromagnetic attraction. Thus, the common gecko can hang onto the ceiling with all fours like magic.

But, your adorable leopard gecko has not been bestowed this gift of sticky, rotund toes. Instead, they have claws. The leopard gecko is a master at using its claws to evade predators, hunt prey, and move about in its habitat. Not to mention, the leopard gecko does a fabulous job of climbing rocky or textured surfaces when it feels so inclined.

What Can I Put In My Gecko’s Tank To Help It Climb?

Your leopard gecko is indeed unique from other geckos. So, when you go out to shop for the things you can put into your gecko’s tank, you need to keep in mind that climbing provides a form of entertainment as well as mental stimulation for most animals.

Furthermore, climbing helps creatures flex their muscles. So, it is wise to have small logs and short branches to give your gecko the chance to practice some scaling. 

You can even add rocks, sticks, and other objects like plastic dinosaurs or castles to your Leo’s tank. These items will allow your gecko to bask, play, perch and climb in its habitat.

It is essential that whatever you put into your leopard gecko’s tank is 100% sanitized, or your gecko runs a high risk of catching infections and falling ill. Use organic and mild dish washing soap to rinse off the rocks and plastic objects.

With the sticks, logs, or branches, you’ll have to remove all the bark to ensure no parasites are living in the wood. Baking the wood for 20-30 minutes in the oven at 133°F will kill off any remaining bugs or bacteria.

What Can I Do To Make My Leopard Gecko Tank Safe?

It is essential that you make every effort to keep your leopard gecko safe in its tank. Your leopard gecko is a delicate being that requires careful handling and hygienic conditions inside the habitat to live a long and healthy life.

Since leopard geckos are mostly terrestrial, you need to ensure their tank is long and wide rather than tall and narrow. It may be a good idea to go with glass fish tanks, as those work well to create the perfect habitat for your pet. You don’t want your gecko to make a great escape. A glass surface proves infinitely helpful in preventing your friend from quickly climbing out of the tank.

Do not use wire mesh cages for geckos or reptiles of any kind. These cages are easily escapable, do not retain heat or humidity, and are harder to clean.

Opting for a sturdy lid will ensure that your gecko stays in and the kids, other pets, and insects stay out. Going for a screen cover is a safer bet than a solid lid cover, as it allows for more circulation and makes room for better temperature control.

There is a strong probability that your gecko may attempt to escape its habitat. That’s even after your attempts to make its habitat as welcoming and comfortable as possible. But if you find that your leopard gecko is constantly trying to make a run for it, it could be that your gecko isn’t happy with its housing.

What Could Be Making My Leopard Gecko Unhappy In Its Tank?

When you bring a new pet home, it doesn’t matter the breed of gecko you have adopted; it will try to get a feel of its new home. You will find your leopard gecko attempting to climb the walls of its tank even when the walls are made of glass. 

But, if your gecko doesn’t seem to stop such behavior even after it has settled in and seems to have bonded with you, then it implies that your gecko has a problem with its accommodations. 

It could be that you aren’t careful of the temperature within the tank. If your gecko’s tank is too close to the sun and the tank is heating up, your gecko will make a move to get out.

Housing more than one gecko, especially where one is larger than the other, prompts bullying. It could be that your smaller-sized gecko is sick of its tormentor and trying to find better living quarters. 

You should always provide both a warm basking spot and a few hides for your leopard gecko as well. They may appear as if they’re trying to escape simply because they’re looking for a good place to bask or hide.

Also, if you happen to house a male and a female leopard gecko in a tank, then it could be that your female leopard gecko might be trying to evade the unwanted advances of the male.

What Can I Do To Help My Leopard Gecko Settle In?

Well, your pet is your responsibility, and it is your job to make it as happy as you possibly can in its new home.

It’s always smart to adopt one pet at a time, especially for first-time parents. You see, you will need the time and experience to understand how to care for your pet before you go and adopt another one.

Avoid keeping two leopard geckos in the same cage, particularly if one is larger. If you have adopted two geckos already, then you’ll need two separate tanks for them. 

Another element that will perhaps make your gecko settle in sooner in its new habitat is familiarity with you. Let your gecko have some cage-free time with proper supervision.

If you spend time with your gecko, allowing it to rest in your hands and climb up and down your arm and shoulders, your pet will undoubtedly come to enjoy the bonding experience and have a fun time climbing too.

Such an exercise gives your gecko time to connect with you. Also, talking to your gecko in a gentle and soothing tone during playtime does play a role in getting your leopard gecko familiarized with you and its habitat.

It will prove quite beneficial for you to keep a close eye on your pet while it’s settling in. Ensuring your pet gets a healthy diet, hygienic and safe living conditions, and a little extra TLC will go a long way in making your pet feel more at home. 


Leopard geckos may not climb as high and as often as other geckos. But, no one ever said you couldn’t allow your pet to have a little fun in its tank. So, put some exciting objects into your leopard gecko’s tank to allow it to show off its climbing skill.

Your playtime with your pet will also let your leopard gecko settle in sooner. If you add some climbing time for your pet on your shoulders and arms, it’ll help your reptilian friend become more aware of your presence and give them a chance to flex some cramped muscles. 

You see, a leopard gecko is a lovely pet and one that is particularly fun to watch. But, as a pet parent, you need to make sure that your pet is doing great in its new surroundings. So, a dash of love and a lot of care and attention create the perfect environment for a healthy, happy leopard gecko.

Up Next: How Fast Do Leopard Geckos Grow? – Growth Guide

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