Do Leopard Geckos Like To Climb?

By Snaketracks / January 10, 2021

Do Leopard Geckos Climb?

Leopard geckos like to climb some but in general are terrestrial, meaning that they love to stay close to or near the ground.

Now, does that mean that all leopard geckos can’t or won’t try to climb? Not necessarily.

However, leopard geckos do enjoy climbing and are pretty good climbers, but only at lower heights not too far from the ground.

If you’re seeing your leopard gecko start to try to climb the glass and are worried they might climb out of their enclosure, you most likely have nothing to worry about as long as you have the enclosure securred.

Leopard gecko climbing on wooden enclosure decoration accessory
Leopard gecko climbing on wooden enclosure decoration accessory

Quick Reference Section

Check the leopard gecko setup guide to learn more about what makes a great enclosure.

Leopard geckos belong to the Eublepharidae sub-family of geckos, giving them some distinguishing features that differ from other geckos. Their main climbing-related differences can be seen in their feet. 

Eublepharidae geckos like leopard geckos have clawed toes rather than toe pads, or lamellae, like other geckos might have. Their lack of lamellae is the main reason why they don’t possess the climbing capabilities other geckos might. 

Common Concerns

Some owners see their leopard geckos acting on climbing-like behavior and wonder if they might try to climb out of their enclosure. The glass tank is way too high and they do not have sticky fingers the way other geckos do.

We should remind owners that you should have a tank of at least 15 to 20 Gallons per leopard gecko, as this is the suitable space needed for them to stay comfortable and happy.

We say per because generally they need to be housed separately, but leopard geckos can be paired in some cases.

As we mentioned before, their claws will not stick to the glass, so they most likely will not be able to climb out of their enclosure. You can rest assured that as long as you get them a suitable-sized tank, they will be safe and sound in it.

The only if there is depending on what decor you have in the enclosure. If you have branches that reach to the top, then obviously you need to ensure it is secured with a screen at the top.

Leopard Gecko Climbing Behavior

If you keep seeing your gecko try to climb things like maybe vegetation or large rocks you put into the enclosure, this may mean that they just enjoy moving around and exploring higher grounds.

If your leopard gecko enjoys small climbs, you can put a textured tree in the corner or a large rock with leveled stepping stones somewhere in their enclosure. This will allow your gecko to stay entertained and enjoy a little bit of adventure in the comfort of their home.

They will not climb out but sometimes might enjoy a short perch on top of something a little higher above ground. Leopard geckos will not want to climb as high as other subspecies of geckos, but it is possible that your gecko will just want to explore or perch for a while.

You should try to plan your tank accordingly to allow more walking or exploring space with only some perching areas a little higher than their ground. 

Although leopard geckos will not climb too high or perch for too long, allowing them the space to act on these natural behaviors is a good idea to ensure variety for your pet. 

It will also add a little bit of a naturalistic touch to your tank, which is another little plus to consider when looking into decorating and preparing your enclosure for your new gecko.

Glass Surfing

If you are concerned about your leopard gecko’s habit of trying to climb the glass or what owners call “glass surfing”, you have nothing to be concerned about. This is just their way of exploring and maybe even just them trying to get you to feed them some more.

The video above does a nice job of explaining it.

Some owners see their leopard gecko do this and will be concerned that it’s a sign of stress or wanting to escape their tank. This is normal, playful explorative behavior and you don’t have anything to worry about.

However, if glass surfing is accompanied by irregular bowel movements, skittish behavior, lack of appetite, vocal noises, tail-wagging, or they are just trying to escape, there might be something wrong. This could mean they are not comfortable in their home.

This might mean there is something in their enclosure causing them stress or that their tank is not suitable for them.

What you can do is try to make sure all their hides are at the correct temperature, that their substrate is suitable for them, and that they do not have a parasite. 

You should also have previously made sure that you give them enough space while also making sure that their tank capacity is suitable for their size and needs. Making sure your leopard gecko is healthy and comfortable is very important.

Wall-climbing should not be a worrisome behavior if it is not followed by any of these other symptoms. If they are comfortable and just surfing the glass without any other concerning symptoms, it’s most likely just playful behavior.

FAQ

tangerine leopard gecko climbing a tree
tangerine leopard gecko climbing a tree

Will My Leopard Gecko Climb Out of its Tank?

The answer is no. They have claws instead of sticky toe pads like other geckos, so they will not be able to stick to the walls of your tank. 

However, if they are showing behaviors of wanting to climb, you should try to find the best substrate and accessories to put into their tank in order to allow that natural exploration to occur.

Textured trees that don’t go up to high or even non-slip rocks that their claws can comfortably hang onto.

Even with these extra items in their tank, they most likely won’t get high enough to climb out the lid of their enclosure.

Do They Like Climbing?

Yes! Leopard geckos are docile creatures that enjoy exploring their environments. They do this by moving around, getting on things, using their tongues, and climbing.

Your leopard gecko climbing around the inside of its enclosure is actually just their way of exploring the environment around them. They enjoy climbing, but again, not as high as their cousins do.

Is Glass Surfing a Sign of Stress or Discomfort?

The good news is that this is a sign of exploration. Your leopard gecko is not stressed out if they’re climbing.

This is normal behavior and nothing to worry about. They might even just be trying to get your attention in order to coerce you into giving them more food (See the best foods for leopard geckos guide for more).

Conclusion

Wrapping up, leopard geckos do like to climb but generally prefer to stay closer to the ground. You can have items in the enclosure to make it more natural and allow them to sit on perches.

If they are continuously trying to escape it could be a sign of an issue in the enclosure or that they are ill with possibly a parasite. Signs of not eating could be stress or possibly mouth rot which is visibly noticeable.

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