By nature, leopard geckos seem to be some of the most curious domesticated reptiles out there. They always seem to be curious about their surroundings and love to explore their enclosure.
For many reptile keepers, this makes us wonder how else we can enrich their enclosure to allow them more variety in their exploration (and more props for parkour stunts).
So then that raises the question, do leopard geckos like to climb?
Leopard geckos are terrestrial animals, meaning they live primarily on and in the ground, making them pretty bad contenders for having any ability to climb.
Though leopard geckos cannot climb up a glass or a tall tree, they do prefer to have some sort of variety in their tank when it comes to decor.
Having different types of decor to navigate and explore provides great enrichment for leopard geckos and is almost always beneficial to healthy geckos.
How Leopard geckos live in the wild
Leopard geckos are very unique in the fact that they occupy a habitat that appears to have a very harsh climate, and prefers these areas despite their especially small size.
In the wild, leopard geckos are the introverted type, as in they are extremely reclusive and don’t like other leopard geckos in the slightest. They do not live together. Even when mating there is a chance somebody will lose a limb!
They spend much of their time in secluded burrows during the day, which is perfect for catching their prey. They also prefer to occupy areas with lots of covers, whether that be rocks or some time of shrubbery.
At night they are most active and a fun fact (they can actually see 350 times better than humans!!), however in regards to climbing, they honestly just stick to the ground.
They can of course maneuver around larger rocks and other obstacles, but are most definitely terrestrial.
Are leopard geckos capable of climbing?
Many associate geckos with the ability to climb straight up a glass panel or wall. Though this is characteristic of species such as day geckos and crested geckos, not all geckos have this ability.
If you consider how they live in the wild, this makes a lot of sense.
They stay on the ground and dig burrows, so it would only make sense that they have a more tough and rugged food with small claws perfectly suited for life on the ground.
Though you may notice your leopard gecko exploring all corners of their enclosure (yes even the top corners), it cannot climb for long or keep its position up high.
Leopard Gecko Body Structure
The body structure of the leopard gecko is simply not built for climbing efficiently. They lack the small sticky pads on their feet that these geckos use to climb.
Leopard gecko feet have five toes with a small tail on each one. These small nails make digging much easier for them, allowing them to create small burrows in the wild.
Leopard geckos are also very low to the ground and carry a lot of weight in their tail, which is very beneficial to keep fat reserves, but not exactly great for scaling a tall tree.
Would they like to climb?
When it comes to keeping life interesting for your leopard gecko, there are many routes you can take. Though they do not require much vertical space to climb, they most definitely could benefit from some variety in their enclosure.
Creating a landscape with places to hide and different types of platforms to navigate will enhance your leopard geckos’ daily life for sure.
Common leopard gecko climbing behavior
Leopard geckos are very curious creatures and love to get a feel for their surroundings, however, this can pose a problem to us as keepers, as we want to keep them safe and healthy and that doesn’t involve them escaping their cage and running around unsupervised.
Sometimes they will climb as a means to get out of their cage in search of some type of resource, so always make sure your gecko has access to clean water and is fed regularly.
Other times lack of enrichment or tank space. They may just want to explore, but as that can be very dangerous, we just want them to stay put unless supervised.
Sometimes upgrading their enclosure size just a little bit can make all the difference. We don’t want an enclosure so big that it is overwhelming and hard for them to find food, but having adequate space is very important.
Climbing out of the enclosure
Sometimes leopard geckos want to get out of their enclosure, and they most definitely can. Leopard geckos are smart and can be very creative in finding ways to escape.
Always make sure you have a tight-fitting lid that latches, and if you have a front opening enclosure, make it a habit to always latch the door back. This is especially important if your gecko’s enclosure is on something like a dresser or shelf.
If they get out and fall, they could be very seriously injured. It never hurts to go back and double-check that the enclosure is closed securely and in a way “baby-proof” the area to prevent any accidents from happening.
Another good way of preventing any escape attempts is to simply keep your leopard gecko happy.
Things to enrich your gecko’s tank: leopard gecko climbing accessories
Allow your leopard gecko the opportunity to hunt their food, with multiple places to “climb” though they aren’t technically climbing.
Things such as different sizes and shapes of decor can allow them many areas to hide if they ever feel threatened.
One fantastic way to add some variety to the terrain in the enclosure is to add wood. It is important to either be very educated on how to clean and sanitize wood from the outside or just go with the less-risky option of buying something like mopani wood or cholla wood from a pet store.
In general, this is a very fun aspect of the hobby for many keepers. Experimenting with different styles of arranging the enclosure can be very relaxing and almost therapeutic.
My leopard gecko seems to be always chasing his reflection in the glass, or glass surfing. What could this mean?
Leopard geckos can glass surf for a variety of reasons, that aren’t always due to stress. Sometimes they are simply exploring, but many times they are hungry or looking for more warmth. They could even be trying to escape some sort of pest such as mites or even another gecko, which should not be housed together.
Though you’re never going to find a leopard gecko climbing a tall tree in the jungle, they are still extremely fun and curious reptiles to keep. Though there is nothing wrong with curiosity, make sure your gecko’s cage is secure because we don’t want any escapees.
Keeping your reptile engaged with their environment is a great way to keep them happy in their enclosure, plus creating new terrain for your pet to explore is super fun!