Did your heart drop when your gecko leaped all of a sudden? Perhaps you’re in awe… or worried and wondering: Do geckos jump?
Most geckos jump as part of their survival response to threats in their natural habitats. They also exhibit such skills when they wish to explore their environment and hunt for food.
In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into a gecko’s ability to jump. Plus, we’ll cover the reasons geckos do this and what you should do after your pet falls.
Arboreal species of geckos live high up in canopies. They can jump from heights nine times their body length.
That’s a pretty high jump for a slow-moving creature like a gecko. Nonetheless, as experts haven’t explored the depth of this reptile’s jumping skills, a gecko may have jumped higher than we can imagine.
There’s a species of geckos called Flying geckos. Contrary to what their name suggests, they don’t fly, rather they glide in the air with style.
They have flat tails with a wing-like structure on the sides, and pairs of flaps on their neck and body, too. While these make them look like they’re flying, the truth is, they don’t have full control over their wings.
Geckos of various species—Crested, Leopard, etc—can jump, but they don’t fly.
From the horizontal perspective, a gecko can jump 5–6 feet far. However, when jumping downwards, the extent can get larger.
When landing on a soft and smooth surface or a leaf, a gecko can stick its hairy feet well, allowing a lesser impact. Thus, at times, it’s safe for this creature to jump.
A gecko can fall from over five feet without an issue, especially when it lands on a smooth surface.
Nonetheless, a gecko keeper shouldn’t encourage his pet to test it out, as this action may run the risk of harming this lizard.
It’s important to note that geckos have distinct abilities and strengths, so the fate of one reptile won’t be the fate of the other.
There aren’t many studies about geckos yet, so people tend to get surprised by their ability to jump. Such acrobatic skills may be unfamiliar to us, but appear to be natural for these species of lizards.
Here are the most probable reasons they exhibit this behavior:
Jumping is mostly associated with baby geckos. As they’re still young, they have a lot of energy to use in playing around and exploring their environment.
As long as they don’t try to jump too high up, you shouldn’t restrict them from doing so, that’s because moving around and jumping help your gecko to work out and burn extra calories.
This will preserve your pet’s health, helping reduce the risk of becoming overweight and getting Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
Geckos often jump in their arboreal habitats. When they’re curious and want to explore their environment, they may jump to different areas.
While the space in their enclosure isn’t big enough to explore, you may rarely see them manifest this skill.
Nonetheless, you may set up some sturdy plants within their room and place them at different points. Your gecko may love to move around and jump in this mini version of their natural habitat.
Another probable reason why geckos jump is when they’re about to attack prey. They’re basically ambush predators that rely on a surprise for successful foraging.
If you’ve fed them live prey, which is advisable to stimulate their hunting behavior, you may notice them pounce on their target.
As threats, like snakes, slither and loom around in the wild, it’s natural for a gecko to get startled, threatened, and stressed easily.
If anything, a gecko may jump to escape from any danger it may sense. As such, your gecko may carry that survival instinct in his new home.
In captivity, your voice, a closing door, or a fallen object may stress him out, thereby pushing him to dive off and escape.
As much as we would love for the gecko to survive, his fate will be dependent on certain factors, such as:
Similar to all other biotic life that plunges downward, a gecko may not always survive a fall. The higher the point of origin to the surface a gecko lands on, the greater the injury this lizard may get.
A carpeted or smooth surface will increase the gecko’s chance of survival as opposed to landing on a concrete or rough surface. The latter may result either in physical or internal injury, such as damaged organs or internal bleeding.
Worst of all, it may lead to this lizard’s death.
Another factor that may indicate whether a gecko may survive a fall or not is its overall health.
Most geckos tend to have frail bones, as they exhibit poor calcium intake and weak bone density. They’re prone to Metabolic Bone Disease, which can result in a fatal condition after your pet falls.
That said, you shouldn’t encourage your gecko to jump from greater heights.
In line with his need to move around and jump to stay healthy, you can create a more controlled and safe ecosystem instead. Use lizard-friendly substrate and get rid of any unsafe decoration within its tank.
If possible, create a larger space with different elevated points where he can move around and practice his acrobatic skills.
How Can a Gecko Fall and Survive?
The specialized feet and tail of a gecko are the top secrets to why this lizard manages to survive after a fall.
When a gecko loses its foothold and falls, it uses its tail to balance and keep its body stiff.
Even when this lizard slips upside-down from a height, it’ll swing its fatty tail to rotate the body to the right side up. It’ll only take him 100 milliseconds to correct his position.
According to National Geographic, the geckos’ tail stops them from falling and helps them land safely. Hence, it’s their secret to surviving a fall.
The four limbs of a healthy gecko enable him to land safely and be agile on surfaces.
Additionally, the setae—bristles underneath a gecko’s toes—help this reptile land and cling safely on surfaces it normally jumps onto.
Although we’ve mentioned it’s natural for a gecko to jump, you should still look into the condition of your gecko after it falls.
If your pet lands on a carpet or soft surface, he should be fine. However, if it lands on a cold and rough surface, he’ll likely get some wounds or injuries.
Aside from those, it’s crucial to inspect for the following signs:
- Limping legs
- Bruises and discoloration
- Swelling in the limbs and jaw
- Odd movement
- Unusual protruding bones
- Loss of appetite
When your gecko acquires physical injuries, you should clean and treat it immediately to prevent the condition from getting worse.
Yet, even if you can’t see any physical damage on your gecko’s body, you should continue to observe how he copes after a few days. An internal injury can be fatal, so you need to be mindful of this.
If anything, it’ll be best to send your gecko to a vet for proper treatment.
Geckos can jump over five feet without much harm—thanks to their specialized tail and feet.
Although this skill is surprising from slow-moving creatures like geckos, they certainly do this in their natural habitat.
Two of the most probable reasons are foraging and their need to escape from predators.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.