Crested Gecko Jumping – Facts & Figures
Crested geckos are well known for being excellent climbers thanks to their sticky toepads and precise movement. But did you know they can also jump? The jumping behavior isn’t that common among geckos which is why many people are intrigued about it.
Today, we will look into the reasons geckos jump, what this behavior speaks about them, and what can go wrong, if anything.
How Far Can Crested Geckos Jump?
Typically, crested geckos can jump up to 5-6 times their body length. This is the standard distance on a horizontal plane, but the jumping distance can get larger if the gecko jumps downwards. Which they often do, by the way.
Most geckos jump down when in danger and look for a fast escape. Once they’re on the ground, they can use their agility to run and hide in the foliage or the surrounding vegetation.
Reasons Crested Geckos Jump
Crested geckos jump for many reasons, and they’re not all related to escaping predators. Here are the most common jumping behaviors to keep in mind:
- Exploration – Geckos are often curious about their environment and use jumping to reach to different areas. They sometimes do this simply because they need to explore and understand their habitat better. It’s unlikely that a captive gecko will jump around its enclosure for this purpose, given that there isn’t enough to explore in the first place.
- Hunting – Geckos are ambush predators, so they rely on surprise to catch their prey. But things don’t always work out as they should, forcing the gecko to improvise. This means sometimes jumping onto the prey to secure the kill; a behavior that geckos will happily engage in captivity as well. This is why it’s important to feed your geckos live food as well. The live insects will stimulate the gecko’s hunting behavior, keeping the reptile in peak physical and mental shape.
- Working out – While geckos aren’t too energetic, to begin with, they do require a good workout routine to keep their blood flowing. They often move around their habitat and jump between various places to keep their musculature, bones, and joints healthy and strong. Always make sure your geckos have sufficient workout space to preserve your gecko’s health and prevent health issues like Metabolic Bone Disease.
- Defensive behavior – Geckos typically rely on their camouflaging abilities to blend in the vegetation around them. This makes it difficult for most predators to spot them. But this method isn’t failproof; if geckos get spotted, they need to resort to something else to escape. That’s usually their jumping ability, allowing them to reach safer areas fast and escape their pursuer’s vision. Geckos can also exhibit such defensive behavior in captivity if they’re rattled by something or they simply want to avoid you grabbing them.
If your gecko tends to jump around its habitat, assess the reasons for the behavior. Maybe your gecko is uncomfortable for one reason or another, or maybe it’s just playing and exploring its habitat. Either way, you need to ensure your gecko doesn’t get hurt because that can happen.
Do Crested Geckos Jump a Lot?
Typically, no, geckos don’t jump too often. These are cold-blooded animals that are typically more low-energy, especially during the day. Crested geckos become more active at dusk, so that’s when you may notice most of the jumping.
Can Baby Crested Geckos Jump?
Yes, they sure can. They may not know how to jump during their first several days of life, but they’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. It makes sense that they do too. Baby geckos are considerably more vulnerable than adults to predation, so they need to develop as many defensive behaviors as they can soon.
This will considerably improve their survival chances in a habitat where most living things around them try to eat them.
The jumping is also beneficial for baby geckos in terms of body development. The exercise will strengthen their muscles and joints, allowing them to grow faster, longer, and stronger.
Can Crested Geckos Get Hurt from Jumping?
Yes, they can. In fact, it’s common for geckos to experience some injuries due to jumping around their enclosure. This is where you come in. Your job is to prevent these types of situations by creating a safer and more controlled environment for your lizards. Use a softer substrate for your geckos to land on, and remove any unsafe decorations or branches that could hurt your pet.
That being said, you shouldn’t prevent your gecko from jumping completely. On the contrary, you should incentivize it to jump. You can do that by creating larger gaps between different elevated vantage points so that your gecko has to rely on jumping to navigate between them. A healthy and strong gecko won’t have any issues traversing their tight ecosystem this way.
The situation can get tricky fast when it comes to the injuries themselves. Geckos can experience a variety of injuries due to jumping-related accidents. These include broken bones and even internal bleeding or organ damage. Some of these issues are not immediately noticeable but can aggravate fast.
While decorating the reptile’s ecosystem wisely can prevent some of these unfortunate instances, there’s another, even better, approach to the whole thing. Diagnose and address your gecko’s weak bone density.
Geckos are notorious for exhibiting low bone density and poor calcium intake, making their bones frail because of it. Aside from the increased risk of mechanical injuries, geckos can also be prone to Metabolic Bone Disease, which is deadly in advanced situations.
Crested Gecko Stopped Jumping
There are several reasons why your crested gecko may not jump as often (or at all) compared to what it used to. So, let’s explore them:
- Normal behavior – When talking about your gecko not jumping, are we talking about a specific timeframe, or is your gecko not jumping at all, ever? Because geckos often have generous time windows where they don’t jump at all. This includes when sleeping or simply resting and conserving energy. So, the lack of jumping isn’t necessarily an ominous sign.
- The tank is too big – This may sound counterintuitive because a larger ecosystem translates to more jumping opportunities, right? Right, but the problem is that geckos don’t feel safe in a large terrarium. The sweet spot for an adult crested gecko is between 20 and 30 gallons. Anything beyond that will stress the gecko out. The larger habitat makes the reptile feel more insecure, especially since it has more space to traverse in search for food.
- Improper temperature gradient – Geckos need a temperature gradient between 60 and 85 F with different values throughout their enclosure. The basking spot should typically be located above, with the temperatures reaching up to 85 or even 90 F. The substrate needs to go as low as 60 F, while the main dwelling spot, in the middle, needs to fluctuate between 72 and 77 F. If the temperature in the enclosure is too low, too high, or fluctuates too violently, the gecko will experience severe discomfort that will result in lethargy, lack of appetite, and a variety of other health issues. As a result, your gecko won’t jump anymore.
- Improper enclosure layout – Maybe your gecko has nowhere to jump, to begin with. Many people overcrowd the gecko’s enclosure with too many branches and decorations, rendering the gecko almost unable to move, let alone jump. As you can tell, this is a problem that needs addressing soon.
- New home – Geckos are considerably more reserved during the first several days or weeks after you purchase them. They are now in a different environment, and they require time to adapt to the new setup. During this time, they may eat less, hide more, and appear less active than expected. Don’t worry, they will come around, provided everything is right, from the setup to the temperature, humidity, food, and any other metric.
- Injury or illness – Geckos will refrain from moving if hurt or sick and experiencing discomfort. Always check your geckos for any visible injuries or signs that could detail the reptile’s condition. This allows you to detect the problems in early phases, which makes the treatment more effective overall.
The main takeaway is that crested geckos are generally less active when stressed, and all of the above can qualify as valid stress triggers.
It’s worth mentioning that crested geckos vary drastically in temperament and behavior. Some geckos may be jumpier and more active than others, in which case you need to adapt to their personalities.