Can Lizards Die from Falling? Do They Take Fall Damage?

From a scientific standpoint, most small lizards don’t take fall damage because they descend at a slow enough rate to survive unlimited fall distances.

Lizards aren’t the only reptiles that can survive a fall from great heights, but they do have an advantage over other species. They are able to spread out their legs and use them as parachutes to slow down their free fall.

The lizard’s body will be slowed by air resistance until it reaches the point where they reach the ground.

 A small lizard jumping off a building would experience less air resistance than a large one jumping from ground level because the force of gravity pulling down on the lizard’s body is greater.

Can lizards survive terminal velocity?

A large lizard’s terminal velocity can kill them because the air resistance is very little against their size and weight. 

It’s even worse when the impact is against a hard surface such as tiles, cement, or wood because they can suffer internal injuries, versus softer surfaces like grass, carpeting, or bedding which can provide a soft landing.

However, when the situation is reversed to small lizards, there is no question that they can survive terminal velocity due to how lightweight they are.

Can leopard geckos survive falls?

It is rather rare for leopard geckos to fall because of how well they can stick to surfaces. The tiny hairs called setae on a gecko’s foot help it to maximize contact with the surface that it’s clinging to.

This in turn reduces the likelihood of a gecko falling and the same thing will apply to the crested geckos.

Can crested geckos die from falling?

A crested gecko can die from falling if it makes contact with a hard surface like concrete, tile, or asphalt because of its size and weight and even though falling onto a soft surface will not result in injuries, it can still leave them stunted for a few minutes.

How fast do lizards fall?

Lizards can fall at a speed of less than 15 kph. However, the speed at which lizards fall is slowed when the air resistance increases due to them stretching out their body which in turn slows the descent.

Some folks think that when the lizard extends its legs to make a mighty leap, this will accelerate the fall.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth because when a lizard pressurizes its leg joints while contracting its flexor muscles to launch off into the open, this will only accelerate the jump but not how fast they fall.

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Can lizards fall to their death?

Yes, a mid-size to large lizard can fall to its death. When a lizard falls towards any hard surface like tile or concrete between an average of 10-15 feet, it can die because the impact when it hits the ground can rupture its liver and possibly its ventral abdominal vein leading to internal bleeding.

However, this won’t be the case for lizards falling onto soft surfaces like grass, hay, or perhaps bedding because the impact will be absorbed by the soft area in which it lands.

Can lizards survive a fall?

A lizard that falls will make a splat sound when it hits the ground and even if it does survive, it can result in a few broken limbs or paralysis.

Often times the reptile is so stunted by the fall that it remains frozen for 20-30 mins before slowly crawling again.

It makes me sad but it’s heartwarming when you see signs of life from lizards after a fall. 

If you are ever in a situation like this, don’t panic. Lizards eventually recover from temporary paralysis but if it puts you at ease, you can contact a local veterinarian to check out your pet lizard.

Do lizards feel pain when they fall?

Lizards have pain receptors in the same way that vertebrates do. Their central nervous system will not only detect an irritation coming from the affected area but it will also set off the pain receptors.

Oftentimes it can be difficult to assess whether a reptile is stressed or in pain, however, they are capable of expressing painful behaviors and physical discomfort.

Furthermore, there are studies that found that animals can experience pain through a process called nociception.

According to researchers, animals that have suffered injuries in the past became hypersensitive in an attempt to protect themselves by sensing and avoiding dangerous stimuli. 

Do lizards always land on their feet?

Lizards always land on their feet because of their ability to utilize the movement of their tail.

To stabilize their fall, the lizards stretch out their tails and their feet in a skydiving posture like a belly-down position.

According to Livescience, “Like cats, geckos always land on their feet. If the lizards happen to fall from a wall or leaf they’ve been climbing, a quick snap of the tail ensures that they land feet-first, a new study finds.”

Do lizards take fall damage?

No, small lizards don’t take fall damage but large lizards won’t be able to withstand the impact of their terminal velocity.

If there is equal air resistance against a small object, it floats more in the air.

This essentially means that air resistance increases a small object’s floatability and even though some lizards are small, they can fall from great heights without suffering any fall damage.

Can lizards die falling out of a tree?

Lizards are cold-blooded animals and since cold weather immobilizes them, it can lead to temporary paralysis causing them to fall out of trees if they lose their grip.

But here is how you know that lizards are truly designed for climbing. Their feet are covered in tiny hairs called setae which allow them to stick to and detach from surfaces quickly.

Can a small lizard die from falling?

Smaller lizards won’t die when they fall because they can float down slowly and land without harm due to their terminal velocity being so slow. 

What happens to lizards when they fall?

After a lizard falls on a hard surface, it enters a state of shock where it remains frozen until the stunted effects wear off.

What happens if a lizard falls on a bed?

A lizard falling onto a bed will make a loud splat, however, the reptile will remain unharmed because of the soft surface that it impacted against.

How do I know if my lizard is injured from falling?

The ability to detect whether a reptile is internally injured can be difficult to assess, however, they are able to express painful behaviors and show signs of physical discomfort.

To avoid taking the risk of waiting to see if something is wrong, you should make contact with your local veterinarian to assess your pet.

Still curious? Here is an overview of the list of animals that can survive terminal velocity.

Flexbooks – Acceleration Due to Gravity
Physics Classroom – Free Fall & Air Resistance
Pub Med – Pain and its Control in Reptiles
Science Advances – Nerve injury drives a heightened state of vigilance and neuropathic sensitization in Drosophila

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