Do Leopard Geckos Bite?


Leopard Gecko with Open Mouth while shedding skin

Any pet can bite under the right conditions, which can be concerning.  If you’re wondering if leopard geckos bite, take comfort in the fact that leopard geckos are not aggressive, not venomous, and generally not dangerous. 

Your risk of a leopard gecko bite is fairly low.  They would most likely choose to scurry off to safety and hide rather than bite a person. Though Leopard geckos are one of the easiest reptiles to keep as a pet, they will still defend themselves if threatened.

Note if you are hand feeding a gecko, it may miss they food and catch your finger instead.  Leopard geckos are not the most accurate of hunters, and will sometimes miss their target.  Their teeth are small and a leopard gecko bite is usually not hard enough to break your skin.  Chances are it may hurt your feelings to be bitten by a pet more than it hurts your finger.

What to do if you get bit by a leopard gecko

Check the spot where you were bit.   Leopard gecko bites rarely break the skin, so there shouldn’t be much to do in the way of first aid.  To be safe, wash the bite with antibacterial soap.  Regain your composure, and make sure your gecko is okay as well.

Understand that it was just a primitive lizard brain response, and your gecko was just doing what its survival instincts told it to do.

What not to do if you get bit

It may be a surprise if you leopard gecko lunges at your hand or turns to bite you.  You may be surprised to feel the pinch of a unexpected leopard gecko bite.  Don’t panic, and don’t drop your gecko. 

If the gecko clamps on, resist the instinct to just pull it off.  This will tear at your skin and may injure the gecko.  Let the gecko release the bite.

How can I avoid getting bitten?

It helps to know your leopard gecko’s body language.  Sometimes leopard geckos, especially males, can be territorial.  They may get defensive is startled or cornered.  If your gecko raises its tail and waves it in a back and forth motion, this is a defensive stance and it’s best to allow it some time to calm down before handling your gecko.

Avoid making sudden movements when handling your gecko.  Keep in mind that most natural predators hunt the leopard gecko from above.  If you suddenly try to grab it from above, it may mistake you for a predator and think it needs to fight for its life. 

Leopard geckos do have vocal chords, and may make a squeaking or backing sound when threatened to ward off predators (I am leopard gecko, hear me roar!)   It’s not the most terrifying or ferocious sound, but consider yourself warned.

In general to minimize the risk of a bite, you want to approach your gecko slowly, calmly, and try to let your lizard see your hand before handling it.

Are leopard geckos poisonous?

No, leopard geckos are not poisonous. You don’t have to worry about venom. If the bite breaks the skin, wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water as you would any other cut.

What about leopard gecko claws?

Leopard Gecko Claw

Leopard geckos have pointed claws instead of toe pads like  many other geckos species.   Leopard gecko claws are hardly a danger and, while they may feel a little prickly as a gecko walks across your skin, should generally not be enough to break or scratch the skin.

hevanmiller

H. Evan Miller is the founder of the Leopard Gecko Habitat. Like many young boys, he developed an early fascination with dinosaurs, and by extension, reptiles. He’s been keeping reptiles as pets since he was a kid (we won’t count the decades) and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge on the topic. You can read more about his ongoing adventures with science, technology, and a couple of curious kids over at https://STEMtropolis.com.

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