Initially, when I first got a Leopard Gecko from a friend, I knew Geckos are great pets for beginners like me but was not aware of the fact that they sometimes do bite.
And then when I got bitten by my Leopard Gecko for the first time, I started my research and got to know a lot about Leopard Geckos and their bites.
So, do Leopard Gecko bites hurt? No, generally the bites of a Leopard Gecko don’t hurt. While the bites of baby Leopard Geckos don’t hurt at all, the bites of adult Leopard Geckos are nothing to be worried about as they don’t have big teeth. However, there is a giant Leopard Gecko species the bites of which may hurt a little more.
Leopard Geckos are easy to tame, docile reptile species that can be an ideal pet for anyone, especially the beginners. They are neither too big nor too aggressive but can bite when mishandled or aggravated in any way.
However, one needs to remember that Leopard Gecko bites are very uncommon and hardly hurt. Unless and until there’s a reason for biting, Leopard Geckos never bite. And even if they bite, their bites don’t draw out blood.
But, a bite from a giant Leopard Gecko species can hurt a bit. Read on to know more about Leopard Gecko bites.
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Why do Leopard Geckos bite?
Biting its owner is very rare and uncommon for a lizard species like Leopard Gecko. And if in any case, if a Leo Gecko does bite, there must be some factors responsible behind it. Usually, when a Leopard Gecko feels threatened or is stressed or feels sacred it may bite.
However, in most of such scenarios, when it gets scared because of something, it chooses to flee rather than fighting or attacking the opponent.
In case it gets scared by the owner in any way, for example, forcefully trying to hold or touch it, usually, it prefers to hide or flee instead of lunging at the owner’s hand.
Some of the common reasons for Leopard Geckos trying to bite one are:
- Since Leopard Geckos are territorial, they often fight for their territory.
Hence, touching one male Leopard Gecko can leave its smell on your hand, if not washed properly.
And then if you try to touch another male Leopard Gecko it may try to bite you assuming your hand to be another male Leopard Gecko. Female Leopard geckos can be territorial as well!
That’s why it is recommended to not keep more than one Leopard gecko per tank. We explain more on that here!
- Though it is extremely rare, there are some Leopard Geckos that are overly aggressive and persistent.
Usually, a normal attempt of the owner to pick up such Geckos can result in the Leopard Geckos in getting in their defensive posture and trying to bite your fingers or hand.
Though you may always try to make your Leopard Gecko used to you, in such cases of excessively aggressive Geckos, it’s better to leave them alone.
- Another factor that may cause your Leopard Gecko to bite you is that it is hungry.
Leopard Geckos tend to get extremely excited when they get hungry.
In such a scenario, when you put your hand inside the terrarium to touch or pick up your Gecko it may mistake your hand to be food and try to bite you.
It’s always suggested to feed your Leopard Gecko before handling them to prevent the risks of a bite, even though it’s not so common.
- A juvenile or a hatchling Leopard Gecko is more likely to snap or bark at its owner.
Once the young Geckos reach adulthood, they turn more docile. Remember, Leopard Geckos are one of the easiest to handle reptile pets. Though they can bite or try to, it is nothing to be concerned about since they hardly hurt.
Do Leopard Gecko bites hurt?
The very term ‘Leopard Gecko bites’ may sound scary, but in reality, it isn’t. Often, Leopard Gecko owners become worried about their pets’ bites and assume it to be something very painful and bad.
However, in reality, Leopard Gecko bites are not at all that painful.
Compared to various other lizard species, the bites of Leopard Geckos (even those of the adult ones) hardly hurt. And when it comes to a baby Gecko, you will feel nothing at all. Leopard Geckos are not as big or ferocious as that of the Komodo Dragons.
Hence, their bites feel like a mere scratch on the skin and nothing more.
However, there are large Leopard Gecko species as well, which come in two different forms, one is Giant Leopard Gecko and the other is Super Giant Leopard Gecko.
The bites of these Giant and Super Giant Leopard Geckos can hurt quite a lot compared to normal Leopard Geckos. While a normal Leopard Gecko comes in a size of 8 to 10 inches (male) and 7 to 8 inches (female); the large Leopard Geckos can be of size up to around one foot.
Naturally, the bites of the giant ones will hurt more than the normal Leopard Geckos.
Do Leopard Gecko bites cause any harm?
Leopard Gecko bites are less likely to cause any harm. Yes, they do have a strong jaw but their teeth are tiny. But they are meant to eat insects and not penetrate the human skin deep enough to cause a cut or draw blood. Leopard Gecko bites act more as a shock than an injury.
The bite pressure of a Leopard Gecko is similar to a hard pinch like sensation on the skin. Even if a Leopard Gecko tries to clamp down on your finger as hard as it can, it doesn’t register as much.
It is the size of the Gecko’s body as well as its mouth that makes it no threat to its owners and rather weak.
However, the bacteria present on the skin and inside the mouth of a Leopard Gecko can cause bacterial infection through bites that draw blood, if necessary hygiene measures are not practiced.
Can Leopard Gecko bites draw blood?
Since Leopard Geckos do not have big or sharp teeth, their bites neither hurt too much nor draw blood (very rare). Geckos typically have nearly 100 teeth at birth which then get replaced every few months.
But the teeth of Geckos like Leopard Geckos are not strong enough to penetrate the human skin deep enough to cause a cut or bleeding. Hence, even if a Leopard Gecko bites you, there are very few chances of any damage to your skin.
The bite of an adult Leopard Gecko feels like a pinch. And it is the baby Geckos who are more prone to biting than the adult ones. Hence, their biting won’t cause you any discomfort or pain.
Usually, a cut is caused by a Leopard Gecko bite when you try to pull off the Gecko when it tries to chomp down hard. However, if you let the Gecko let go of your hand first, it will cause no skin tear.
What to do when a Leopard Gecko bites?
If in any case you get bitten by a Leopard Gecko or the bite caused a cut or drew a little blood, the best way to deal with the bite is simply by washing your hands with a proper antibacterial soap immediately.
Remember Leopard Geckos like other Geckos are not poisonous reptiles but like most lizards carry salmonella bacteria. And a bite may cause the bacteria to transfer in you.
Hence it’s suggested to disinfect the Leopard Gecko bite area as soon as possible. You can also opt for disinfecting the bitten area or the wound with cleaning alcohol or hydrogen peroxide or some antibiotic ointments.
Covering the wound with plaster can also help prevent any risk of infection.
In the end, it can be said that Leopard Gecko bites are in most cases accidental. They do not bite their owners very often. Even if they bite, the bites don’t hurt and are nothing to be worried about.
If their bites break the skin, which is very rare, treating it as a normal cut should be enough.
How to prevent Leopard Geckos from biting?
Supervising the interactions between the children or youngsters and your Leopard Geckos is the best way to prevent kids from getting bitten by Leopard Geckos.
Since Leopard Geckos tend to bite when spooked or startled or scared, it’s better not to frighten or scare them in any way to prevent bites.
And looking for warning signs in your Leopard Geckos when trying to handle them or take them out from their terrarium such as snapping or barking is also suggested to avoid getting bitten by them.
Sometimes, adult Leopard Geckos wave or raise their tails before attacking. Therefore, look for such signs as well.
Gentle and limited handling and minimizing quick movements during the initial months of bringing a Leopard Gecko home can help it to better adjust to its new surroundings and become less prone to biting its owners.