Leopard Gecko Bite: Are They Dangerous?

Who loves to get bitten by their pets? We guess the answer is no one, and we’re counting you in too. Dogs and cats biting are quite normal. But the fear kicks in when you own a reptile, and it decides to land a bite on your hand. Now the question is, what about Leopard Geckos? Do they even bite, and if they do, is it dangerous?

Leopard geckos do bite, but there’s nothing to worry about as they’re not poisonous. On top of that, they bite very rarely. So, if your lizard leaves a bite mark on your hand, you don’t need to panic or get shocked, as it’s totally harmless.

However, if there’s anything you really need to know about their biting is why they’re doing that in the first place. Don’t worry, we’re just about to get you those reasons. Once you find out the reason, finding the solution shouldn’t be a problem.

Why Your Leopard Gecko Is Biting You?

There’s no way to deny that biting is an aggressive behavior from any animal, including leopard geckos. But like us humans, they don’t go for such an act without a reason. So, what are the reasons, and what are their solutions? Well, all of it starts with –

1. Shock

Once it gets suddenly alarmed due to a shock, don’t get surprised if it attacks anything in its vicinity. This kind of incident usually takes place when the reptile is suddenly stroked or startled, mostly by loud noises.

If your leopard gecko is startled, don’t get surprised if it starts biting anyone who comes near to it. But don’t blame the lizard here, it’s probably doing so just because someone has touched it out of the blue or some sudden sounds around shocked it.

Once a gecko gets frightened, it surely will bite to defend itself. After all, unlike lots of the reptiles out there, geckos are incapable of assessing the threats around them. Bitings issues are often seen in newly acquired lizards, the ones with visibility issues, and of course, young ones.

You’re probably wondering what if you keep the lizard for years. Well, yet if you startle it, there’s a high chance of it landing a bite on your hand as a part of its self-defense. So, it’ll be better if you can simply skip the urge of booping your lizard in the nose with your finger and handle it carefully.

See also  How To Save A Dying Leopard Gecko? [Step by Step]

The chance of getting bitter reaches the ceiling when you’re getting it out of its tank. And it also depends on where you’re holding it. Touching it close to its mouth increases the chance of biting. By the way, that doesn’t mean if you poke it unexpectedly, it’ll keep them away from biting you.

But what about the solution? Well, the best thing you can do here is not startle the reptile. So, to stop that from happening, it’ll be better if you can skip being around a lot of people when it’s with you. Plus, skip being in a place with loud music.

Don’t take your gecko to a place with a lot of people or loud music. You need to understand that geckos, like many other creatures, have a keen ear for sound. That is to say, they could be startled by noises we can’t even hear.

2. Stress

It’s kind of common in reptiles that they usually bite when they’re under lots of stress. In the case of leopard geckos, it’s mostly triggered by their strong sense of apprehension. This usually gets triggered by issues like illness, shedding problems, and being unable to cope with the new environment.

While not feeling safe, any animal can bite you, and geckos are nothing different on that part. So, it’ll be better if you can simply not pick them up before building a bond of trust with them, which surely is going to take some time and effort.

Due to our humongous size compared to them, they can’t help counting us as like any other dangerous predators. Count that as another reason why initiate a bite. And yes, the same thing is going to happen if you pop up suddenly in the middle of their shedding session.

As we said before, illness too triggers stress in a leopard gecko. So, don’t get surprised if your sick Leo decides to have a bite on you. We don’t blame them for that as they feel vulnerable to attacks at that time and feel the need to defend themselves like any other weak prey. So, for obvious reasons, they become more alert to their surroundings and become more protective.

On top of that, while losing the skin, they also lose some skin from their eyes. Clearly, that limits their vision. Once they feel they’re seeing less of their surrounding, they start to feel anxious, and you know what comes next. So, it’ll be better if you can keep your hands off your reptile at that time of shedding.

See also  How To Tell If Your Leopard Gecko Eggs Are Fertile?

3. Anger

Being aggressive and biting is nothing new for leopard geckos, especially when they’re trying to protect their territory from any unwanted visitors. Before you come up with the question – ‘do males do that more or females’, let us tell you sex doesn’t play much of a role in biting in determining their biting behavior or being territorial.

The good thing is they bite when they feel provoked and threatened. But they probably won’t go for the bite without letting you have a chance to escape safely. So, if you’re ignoring their signs to back off, getting bitten becomes obvious. 

But how would you know that they’re asking you to leave? Well, if you see them bobbing their heads up and down, you better leave the premise. But that goes for the rescued ones or the ones kept in shelters. What about regular captive-bred leos?

Well, along with the one sign we’ve mentioned above, they can be standing tall with their legs stretched out. Some might even wave the tail or extend it. In some cases, you’ll see them hissing loudly, or you can call it heavy breathing if you like.

Don’t forget that, like people, geckos too can come with distinct personalities and temperaments. You’ll see most of them are peaceful, but some will surely show comparatively more aggression, especially while being touched.

So, the best thing you can do is understand the reptile’s personality and start bonding accordingly. If your lizard is not a fan of being touched or held, don’t try to force it.

4. Hand-Feeding

Well, this is something that can happen while hand-feeding any animal, and leopard gecks are no exception. It’s not that they bite it willfully. While grabbing the food, they can’t make much of a difference between your finger and the food.

So, accidentally they can bite your finger. This can happen especially when you’re feeding them worms. After all, sometimes the worm can get wrapped around your finger.  But this can be fixed by training your reptile. In case you don’t want to get bitten at all, you can always use tweezers or tongs.

By the way, if your hand smells like food, they can still bite it misunderstanding it as the food itself. But don’t worry, with the bite, they instantly understand it’s not food and let it go.

5. Mating

This might sound a bit surprising, but when it comes to the mating season, geckos become comparatively aggressive toward people. It happens especially when they can detect the pheromones of any other gecko on their skin.

See also  10 Leopard Gecko Body Language (Owners Must Know)

This usually concerns breeders more than regular reptile owners. After all, they’re the ones who handle multiple geckos at a time. But things like these are more common with crested geckos compared to the leopard geckos. That’s another reason why regular pet owners don’t think about the mating season while getting bitten by their leos.

Does Leopard Gecko Bite Hurt?

Like the size of the leopard geckos, their biting sensation too can be subject to variation. Not us, but the owners admitted that in the first place. Some of them have experienced minor bites where it was nothing more than a pinch or subtle stinging sensation. But for some, it was not only painful but also quite bloody.

But before you get scared, let us tell you that’s nothing but an extremely rare scenario. Usually, they don’t hurt more than paper cuts. Some of the leopard gecko owners even admitted that they felt nothing when their lizards bit them before looking at them doing it for real. 

Hold on a sec! Things could’ve been worse if they were poisonous. Thankfully, they’re not. So, at least you don’t have to rush to the hospital, just like you would’ve done in case of snake bites.

And if you’re considering the rare case, it’s true that the reptile’s bite lead to serious damage backed by bleeding. In such cases, rush to a medical professional immediately and get the required treatment.

What To Do If A Leopard Gecko Bites You?

Usually, a gecko’s bite doesn’t cause much of an injury. But still, if it manages to break the skin or make you bleed, get the wound washed with warm water instantly. Also, don’t forget to use anti-bacterial soap. Once you’re done with the cleaning, put some anti-bacterial ointment on the wound and wrap it with a bandage.

There’s nothing to worry about rushing to the doctor or getting an anti-venom, as leopard geckos are not poisonous. Plus, they do trigger rabbis as well. So, if your leo bites you, the one thing you shouldn’t do is ‘panic’.

Before We Go…

Do you know when the chance of getting bitten by a leopard stays at a minimum? When it likes you. But how would you know that in the first place? Well, we guess our blog How To Tell If Your Leopard Gecko Likes You? can surely help. Feel free to click it and get your answers.

Sharing is caring!

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. AcuarioPets.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.