Can Leopard Geckos Hurt You?

If you know anything about small animals and bugs, then you might know that despite their size, their bites and stings can sometimes pack quite a bunch.  And with the way that leopard geckos completely devour their food whenever they’re fed, we take extra caution in making sure we don’t get bitten out of fear that it just might hurt.  If you’d like the truth though, please read on.

Can leopard geckos hurt you?  Yes, but it’s very unlikely.  Most leopard geckos don’t have enough pressure behind their bite to hurt you and when it does happen, it’s more of a shocking experience than a painful one.

Getting bitten by a leopard gecko is probably one of the biggest fears new owners have.  But fortunately for those who are worried, these bites really don’t feel like much.  For many owners, the bite is described as pressure and some people have even stated that they hardly feel the bite at all.  There are many animals out there that bite hard but luckily, these aren’t one of those animals.

Times You Might Get Bitten

Although their bites don’t generally hurt, it’s still best to know when you might expect to get bitten so that you can avoid it happening to you altogether.  That said, here are a few examples of some of the times you’re most likely to get bitten:

  • While hand-feeding
  • During a shed
  • During a pregnancy
  • When breaking up a fight
  • When dealing with an aggressive gecko
  • When they’re spooked

As you can see, there are quite a few reasons why a leopard gecko might bite you but if you avoid putting your hand near their mouths (with the exception of hand-feeding them) during any of these situations, then you should be able to avoid getting bitten altogether.

The reason leopard geckos are most likely to bite during any of the times that I mentioned above are for a few reasons and these reasons most of the time include your hand being mistaken for food, them being defensive, scared, or even if they’re just generally aggressive by nature.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done about most of these things besides be cautious as leopard geckos are typically a little more irritable during most of the times that I mentioned, but for situations in which they feel spooked, when hand-feeding, or when dealing with two leopard geckos that just don’t seem to want to get along if you cohabit, then there are solutions.

How to Avoid Getting Bit

Don’t Spook Them

As stated above, there are things that can be done to decrease your chances of getting bit, but in order to do that, you might need to look into getting a few things so that it doesn’t happen.

For leopard geckos that get spooked out easily, I highly recommend looking into getting a tank that opens up from the front.  They’re almost the same as tanks that only allow you to reach in from the top, but because they allow you access to your gecko from the front, it gives you lizard the chance to see your hand before reaching into the tank.

Leopard geckos who get spooked will either hide, become extremely stressed out, or bite you.  So, having a tank like that will be what you need for preventing that.  If you’re interested in possibly getting one, then I recommend checking it out here on Amazon.

Don’t Use Your Hands

Another way to avoid getting bitten is to not hand-feed your leopard gecko or pick up any insects that may have dropped into the tank as this will likely confuse your leopard gecko into thinking that your hand is food and as a result, you could potentially end up getting attacked.

To prevent this from happening, a better option is to use a tool to pick your insects up with instead so that you don’t have to do it by using your hands.  Not all leopard geckos will bite when picking up insects from inside of the tank, but if you have one that does, then I suggest you check out these tongs here.

To a leopard gecko, your fingers resemble worms and because of that, it’s really easy for them to mistaken your fingers for food.  Having something to grab your insects with will allow you to feel more comfortable feeding them if you’re worried that you might get bitten.

Keep Them Separate

First thing’s first, if you’re someone who cohabits and you’re constantly having to break fights up between your lizards, then in order to avoid any serious attacks between your two geckos, you’ll want to keep them separated.

Not only will doing this allow your leopard geckos peace, but it’ll also prevent you from potentially getting bitten while stopping the fights as well.  This may seem unlikely, but because leopard geckos who fight are usually in an aggressive-state whenever they’re going at it, it’s easy for them to bite your finger on accident out of the confusion that your fingers were the other leopard gecko.

Leopard geckos who are put together in the same tank will sometimes nip at each other or show a little bit of aggression from time to time but if things get really bad and you catch them viciously going at it, then you’ll need a separate tank to put one of your leopard geckos in to stop the behavior.

Doing this will not only benefit you but it’ll benefit your leopard geckos as well.

Their Bites Aren’t Dangerous

Despite what many have speculated over the years, leopard gecko bites are not venomous and they more than likely will never require treatment because of how surprisingly weak they are.  It’s true that leopard geckos have teeth, but because their teeth are so tiny, people say that even those are hardly felt because of how small they are.

There have been instances where leopard geckos have made their owner bleed after biting them, but keep in mind that something like that happening is extremely rare and is probably a lot of the time caused by leopard geckos that are much larger, like the giant leopard gecko.

With other smaller animals that bite such as snakes and hamsters, there’s more to worry about since a lot of the time their bites are strong enough to break through the skin.  But when dealing with leopard geckos, they hardly ever have the pressure needed for causing any serious harm.

Also, keep in mind that a leopard geckos diet consists of nothing but insects, so because of that, they’re not having to use a lot of force to chew up their food.  Yes, some insects that they eat have tough exoskeletons, but most of the time, they’re not nearly tough enough to require a ton ‘chewing power’.

You might occasionally run into people who claim that their bites hurt, but this is rare.  If you’re fearful of getting a leopard gecko because you’re afraid that their bites may hurt, then you definitely shouldn’t be.

I haven’t been bitten by every animal out there, but I can say that considering the way the leopard geckos jaw is structured and the fact that they have small teeth leads me to believe that they have one of the weaker bites out there when it comes to animals compared to a lot of other commonly owned pets that people have.

Gerbils and hamsters have teeth and jaws for chewing through tough food while cats and dogs are the same, but fortunately for us owners, leopard geckos don’t have this type of ability. 

I’m not saying that their bites are the most comfortable in the world, but they’re definitely not something that should cause you to be scared of putting your hand into the tank if your leopard gecko isn’t an aggressive one.

Conclusion

Wondering whether or not a leopard gecko has the capability to hurt you is a surprisingly common worry when it comes to these little lizards, but fortunately, it’s really nothing that you should be concerned about.

When choosing a caged animal or any other kind of animal for that matter, you take the risk of getting bitten by any of them.  But, if you don’t do things that will irritate that animal or bother them in times where they’re most likely to bite you, then chances are that you won’t get bitten.

Animals, including leopard geckos, live purely on instinct.  So if you do end up getting bitten, then it’s because they’re reacting to something that has happened to them or that they’re going through something personally that has caused them to act in that particular kind of way.

There are leopard geckos that are generally a little more aggressive by nature, but a lot of the time, they won’t bite unless provoked or in times where they’re very defensive or irritable such as when they’re going through a shed or sometimes even pregnancy.

Just be mindful of the things that you do around your gecko, try not to bother them at the wrong times, and don’t stick your hand in the tank if food is dropped and you should be alright.