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Do Crested Geckos Bite And If So Does It Hurt?

A close up photo of a crested geckos teeth

The crested gecko is a species from New Caledonia. Its’name comes from the fringed crest above the eyes. That is why people often refer to it as the eyelash gecko too. The animal’s life expectancy is between 10 to 20 years old and it can also grow up to 9 inches long. This lizard is low maintenance and as such is the perfect choice for beginners and families with children. However the question always arises, do crested geckos bite, and if so does it actually hurt? Well in this article that is what we are going to be talking about and what to do should it happen.

Do crested geckos bite?

Ok so this is the quick and easy answer for anyone who does not have time to read the full article, however I really recommend you do as it is full of vital information.

So do crested geckos bite? The quick answer to this is yes. Crested geckos can bite you if they are provoked. That is the keyword though, a crested gecko is not malicious and would not bite for no reason at all so there has to be provocation. Anything from grabbing to rough handling can cause a bite but bites are almost always very minor and nothing to worry about.

Keep reading to learn how to handle and treat your crested gecko so that a bite situation does not occur.

Does a crested geckos bite hurt?

So we know that crested geckos have the potential to bite if provoked. But does the bite actually hurt or is it nothing to worry about?

Is a crested geckos bite painful? To be totally honest no, a crested geckos bite is nothing to really worry about. The worst part of it is the shock if you are new to getting bit by your pet lizard. It can also be a little scary for children. There is nothing to worry about though a crested geckos bite never causes serious injury.

​The rest of this article will discuss how to handle your crested gecko, as well as answer some other common questions related to their wellbeing.

These are the reasons why your crested gecko may bite you

Causes of Biting

A photo of a crested gecko biting a finger
This crested gecko is being aggressive and trying to bite its owners finger.

​This lizard has a friendly disposition and rarely bites. However, on occasion, it can happen that your pet does bite. For instance, if they are living with other reptiles in the same enclosure, they may bite one another. It is best to avoid having more than one animal in the same vivarium. However if you do want to house more than one crestie in the same tank have a read of our guide housing crested geckos together.

As for biting other people, this may occur if your pet is feeling stressed. Sometimes, the crested gecko isn’t in the mood to be held. Being handled is something they’ll tolerate, but not particularly enjoyable for them.

Body Language

​A crested gecko won’t immediately resort to biting. They usually display a certain behaviour first. Being able to read your pet’s body language will avoid this unpleasant event. Some signs to look out for are an open mouth or a sound that resembles chirping or barking.

​Pet owners need not worry, though. Their bite doesn’t hurt. That’s because although they have many teeth (over one hundred of them), they are very small. Their teeth grow and regenerate every couple of months. Some people who have been bitten by the crested gecko compares it to a fish bite. What they mean by this is that you feel the nip or pinch, but it doesn’t hurt.

What to do if you get bit by a crested gecko

​If you’ve been bitten by a crested gecko, place your pet back in its’ terrarium. Then, we suggest that you wash your hands with antibacterial soap. That is because the animal is a carrier of a bacteria called salmonella. However, when it comes to viruses, none of them are contagious and harmful to humans.

​One situation where it might be best to consult a health care professional is if you already have any health issues with your immune system. If your pet has bitten a child, then you may wish to have them checked by a doctor, too. That’s because a young person’s immune system hasn’t fully developed yet. This makes them more prone to contracting different bacteria and fungi.

How to safely handle a crested gecko

Patience

​When you bring your crested gecko home for the first time, it may feel confused and disoriented. They may also be more on the defensive because they are afraid. We suggest you wait three or four weeks before starting to handle your pet. This will give your reptile the time to adjust to its’ new living quarters.

​You will also need to wait before handling baby crested geckoes. Avoid trying to pick them up and play before they are at least three inches long.

​When the time is finally right to be able to become more familiar with your pet, bring their terrarium into a quiet room. It must be free of distracting sounds like the ones from the TV or radio. Close doors and windows to prevent them from running away. Lastly, clear the floor of obstacles like toys.

​Once you’ve created a controlled environment, it will be safe for you to remove the lid of its’ enclosure. Do so gently and put it aside, avoiding sudden movements and loud noises. These scare the crested gecko and will cause it to become anxious, bite or lose its’ tail.

​Next, lower your hand into the enclosure and lay it flat on the ground. Your palm should be facing upward. Then, slowly bring it towards your pet. This will reassure them that you are not a predator. What we don’t suggest it scooping up or reaching in for your pet. You don’t want it to think you are a predator. If your crested gecko still isn’t walking onto your hand, let it be and try again later.

A photo of a crested gecko in a hand
Crested geckos are generally very mild mannered and need to be provoked to bite.

Technique

​When the lizard does walk into your hand, gently cup your other hand over your pet so it doesn’t jump. When manipulating your pet, be sure that it is not high above the ground. Have a table or another flat surface under your hands. This is a precautionary measure in case your lizard decides to jump. One way you can play with your pet is by turning your hands into a treadmill, the way you might when playing with a hamster. This walking activity is a great way for you to interact with your pet. You can do this until your lizard stops climbing or whenever your playtime hits the fifteen-minute mark. They’ll be tired by then.

​With babies and young crested geckos, you can start with five-minute sessions of walking on your hands and gradually increase the time to fifteen minutes. It will take time before your pet is comfortable with simply sitting or resting on your hands and arm.

Games

​Another fun thing to do with your pet is a jumping game. Again, be sure you are near the ground. Place your hands at a short distance from each other, with one slightly higher than the other. Jumping from one hand to another will take time and patience, but it very rewarding.

​Would you like to teach your crested gecko how to sit on your shoulder? Sit completely still for a few minutes. Then, gently lift your hand and have it approach your shoulder. You can also tip your hand a little so that you can guide it there. Do this regularly and you will train your pet to do so by itself.

At the end of every activity, place your pet back into its’ enclosure by bringing your hand back on the ground. The lizard should walk out of your hand and head back into its’ terrarium.

Related questions.

Why does my crested gecko always bit me? This could be because your crested gecko is new and not used to so much handling. The way to overcome this is to give the gecko some time to adapt to its new environment and handle it less. In time the gecko will feel more at ease in its new surroundings and with some gentle handling.

My crested gecko keeps biting me after feeding, why is this? This is more than likely because your fingers smell of its food. After feeding your crestie make sure to wash your hands thoroughly to get rid of the smell of its dinner.

Conclusion

​The crested gecko is a great choice of pet for beginners and young families. They are low maintenance, a simple diet and have a gentle disposition. However, there are times when they might bite. Learn how to read the lizard’s body language and handle it properly to avoid this from happening. It doesn’t hurt. Just be sure to wash your hands to avoid bacteria. If you want to read more guides for your crested geckos care then have a look at some of these articles on this website.

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