If you ask most of the people who have been caring for reptiles for a long time where they started they will more than likely tell you Leopard Geckos. Leopard Geckos are one of the most popular lizards to keep as pets and with good reason. They are pretty tame, they are quite small and above all they are fairly easy to look after.
With this being said there are some soon to be owners who worry if Leopard Geckos bite. That is what we are going to be answering with today’s article and also ways that you can reduce the chances of it happening in the first place. So grab a drink and some snacks because this guide is loaded with valuable information!
Do Leopard Geckos bite?
lets start off with the main question and get it out of the way.
So do pet Leopard Geckos bite? The quick and simple answer to this is yes. Leopard geckos can bite if they are provoked, threatened or scared. Fortunately they only have small jaws and teeth so they inflicted damage is usually very minimal. The chances of you or a loved one being bit can be greatly reduced by reading the rest of this guide and following the tips and steps provided.
Now we know that Leopard Geckos can bite we has best look at if that bite is painful and ways that we can cut the risk of it happening.
Does a pet Leopard Geckos bite hurt?
We now know that Leopard Geckos can and will bite if they are provoked into it. However does it actually hurt of is it pretty much painless. Let’s have a look,
Does a leopard Geckos bite hurt? The answer to this depends on a few variables. The first being the age of the victim, the young and old have thinner skin which is susceptible to piercing. Generally though a Leopard Geckos bite is not very painful and most of the damage (If any) will come from the victim panicking and ripping the Gecko off themselves.
The problem tends to be that when the gecko does bite it latches on and the person panics. More often than not the teeth are not big enough or the jaws strong enough to break the skin. However by panicking and pulling the Gecko off you stand more chance of the skin being ripped, along with the chance of injuring your Leopard Gecko.
These are the reasons a Leopard Gecko may bite you.
As uncommon as it is bites do happen but there is always a reason for it and a Leopard Gecko will not last out for no reason at all. By realising what can cause an attack in the first place we can work out how to avoid a situation where it may happen. With that being said I have put a list together below with the main reasons why you could receive a bite.
- Rough handling ( usually by a younger untrained member of the family).
- Trying to restrict the lizards movement.
- The Gecko may be feeling scared or even threatened.
- A hungry Leopard Gecko can be a snappy Gecko.
- When a Leopard Gecko is eating it can be very protective over its food ( just like us humans).
- Not socialising and handling your Gecko enough.
- Quick or sudden grabbing movements when picking the Leopard Gecko up.
- Stressed due to another leopard gecko being in its tank, check this article to see why this might happen.
- When trying to help a leopard gecko with some stuck shedding skin.
So these are the mains reasons why your pet Leopard Gecko may decide to try to take a chunk out of your finger. Now we know the seasoning why, we can figure out ways to stop or reduce the chance of the situation happening.
Ways that you can stop a Leopard Gecko from biting before it even happens.
Ok, so now we know why you may get bit by your pet Gecko. In this section of the article we are going to look at ways in which you can prepare so that it does not happen or the chances are greatly reduced.
The below list are my top tips for stopping Leopard Geckos from biting you or your loved ones:
- Make training any children who may be handling the Leopard Gecko a priority, most bites occur when children roughly handle them not knowing that this can cause distress and a nasty nip.
- Try not to restrict the Geckos movement, instead allow it free movement whilst gently guiding it if it goes a little bit to stray.
- When Geckos are attacked by predators in the wild it is usually fast and from above. With this in mind it is best when picking the Gecko up to coax it onto your open palm with slow and gentle movements.
- Make sure that you regularly feed your Gecko on time so that it does not feel hungry as they can be a bit snappy if they have not eaten. On the other side of the coin, do not handle your Leopard Gecko when it is eating as they can be protective over their meal. If you would like to know what to feed your leopard gecko check out this article.
- Last on this list is to give your Gecko plenty of handling from the start. The more it socialising with you the better it will become accustomed to being held by you without feeling scared or threatened.
This is what you or a loved one should do if you do get bit by a Leopard Gecko.
Bites are rare when handling Leopard Geckos but they do happen from time to time so being prepared for when it happens is important.
If you do get bitten the first thing you should do is gently place the Gecko back into its tank without panicking as this can cause further bites. It is also worth mentioning that a Gecko bite will not usually pierce the skin and as hard as it might be it is better to let the Gecko decide when to let go. This is because most cases of drawn blood are from pulling the biting Gecko off which can tear the skin.
Once the Leopard Gecko is back in its tank you can check and asses the wound. If the skin has not been punctured you can simply rinse your hand with antibacterial soap under warm water.
If you happen to receive a bite that does pierce the skin you need to follow the first steps of checking the wound and cleaning under fresh, warm and running water with antibacterial soap. Then clean once more with an alcohol based antibacterial hand cleaner. Now you can apply a bandage or plaster. You should not need anymore treatment but if you do notice any swelling or discharge from the bite area please seek the help and advice of a doctor.
How to safely handle a Leopard Gecko so a bite does not happen.
Learning how to handle a Leopard Gecko safely is one of the first steps in reducing your chances of getting a bite on the fingertip. As mentioned before it is best to pick up the Gecko with an open hand by coaxing it onto your palm instead of picking it up from above. try to be as slow and gentle as you can when picking it up.
Once you have the Gecko in your hand you can now let it run around freely and if needed gently guide it to where you want it to go. Whatever you do though do not squeeze or try to confine it. This can really spook your Gecko and cause it to lash out of fear for its safety.
Owning a Leopard Gecko as a pet is a great way to get into lizard ownership. They are magical little creatures that are a real joy to care for and watch and can provide hours of fun for children and adults alike. Even though there is a small chance you could get a little bite the benefits of ownership far outweigh the negatives.
As a final note I would just like to say that if you are unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of a Leopard Geckos bite, do not let it put you off from further handling. Suck it up and learn from what may have caused the bite and you and your new pet will live in harmony once more. If you would like to read more leopard gecko guides check out this link.