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How bad is a leopard gecko bite?

Getting a Leopard Gecko bite sounds scary, right? But how bad is this bite, and is it something to worried about? Well in this article I will reveal the answer.

How bad is a leopard gecko bite? Not bad. A Leopard Gecko’s bit is not that bad when you compare it to other lizards, such as ferocious Komodo Dragons. However, they have the ability to break your skin and infect you with a bacterial infection.

The reality is, Leopard Geckos are great pets, especially for beginners. But I understand that yo need to do your research and understand the risk. For that reason, in this article I will provide the detail need for example what makes them bite, signs that may bite you and more.

Why do some people fear leopard gecko bites?

Some people have a legitimate phobia for lizards called herpetophobia. This phobia is quite common and is something that makes people fair lizards, even at the thought of just seeing them. This herpetophobia phobia even has a formal clinical treatment to deal with it, if it’s really required.

When a leopard gecko bites you, you need to understand that it is not a personal thing, it is usually for a very valid reason, and in most cases it’s nature’s defensive tactic.

What Will Make a Leopard Gecko Bite You?

In this section I’m going to give you some ideas of why your leopard gecko may attempt to bite you:

Territorial behaviour from a male gecko

Male geckos are naturally territorial, even more so when it’s during the breeding season. Common things that can trigger this, can be as simple as you as an owner handling more than one Gecko in a day. The male can pick up the scent from your hands and confuse you as a potential male lizard threat.

To get around this, the simple solution is just to wash your hands before you handle each leopard gecko. Therefore, removing the unwanted sent away from your hands.

They are feeling hungry and “nippy”

Sometimes you may find that your hand may be mistaken as potential food. If they are hungry, as you reach your hand in to the leopard geckos cage, they will see the small movement of your fingers and naturally want to go and bite you.

This is mainly when they are hungry, waiting for food. When they are in this state, they are naturally prone to react to small movements and unfortunately, in this occasion, your hand has triggered them to bite and go for their prey.

A tactic that you can use to avoid getting your hand bitten as you reach your hand into the tank, is to coax them to follow your hand.

Let me explain, for example, using your right hand as a decoy, as they approach your right hand in an attempt to bite it, you use your left hand to grab them gently, allowing you to handle them while you then cunningly place the food into their tank.

Unnaturally overly aggressive leopard gecko

On some rare occasions you may just find that you are unlucky, and you have a overly unnatural aggressive leopard gecko. This is not too common but can happen.

If you find that your leopard gecko is shaking its tail aggressively, similar to a snake, or even charging at you, on a regular basis, even if it is not hungry, or in breeding season, there is a chance that you have one of these overly aggressive leopard geckos.

In the first instance it’s advised just to leave the Gecko alone to see if it’s just a one-off. If this persists over many days, unfortunately there is a good chance that you have a naturally aggressive leopard gecko.

Unfortunately, if this is the case, there is nothing that you can really do about this. It’s just one of those things. However, you need to be very careful not to allow any children to be around these type of leopard geckos.

Because they are quite dangerous and you should avoid handling them as much as possible. They are still good pets, but you just have to be mindful that they are dangerous. They’re good to look at through the tank window, but not one to let your friends have a feel of, are you with me?

What happens if a leopard gecko bites you?

A leopard gecko bite is not very dangerous. They will bite down with as much force as they can but in reality it is not a major bite. However, there is a chance that you could actually pick up a bacterial infection.

So it is very important that after you are bitten that you thoroughly wash the bitten area with antibacterial soap and if there’s any doubt consult your doctor to be doubly sure. One of the biggest mistakes many people make when they are actually getting bitten, is to grab the lizard and remove it, to try and get rid of the Lizard.

While this may seem like a logical thing to do it’s actually worse, because as you pull the lizard away, while it is chomping down on you, it can break and tear your skin, which can make the injury even worse.

In fact the best way to deal with this is to be patient and wait for the leopard gecko to let go on its own accord. I know this is easy for me to say as I’m writing this, because in reality it will most likely be quite a scary experience, and I fully understand your instinctive reaction of pulling the leopard gecko away, but if you can avoid this, this is the best way to reduce the damage.

Signs that your leopard gecko might be about to bite you

In this section, I am going to give you some indications that your leopard Gecko maybe secretly plotting to bite you:

Your Leo is Slyly Hiding away

If you find that your leopard gecko is hiding away in a small cave or hidden area in the tank this could be an early indication that he fears you, and may even bite you. If you find that every time you walk near your Leopard Gecko, and it was acting normally, but then all of a sudden it goes to hide away as it sees you, this is a clear indication that it fears you.

This is usually common behaviour from younger hatchlings before they have had an opportunity to get to know you. If this is the case, you need to be careful, because as you raise your hand in to pet or feed them, and try to move towards them, while they’re hiding they may instinctively bite you simply to protect themselves.

Aggressive tail swaying

If you notice that your Leopard Gecko is waving its tail, almost in an “s” motion, which may be hard to visualise now, but if you see it then you’ll understand what I mean, this could be an indication that it is getting defensive, and could potentially bite you.

This is commonly seen if it sees itself in a mirror and mistakes itself as a potential predator or if it sees another animal, such as a house cat, or other pet. In this case it then usually moves its tail in this manner to show aggression and to indicate that it may bite.

Agressive Hissing

You may find that your Leopard Gecko attempts to hiss at you as you as you approach it. This is a clear sign that it is not happy and it will consider biting you. Think of this as a clear warning sign. If you attempt to pick it up, be warned you will likely get bitten.

You may find, even if you are successful to pick it up and then reconsider, then drop it down, it will continue to hiss aggressively for a while. This may continue until it actually calms down. So it is a good idea to avoid handling your Leo when you hear this frightening hiss.

Aggressive stance and posturing

You may notice, particularly on cleaning days, that your leopard gecko will press its stomach towards the ground and follow your hand with almost laser type focus. While it’s doing this it may also have its tail in a vertical formation. This is a clear sign that it is unhappy, more of a territorial behaviour actually, and there is a good chance that it may attempt to bite you.

You may also find it behave in this manner if it sees you attempting to remove things from its tank, as you attempt to clean it.

Related Questions:

Are Leopard Geckos scared of humans? Yes, they are initially in captivity. Because they need time to build trust with you. In their natural habitat, then even more so. In captivity, once they get to know you, this should not be an issue.


Hi, this is me with my daughter and my Lizard friend. I hope you enjoy my research. Please feel free to check out my "About Me" page to find out more about me.