All species of geckos have teeth, but they vary in size, number, and shape depending on the species. Their teeth are different from many other kinds of reptiles and their teeth are not poisonous. As a matter of fact, leopard geckos are not venomous at all and are quite easily tamed and kept as pets. They are quiet, minimalist animals who do not require much care.
Leopard Geckos have teeth and are considered polyphyodont, meaning their teeth are continually growing and being replaced in small rows within their mouths. Potentially, they can bite you but will only do so when provoked. The bites of a Leopard Gecko are generally harmless.
Leopard Geckos are popular pets because of their easygoing nature and colorful patterns. Owners shouldn’t worry about bites from these lizards, but it’s important to understand why they might bite and how to prevent it.
Leopard Gecko Teeth
Before we dive into learning about gecko’s teeth, let’s compare them to the teeth of other common mammals and humans. Humans have diphyodont teeth, meaning they grow 2 sets of teeth, one as a set of preparatory teeth and then a set of permanent teeth.
Normally, children will start growing teeth around 6 months, and then stop when they are three. Around age 6 to 8 humans will lose those teeth and get permanent teeth which they will have for the remainder of their life. This is what we are accustomed to, but in reality, there are quite a few reptiles and mammals that follow a totally different pattern for their teeth. Their teeth are known as polyphyodonts.
Sharks, alligators, and other reptiles (including geckos) all have a continuous cycle for growing and replacing their teeth. They will grow rows in their mouths and replace their teeth frequently.
As a matter of fact, Leopard Geckos go through an entire cycle of replacing their teeth every 3 to 4 months. In a series of steps, they are able to replace them, yet still have around 100 teeth throughout their life.
Regardless of their teeth structure though, leopard geckos would normally not bite you, and because of how small their teeth are it is very unlikely that it would puncture the skin or cause any sort of pain other than a small pinch.
Of course, smaller geckos will have even less of an impact, and normal-sized geckos bite would be minimal, but there are also giant and supergiant leopard geckos whose bites could be a bit more painful.
In short, let’s look at the answer from someone who owns and care for leopard geckos. Matty, who owns four leopard geckos said, “…they have little teeth. I have one that bites. He…is so jumpy if I pick him up too fast or he thinks I’m sneaking up on him. He will scream and bite… [it is a] good thing it doesn’t hurt too bad since his teeth are so little, but I’d compare it to when you are pressing down really hard on a tape dispenser and it pokes you.”
Why Would Leopard Gecko Bite?
Almost any animal that is provoked or hurt will try to bite you as a way of defending itself. The same is true for the Leopard gecko. They will bite you if you are not careful, and so it is important to ensure that you are kind to the reptile and don’t provoke it to anger.
They will bite you, but it shouldn’t hurt and it is not reported to be that harmful and doesn’t break the skin. Though it shouldn’t be a big worry for you, it is important to ensure that you are properly taking care of your pets and ensuring that they feel comfortable and safe. Let’s go through some of the reasons leopard geckos would try and bite you and how you can avoid it.
First of all, Leopard Geckos are very territorial. Not only does that mean that they like their space, but they can smell the scent of other geckos and are threatened by it. This is particularly true for male geckos, and especially during mating season.
If they smell the scent of another male on your hands, that would give them a reason to bite you. To remedy this you should ensure that you wash your hands if you are holding different geckos. So, before you grab another, be sure to wash your hands so they don’t mistake you for something else.
Hungry Leopard Geckos might also mistake you for food. If you happen to be in the way right before feeding time, they might just try and take a bite out of your finger. To remedy this, ensure that you feed your reptiles before you pick them up. If this is not possible, pose some sort of distraction so that he doesn’t mistake your finger for food.
There’s also a difference in personalities, and you may deal with excessively aggressive Geckos. For the first couple days or the first week in a new place, they can be aggressive, but after that, they should begin to get used to you and calm down. If this doesn’t happen they could just be a bit more high-strung than some geckos or have underlying problems which make them more aggressive.
Baby Geckos are also more likely to bite than adults. If you have baby Leopard Geckos, they are much more likely to bite you. Mostly this would be out of curiosity, new learning, and playfulness, but it does still occur. Their bites are not painful because they are so small.
The most common reason would probably be that they are just scared, annoyed, or afraid. If you are grabbing them too quickly or making loud noises, they may be triggered to put up their defense and bite you.
If it is already a baby gecko, or in a new place, it would be wise to allow it to adjust to its other life circumstances before also having it adjust to you. This also means it is important to tame your gecko so it becomes accustomed to you and others who are often around it. Most geckos when they are scared would normally run away, but they could try to bite you as well.