Do leopard geckos bite? We see this question pop up every now and then. It is a fair & valid question. Perhaps you are a concerned guardian looking for information on leopard geckos before purchasing one. Or maybe you are wanting to get into reptiles but you don’t like reptiles that bite. Some people even have fear of reptiles, called herpetophobia. It is a rather common animal phobia. Herpetophobia is a condition that can be managed and cured with proper clinical treatment.
Do leopard geckos bite? The answer
Yes, leopard geckos can bite. But it’s not common for leopard geckos to bite. When scared or threatened, leopard geckos most often choose to flee rather than fight. When leopard geckos do bite, sometimes there are reasons for it. We’ll go through some of the reasons below so you can be informed and perhaps avoid getting bit in the future.
Leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) make for great beginner pet lizards for hobbyists of all ages. Crepuscular in nature, they are the most active during twilight around dusk and dawn. Due to their gentle and docile temperament, leopard geckos are one of the best reptile pets for handling. They are usually skittish when they are young, but they become much more docile and calm as they get older.
Best Reptile Pets For Handling
Leopard geckos tolerate handling very well. They are coldblooded animals, so they will often lay on the palm of your hand to enjoy the warmth of your hand. Unlike other gecko species, leopard geckos are ground-dwelling lizards with claws instead of sticky pads on their feet. You can feel their claws when they hold on to you, but it won’t hurt as their claws are very small.
Leopard geckos rarely bite unless threatened. Key to not spook a leopard gecko is by slow movements. When approaching them with your hands, try to approach from the side of them and scoop them up. If you approach from the backside and touch their tail first, they may get spooked. When you see a leopard gecko wave their tail slowly back and forth, that’s their defensive posture. This tail waving behavior means they are spooked and you should wait until they calm down before attempting to pick them up.
There are different leopard gecko tail waving and rattling behaviors, understanding them will allow you to understand your leopard geckos better. I’ve been waiting for awhile to get this tail waving behavior captured on video. Today while cleaning out a leopard gecko’s enclosure, I placed this gecko in a temporary critter tote. She saw her own reflection and started to wave her tail (as seen in the video above).
This particular back & forth leopard gecko tail waving is a defensive posture
This is the gecko’s way of distracting a potential attacker. They wave their tails so the attackers would focus on their tail, rather than their body. The idea is that the attacker would strike at their tail, at which time the gecko would break off the tail and run away. So if you ever see your leopard gecko waving their tail at another gecko, it’s best to separate them right away. When a gecko is spooked, any slight movement could cause a gecko to strike out and bite. You can prevent some serious injuries by noticing these signs right away.
Leopard geckos do regenerate their tails, although they won’t look the same. See the picture below for an example of a regenerated tail tip.
This is not to be confused with tail shaking, like a rattlesnake tail rattling