If you own a crested gecko or are thinking about adopting one, it’s reasonable for you to want to know if they are aggressive or tend to bite when they are handled.
Although crested geckos are relatively small and docile lizards, there are plenty of even smaller reptiles with surprisingly sharp teeth and strong jaws, so you’re probably wondering:
Do these little pet lizards have teeth, and are their bites dangerous?
Crested geckos have teeth, but they are small and not particularly sharp. Additionally, crested geckos are among the most docile pet reptiles and aren’t prone to aggression or biting in the first place, so they generally won’t bite unless they feel highly threatened or are hurt.
Keep reading to learn more about crested geckos, their teeth, and if their bite is worse than their bark.
We’ll go over everything you need to know about your scaly friend’s chompers and if you have anything to worry about as far as their bite.
Do Crested Geckos Have Teeth?
Crested geckos have over 170 tiny teeth arranged into two rows similar to a shark. They are gradually worn down and replaced over time, but they aren’t sharp; in fact, crested geckos don’t even use their teeth to chew their food! Instead, they use setae in their mouths to break down food.
If you’ve ever watched your crested gecko eat up close, you’ve probably already noticed what appears to be a serrated edge lining their top and bottom jaws!
These serrated edges are made up of a total of 177 individual teeth.
The teeth are numerous because each tooth is only around 0.25 to 0.5 millimeters long.
Interestingly, crested geckos are born with fully-formed rows of teeth.
These teeth help the geckos hatch from their eggs!
Even as babies, they know to use their teeth to cut into their eggs from the inside, eventually creating a hole large enough for them to fully emerge.
As they age, your gecko will potentially go through thousands of teeth in their lifetime.
You won’t see these teeth shed anywhere, though, as they are so small most geckos simply swallow them once they fall out.
Their new teeth are constantly growing and pushing out old teeth, again, similar to how a shark’s teeth form.
Fortunately, these teeth aren’t very sharp, and they aren’t even really used as a defense mechanism unless a gecko becomes extremely stressed, hurt, or is otherwise threatened by a predator.
Check signs of crested gecko stress and how to help them.
Crested geckos don’t even use them to chew their food!
Most of their diet consists of soft fruits and small insect prey, so cresties don’t need a very forceful bite to tear into them.
They have a couple of rows of tiny hairs known as setae lining the inside of their mouth behind their teeth which help to break down food before they swallow it.
These setae are similar to those on their feet, which crested geckos use to climb and cling to surfaces!
Do Crested Geckos Bite?
Crested geckos rarely bite unless they are hurt or threatened. They primarily use their teeth to grab food, using the setae in their mouth behind their teeth to break it down before swallowing. Their teeth aren’t sharp or long enough to deliver a very painful or deep bite.
One of the reasons why crested geckos make such great pets for beginner reptile enthusiasts is their docile, friendly temperament compared to other reptile species.
Like other popular reptiles like the bearded dragon and leopard gecko, cresties are curious, tame, and take well to handling if they are socialized gradually from a young age.
This calm temperament means crested geckos rarely show aggression and are much faster to simply run or leap away rather than bite in self-defense.
If your gecko feels scared or upset, they’ll most likely squirm out of your hands and run off instead of outright attacking since even they know their teeth aren’t particularly damaging or threatening to predators.
Additionally, instead of biting, crested geckos will often just drop their tails to give them a head start on their escape.
They do this in an attempt to confuse or startle their predators for long enough to give them a chance to run to safety.
Again, your gecko knows they don’t stand a chance against a human in a fight, so it makes far more sense to them to flee than bite.
If your gecko does bite you, though, you don’t have much to worry about as far as the pain and depth of the bite.
Most crested gecko bites aren’t strong enough to puncture human skin or draw blood.
There’s a chance you won’t even notice your gecko has bitten you unless you see them do it since their jaws just aren’t strong enough to exert the force needed to cause any significant pain, and the teeth themselves are more blunt than sharp.
At most, if your gecko bites you, you’ll be more surprised and offended than hurt!
Are Crested Geckos Venomous?
Crested geckos are not venomous. Even if they were poisonous or venomous, they do not have any venom glands or means of delivering venom. Overall, they are harmless to humans, and a crested gecko’s bite is generally not painful or even capable of puncturing a human’s thick skin.
While many reptile species are poisonous or venomous, you don’t have to worry about anything of the sort with crested geckos.
To begin with, they don’t have any kind of venom in their bodies.
Even if they did, they don’t have any sharp fangs or other means of actually delivering venom to their prey or potential predators in self-defense.
Additionally, if crested geckos did have venom, they just don’t have enough force behind their jaws to hold onto you for long enough to deliver it.
Their teeth are more blunt than sharp, and they’re designed more to grab their food rather than break it down or tear it apart.
In reality, you are far more dangerous to your gecko than they are to you!
Do Crested Gecko Bites Hurt?
Generally, crested gecko bites are not painful and rarely break the skin or draw blood. However, their bite will cause a bit of pain to small children handling them, so ensuring younger members of your family handle your gecko safely and correctly is essential to preventing biting incidents.
Overall, you’re far more likely to be surprised or startled by your gecko biting you rather than genuinely hurt.
As we mentioned briefly earlier, most crested geckos are hesitant to bite humans since they know their bite isn’t strong or sharp enough to cause significant pain to their predators.
If your gecko does happen to bite you, all you’ll feel is a slight, brief pinch at most.
Place your gecko back in their enclosure as quickly as possible after a bite, so you don’t stress them out further.
You also ideally want to prevent them from dropping their tail whenever possible if they haven’t done so already; even though the tail dropping itself doesn’t hurt the gecko, it is often very upsetting for them.
The only real damage a crested gecko will do with their bite is towards very young or small children handling them too roughly or incorrectly.
It’s best to only allow older children to handle your gecko.
There isn’t an exact age to refer to here, as all kids are different.
Still, the child should be able to hold and handle the gecko gently yet securely without accidentally squeezing, dropping, or otherwise upsetting the animal.
If you have any doubts about your child handling the gecko properly, it’s best to hold off until they are a bit older and more responsible.
Although crested geckos are capable of causing a bit of pain to kids with their bite, even small children are more dangerous to the gecko than the gecko is to them.
For example, a child will potentially throw the gecko in surprise after a bite, causing severe injuries or even death.
Are Crested Gecko Bites Dangerous?
Crested gecko bites are generally not dangerous since crested geckos don’t have sharp teeth, and their jaws lack the adequate force to puncture or damage human skin. The only real danger they present is to very small children, who ideally shouldn’t be handling crested geckos anyway.
Since they aren’t venomous and have fairly dull teeth with very little bite force, your crested gecko’s bite isn’t anything to worry about.
Once again, you are far more dangerous to them than they are to you!
You’re far more likely to simply be surprised or startled by a crested gecko bite than harmed by them.
Their bites are harmless towards humans, aside from very small children, and young kids shouldn’t be handling crested geckos since they are often unpredictable when handling small animals.
However, be sure to always wash your hands thoroughly after handling your crested gecko, regardless of whether they bite you or not, as even healthy-looking geckos are often carriers of Salmonella bacteria.
Are Crested Geckos Aggressive?
Crested geckos are among the least aggressive pet reptiles on the market. If stressed or upset, they will show fear rather than aggression. Male geckos are sometimes aggressive and territorial towards each other, but they are not violent or hostile towards humans.
Fortunately, crested geckos are incredibly docile and even friendly animals in captivity.
They are sometimes skittish and fearful early on if you don’t handle or socialize them enough, but they will rarely be outright combative or aggressive.
Their calm, curious temperament makes them a favorite reptile of both beginner and experienced reptile keepers.
Like we touched on earlier, your gecko is much more likely to flee or use a defensive mechanism like dropping their tail when they become upset or stressed rather than bite you.
Most crested gecko owners never experience their lizard biting them at all, and those who do usually note they handled the gecko incorrectly and accidentally prompted the defensive biting.
However, male crested geckos are somewhat territorial and are more aggressive than female geckos.
However, this aggression is rare and usually only displayed towards other geckos rather than humans.
After all, crested geckos are prey animals, and they know biting a predator is potentially fatal to them.
How To Prevent Crested Gecko Bites
Proper, gentle handling and gradual socialization are best ways to prevent crested gecko bites. Crested geckos rarely bite, so you should be more worried about them dropping their tail or injuring themselves when leaping from your hands while stressed.
Crested geckos tolerate handling fairly well, and many geckos even enjoy it once they become more familiar with their owners.
However, it’s important to not rush into handling and instead ease into it by gradually introducing your gecko to more human contact over time.
For example, don’t rush to start picking up your gecko as soon as you bring them home, especially if they are very young and fragile.
It’s best to start with touching or petting your gecko, slowly getting them used to your hands over a few weeks before you actually start picking them up and handling them more directly.
Always approach your gecko with your hands from the sides rather than above.
Most crested geckos instinctively understand shadows overhead as incoming predators, so you should never hover over them during a handling or socialization session.
When you start picking up your gecko, be as gentle as possible.
Avoid making any sudden movements.
Be sure to hold the gecko over a cushioned surface so if they do manage to wiggle out of your hands or leap away from you, they won’t harm themselves.
Have one hand underneath the gecko fully supporting their tail, belly, head, and limbs, and gently cup your other hand over their body (but not their head).
Finally, keep handling and socialization sessions to 5 to 10 minutes at most, especially early on when your gecko is still getting used to you.
This will ensure you don’t overwhelm the lizard and stress them out further.
Check out our full guide on how to tame crested geckos and get them used to you.
How To Treat Crested Gecko Bites
If your crested gecko doesn’t break the skin or draw blood, you won’t have to treat the bite at all. If they do manage to puncture your skin, simply wash the wound with warm water and a gentle antiseptic, then cover it with a small, sterile bandage while it heals.
The vast majority of crested gecko bites never even break the skin!
However, if your gecko does manage to draw blood or puncture your skin, put them back in their enclosure gently and then tend to the wound.
At most, you’ll just have to clean the bite and keep it bandaged while it heals.
Be sure to check on your gecko in the meantime to be sure they aren’t hurt, and make sure they haven’t dropped their tail in the process.
If they did drop their tail, you won’t have to intervene much, but you will have to keep an eye on it as it grows back to ensure it doesn’t become infected or otherwise damaged.