If you want one as a pet, you have to ask, do Tokay Geckos bite? Owning a reptile for the first time can seem daunting, so it’s best to gear yourself with all the knowledge you need before buying one.
I’ve never owned a Tokay Gecko as a pet, but in my line of work, I deal with them a lot. They aren’t easy to tame and tend to be aggressive. You should know that they aren’t the easiest reptiles to handle if you decide to purchase one, even with regular interaction.
In this article, I explain more about their bites, what you should do if you’ve been bitten, and why they’re considered regular biters.
Do Tokay Geckos Bite?
Tokay Geckos are known for biting. They have sharp little teeth and a powerful jaw that helps them deliver a painful bite. It can hurt for days, and if they bite hard enough, even draw blood.
When a Tokay Gecko bites you, you shouldn’t pull or tug – if you do, they’ll only clench down stronger. Instead, stay calm. Tokay Geckos can quickly feel threatened, so if you’re relaxed, they’ll let go. If the Tokay doesn’t let go after a while, grab a water bowl and submerge your hand in it.
Tip: Before you submerge your hand in the water, get a tight grip with your other hand above the Gecko’s front legs just under its neck. This way, it can’t escape, and you’re saved from trying to catch it again.
How To Stay Safe After A Tokay Gecko Bites
There are many reasons why it’s best not to get bitten by a Tokay Gecko. They aren’t venomous, but their mouths can host several potentially dangerous protozoa, bacteria, and pathogenic fungus, of which some can’t be treated with antibiotics.
Tokay Geckos, especially large ones, can inflict a really deep wound. When their teeth penetrate your skin, harmful agents might transfer to you. The most common is Salmonella.
If you’ve been bitten, take these steps after the Tokay has let go:
- Thoroughly wash your wound with antibacterial soap and warm water.
- Put pressure on your wound if there’s any bleeding.
- Once the bleeding stops, apply an antiseptic like Betadine or an antibiotic ointment if you have one on hand.
- Cover the wound with a bandage.
You should seek medical attention if your wound is really deep or if you notice any swelling.
How To Minimize Tokay Gecko Bites
Notice how I say minimize? That’s because Tokay Geckos are naturally aggressive, and they tend to sometimes still bite their lifelong owners. You can’t avoid their bite entirely, but you can minimize it by taming your lizard.
To tame your Tokay Gecko, you have to convince them that you mean no harm to them. The moment they sense a threat, they’ll do what they have to defend themselves. If you want to tame this little beast, you need to earn their trust.
Here are a few things to keep in mind during the process:
- Always keep your hand under the lizard to avoid getting bit.
- Always put a Tokay in a position above you – human eyes intimidate them.
- Always handle your lizard in a spot where they can safely land if they decide to bolt from your hand.
To build a bond with your Tokay, start by coaxing them out of their hide and onto your hand. Place your hand in a position where they can’t see your eyes, and gently stroke the underside of your Tokay’s tail. After doing this for a few minutes, place your Tokay back in their cage.
You need to keep your first interactions short. Your lizard will need a lot of time to warm up to you. With some patience and the determination to gain the trust of this species, you’ll get your Tokay to a point where they realize you’re not going to hurt them.
Once you’ve bonded more and your Tokay seems calm when you pick them up, you can start positioning them at your body level. When they’re used to this position, coax them to walk from one hand to the other.
As they move around, look for any signs that they’re connecting to their environment, like licking you as they walk. If your lizard does this, you’re getting closer to having a friendly pet.
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Why Do Tokay Geckos Bite?
Tokay Geckos don’t easily trust, and with good reason. In the wild, they’re captured in great numbers for the medicinal practices of some cultures.
Whenever they consider something as a threat, feel afraid, angry, or stressed, they bite as a defensive response. Although they have an aggressive nature, Tokay Geckos are shy creatures, and they bite because they don’t like to be handled.
If you’re planning on buying a Tokay Gecko, you need to prepare for what lies ahead. Even those bred in captivity aren’t easy to tame. They’re interesting reptiles with a unique look and feisty personality.
With patience, you’ll be able to form a friendly bond with your Tokay Gecko, but you genuinely need to be up for the challenge. Every cold shoulder, bite and hiss should be worth it for you!
If you have any more questions about Tokay Gecko bites, please ask them in the comments for other community members and me to answer. I’d love to share more Tokay Gecko information with you!
Are Tokay Geckos aggressive?
Tokay Geckos have an aggressive nature and are typically territorial.
Do Tokay Geckos bite hurt?
It can be extremely painful when a Tokay Gecko bites you, and you might even see some blood.
What happens if a gecko bites you?
If a gecko bites you and penetrates your skin, you should immediately wash the wound with antibacterial soap and warm water. Geckos frequently carry Salmonella, which can make you very sick.
Do Tokay Geckos like to be handled?
Tokay Geckos don't like being handled, so it's best to not pick a random one up.
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