Reptile’s creepy reputation mainly created by the media and film forces most people coil in fear when they come into contact with one. By any chance, if you have ever watched the venom spitting Jurassic park lizards, or the slithering eight meters anaconda clips, probably you would develop an immense phobia around reptiles.
For that reason, the idea of bringing a leopard gecko home would be spine-chilling and a novel experience. Yet, there are a couple of individuals who prefer the company of these beautiful creatures compared to cats and dogs.
The crux of the matter is that leopard geckos are the most amazing non-venomous reptiles. We all know that no one wants to take a dangerous or spiteful pet home. Keep following as we take you through a fact-finding journey on why it is indeed safe to invest in a leopard gecko.
Do Leopard Geckos Have Teeth?
Leopard geckos are primarily polyphyodont animals. These are creatures that replace their teeth severally until they deplete their tooth buds. Born with around 100 teeth, they keep on replacing them after a couple of months.
Leopard geckos that come from Pakistan and Afghanistan lose and restore their teeth after three to four months. This may differ depending on other species.
All in all, different leopard gecko species have rows of miniature pointed teeth lining maxilla, premaxilla and dentary bones. There are bones positioned in the upper and lower jaw.
On the upper premaxilla bone, leopard geckos have about nine to thirteen teeth. The rest either attach to the maxilla or dentary. Typically, the upper jaw contains more teeth compared to the lower. While most leopard geckos have 100 teeth, some species grow 60 or less.
However, this unique characteristic remains a point of confusion. How can such a tiny creature replace so many teeth in its lifetime?
To clear the air, this process happens automatically, without a specific trigger. Still, there are scientists who argue out that the stem cells instigate the process.
Whatever the cause, there is no known evidence to establish why some leopard geckos grow more teeth and what prompts the replacement process. Instead, routinely behind the old teeth in the jaw, leopard geckos grow new ones. As they grow, they push out the old ones until they fall out.
Do Leopard Geckos Bite?
Unless there is a major reason behind it, leopard geckos rarely bite. If aggravated or mishandled, your docile reptile may become slightly aggressive and sink their teeth in your skin.
Although baby leo’s bites may not hurt, adult geckos with plenty of teeth can cause slight pain. Keep in mind that some large species like the super giant leopard gecko measure up to one foot. If this animal bites, it may cause severe pain compared to the others.
There are several reasons that cause this little reptile to bite. For instance, when fighting for territory if you touch a rival, they may attack you if the smell lingers on your hand. Other factors include signs of hunger or during the hatching process.
Is it Safe to Hold a Leopard Gecko?
Despite the myth about venomous geckos, leos are fragile, harmless creatures that you can hold with bare hands. Still, be extremely gentle with them and avoid putting pressure around the tail. This is because leopard geckos naturally drop their tails to distract predators.
The best way to hold your gecko is to move your hand unhurriedly towards it. When it clings on it, slowly support in between your hand. Avoid squeezing, but allow your little friend to crawl or sit on your hand.
It might take a bit of time for a new pet to get accustomed to this gesture. No matter what duration your reptile takes, be gentle and do not rush them.
Are Leopard Geckos Poisonous to Cats or Dogs?
During summer and other warm seasons, it is common for reptiles to roam around. Either domesticated or not, leopard geckos can appear temping to prey animals like dogs. If given a chance, a hungry dog or cat would gladly gobble up a tiny reptile.
Compared to other lizards and geckos, leos are not venomous and pose no risk of infection or toxicity to other animals. Although rare, some leopard geckos carry a range of parasites, bacteria and viruses. If ingested, some of these pathogens may pass to the predator.
Changing the eerie reptile status could take a while. After all, there are immense myths and mystifications about reptiles that spit poison or draw blood. Leopard geckos are totally different from that.
With minimal care requirements, they are the most safest and friendly reptile to keep as a pet. More striking, they do not bite unless provoked and enjoy the gentle touch of children. Akin other pet animals treat them with respect, care and compassion.