Do lizards bite? Can this be dangerous?

Do you want to know if lizards bite? If so, this article is a must read for you. If you are wondering why lizards bite or want to know which lizards are known to bite, this article is also a must read for you.

So, do lizards bite?

Yes, they do. Lizards bite. However, most lizards only bite when they feel threatened. In other words, most lizards only bite in self-defense.

Most species of lizards are small in size and therefore their bites are quite harmless. However, some lizards are massive and their bites can be quite severe.

Now you understand lizards a little better than the average person. So let’s dive deeper into this topic and see why lizards bite.

Why do lizards bite?

As mentioned, lizards bite mainly when they feel threatened. So they don’t bite people because they like it, but they do it when they are scared or feel someone is threatening them.

For example, lizards bite when humans suddenly try to grab them. Attempting to grab a lizard suddenly will make it feel like it is being attacked and so it will react in some way to protect itself. And the answer will almost always be a bite.

So if you don’t want to get bitten by a lizard, don’t act in such a way that it feels threatened.

Lizards also bite people when they mistake human hands for food. So again, they don’t bite people because they like to. Because lizards can mistake hands for food, experts recommend that domestic lizards receive food using tongs and that interactions are kept to a minimum to avoid mistaken bites.

What should you do when bitten by a lizard?

Most of the time, lizard bites are nothing to worry about. Indeed, as mentioned above, most species of lizards are small in size and cannot inflict a serious or life-threatening bite. Therefore, most of the time when you get bitten by a lizard, you won’t even need a bandage and you can just go on with your normal life.

However, some lizards have sharp teeth. They can therefore pierce the skin when they bite. When this happens, you should clean the wound thoroughly with plenty of running water before going to the hospital for an examination as a precaution. Indeed, some lizards, especially those that can pierce the skin, are known to be poisonous.

Some lizards are massive and their bites can be deadly, for example Komodo dragons. It goes without saying that if you are bitten by such lizards, you should rush to the nearest emergency room to get the help you need.

How to make it almost impossible to get bitten by a lizard

To make it almost impossible to get bitten by a lizard, you need to do the following three things.

First of all, you should not attempt to catch or pet wild lizards or lizards that you do not have as a pet. If you do this, lizards may perceive you as a threat and bite you.

Second, you should not feed a lizard with your bare hands. Put the food on the floor or use a pair of tongs. Otherwise, a lizard may mistake your hand for food and accidentally bite you.

Third, in case you need to move a lizard out of your house or somewhere, get a container and catch it in a way that you don’t have to use your hands.

Doing the above three things will make it almost impossible to get bitten.

Lizard species that like to bite people

While most species of lizards are docile creatures, there are many species of lizards known to not hesitate to bite people. They include the Gila monster, Mexican beaded lizard, iguana, Komodo dragon, and water monitor.

  1. The Gila Monster: The Gila monster shouldn’t really be kept as a pet. It is an exotic animal that must be left in the wild. It is found in the southern states of the United States and likes to eat insects, frogs and birds.

Although the Gila monster does not hunt humans, it is known to be poisonous and not shy about biting humans. Therefore, if you see a Gila monster, you should keep your distance. Observe a certain social distance between you and him.

Besides biting humans, Gila monsters also like to bite other Gila monsters and lizards.

  1. The Mexican Beaded Lizard: The Mexican beaded lizard is also known to be a biter. The lizard is as venomous as the Gila monster. Therefore, you should make it your mission to avoid it and never interact with it except when it is behind a secure enclosure.

Because it is venomous, the Mexican beaded lizard is best suited for advanced, non-beginner lizard keepers.

The lizard is native to parts of western Mexico.

  1. The Iguana: The iguana is one of the most intriguing lizards to keep as a pet. This is because he looks very exotic and has a very unique way of doing things. Although not exactly venomous like the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard, it has sharp teeth and is known to attack and bite if threatened.

Because of his sharp teeth. Its bite can cause quite serious injuries. Unlike the other two lizards mentioned above, an iguana will frequently warn you that it is about to attack you by standing on all fours.

  1. The Komodo Dragon: The Komodo dragon is a massive lizard. It is the largest known lizard and can measure up to 3 meters in length and weigh more than an adult human. This lizard is known to attack and bite humans and its bites are just as dangerous as those of an alligator or crocodile as it resembles them in body shape and size.
  2. The water lizard: The water monitor lizard is half the size of the Komodo dragon and it also weighs several pounds. It is a beast just like the Komodo and it can inflict very serious bites. You better avoid it if you can.

What happens when you are bitten by a poisonous lizard?

As you now know, several species of lizards are poisonous. They include the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard. These poisonous lizards are very rare in most of the western world. Unless you actually have one as a pet, it is highly unlikely that you will interact with one in the wild or be bitten by one.

However, bites from these poisonous lizards can and do happen. When they occur, the venom is usually injected. When this happens, one usually begins to feel a burning sensation, dizziness, weakness, and racing heart. If you start feeling any of these signs, you should call an ambulance and give them your direction. Better yet, try running and tell someone nearby that you’ve been injected with lizard venom and ask them to call for help. Because you might pass out before describing your emergency to 911.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do lizards bite cats?

Yes, they do. Lizards bite cats and dogs. They bite anything and everything they feel threatens them. It’s their survival tactic. However, whether your cat or dog will be injured or killed will depend on the type of lizard that bit it. If the lizard is poisonous or massive, chances are your cat or dog won’t survive. However, don’t be the judge of this. If you suspect your cat or dog has been bitten by something, take them to the nearest veterinarian for examination. Whatever situation they find themselves in, they could be saved.

Can I pet a lizard in captivity?

It depends on the type of lizard. If the lizard you are keeping is a small, docile lizard like the leopard gecko, then petting it shouldn’t be a problem. However, if the lizard you have in captivity has sharp teeth or is poisonous, avoid petting it.


Lizards bite. They bite when they feel threatened and when they mistake a nurturing hand for food. Therefore, whether you are interacting with a lizard in the wild or a lizard in your enclosure, you should avoid threatening it and you should feed it with your having at a safe distance. Doing these two things will greatly reduce your likelihood of getting bitten.