Do Lizards Bite

Do Lizards Bite? Can It Be Dangerous?

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

So, Do Lizards Bite?

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

Most lizard species are small in size and, therefore their bites are pretty harmless. However, there are some lizards that are massive and their bites can be pretty serious.

Now you understand lizards a bit more than the average person. So let’s dive deeper into this topic and look at why lizards bite.

Why Do Lizards Bite?

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

For example, lizards bite when humans attempt to grasp them suddenly. Attempting to grasp any lizard suddenly will make it feel as if it is being attacked and it will, therefore, respond in some way to protect itself. And the response will be almost always a bite.

So if you do not want to get bitten by a lizard, do not act in any way that will make it feel threatened. 

Lizards also bite people when they confuse human hands for food. So, again, they do not bite people because they like to do so. Because lizards can confuse hands for food, experts recommend that pet lizards are given food using tongs and that interactions are kept to a minimum to avoid mistaken biting.

What Should You Do When You Are Bitten By a Lizard?

Most of the time, lizard bites are nothing to worry about. This is because, as mentioned above, most lizard species are small in size and cannot deliver a serious or life-threatening bite. Therefore, most of the time when you are bitten by a lizard, you will not even need a Band-Aid and you can just go on with your normal life.

However, some lizards have got sharp teeth. They can, therefore, pierce the skin when they bite. When this happens, you should thoroughly clean the wound with a lot of running water before getting yourself to a hospital for a checkup as a precaution. This is because some lizards, especially those who can pierce the skin, are known to be venomous.

Some lizards are massive and their bites can be fatal e.g. Komodo dragons. It goes without saying that if you are bitten by such lizards then you should rush yourself to the nearest ER to get the help you need. 

How to Make It Near Impossible To Get Bitten By a Lizard

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

First, you should not attempt to grab or pet wild lizards or lizards you do not own as a pet. If you do this the lizards can perceive you as a threat and bite you.

Second, you should not give food to a lizard with bare hands. Put the food down on the ground or use a pair of tongs. Otherwise, a lizard can confuse your hand for food and bite you accidentally.

Third, in case you need to move a lizard out of your house or away from somewhere, get a container and catch them in such a way that will not involve you using your hands.

By doing the above three things you will make it near impossible to get bitten. 

The Lizard Species that Like Biting People

While most lizard species are docile creatures, there are many lizard species that are known to not mind biting people. They include the Gila monster, the Mexican beaded lizard, the iguana, the komodo dragon, and the water monitor.

  1. The Gila Monster: The Gila Monster should not really be kept as a pet. It is an exotic animal that should be left in the wild. It is found in the Southern States of the United States and likes eating insects, frogs, and birds.

While the Gila Monster does not hunt human beings, it is known to be venomous and not shy away from biting humans. Therefore, if you see a Gila Monster, you need to keep your distance. Observe some social distance between yourself and it. 

Apart from biting humans, Gila Monsters also like biting other Gila Monsters and lizards. 

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

Because it is venomous, the Mexican beaded lizard is better suited for advanced and not beginner lizard keepers.

The lizard is native to parts of Western Mexico.

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

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

  1. The Komodo Dragon: The Komodo dragon is a massive lizard. It is the biggest known lizard and it can measure up to 3 meters in length and weigh more than a full-grown man. It lizard is known for attacking and biting humans and its bites are just as dangerous as those of an alligator or a crocodile because it looks like them in body shape and size.
  2. The Water Monitor Lizard: The water monitor lizard is half as big as the Komodo dragon and it also weighs many pounds. It is a beast just like the Komodo and it can inflict very serious bites. You best avoid it if you can. 

What Happens When One Is Bitten By a Venomous Lizard?

As you now know, several lizard species are venomous. They include the Gila Monster and the Mexican Beaded Lizard. These venomous lizards are very rare in most of the Western World. Unless you actually have one of them as a pet, it is very unlikely that you will ever interact with one in the wild or be bitten by one. 

However, bites from these venomous lizards can and do happen. When they do happen, venom is usually injected. When this happens one usually starts feeling a burning sensation, dizziness, weakness, and the heart throbbing. In case you start feeling any of these signs, you should call for an ambulance and give them your direction. Better yet try run and tell someone close by that you’ve been injected by a lizard venom and ask them to call for help. Because you could pass out before describing your emergency to 911.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do Lizards Bite Cats?

Yes, they do. Lizards bite cats and dogs. They bite anything and everything that they feel is threatening them. It is their survival tactic. However, whether your cat or dog will be injured or killed will depend on the type of lizard that has bitten it. If the lizard is venomous or massive, then chances are that your cat or dog will not survive. However, do not be the judge of that. If you suspect your cat or dog has been bitten by something, rush them to the nearest vet to get them checked. Whatever the situation they are 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-sized and docile lizard like the leopard gecko, then petting it should not be a problem. However, if the lizard you have in captivity has sharp teeth or is venomous, you should avoid petting it.


Lizards do bite. They bite when they feel threatened and when they confuse a feeding hand for food. Therefore, whether you are interacting with a lizard in nature or a lizard in your enclosure, you should avoid threatening it and you should give it food with your have at a safe distance away. Doing these two things will significantly reduce your likelihood of getting bitten.