Curiosity is one of the biggest driving motivators for all kinds of reptile keepers. After all, reptiles are way different than us humans, so there is a lot to learn and understand about them and how they go about their daily life.
Of course, this raises many questions, and one of the biggest questions I am sure we have all pondered on is “do leopard geckos have teeth?”
The short answer is yes, they do. Leopard geckos have many teeth which are routinely replaced. By the time you are done reading this article, you’ll practically have your imaginary degree in reptile dentistry!
All jokes aside, much of the joy of keeping reptiles as pets is from the fascinating differences between us and them, along with the bond we can form with each other, despite these vast differences.
Leopard gecko Teeth structure
Leopard gecko teeth are very unique, as they don’t have any varying structures such as molars or incisors, but all of their teeth are roughly the same conical type shape.
They are kind of just like pointy structures that seemingly have no particular specialized differences in structure and purpose.
Do leopard geckos chew their food?
Leopard geckos do have teeth, however, they don’t quite chew their food as we do. To put it simply, they will just crush insects with these teeth and swallow them whole. The teeth also help them get a hold of the insect they are pursuing.
What else are the teeth for, if not for chewing?
In the wild, leopard geckos are solitary animals that are highly territorial. They are quite aggressive to other leopard geckos and won’t tolerate any unwanted guests on their turf.
This is where they would use their teeth to defend their territory from other geckos, and even defend themselves against potential predators, as they are very small animals and can easily be preyed upon.
How many teeth do they have? Do they lose teeth?
Leopard geckos have a LOT of teeth, 100 to be precise. This usually happens every three to four months when their teeth will fall out and be replaced by brand new ones.
Think of this more as a process, where the teeth don’t fall out all at once, but little by little, and then they have lost and regrown all of them by the end of the three to four-month period.
What are the teeth made of?
Leopard gecko teeth are made of the same material as mammals like you and me. The outermost layer is made up of the hard enamel that protects the tooth.
Under that is a substance called dentin, which is not as hard as the enamel, but still rigid and tough. This is what most of the tooth consists of.
Lastly, there is the cementum which keeps the tooth attached to the jaw bone.
How sharp are these teeth?
Leopard gecko teeth are relatively sharp, and more adapted to piercing and crushing the exoskeleton of the insect in their mouth that is about to become dinner.
These teeth are not razor sharp but can pack a punch if biting something like a finger. They are sharp enough to give a pretty decent cut and draw blood, keeping in mind that they have a tough jaw pressure for an animal of their size. They rarely draw any blood though.
Do leopard geckos bite?
To be upfront and honest, any animal with a mouth can bite. It all comes down to the general temperament of the species and ultimately the personality of the individual.
Respecting your reptile’s boundaries and space, while also empathizing that we as humans are much larger than them, can make a huge difference in our ability to have meaningful interactions with them and to handle them correctly, reducing their aptitude to bite.
Leopard geckos are never going to bite you just for fun if they ever even try to. It is usually a fear or stress response. Researching how to be gentle and courteous of your reptile when handling can make all the difference and prevent a bite from ever occurring.
Proper handling and understanding of reptile communication signs can get even the most fearful individuals to come out of their shells a bit and show their true personalities.
Though leopard geckos are fully capable of biting, they are very unlikely to bite you as their owner. They will only do this if they feel as if they are in danger and need to defend themselves.
Leopard geckos are living breathing creatures and can differentiate between you and a threat. Some individuals may be bitey at first but these creatures are almost always very quick to warm up to their owners and can become very trusting and affectionate pets when handled and cared for properly.
Do leopard gecko teeth need special care?
Unlike us, leopard geckos don’t have to worry about dental hygiene because their teeth are constantly being replaced.
So basically, we just let them be and they will do their thing! Leopard gecko teeth are not a concern and do not require any specific care when healthy.
Mouth rot is sort of the caveat to the low maintenance aspect of leopard gecko teeth. If you feed an improper diet, food can get trapped in the mouth resulting in a bacterial infection that will become mouth rot.
Remember to always do proper research on diet requirements for any reptile, because many advertised foods are designed for our convenience and not the benefit of the reptile.
They should be fed insects, specifically live ones with calcium supplementation, not any fruits or vegetables, nor any soft wet premade foods that may be found at the pet store. These premade wet-type foods can create a significant issue with reptile oral health.
What do I do when I notice symptoms of mouth rot?
It is best to always contact your vet to receive personalized advice when you notice anything is awry. That way you can receive proper treatment if it is necessary. You are always better safe than sorry so it is better to go ahead and at least call.
What should I do if my leopard gecko bites me? What if I am bleeding?
The first and most important thing to do is to stay calm. This will keep you and your reptile the safest. Gently place them back in their enclosure and put pressure on the wound. Go wash it out with some antibacterial soap and put on some antibiotic ointment and a bandage. It’s as simple as that.
Avoid handling your reptile for a couple of days and take things slower next time. Try to identify what could have happened so that it can be prevented next time and be mindful, allowing them space to become comfortable with you
Reptiles are very fascinating creatures and make fantastic pets. They very rarely bite, so I urge you to research proper handling as they make great companions and are very sweet.
Understanding proper diet will decrease the chances of your reptile developing mouth rot, and in general, knowing the ins and outs of handling will make your experience smooth and enjoyable.