Are Tokay Geckos Harmful? A Surprising Answer

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Tokay geckos can inflict harmful bites, but they are not venomous. Unfortunately, their tastes and their fecal matter can contain bacteria that are known to be antibiotic-resistant. This means not only are their bites painful, but they can also spread harmful bacteria. 


Most people wouldn’t ever think of keeping an animal that is harmful, especially one as exotic as a Tokay gecko. While this lovely blue gecko is a popular pet among reptile enthusiasts, it is well known that they are aggressive and territorial, which makes them prone to biting. 


Besides dangerous bites, Tokay geckos also carry bacteria that can make us sick. In this article, we’ll investigate whether Tokay geckos are harmful and how they can harm us. 


Are Tokay Geckos Harmful?


Yes, Tokay geckos can be harmful, but they aren’t always. Most Tokay owners will never get seriously injured or ill from their Tokay gecko, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance it could happen. 


There are two primary ways that Tokay geckos can be harmful:


  • Bites, especially those that break the skin 


  • Bacteria found in saliva and feces of the gecko


The first significant risk with the Tokay is its bite. Tokays are the most aggressive and territorial geckos that you can own as a pet, and getting bitten by your Tokay isn’t out of the norm.


 Even though they aren’t huge by human standards, their bite is mighty and can inflict severe damage, especially if the taste lands on sensitive parts like the finger or face. 


A Tokay bite that breaks the skin should be evaluated by a medical professional, not just because of the physical harm. Tokay geckos can also cause damage because of the bacteria they carry. 


Dangerous bacteria have been found in the saliva and feces of Tokay geckos and can be transferred to their owners through bites or incorrect enclosure cleaning habits. This bacteria has even been reported to be antibiotic-resistant, making it even harder to treat. 


Do Tokay Geckos Bite?


Tokay geckos bite. They are considered some of the more bite-prone reptiles you can own, and their bites are no joke! Tokay bites are painful and can even break the skin and cause infection. 


That being said, there isn’t any reason a responsible Tokay owner should constantly be getting bitten. Proper care and minimal handling can help to avoid Tokay bites, especially in inexperienced owners. 


Can You Touch a Tokay Gecko?


Touching a Tokay gecko is safe if you wash your hands afterward. The harmful bacteria they carry are not on their skin but in their saliva and excrement. 


Experienced Tokay owners can touch their geckos with no problem, but those who aren’t familiar with Tokays may want to exercise caution. Anyone that feels a Tokay gecko needs to wash their hands afterward to avoid picking up a problematic bacteria that can cause infection, like Salmonella. 


Do Tokay Geckos Carry Diseases?


While a sick Tokay gecko can transfer diseases to other geckos, there aren’t any diseases that can move from humans to geckos. 


That being said, some bacteria can cause illnesses in humans that can be picked up from Tokay geckos, so proper hygiene after handling and cleaning up after your Tokay is extremely important. 


Do Tokay Geckos Carry Salmonella?


Yes, Tokay geckos do carry Salmonella bacteria. Scientists have found that 60% of Tokay geckos carry Salmonella!


To most reptile owners, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Other popular reptilian pets, like turtles are known as Salmonella vectors. 


Owning any exotic animal comes with a risk. Still, hand washing and frequent habitat maintenance, coupled with proper quarantine practices, can significantly lessen the possibility of picking up Salmonella from your pet. 


Final Thoughts 


Tokay geckos are beautiful, popular pets, but they have downsides. Both the bite of the Tokay gecko and the bacteria they carry can cause harm to their owners. 


Exercise caution, wash your hands after handling, and keep your Tokay geckos enclosure clean! If you follow these steps, it’s much less likely that your Tokay gecko will ever cause you any harm. 


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