Lizards sneaking into homes is a common occurrence, especially during summer months. If a lizard has made its way into your house, you may be wondering – is this a good thing or a bad thing? Here’s a quick answer: Having a few lizards in the home can help control bugs.

But too many lizards or large infestations can be a nuisance and health hazard. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of lizards in the home to help you decide if they’re helpful guests or pests that need evicting.

In this roughly 3000 word guide, we’ll cover the benefits of having lizards around, like insect control and being low-maintenance. We’ll also look at the potential downsides, like bites, droppings, possible damage, and spreading germs.

After weighing the pros and cons, you’ll have a better understanding of how to deal with lizards in the most effective and humane way.

Benefits of Lizards in the Home

Natural Pest Control

Having lizards around the house can be a great way to keep pest populations down in a natural way. Many common house lizard species like geckos and anoles are voracious insectivores, feasting on troublesome bugs like cockroaches, silverfish, ants, and spiders.

In fact, a single gecko can eat up to 100 insects per day, making them extremely effective hunters. Rather than relying on chemical pesticides which can be harmful to pets, kids, and the environment, letting lizards take care of the pests is an eco-friendly alternative.

Low Maintenance

Lizards require very little care or maintenance compared to other pets. They don’t need walks, daily feedings or cleaning like dogs or cats. Most species are content being left alone as long as they have some hiding spots, basking areas and access to insects or food.

Leaving out a small dish of calcium powder supplements once a week is usually all that’s needed. Their self-sufficiency makes lizards ideal low-commitment pets for busy households. Just check on them daily and give their tank a quick cleaning monthly. Easy peasy! 👍

Harmless to Humans

Contrary to their cold-blooded reptilian reputation, most lizards are harmless and timid around people. Species like geckos and skinks are unlikely to bite even if handled. The only lizards with a potent enough bite to cause harm are the larger monitors and Tegus, but they tend to avoid conflict.

Some lizards may carry salmonella like other reptiles, so washing hands after contact is wise. But overall, lizards pose little physical threat to grown humans and can safely roam homes. A few might even grow comfortable enough to crawl on their owners!

Indicators of a Healthy Ecosystem

Seeing lizards scurrying around your home or yard is a sign that the local ecosystem is healthy and balanced. Their presence means there are enough insects and small invertebrates to sustain lizard populations and food chain.

If native lizard numbers start declining, it may indicate declining insect numbers due to habitat loss, pesticide use or other environmental factors. So be happy when you see lizards hanging around – it means your little corner of the world is doing well ecologically speaking!

Downsides of Lizards Indoors

Bites and Scratches

While most house lizards are harmless, their sharp claws and teeth can inflict painful bites and scratches, especially when they feel threatened. Small children may be at particular risk of being bitten if they try to grab or handle a lizard.

The wounds can become infected if not properly cleaned and treated. To avoid potential injuries, it’s best not to touch wild lizards that find their way indoors.

Droppings and Germs

Lizards can transmit Salmonella bacteria through their droppings, which is one of the biggest health hazards. If lizard feces are accidentally ingested, typically by children, it can cause severe food poisoning, vomiting, and diarrhea. Their droppings also allow germs to accumulate in the home.

Furthermore, the swarms of insects that some lizards eat can spread diseases like malaria and dengue fever.

Property Damage

Lizards make homes in cracks and crevices, and this burrowing behavior can gradually cause damage. Walls can develop holes and weak spots from lizard nests and tunnels being carved inside. Attics and basements are common areas for such deterioration over time.

Lizards may also chew on materials like wood trim, doors, window screens, and even electrical wiring, posing fire risks.

Reproduction and Large Infestations

If lizards find easy access to food and water indoors, they can breed rapidly. A handful can soon become dozens, especially in warm climates where they can reproduce year-round. Large populations are very difficult to control and can overrun a home.

Their droppings and damage multiply, and the sheer number of lizards running around becomes a nuisance. Getting rid of an established colony requires diligent, ongoing pest control efforts.

Tips For Controlling Indoor Lizard Population

Seal Entry Points

The first step to controlling lizards that have entered your home is to seal any cracks, holes, or gaps where they may be getting in. Pay special attention to areas around windows, doors, pipes, vents, and the foundation (Orkin).

Use caulk, weather stripping, door sweeps, steel wool pads, or spray foam to seal these entry points and prevent further access. Checking for entry points twice a year and sealing them promptly can significantly reduce the number of lizards that can find their way inside.

Use Natural Repellents

Certain strong smells and substances can help repel lizards without harming them. Some options are black pepper, chili powder, garlic, onions, vinegar, moth balls, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, and ammonia.

You can sprinkle or create barriers with these around known entry points or areas in your home where lizards have been spotted. Just be aware, you will also be exposed to these smells! For example, moth balls can be placed in confined spaces where lizards hide like under sinks or behind appliances (National Geographic).

The strong odor overwhelms their sense of smell making them leave.

Remove Food Sources and Water

Lizards are attracted to any food crumbs or insects in your home, especially roaches and spiders which they feed on. Maintaining clean surfaces by vacuuming and mopping floors, wiping counters, regularly emptying garbage cans, and storing human and pet food in sealed containers eliminates a food source pulling lizards inside.

Also remove any standing water, fix plumbing leaks, and empty overflow dishes under houseplants as some small lizards can survive on very little water ( Without adequate food and water, most lizards will not attempt to nest in your home.

Use Humane Traps

For lizards that have already found their way into your living spaces, humane trapping allows you to catch and release them outdoors unharmed. Sticky glue traps do not properly work for lizards and can injure them when pulling free.

Instead, look for small cages or box-style traps designed specifically for reptiles and lizards that you can bait with food inside. Then check traps daily and release the captured lizards outside far away from your home.

Popular store-bought options include the Catchmaster Snap Trap and Humane Smart Trap (Amazon).

Keep Cats Around

Allowing house cats to freely roam rooms inside can be an excellent natural way to control lizards entering your living spaces! A 2021 research study confirmed cats show predatory behavior towards lizards when allowed to interact both inside homes and in outside garden areas (Wiley Online Library).

Having one or more prowling house cats deters lizards from attempting to come inside since they want to avoid becoming the next meal. Cats stalking movements and batting paws are typically enough to frighten lizards away too.

So nurturing those natural hunting instincts in house cats, instead of deterring them, can be beneficial for controlling indoor lizards.

When To Remove Versus Live With Lizards

Benign Small Lizards Are OK

Seeing the occasional small or harmless lizard in your home can be startling, but typically they do not need to be removed. Small geckos, anoles, skinks and fence lizards often find their way into houses but pose little threat. In fact, having just a few around can be beneficial as they eat insects!

As long as the lizards remain small in number, cohabitating with them is usually fine. Take some common sense precautions like sealing any cracks or gaps where they may be entering from the outside. But otherwise, let these docile little reptiles be.

They help control bugs and are fascinating to watch!

Large Infestations Require Removal

While a few lizards roaming around are harmless, a large infestation needs to be dealt with. An excessive number of lizards in the home usually means there is ample food and shelter drawing them in.

To control a sizable lizard population, you’ll need to:

  • Find and seal off all entry points so more cannot get in
  • Remove clutter and hiding spots inside
  • Use glue boards or traps to catch lizards
  • Consider calling a pest control company for severe infestations

Vigilantly keeping them out and giving them no reason to stick around inside will clear up the issue. Be patient, as it make take weeks or months to see results.

Certain Species Like Geckos Are Helpful

While most lizards found indoors are harmless but not needed, a few species are very beneficial to have around. The best example is the common house gecko. These small, grayish lizards with large eyes and sticky toe pads eat lots of insects yet leave humans alone.

Research shows that a house with geckos can have 50% less mosquitoes thanks to their voracious appetites. They also feast on flies, moths, roaches, silverfish, ants and more. The pros of geckos clearly outweigh any cons.

So if these all-natural pest controllers move in, consider yourself lucky! Getting rid of geckos means you’ll likely see more bothersome bugs. Embrace them as free 24/7 extermination services.

Humane Ways To Remove Lizards

Catch and Release Outdoors

One of the most humane ways to remove lizards that find their way indoors is to gently catch them and release them outside. This allows the lizard to continue living while removing it from the home. To catch a lizard, use a gentle sweeping motion with a net or place a bucket over the lizard and slide cardboard underneath before carrying it outdoors.

Be sure to release the lizard near bushes or trees, away from busy areas, so it has shelter and a good chance of survival. This is an easy, kind solution when just a few lizards wander in.

Contact Wildlife Control

For large or recurring lizard issues, contacting professional wildlife control may be best. These experts humanely trap lizards found around the home and relocate them to suitable natural habitats away from residences.

According to the National Wildlife Control Operators Association (NWCOA), over 80% of wildlife controllers release animals onsite or at wildlife rehab facilities, so this is a fairly compassionate option.

Wildlife control also takes measures to prevent future lizard access by sealing crawl spaces, repairing cracks, and instituting other exclusion tactics.

Use Glue Boards and Funnel Traps

Special glue boards and funnel traps allow for the humane capture of lizards that find their way inside. The lizards get stuck on the glue boards or funneled into the traps unharmed, allowing for safe relocation back outdoors.

According to herpologist Dr. Brady Barr, this gentle stick-and-remove approach is ideal for lizards who just happen to wander into the living spaces. The glue boards and traps should be checked twice per day and captured lizards released within 100 yards of the homesite so they can return to their native territory.

Deter With Scent Repellents

There are also several natural scent repellents that can effectively deter lizards from entering homes and occupied outdoor areas. Repellents made of essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, citronella, peppermint, garlic, and lemongrass irritate a lizard’s sensitive sense of smell, causing them to avoid treated areas.

Herpetoculturist Shawn Heflick states that scent repellents are very useful and eco-friendly solutions for keeping lizards away from homes humanely. They can be used along fences, around doorways, and in landscaping beds for safe and effective lizard control.


Having the occasional small lizard sneak inside can be harmless and even beneficial for controlling pests. But left unchecked, indoor lizards can multiply and become a nuisance. Weigh the pros and cons to determine if you can tolerate a few lizard guests, or need to take action removing larger infestations for health and home maintenance reasons.

With some simple, humane prevention and removal tips, you can control indoor lizard populations.

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