How to Catch a Lizard in the House Using a Box

Updated on September 20, 2017
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Cindy was raised on a farm and has an intense fascination and love of animals, nature, and the great outdoors.

The beautiful male Anole Lizard does bite!
The beautiful male Anole Lizard does bite! | Source

Although lizards can be interesting, beautiful, and beneficial (because they eat many common pests such as roaches, crickets, and ants), few people want them running around loose in their home. But lizards don’t typically wait for an invitation; sometimes they take matters into their own hands.

If you find one of these independent thinkers in your home, you may be wondering how to successfully convince them to leave. Unfortunately, it will take a lot more effort on your part than it took to get them to join you in the first place. Since most lizards are beneficial, and most are harmless to humans, it's best to gently catch them, and then release them into the great outdoors, where they can still control pests around the outside of your home.

These Lizards are Poisonous!

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Gila Monsters can bite quickly and hold on tenaciously.Mexican Beaded lizard is a close cousin of the Gila Monster.
Gila Monsters can bite quickly and hold on tenaciously.
Gila Monsters can bite quickly and hold on tenaciously. | Source
Mexican Beaded lizard is a close cousin of the Gila Monster.
Mexican Beaded lizard is a close cousin of the Gila Monster. | Source

On a cautionary note: although most lizards are harmless to humans, some will deliver a nasty bite. So if in doubt, do not catch them with your bare hands.

The Gila Monster and the Mexican beaded lizard are poisonous. (See pictures to the right.) Do not attempt to catch these lizards. It's best to leave these lizards to the experts. Contact a professional pest control service to help in the removal of these lizards.

Gather the Following Items (This is your Arsenal!):

  • A plastic container, or a small cardboard box, such as a shoe box (if the lizard is to large for a shoe box, consider calling pest control)
  • A broom, dowel rod, or yardstick
  • A manila folder, or a flat piece of light weight cardboard
  • A spray bottle of ice cold water

Garden Lizard
Garden Lizard | Source

First things first. After determining that the lizard is not poisonous, gather your arsenal. Then, locate the lizard. Carefully and slowly approach the lizard so as not to frighten it into running away. If it is out of reach, you can use the broom or stick to herd the lizard to a place on the wall where you can easily reach them. Do not touch the lizard with the broom or stick; this could harm the lizard. Next spray the lizard with the water. The ice-cold water will slow them down, making them easier to catch.

Leopard Gecko
Leopard Gecko | Source

Tactic #1

Slowly place a side of the box against the wall close to the lizard, the opening facing the lizard. Then, using the broom handle or stick, slowly attempt to herd the lizard into the box. A frightened lizard will seek cover, such as in the box.

Once the lizard has gone into the box, carefully place the flat piece of cardboard or manila folder against the opening, blocking the lizard’s exit.

Then take the lizard outside and release it into your yard where it can take care of your pests there. You can just set the uncovered box outside in a shaded area, leaving it there until the lizard crawls out on its own.

Leaf-tailed Gecko
Leaf-tailed Gecko | Source

If you cannot get the lizard to run into the box that you are holding against the wall, you will have to try a different tactic.

Tactic #2

After herding the lizard into a convenient place, and spraying it with cold water, trap the lizard by quickly, yet carefully, placing the box over the lizard. Lizards are warm blooded. The cold water will cause the lizard to be slow and allow you to catch it.

Once the lizard is trapped, carefully begin sliding the manila folder between the box and the wall. Proceed slowly, giving the lizard time to transfer its footing from the wall to the manila folder, or you will hurt its feet. Keep sliding until the entire opening of the box is covered, trapping the lizard inside.

Slide your hand under the manila folder, holding it in place as you remove the box from the wall. Take the box outside and release the lizard. Again, just set the uncovered box outside in a protected area, allowing the lizard to crawl out on its own.

How Not to Catch a Lizard. This could cause harm to the lizard; and, some lizards lose their tails to distract would be predators.
How Not to Catch a Lizard. This could cause harm to the lizard; and, some lizards lose their tails to distract would be predators. | Source

Although there are lizard snares, or lizard nooses, it’s best not to use these. These traps are prone to injure the lizard when it struggles against the noose that is looped around its neck or belly.

After going through the trouble of catching the lizard, you might want to go around your home and seal any entry points so the lizard, or his friends, doesn’t invite himself in again. This may entail sealing cracks and holes with caulk, and replacing worn or torn window screens.

After capturing the lizard, please don’t be tempted to keep it as a pet. It is likely to die if you do so because you will not be able to recreate the temperatures, humidity and feeding patterns to which it has become accustomed. Reptiles that are meant to be kept as pets can be purchased at a pet store.

Good luck, and happy hunting!

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Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Cindy Murdoch


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      • profile image

        Jax 10 months ago

        I found one little rascal outside my house yesterday and I used a broom to keep it at bay. Unfortunately my brother in law had killed it when I went inside for a box :(

      • homesteadbound profile image

        Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

        If the lizard is in the house, try the method that I have outlined here. It might be good to get a friend to help you. Lizards in the backyard are good because they will eat lots of bugs. You might try to find someone who knows something about lizards in your area to let you know if it is poisonous or not. Most lizards are not poisonous however.

      • profile image

        pricanna 6 years ago

        i need help cattchin this one liz and i don't now if it will bite me or be pousian. and threr all over my backyard i need help

      • homesteadbound profile image

        Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

        Moon Daisy - I too enjoy lizards. I do think it would be interesting to have one in my home. Glad you stopped by!

      • Moon Daisy profile image

        Moon Daisy 6 years ago from London

        Oh I love lizards, and the thought of having one in my house is a lovely one! Sadly we don't get many in London though. The only lizard I've heard of here is the slow worm, which is a kind of legless lizard. My neighbour often sees one in her garden.

        I'm enjoying reading hubs about lizards, thanks!

      • homesteadbound profile image

        Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

        Cloverleaf-Yeah, I really liked the first picture. It did a good job of showing the teeth so that people would know that when a lizard bites, it just might hurt!

        Qsera-Always glad to help. Thanks for stopping by.

      • qsera profile image

        qsera 6 years ago

        Thanks a lot for sharing these tips! You have made my day! I hate lizards and now I know what has to be done whenever I see a lizard in my home.

      • Cloverleaf profile image

        Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

        Ooooh cool pictures, homesteadbound! The first one made me jump a bit!

        Fortunately we don't have to worry about catching lizards in Calgary, but if I ever need instructions then I will know exactly where to come :-)


      • homesteadbound profile image

        Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

        viryabo, thanks for stopping by. It is good to know the tricks before being faced with the situation. Glad I could help. Hopefully, you don't have to use them any time soon however.

      • viryabo profile image

        viryabo 6 years ago

        Phew! I really needed this.

        Lizards are pests i'm really not worried about when i sight them outside, but when they get indoors, it's almost impossible to catch them.

        Now i know the tricks.

        Thanks for sharing this Homesteadbound.