How to Catch a Lizard in the House

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Despite the best efforts of keeping lizards for pets, the lizards occasionally escape their cages and run freely through the house. Catching a lizard in the house is simplest if you can confine the escapee to a known area, and search for clues that will reveal his location. It's easier to catch your reptilian friend if you know where he is — but lizards for pets often escape when no one is looking, thereby allowing them to duck out of sight. Looking for clues that will reveal his location will help you return your pet to his home relatively quickly. Consider the habits and preferences characteristic of your pet's species to help guide your search efforts.

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Catching a lizard in the house is simplest if you can confine the escapee to a known area.
Image Credit: marima-design/iStock/Getty Images

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The main security measure for a pet lizard should be to make their cage escape-proof. The cage also needs to be protected against predators, such as a pet cat or dog, or an overly-curious and inexperienced human. The best course of action is to purchase a cage designed specifically for your lizard species, rather than trying to build your own cage. The cage temperature, lighting, and humidity must be maintained at very specific levels.

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Block escape routes

When you do not know where your lizard is, your first goal should be to prevent him from moving to another location. Most escaped reptiles stay relatively close to their cages, so begin by sealing off the room that houses the cage. Keep the doors and windows closed, block all air vents and shove towels under interior doors to prevent him from slipping underneath. Remove any items from the room that may be harmful to your lizard, such as rodent traps. Do not allow any pets or unattended children to enter the room until the lizard has been captured.

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Look for clues

When a lizard escapes, he cares little about the trail of evidence left in his wake. Look for disturbed items that may indicate the direction in which he traveled. You can also look — or sniff around — for droppings. If you cannot find the lizard, sprinkle a number of talcum-powder or flour "traps" around the house. When your lizard crosses one of the barriers, you are likely to find tiny white footprints that give away his location.

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Consider the lizard species

While trying to find your lizard, consider the typical behavior of the species. Strongly arboreal species, such as chameleons and iguanas, are likely to head for high ground; look for them on top of furniture or clinging to drapes. Secretive species, such as leopard geckos or monitor lizards, will often hide in dark crevices. Bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps), are among the easiest types of lizards to capture, as they may perch on couches or tables to survey the land.

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Escape to the outdoors

Always strive to keep your lizard contained in your house, if he escapes the home, your chances of catching him drop precipitously. Small lizards can hide in innumerable places, while larger lizards may be so fleet-footed that catching them is difficult even if you know where they are. In all cases, make it a priority to keep your eyes on the lizard, and try to enlist the help of others who may be able to help you corral the creature.

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Stay calm

Be sure that your attempts to capture your lizard do not cause your lizard to suffer. While you may have to chase your pet to capture him, try to do so as calmly as possible to avoid causing undue stress. Use a gentle touch once you get close enough to grab him, and avoid grabbing him by the limbs or tail. Refrain from using adhesive traps to capture your lizard, as the strong glue may damage your pet's skin. It's a good idea to use a small plastic cup to capture soft-skinned species, for the same reason.

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