Toxic Chemicals for Geckos

By Denise Gabbard

Geckos are cute little lizards with chubby feet and the ability to make chirping sounds, unlike other lizards. Their natural habitat is anywhere tropical or sub-tropical. They eat fresh fruit mainly, but also like to eat bugs, such as cockroaches, mosquitoes, moths, crickets and worms. If you live in a warm climate, you may keep pet geckos--or they may just invite themselves into your home. Either way, your home can be deadly for these lizards.

Cleaning Products

Cleaning with bleach and other strong chemicals, including Lysol, Pine-Sol and Spic-n-Span, can be hazardous to these cute little lizards. In fact, any cleaner that has a pine scent or phenols is toxic to a gecko. Many people also use bedding made of pine or cedar shavings for their pets, and both contain high levels of phenols. Geckos can die from ingesting these cleaning products or shavings. Ask a veterinarian what cleaners are safe to use around geckos--many recommend chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is an all-purpose cleaner that will not harm geckos, other animals or you. If you keep geckos as pets, you can even use chlorhexidine in a spray bottle to clean and disinfect their cage.

Plant Chemicals

Animals in the wild typically have a sense about what is safe to eat. When removed from their natural habitat, geckos frequently will eat anything that looks like familiar food. Therefore, owners need to be aware of the lengthy list of plants that contain chemicals that can sicken and even kill geckos. Many common flowers, including morning glories, calla lilies, Christmas cactus, hyacinths, periwinkle and rhododendrons, are toxic to your little lizard friends. Azaleas are fatal. Other common plants and seeds that are poisonous to geckos include apple seeds, apricot pits, peach pits, pear seeds, oak trees, English ivy and tomato plants. Be safe and double check any plants that are in pet geckos' habitats, including both the vivarium and any areas where they are allowed to roam. Also, be sure to check all vegetation to make sure it is safe before feeding it to geckos.


Most compounds that are poisonous to insects are just as toxic to geckos. People who live in tropical areas, such as Hawaii, Asia and Australia, live with geckos in the house pretty much as a fact of life. They prefer the little wild geckos to spiders and cockroaches, which the geckos eat. If you have pet geckos, look for natural ways to try to combat the insect population in your home, such as diatomaceous earth or hedge-apple. If you're in a hot and steamy climate, you probably will get better insect control from geckos than from insecticides anyway.