Here in Florida, it feels like we can’t open the door without lizards scampering across the pavement. Occasionally, these little lizards get somewhere they’re not supposed to be, like inside my house or garage.
While seeing lizards in garages is rare, it’s not unheard of.
Most lizards we see are harmless, but that’s not always the case. Even if they are, you probably want your new houseguest out of your garage as quickly as possible.
In this article, we’ll explain how to identify common North American lizards so you can see what you’re dealing with. Then, we’ll look at some of the best strategies for identifying, removing, and preventing lizards from turning your garage into their new hunting grounds.
Let’s dive in with our first step: identifying the type of lizard you’re dealing with.
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How to Identify the Type of Lizards in Garages
The first thing we need to do is identify what species of lizard you have in your garage, so you can understand what you’re dealing with.
Each lizard species have different characteristics that may affect how you try to remove it.
For example, depending on the species, lizards have distinct behaviors, habitats, diets, and preferences. Knowing what your lizard likes (or doesn’t like) can steer you toward the most effective and humane way of dealing with them.
Surprisingly, some species of lizards are legally protected or considered endangered species. Touching or removing them may require a permit in some areas. You may need to call in a professional to ensure you’re acting within the bounds of the law.
Finally, lizards, like snakes, are actually doing you a favor.
They eat pests like mosquitoes, flies, spiders, or roaches, keeping those populations in check.
So, what kind of lizard might you be sharing your garage with?
Here are some of the more common lizards found in the United States:
- Anoles: Small, slender lizards that can sport green or brown hues. They’re characterized by long tails and dewlaps, which are essentially throat pouches. Out and about during the day, anoles have a diet consisting mainly of insects.
- Geckos: These small nocturnal lizards are easy to spot with their large, almost cartoonish eyes and sticky toes. Geckos come in an array of colors and patterns. They favor a diet of insects and spiders and are known to produce a distinctive chirping sound.
- Skinks: A bit larger than anoles or geckos, skinks are noticeable for their smooth scales and stubby legs. Young skinks often sport blue tails, and their bodies feature stripes or spots. Their preferred food sources include insects, worms, snails, and even small rodents. Florida has six native and three invasive species of skinks.
- Iguanas: Iguanas are rather large and primarily eat plants. They are recognizable by their spiny crests and elongated tails. While they’re predominantly green, you might encounter iguanas in other colors. Remember that while some folks keep them as pets, in the wild, they can be aggressive and may cause damage.
- Monitor Lizards: These large carnivores can be a real cause for concern. Monitor lizards have formidable jaws and claws and feature dark scales adorned with yellow spots or bands. They eat a variety of prey, including rodents, birds, eggs, fish, and carrion. Be warned: if not kept as pets, some monitor lizards can be venomous and dangerous.
Remember, knowing your enemy is half the battle. Accurate identification is a crucial first step in dealing with the lizards in your garage.
How to Get Rid of Lizards in Your Garage
Now that you’ve identified your scaly guests, let’s focus on the task at hand: getting them out of your garage.
We’ll look at two general strategies – trapping and repelling – with a breakdown of the pros and cons for various methods within each:
Use Traps to Catch Lizards
This approach involves catching the lizards alive to relocate them. Let’s explore the different types of traps you can use:
- Glue Traps: These sticky snares can be set up in spots frequented by lizards. They’re easy to use and effective, but be warned: some folks consider them inhumane as the lizard can experience distress.
- Funnel Traps: This trap comprises a container with a gradually narrowing entrance. They lure their prey with bait like insects or fruit and are great at catching lizards. However, figuring out how to release them afterward can be tricky.
- Bucket Traps: Create a simple trap with a tall container and a bait-laden ramp. The lizards will climb in but struggle to get back out. This method is easy and cost-effective but may not be suitable for large lizards.
- Handheld Traps: If you’re hands-on, consider traps you hold and operate manually, triggering a capture mechanism. These are easy to use but require patience and a steady hand.
Use Repellants to Keep Lizards Away
Alternatively, using natural or chemical repellents, you could deter lizards from your garage. Here are some of the most common:
- Mothballs: Lizards hate their potent smell. Convenient and easy to use, they can deter lizards but remember they are toxic to pets and children.
- Garlic: Crush some cloves and scatter them around your garage. It’s an inexpensive and eco-friendly solution, although it does require frequent replacement.
- Onion: Like garlic, onions have a pungent odor that repels lizards. It’s a natural and non-toxic method, but it needs regular replenishment.
- Coffee Grounds: Lizards detest the scent of these, making them a decent repellent. It’s eco-friendly but might not be as effective as other methods.
- Naphthalene Spray: A common reptile repellent, but use it cautiously as it can harm pets.
- Peacock Feathers: The idea here is that their size and pattern scare off lizards. It’s a fun, harmless method, though its effectiveness is debatable.
- Naphthalene Balls: Similar to the spray but longer-lasting. Remember, these are toxic to pets and children.
- Lemongrass Oil: Dilute a few drops in water and spray around your garage. It’s natural and smells pleasant to humans but needs frequent application.
- Tabasco or Chili Pepper Spray: Whip up a spicy mix to spray around the lizard hotspots. It’s an economical DIY method. Just be sure not to touch your face after handling it!
- Electronic Lizard Repellents: These devices emit sounds or vibrations lizards dislike. While they’re safe for pets and children, their effectiveness can vary.
Each method has pros and cons, and its effectiveness can vary depending on your situation. Experiment with different techniques and find the best solution for you – and the lizards!
How to Keep Lizards Out of Your Garage
Once you’ve removed the lizards, the next step is to ensure they don’t come back. There are several preventative measures you can take to make your garage a less appealing hangout spot for these reptiles:
- Clean Your Garage Regularly: Lizards are attracted to places with plenty of hiding spots and food sources. Regular cleaning, decluttering, and debris removal can help eliminate these attractions.
- Seal Entry Points: Do a thorough inspection of your garage to identify potential lizard entry points, including cracks, gaps, and holes in the walls, doors, windows, and vents. Use weather stripping, caulk, or other sealants to secure these openings.
- Install Door Sweeps: These simple devices can effectively block the gap between the bottom of your garage doors and the floor, preventing lizards from entering.
- Screen Vent Openings: Cover any vent openings with fine mesh screens. This will keep lizards out while still maintaining air circulation.
- Close Garage Doors and Windows: Keep doors and windows shut whenever possible to minimize how lizards can get inside.
- Remove Food Sources: Reducing the insect population in and around your garage makes the area less appealing to insect-eating lizards. Keep the area clean, dispose of trash regularly, secure food containers, and eliminate standing water.
- Install Mesh Barriers: For larger gaps, such as those around garage doors or windows, attach mesh barriers or screens to keep lizards out while maintaining airflow.
- Plant or Hang Aromatic Herbs: Mint, basil, rosemary, and lavender can all deter lizards with strong scents. Consider planting these near your garage entrance or hanging dried bunches inside.
- Regulate Temperature and Humidity: By keeping the garage cool and dry with fans, dehumidifiers, or air conditioners, you make the environment less inviting for lizards.
- Remove Water Sources: Leaks, puddles, or containers with water can attract lizards and their prey. Regularly inspect your garage for such sources and eliminate them when found.
By taking these preventative measures, you can keep your garage lizard-free long-term. Remember, prevention is always easier than removal, so it’s worth putting in the effort to maintain a clean, secure garage environment.
Plants that Lizards Don’t Like
Various plants can deter lizards with their aroma, taste, or toxicity. Incorporating these plants in and around your garage can be an effective natural method for keeping lizards at bay.
- Peppermint: Peppermint’s powerful minty scent can be disorienting and unpleasant for lizards. Plant peppermint in pots near garage entrances or other lizard-prone areas. Alternatively, use diluted peppermint oil to spray in areas where lizards are found.
- Japanese Mint: With an even more potent aroma than peppermint, Japanese Mint not only deters lizards but can also repel insects – a primary food source for many lizards. It can be planted in the ground or in pots and placed strategically around your garage.
- Herb of Grace: Also known as Rue, this plant has a bitter taste that lizards avoid. It can also be toxic to them if ingested. Plant it near garage entry points or along the perimeter.
- Pencil Tree: This succulent excretes a milky sap that can irritate lizards’ skin and eyes, potentially causing temporary blindness or even death. Plant it in pots and place them around your garage. However, handle this plant with care, as its sap can also harm humans and pets.
- Eucalyptus: Known for its strong, camphor-like smell, eucalyptus is unpleasant to lizards and repels insects. Place Eucalyptus trees or potted plants around your garage, or use diluted eucalyptus oil for a targeted approach.
- Stinking Hellebore: This plant produces a foul odor that lizards find detestable, and it can be toxic if ingested. Grow this plant in your garden or pots around your garage, but exercise caution – it can be harmful to humans and pets.
- Lemongrass and Citronella: These plants emit a citrusy aroma that lizards find offensive. They also have the added benefit of repelling insects and mosquitoes. These plants can be grown in the ground or pots near the garage, and their oils can be used for additional lizard-repellent spray.
Planting these in your garden can help keep lizards away from your garage and enhance your garden’s appearance and aroma. Just remember to handle potentially toxic plants with care to ensure the safety of yourself, your family, and your pets.
Wrapping It Up
In this article, you’ve learned how to identify the types of lizards in your garage and effective ways to remove them.
Once your garage is lizard-free, the focus shifts to prevention. This includes regular cleaning, sealing potential entry points, and eliminating food sources. Let’s not forget about naturally deterring plants we can introduce to our homes as lizard deterrents.
No matter how you choose to remove lizards from your garage, don’t forget that while lizards might not be your ideal garage guests, they’re essential to our ecosystem.