Gecko and lizard repellents

Asked July 9, 2020, 7:52 AM EDT

How to safely repel lizards/geckos from my front porch and patio. They range 1 inch to 12 inches long and everywhere. They are getting in my home and setting my Ring doorbells off. Also, could large lizards be harmful to my 4lb chihuahua? Thank you Susan

Tarrant County Texas

1 Response

Unfortunately (for you unless you can come to terms with these shy animals and learn to ignore them), there's very little you can do to discourage them. You can do everything in your power to keep your landscape as clean as possible (no debris, no brush piles, no mulch, keeping leaves raked and grass cut very short so they can't hide, no foundation plantings to provide hiding places for them . . . . that sort of housekeeping). But they climb easily (hence the "fence lizard" name for one), and they love to scramble up brick foundations and tree trunks to get into just the right spot to bask in the sunshine. So even a scrupulously clean, nearly "sterile" and almost plant-less landscape will still provide homes for these little guys. There is no repellent or poison that you can use to chase them away or kill them. You might find ads online for snake repellents that supposedly work for reptiles, but they haven't been demonstrated to be effective. An old remedy called for using mothballs to keep critters away, but if you're to reach a "fume" level from mothballs high enough to deter wildlife, it will also be dangerously toxic to people, so please don't even consider doing that.

Since you now know that they pose absolutely no danger to you, your pets, or your loved ones -- and are actually helpful and important parts of our ecosystem -- perhaps you can relax and start to observe them, just as you'd observe the birds or other delightful wildlife in your environment. If you intend to go out and use the patio or wander in the garden, you could always carry a broom with you that you can use to "shoo" any lizards out of your way. The ones I've encountered at my home have been so shy, though, that they scurry into hiding the minute they see anyone coming.
Hope that helps?