Lizards – pest or pet? Photo credit: Magnus Manske
While some of us love having a cuddly pet around the house, others enjoy welcoming the not-so-furry kind into our humble abodes. It is in human nature to be equipped with a need for companionship, friendship and something to love, and for it to love you back. But, what if the pets we have make it challenging for us to love them, and take care of them?
I must admit that I am a huge lover of animals, and am proud to call myself a dog person, but some prefer a scalier or eight-legged type of pet. I myself, have never really grown fond of the reptilian or arachnid species.
Not only are these so-called-pets quite creepy to say the least, but they can pose the following dangers around the home:
For those of you who have reptiles such as snakes, lizards, iguanas or bearded dragons at home, know about the frustrations these pets can cause when they shed their skin, and when one has to clean up their muck. One of my colleagues recently had an accident when a naughty bearded dragon escaped its terrarium, and left a rather nasty surprise in the middle of the kitchen – leading her to (almost) slip and fall. Incidents aside, having snakes as pets, or any other kind of reptile can have its downside when it comes to your health and well-being:
Reptiles have been reported to bite, transferring bacteria which can cause illness and in some cases, depending on the species, their bite can be poisonous and the same goes for snakes. In some cases, these bites can be poisonous. Furthermore in most cases, lizards, snakes and even turtles show no signs of disease, where it is estimated that 90% of lizards are salmonella carriers. It has been reported that a baby girl has developed meningitis after coming in contact with her pet monitor lizard’s faeces. This bacteria contracted, falls part of the salmonella species which resulted in the baby’s illness.
In the 1970’s a federal ban was placed on turtles in the US, due to the risk of salmonella. The same health risk can be experienced from having snakes as pets, too.
Furthermore, if one has lizard, one has to watch out for their sharp claws – which can turn out to be a rather horrible fiasco. Believe me, judging from their aggression levels, I bet nobody would want to get on the wrong side of a monitor lizard…
Pet or pest?
Thinking about it, one has to feed the insects that feed these pets. That doesn’t sound right. Working for a pest control company, I am really against feeding and keeping alive insects, now really?!
But, what if one experiences a plague of lizards? I especially get months at a time during the warmer seasons where I see a lot of these scabby critters flocking to my home. If you are not fond of adopting these cold-blooded critters and inviting them to stay in your home on a permanent bases – I am not talking of visiting your local pet shop and acquiring some kind of exotic species; but actually making your house their home. I have a couple of tips that can assist you to keep them off your premises (and especially for you snake and lizard lovers, these tips are completely humane too!):
- Egg Shells: By placing egg shells in corners around the home, their powerful smell will keep them off your walls. Not only does the smell repel these creatures, but it’s also a clever little psychological trick. You see, the egg shells bluff lizards into thinking there is another, larger creature residing in the house, marking its territory, making it scuttle away to a place of safety.
- Peacock feathers: Peacock feathers also scare away lizards, and are also a beautiful piece of décor to have around the home.
- Garlic and / or tobacco sauce: Fill up a spray bottle with either water and onion sap or water and tobacco sauce. The onion contains sulphur, which acts as a repellent and the tobasco sauce will irritate their skin. Spray it in areas where lizards are most prominent, for example in kitchen racks, tube light corners, under the stove and fridge and also in corner areas of your porch or patio. Be sure to do this for a couple of days so that they are familiar with which areas to avoid, and settle on not returning.
- Pesticide for insects: As lizards snack on insects, one has to wipe out the source of insects to get rid of them. Try spraying DIY pesticide in areas where insects are most prominent. Be sure to take precautions when using DIY pesticides. If one takes away liazrds’ source of food they will be forced to locate elsewhere.
- Sealing up cracks and crevices: These scaly critters gain entry through cracks an crevices around the home, so be sure to caulk any of the cracks around windows and doors with sealants.
Unless you are the type of person that really likes having the scalier, exotic sort of companion around the home, my recommendation is always to rather be safe than sorry. If you would like to avoid these reptilians to become a permanent houseguest, one can always practice the above tips to get rid of lizards in your home. If you have them as pets, be sure to take special precautions when taking care of them.
Watch out for the second part of this blog, discussing having spiders as pets, what to watch out for and if they are worth having in the home at all. Of course, I will also be providing some tips to get rid of spiders in your home if they arrive unannounced!