There are about 3,000 species of lizards found all over the world. In North America, Florida is home to 29 different species. The state’s most common species is the Brown Anole, a species accidentally introduced from the West Indies in the 1880s. It has become a threat to Florida’s only native species, the Green Anole. Species range from a gecko, sizing up at 3⁄4” to the Komodo dragon that can grow up to 10ft. In Florida, there are native and non-native species. The non-native species were introduced via commercial trade and were kept as pets. Some escaped and others were purposely let loose into the wild. All lizards are cold-blooded, scaly, and have great vision. Most have four legs, clawed feet, and a long, weak tail that can fall off at the slightest tug. The most common species in the US include iguanas, monitors, geckos, and horned lizards. The bigger the lizard, the bigger it’s food. Smaller lizards, like geckos, chameleons, and anoles will mostly eat flies and crickets. They will feed on snails, spiders, and caterpillars under certain conditions. The Komodo Dragon is especially predatory, having hunted deer, pigs, and, occasionally, humans. Some lizards, like Iguanas, are herbivores, and will eat only leaves, fruits, and berries. Since lizards come from all over the world, knowing what kind of lizard you’re dealing with is important so you can understand it’s dietary habits to eventually rid your yard of them. It is possible for lizards to carry disease. Most commonly, they can carry Salmonella (food poisoning). Even if a lizard appears healthy and clean, germs can still be found on their skin, causing diarrhea, vomiting, headache and fever.
Lizard Nuisances & Damage
In the United States, lizards are particularly bothersome in Florida. The Green Iguana and Nile Monitor are of particular concern in this state. They can grow up to 7 feet long with sharp teeth and bad temperaments. Iguanas will damage vegetation, feeding on any greenery they can. Your vegetable and flower gardens will be at risk, as these rascally reptiles will feed on leafy plants and fruits for food. The Nile Monitor, if found in an area where humans live, can affect food sources. They are carnivorous, and have been known to ravage livestock like chickens or small mammals like housepets. It’s not uncommon for these lizards to bite or scratch people if they feel attacked or threatened, so be very cautions if you ever encounter one.
There are so many different species of lizards, but for the most part they have similar body structures. They are most closely related to reptiles of the dinosaur era. They have a small head, short neck and a much longer body and tail. Some species’ tails are so delicate they can fall off if pulled hard enough. The Green Anole is about 5 to 8 inches long. Much like geckos, they have an adhesive on their feet called lamellae to help them crawl up walls and trees. Their color varies based on their mood, health, or body temperature. Though unrelated to chameleons, they are often referred to as the American chameleon. The Green Iguana is also big problem in southern states like Florida. These creatures can pack a big punch sizing up to 18lbs and 7ft long. They have a long body covered leathery scales with short legs and a tail.
Lizards In The Yard & The Garden
Lizards are particularly fond of warm environments. You’ll find them in deserts, forests, prairies, marshes, and in rocky areas. They are most active during the day, particularly in the summer. You’ll find them either running along on the ground or scampering around in trees. Lizards are attracted to areas where insects like spiders and snails roam. On particularly warm days, you’ll find them in cooler areas like inside hollow logs or under piles of brush. Any areas that can create homes for lizards, like piles of concrete, bricks, or stones, will attract lizards. These sites are where they will commonly make their nests.Thick grasses and shrubber offer protection to lizards when they are on the hunt for food. A large body of plantlife will also attract the bugs and insects lizards like to eat. You may find their shedded skins in various places around your yard. Some species swim, so finding them in ponds or pools is not uncommon.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep lizards away?
Getting rid of thick vegetation will help remove shelters used by lizards around your property. This means keeping grass cut short and pruning your shrubs regularly. If they’re getting into your trees, wrapping sheet metal around them and leaving about 18 to 20 inches between the metal and the tree will deter them from climbing. Electric fencing around similar problem areas may also help. Scare tactics are effective, too. Spraying them with a garden hose, making loud noises, and dangling shiny objects like CDs around your property may frighten them away. If these sun-loving reptiles just won’t leave, contacting a pest professional may be your best option, as they will have access to a wider variety of control methods.
Benefits of Professional Lizard Pest Control
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a lizard problem. Finding and treating the lizards can be challenging, especially if they are loose in your yard. A pest management professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the lizard nuisance.