Geckos are small lizards that are found in many parts of the world. They can occasionally find their way into homes, which often leads to the question – are geckos OK to have in the house? There are a few factors to consider when determining whether geckos are safe and acceptable house guests.
Benefits of Geckos
Geckos can provide some benefits when they take up residence in a home. Here are some of the positives of having geckos around:
– Insect Control – Geckos are insectivores, meaning they eat insects. Having them in a home can help control populations of insects like flies, mosquitoes, moths, crickets, silverfish, and more. This natural form of pest control is appreciated by many homeowners.
– Nocturnal – Geckos are most active at night. This means they aren’t running around the house getting in the way during the day. You likely won’t even notice them most of the time.
– Don’t Carry Diseases – Geckos do not transmit any known diseases to humans. Some lizards and snakes can carry salmonella, but geckos do not. This makes them safer to have around the house than many other reptiles.
– Quiet – Geckos don’t make noise. They don’t bark, meow, chirp or squawk. Having a gecko around will not create bothersome noises.
– Odorless – Geckos themselves do not give off any kind of foul odor. Their waste is small and any smells are minimal. They don’t leave a strong scent around the house.
– Low Maintenance – Caring for a gecko that finds its way into the house requires very little work. They don’t need to be fed, cleaned up after or provided with any special habitat. They typically require no maintenance at all.
So in many ways, geckos can be helpful and convenient housemates. If all they’re doing is eating insects and remaining hidden most of the time, many homeowners don’t mind having them around.
Risks of Geckos
However, there are also some potential downsides to having geckos living in the home:
– Waste and Odor – While the gecko itself does not smell, their droppings and waste can if allowed to accumulate in certain areas. Feces and urine can create unpleasant odors.
– Bites – Geckos won’t bite humans unless extremely provoked, but they can bite if handled roughly. Their small teeth are sharp enough to break skin.
– Droppings on Walls and Ceilings – Gecko waste on walls, ceilings, curtains and other areas can be difficult to clean up. The droppings can leave stains.
– Noise – When mating, geckos can make loud squeaking or clicking noises. This nighttime noise could potentially disturb light sleepers.
– Getting Stuck – Geckos can potentially get stuck in cracks, drains, narrow spaces between furniture, or even get trapped in sticky glue traps meant for insects. This can lead to the gecko becoming injured or killed.
– Escaped Pet – A gecko loose in the house could potentially be an escaped pet. If so, the owner may be looking for the missing gecko. An escaped pet gecko would be best returned to its owner.
– Damage – On extremely rare occasions, geckos may gnaw on household items. This damage is very uncommon but could potentially occur.
So there are some factors to weigh when deciding if a gecko should be allowed to remain in the home long-term. They can be helpful pest controllers but also create some problems in certain cases.
Catching and Removing Geckos
If the decision is made to evict a gecko that has taken up residence in the home, careful and humane capturing and removal is recommended. Here are some tips for removing a wild gecko:
– Wear gloves for protection when handling the gecko. Leather gloves allow a better grip.
– Locate the gecko’s common hiding places and wait patiently nearby until it emerges. Geckos frequent warm, humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms.
– Turn off lights to make the gecko move to a new hiding spot. Darkness will encourage movement.
– Gently grab the gecko behind the neck when in reach. Be careful not to injure or drop it.
– Place the captured gecko in a paper bag, small box or cloth sack. Don’t use plastic containers.
– Keep the container dark, warm and ventilated for transport. Add a damp paper towel for humidity.
– Release the gecko outside away from the home and predators. An outdoor shed or wooded area is ideal.
– Seal any cracks or openings around the home that may have allowed the gecko to enter. This will prevent future uninvited guests.
With some perseverance and care, unwanted house geckos can be safely caught and removed back to the wild where they belong. Be sure to take proper precautions for a smooth removal process.
If you want to actively prevent geckos from coming into the house, there are some deterrent options. Using multiple deterrents together can increase effectiveness:
– Peppermint Oil – Geckos dislike the strong scent of peppermint. Place cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in problem areas.
– Diatomaceous Earth – The abrasive texture of this chalk-like powder will deter geckos from crossing it. Sprinkle it along entranceways.
– Citrus Peels – The smell of citrus is unappealing to geckos. Allow peels to dry out and place them around.
– Onion & Garlic – Chopped onions or garlic placed around the home can repel geckos with their strong scents.
– Black Pepper – Sprinkle this around outdoor perimeter walls and doorways to irritate geckos’ senses and drive them away.
– Cayenne Pepper – For a more intense irritant, sprinkle cayenne pepper around gecko entry points.
– Seal Entry Points – Caulk, seal with screen or stuff steel wool into any cracks and crevices leading into the house.
– Change Landscaping – Trim vegetation and turf away from the home’s exterior to eliminate gecko shelter and food.
– Outdoor Lights – Keeping outdoor lights off at night will make the area less attractive to insects and geckos that feed on them.
With some strategic use of scent repellents, physical deterrents and modifications to reduce access, unwanted gecko visitors can be convinced to stay away. Always use humane exclusion methods.
Pet Geckos vs Wild Geckos
There are some important differences between a gecko found loose in a home versus a pet gecko that has escaped its enclosure:
|Likely captive bred and born
|Born and raised in the wild
|Accustomed to handling
|Not used to human contact
|May approach humans
|Will avoid humans
|Hunts live prey
|Could be lost, stray or abandoned
|Entered home by accident
|May have an owner searching
|Unable to survive if released
|Can be released back outside
A pet gecko will not do as well if released outdoors, while a wild gecko should be removed from the home and returned to the natural environment. Identifying whether the gecko is a pet or wild can help guide next steps. An escaped pet gecko may have an owner eager to have their lost companion back.
Having an occasional gecko visitor is usually harmless and many homeowners don’t mind letting them remain in the home temporarily. They can be left alone or gently caught and released outside if unwanted. With their quiet nature, odorless behavior and appetite for household pests, common house geckos make convenient short-term guests.
However, large infestations, constant gecko intrusions or particularly troublesome individual geckos may require removal measures. Sealing up entry points, using scent and texture repellents and modifying landscaping are good preventative options. Always use humane trapping and transport methods when evicting geckos from the home environment. With some understanding of gecko behavior and sensible control practices, these little lizards can be managed effectively when they find their way inside.