Nearly Free & Humane Lizard Catcher – My Best Miami Friend

I moved to Miami 16 years ago. I loved nearly everything about it. I say nearly because in addition to the sunshine, ocean breezes, palm trees and sublime winters, I also got lizards. I don’t like lizards. I mean, I don’t hate them, but I don’t want them sharing space with me.

I made a deal with the lizards. They can have the outdoors and the indoor space is mine. After all, they were here before I was and have every right to live their lives in their natural habitat.  The problem is that the little critters haven’t been good about sticking to their end of the bargain. I find them indoors occasionally and find myself having to evict them.  It’s not always easy. OK, OK, it’s not ever easy.

I don’t possess the talent (or call it guts) that some do, where they take their very own little fingers and pick up that lizard and escort it outside. Yeah! I mean, they actually touch them! Somehow I feel I’d grow faint and pass out before I made it to the front door if I touched a lizard. I may or may not be exaggerating. The situation has never presented itself so I can’t prove my point.

Touching them was out so I had to come up with another way to catch them and get them out of the house. A native Floridian friend I made here in Miami told me that all I had to do was use a plastic container, place it over the lizard and slide a piece of cardboard underneath. Voila! It worked! In my home I became known as the lizard catcher. Not a title I really care to boast about but, hey, it could be worse.

OK, so that strategy was working alright, except I still didn’t like getting that close to them. For Pete’s sake, they are fast and could jump on me! Rationale goes out the window here. No need to remind me that they are more afraid of me than I am of them. They have no desire to jump on me. They want to get as far away from me as possible, but in that moment I refuse to believe it.

I like to think of myself as Mama MacGyver. Even the kids call me that. Now that’s one title I don’t mind. Many a times I’ve gotten folks out of a jam when a tool was needed but nowhere to be found. So I gave my lizard problem some thought and came up with a solution that works really well for me. I just took my friend’s solution one step farther. I taped a dollar store fly swatter to the back of the plastic container. By George, I think I got it!  I used packing tape to make sure it held really well.

homemade lizard catcher

homemade lizard catcher easy!









This little baby works so sweetly! I mean really, really well. It allows me to remain a couple of feet away from the lizard and still catch them.  It allows me to catch lizards on the ceiling without the risk of falling off a stepladder. My ceilings are 8 feet. If you have vaulted, sorry! And the flexible swatter part actually gives you an advantage over your bare hand because it flips quickly and faster than you can flick  your wrist without it.

This morning  I experienced the triumph of catching and evicting yet again. It was made extra sweet by the fact that this particular specimen had been getting the better of me for a week now. In 12 years in this home, this was the first one I didn’t catch the first day I tried. He was a particularly fast little guy. And he didn’t want to play dead like most lizards I encountered. In the past they would freeze and look like they were thinking if they didn’t move I’d go away. I never did. This guy didn’t care. He ran me ragged and got the best of me each time he scrambled under furniture.

This morning he was on the glass window pane. He looked like he was missing the outdoors and wondering when he’d be able to return to it. I decided to fix that homesickness for him. I quickly got my contraption, sized him up, knowing he was fast, and flipped the swatter. BAM! Slam dunk, nothing but net! I slid the cardboard underneath, took him outside and sang the lyrics to Born Free as I released him. Enough work done today!

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