Environment Insight: Animals
The Lizards, the cats and the eggshells
Text and photography by Loreen Neville
Tuesday June 1st, 2008
A visitor of mine once asked, You have eggshells in the guest’s toilet, is it to ward off unknown elements?
Ha! Not for ghosts if that’s what you are implying but yes to ward off those geckos.
Lizards are actually harmless and environmentally helps in getting rid of insects especially mosquitoes and spiders. Lizards are not that a threat to house structures and landscapes as reported by some suggesting killer type chemicals to get rid of the lizards. The lizards in fact, unlike rats, mice and cockroaches that are known to be correlated to filth and unsanitary conditions, are far cleaner and do try to stay away from humans as much as possible. There are more than 4.000 species or types of lizards. Like snakes, these reptiles have a Jacobsen's organ, which makes the base of its throat to flutter when air passes this organ. Lizards can leave up to more than 30 years according to scientific studies.
The lizards and the cats
In my house pets like cats live with me and they love to watch the lizards on the ceilings, doors and walls. The perimeter surrounding the premises is full of trees, scrubs and flowers, perfect nesting and water spots for lizards. So these Geckos then through open windows, cracks or loopholes, invites it selves into the house.
Honestly and frankly, the lizards I don’t mind. Finding its poop in the closets, cupboards, drawers, walls and worst of all in the pantry, is a nuisance I could do without. Finding a dead lizard in a soda can or something cold run fast by your hands is a frightful experience. When two lizards start to argue with their squeaky tone or nosily mate, they awake the cat’s curiosity then havoc starts and often enough, the cats are tricked by the lizards, which makes its great escape by living its tail behind. The silly cats! My cats also like to chase the lizards resulting into my feline pets, jumping onto cupboard tops, barely hanging onto curtains, knocking off my expensive crystals, drinking glasses and breakable ornaments. Although it can at times be entertaining to watch the lizards and the cats, however, to avoid broken glass splinters on the floor, and to save my collections, unfortunately, the harmless lizards will have to go.
Having spray repellents or dangerous chemicals in canisters to spray in the house is a big no for I do not want to accidentally poison my other four legged friends and family of mine. Living sticky or glue paper meant for flies or rats wont do the trick either because the pets might accidentally trod on it and besides, I do not have the heart to see a harmless lizard suffer that way. Alternatively, one can pour oil over the sticky paper traps and release the lizards safely into the garden however that would require time. A number of people have said that by placing mothballs will drive lizards away, I found that to be not accurate because I have little cups of mothballs placed neatly under the wooden racks in the pantry and on top of the boards and I still see lizards there.
Nothing like the old wife tale remedy: Empty eggshells
The best and most clean humane way to rid of lizards in the home without poison or messy sticky paper traps is to place slightly crushed empty chicken egg shells in corners and places where lizards are seen. Raw eggshells are the best because unlike the onions, (lizards stay way from onion smell too) there is no odor or smell.
Every six months, change with fresh empty shells placed in small re-used plastic cups. We learnt from the elders or grandmothers that by applying this method work. This information has been passed down and is centuries old.
Why do lizards avoid raw eggshells? Through observation, I think it’s because the lizard, an egg shell bearing reptile presumes that seeing an eggshell means that the spot already belongs to another predator or insect. Perhaps it’s the smell of the egg shell but I doubt it because after the empty shells are dried, there are no egg odors omitting from the shells. There is also a possibility that the lizards stay away from empty crushed egg shells because of its sharp edges.
With the eggshells treatment, the lizards will stay away from the house and will move onto the garden. It is better that the lizards live out in the garden for chances of its survival is far better because of the abundant supply of small insects and mosquitoes than inside the house. I began to use this eggshell treatment almost 20 years ago and it always works.
Written June 10th, 2008 based on actual occurrences, observation and studies.