Are you the lucky individual who has stumbled upon a fascinating lizard in your backyard? Congratulations! Now the question is, how do you properly take care of this unexpected new friend? Whether you found a common green anole or a colorful skink, providing the right care is essential to ensure its well-being. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of taking care of a lizard you found outside, so you can become its responsible caregiver.

Identifying the Type of Lizard

Before you start taking care of the lizard, it’s important to identify its species. This will help you understand its specific needs and requirements. Different types of lizards have different care guidelines, so it’s crucial to know what you’re dealing with. You can use various resources such as field guides, online forums, or even consult with a reptile expert to determine the exact species of your newfound friend.

Once you have identified the type of lizard, you can research its natural habitat and behavior. This will give you valuable insights into how to recreate a suitable environment for the lizard in captivity. Understanding the lizard’s natural habitat will help you provide the necessary conditions for its overall well-being.

Understanding the Needs of the Lizard

Lizards have specific needs when it comes to their habitat, diet, and overall care. It’s important to understand these needs to ensure the lizard’s health and happiness. Some lizards require a tropical environment, while others prefer arid or semi-arid conditions. Research the specific requirements of your lizard’s species and make sure to provide the appropriate temperature, humidity, and lighting in its enclosure.

In addition to the physical environment, lizards have dietary needs that must be met for optimal health. Most lizards are insectivores, meaning they primarily eat insects. However, some species also consume fruits, vegetables, or even small vertebrates. Research the dietary preferences of your lizard’s species and provide a varied and balanced diet to ensure its nutritional needs are met.

Creating a Suitable Habitat for the Lizard

To keep your newfound lizard healthy and happy, it’s crucial to create a suitable habitat that mimics its natural environment. Start by selecting an appropriate enclosure based on the size of your lizard. A glass terrarium or a reptile-specific enclosure with proper ventilation is ideal. Make sure the enclosure is large enough for the lizard to move around comfortably and provide hiding spots such as rocks or branches.

Temperature and lighting are essential factors in creating a suitable habitat for your lizard. Most lizards require a basking spot with a temperature gradient, allowing them to regulate their body temperature. Use a combination of heat lamps and heating pads to achieve the appropriate temperature range. Additionally, provide UVB lighting to ensure the lizard can synthesize vitamin D3, which is crucial for calcium absorption.

Read About: What Do Lizards Need To Survive In A Cage

Maintaining proper humidity levels is also important, especially for lizards that require higher humidity. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels and provide a water dish for the lizard to drink from and soak in. Regularly clean and disinfect the enclosure to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria or parasites.

Feeding and Watering the Lizard

Feeding your lizard a proper diet is essential for its overall health and well-being. As mentioned earlier, most lizards are insectivores and require a varied diet of live insects. Crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches are commonly available and suitable options. Ensure the insects are gut-loaded or fed with nutritious food before feeding them to the lizard. Dusting the insects with a reptile calcium supplement is also beneficial to prevent calcium deficiency.

For lizards that consume fruits or vegetables, provide a variety of fresh produce that is safe for their species. Leafy greens, small pieces of fruits, and even certain flowers can be included in their diet. Avoid feeding your lizard toxic or potentially harmful foods such as avocado, rhubarb, or citrus fruits.

Along with a proper diet, providing clean and fresh water is essential for your lizard’s hydration. Place a shallow water dish in the enclosure and ensure it is changed regularly to prevent bacterial growth. Some lizards may also enjoy misting or spraying the enclosure with water to increase humidity and allow them to drink droplets.

Handling and Taming the Lizard

Handling and taming a wild lizard can be a challenging process, as they are not accustomed to human interaction. It’s important to approach this process with patience and respect for the lizard’s boundaries. Start by allowing the lizard to acclimate to its new enclosure for a few days without any handling. This will help reduce stress and allow the lizard to settle into its new environment.

Once the lizard appears comfortable in its enclosure, you can begin the process of taming. Start by offering food from your hand or using feeding tongs to build trust. Gradually introduce gentle handling, starting with short periods and increasing the duration over time. Remember to always support the lizard’s body and avoid any sudden movements that may startle or stress it.

Providing Proper Care for the Lizard’s Health

Regular veterinary check-ups are important to ensure your lizard’s health and catch any potential issues early on. Find a reptile-savvy veterinarian who can provide proper care and advice specific to your lizard’s species. During these check-ups, the vet will assess the lizard’s overall health, check for parasites, and provide any necessary vaccinations or treatments.

In addition to veterinary care, maintaining a clean and hygienic enclosure is crucial for your lizard’s health. Regularly clean and disinfect the enclosure, remove any uneaten food, and spot-clean any waste. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria or parasites that can negatively impact your lizard’s health.

Protecting the Lizard from Predators and Environmental Hazards

While your lizard is in your care, it’s important to protect it from potential predators and environmental hazards. If you have other pets, ensure they are properly supervised and cannot access the lizard’s enclosure. Lizards are vulnerable to attacks from cats, dogs, or even larger reptiles.

Additionally, be mindful of potential hazards in your home. Avoid using chemicals or pesticides near the lizard’s enclosure, as they can be toxic. Keep the enclosure away from direct sunlight or drafts that can cause extreme temperature fluctuations. Regularly inspect the enclosure for any damage or escape routes that need to be addressed.

Releasing the Lizard Back into the Wild

If you found the lizard outside, it’s important to consider the option of releasing it back into its natural habitat. Lizards are vital to the ecosystem and play important roles in controlling insect populations. Before releasing the lizard, ensure that the weather conditions and temperature are suitable for its survival. Release it in an appropriate location away from any potential dangers or predators.

If the lizard was injured or cannot be released due to specific circumstances, consult with a reptile rescue organization or a local wildlife authority for guidance. They can provide advice on long-term care options or help find a suitable permanent home for the lizard.


Taking care of a lizard you found outside can be a rewarding experience. By understanding the specific needs of your newfound friend, creating a suitable habitat, providing a proper diet, and ensuring its overall well-being, you can become a responsible caregiver. Remember to approach the process with patience, respect, and a commitment to providing the best care possible.

So, if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon a lizard in your backyard, follow the guidelines outlined in this article and give your newfound friend the best life possible. Happy lizard care!

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