Fall has finally come to Georgia, and that means the temperatures have finally dipped below 70. Otto and I spent a day wrestling the pool cover in place, which made it all the more fun the next time the children accused us of planning wild partying for when they go off with their dad; usually we tell them that we swim naked while eating candy. This time, of course, Monkey said, “NO YOU CAN’T! The cover’s on the pool!” He looked so triumphant that I almost felt bad for telling him that, naturally, we grease up with frosting, slip under the cover, and use our empty pixie stick wrappers to suck air from the surface.

(He knew I was kidding, but that flicker of uncertainty—however brief—made it worth it.)

I’ve brought in the last of the green tomatoes, and one night when we had a freeze advisory I even brought in all of my miniature trees, which was interesting, because suddenly the dining room was transformed into a tiny forest.

There is a problem with dropping temps, though.

Apparently when it gets cold outside, everything wants to come inside to get warm. Stands to reason, I suppose.

And as much as I hate the superbugs here in Georgia, I get it. I’m used to it. The weather turns, the bugs start trying to come inside. Been there, done that, shrieked for my husband to come kill it, thanks.

This year, however, something new is happening. It’s the first time I’ve experienced it, and I’m left with a disturbing but inescapable conclusion:

Lizards are stowing away on my dog.

I mean, look: I never had a lizard in the house before this year. October isn’t even over and I’ve had FOUR of them in the house this month. It’s not as though someone went and installed a tiny little lizard door, so I am forced to conclude they’re just hitching a ride when Licorice comes in from doing her business.

The first one was scuttling around in the dining room. I dispatched Monkey to execute a catch and release, and all was well.

A week later, I let Licorice out of her crate one morning and a lizard jumped off the crate and ran up the wall. I screamed, because at first I thought it was a giant bug. Licorice—who is pretty much afraid of pocket lint—immediately melted into a puddle of boneless goo at my feet, just in case the Apocalypse was imminent or something scary was coming to eat us.

Then we had the following conversation:
Me: Licorice! Get the lizard! Get it! Bite his nose off!
Her: *rolling over onto her back so that I can rub her belly*
Me: No, Licorice, GET IT! I mean it! Get the lizard!
Her: *rolling back onto her feet, cocking her head at me*
Her: *ignoring me completely, chewing on her paw*
Me: Monkey! Come here, baby!

So that was fun.

A few days later we found a baby lizard in the kitchen.

And yesterday I was sitting here working when I glanced over at the bookcase directly to the right of my desk. A lizard was sitting on top of a sweater I’d tossed onto one of the shelves, quietly sunning himself.

I handled it like a mature adult, this time; first I informed Twitter that the designated lizard-catcher was at school, and I said some Very Bad Words. Then I caught it in some Tupperware and took it outside.

I happen to LIKE lizards. I think they’re kind of cute. And they eat yucky bugs. But I DID NOT INVITE THEM INSIDE. And I would like to know how they’re coming in with the dog without my noticing. Maybe in her ears?

Clearly I’m going to have to shave off all of Licorice’s fur. Or start a side business making commercials for Geico.


  1. Heather S. :)

    OH MY WORD but this is hilarious!!!! Have fun being the Lizard Catcher Extraordinaire….is there hazard pay for that I wonder??

  2. Alicia

    Ok, I must share my gecko story.

    The little suckers would sneak in when I would open the door and I wouldn’t see them until they were crawling on my wall or TV (and, yes, I always hesitated in case it was a Geico commercial). But that was until my cousin was visiting one day. He plucked one up and smooshed it dead between his fingers. At my disgusted look, he responded, “What? I bet they don’t come back anymore.”

    He was right and now I imagine little gecko reporters returning to the nest (hive, den?) with the breaking news!

  3. Ariel

    I like lizards, but ya, inside might be a bit too much:)
    I’d take lizards over giant cockroaches ANY day though-
    When I got married for the first horrid time and moved to Charleston SC and took the trash out for the first time at night and wondered what the crunching underneath my feet was and the neighbor laughed and told me it was cockroaches? Ya. Damaged for life.

  4. Nicki

    I understand the strange lizard phenomenon. Those I tolerate. You should have gone with a kitten instead of a dog. I don’t even have to tell Sophie and I find all manner of small dead stuff…crickets, grasshoppers, an occasional lizard tail. (And just the tail…*full body shiver*) It’s those huge spiders that I can’t handle. If you have escaped those one state over (I’m In Charlotte, NC), then I’ll move there tomorrow.

  5. Pat

    Mir, check Licorice’s tummy when you come in from outside. Bet there hanging on for dear life.

  6. Megan

    Hmmm… nice warm fuzzy furry dog? yup, if I were lizardish I would totally hitch if the opportunity arose. However… a quick check for gaps and things around the house might not be TOO bad a plan either!

  7. Chuck

    Maybe you could start a new career as a Lizard Whisperer.

  8. Holly

    We’re having the same problem in my house. Mass amounts of spiders coming inside? Check! Beatles? Check! Rollie Pollies? Check! Lady bugs? Check! And unfortuntely, lizards. It creeps me out big time!

  9. Katherine

    I’d suggest you get a cat to catch the lizards for you, but they also bring lizards in – in their mouths. Oh, and also small snakes and the occasional bird, bat, chipmunk and baby rabbit. So, maybe you’re better off just sticking with Licorice.

  10. Miss Shell

    My guess is that they are not coming in on the dog, but on the plants you brought in to protect from the frost. This would happen at my house in Alabama when we brought the more delicate hanging plants in for the winter.

  11. Mama in Suburbia

    That is too funny. We don’t have lizard invasions, but we had a ladybug invasion a couple of days ago. Not one or two, but more like 50-60. I must’ve Hoover’d at least 50 of them. Hubby’s job was to release them every night. BLECH!!!

  12. Anna Marie

    I don’t mind the lizards, but pleeeeze someone tell me how to inform the spiders that they are not welcome in my home?

  13. Niki

    But – but – lizards eat bugs! When hubby lived in the Philippines, they purposely had lizards running around their military dorms to eat the bugs. Mind you, these were big BIG Filipino bugs, and big BIG lizards, who liked to scream like a woman (so I’m told) in the middle of the night. Apparently all worth it, to avoid having to kill bugs. Maybe you could come to an agreement with them? They eat the roaches (yeah, Palmetto bugs, whatever, they’re roaches) and the fire ants and all the hairy wasps, and you let them live peaceably in Licorice’s cage.

  14. Beachgal

    Same thing happening here in Myrtle Beach, SC. Open the door to let the dogs out, lizard runs in. We chase it around, release. If we can’t catch it, because it gets behind the dryer or something, we leave it and the cats find it. My son loves catching them and letting them bite him and dangle off his finger. Sorry to say, he picked that habit up from me, LOL.

  15. Sara

    Huh. I’m up here in Indiana. I got nuthin’. If I were to find a lizard in my home, I would have to assume that someone had gone and purchased one without either my permission or knowledge and then somehow let it get loose in the house. Not that this has happened. But it totally could. Oh yes it could…

  16. karen

    I don’t’ think they’re hanging on to dog fur to get inside..but perhaps those plants you’ve been bringing in?…. and if you’ve got a basement? although I think maybe you do not… cellar or foundation cracks…

  17. MomCat

    I was going to put, “I’ll come handle your lizards if you’ll come handle my scorpions,” but I thought that ended up sounded vaguely obscene.

  18. Steph.

    Love lizards, but I have caught two tiny gecko dudes recently in my kitchen. One jumped on my from my pantry wall. I don’t want these things in my PANTRY. EWW! My son caught it, it dropped its tail, then he showed me how it flops around after it falls off.

    Yeah, I still don’t want ’em in my kitchen…

  19. kensi

    I would roll over and die if I had a lizard in my house. As it is, I die a little everytime I see a spider in the house.

  20. Em

    Say what you will about New England, at least the snow stays outside and doesn’t pee on your sweater (you KNOW that lizard peed on your sweater).

  21. Anna

    Aww, the little baby ones usually ended up drying up and dead. So sad.

  22. Heather

    lol @ geico :)

  23. The Other Leanne

    Fluffy cat = slug magnet. I cannot tell you how many times I have found sticky baby slugs embedded in her fur, or others merely deposited on the floor somewhere.

  24. Debbie H

    In our house its ants, by the droves, moving in to get out of the rain, boom-boom.

  25. KG

    Um….. I was eating.
    Now, not so much anymore.

  26. Ellen

    When we lived in Hawaii, it was good luck to have geckos in your house, and bad luck to kill/hurt them. They liked to hang out in the shower and scare me in the morning when I was half awake and naked.

  27. Andrea

    I’m so glad you catch & release. This woman I work with used a GLUE TRAP to catch a poor little lizard in her house and then just threw the whole thing out in the yard. Geez, woman, it was just a sweet li’l lizard. EVIL WENCH. HMPH.

  28. Flea

    Lizards in the house are kinda cool. Till you find their tiny skeletons in the spring. They’ll eat the superbugs, though. I miss the little anoles. I think it’s one of the only things I miss about living in Florida.

  29. Jodi

    You sure they aren’t coming in on YOUR back? Kind of like a very large tick?

  30. Lucinda

    Oh my God! So funny! I think I’ll settle for the ladybugs that have been invading our house even if I do think lizards are pretty cool. Unless they eat spiders. Then I totally want one.

  31. Aimee

    I dread the day a lizard makes its way inside our place. The cats would make VERY short work of it. Ew.

    Good luck — I bet it’s the plants.

  32. Katie

    I have a friend who has a lizard living in her kitchen. It came in with her one day, and she hasn’t been able to catch it for about two months.

  33. Dixiechick

    Lizards?! No no no no no. It’s taken me two years, yes TWO, to get used to the gigantic mutant roaches this place has, and I am simply going to forget that you’re telling me this state has lizards too. It didn’t happen. Nope. Did. Not. There. All better now.

  34. Katie in MA

    I wonder how much trouble I will cause if I use that frosting bit on the Ex when he asks why I need him to keep the kids on his designated nights? :) Yeah, prolly not worth it. I will stow it away to embarrass the girls (revenge is mine!) when they’re teens.

    Also, how do you KNOW you don’t have a tiny lizard door? Has Monkey been dispatched to check??

  35. Tami

    Mir, I think your lil’Fuzzy is The Lizard Catcher,remember there are no coincidences! That innocent doggy face is hiding a fierce hunter who must be acknowledged or she’ll start bringing them to your bed for praise.(I have personal knowledge of this).

  36. Burgh Baby

    You didn’t warn me there might be lizards. Uh-oh. ;-)

  37. C~

    Ah, yes. Lizards. In TX, too. BUT, bring me lizards anytime, cuz they DO eat spiders! They come in the cracks under the doors and any lil space from the outside. I rarely get a chance to save them, though. My cat usually does them in with one wallop of the paw…their lil hearts just explode, either from the wallop or from the fear of a 14 pound monster’s paw coming at them. And then he’s mad they won’t “play” anymore. I’d like to save them, but it’s usually less of a rescue and more a recovery and disposal operation at my house.

    My personal hell this month was HUGE [at least an inch] GREEN [bright green] caterpillars dropping out of the new ferns I got from the local nursery and hung in my family room. I thought it was leave shedding, until I WIPED them off the half wall with one bare hand into the other bare hand. Caterpillars, um, don’t wipe as much as they smoosh. There’s an ick factor I won’t shake off anytime soon. UGH.

  38. Andrea

    Thank goodness the freeze of a cold Massachusetts winter won’t allow for the migration of lizards and ginormous cockroaches.

    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

  39. Cele

    Lizards are vaguely related to snakes… well really they are snakes with legs – see. So they deserve a screech, and then I calm down and steer clear. Snakes, oh gracious the thought, I can’t go there.

  40. Kim

    We have house geckos. They come inside all summer long. The only thing that ever skeeved me out about them is that when I catch one, I have to be careful or else he’ll shed his tail. *shudder* The tailless lizards look weird, and those tails keep moving around (on their own! not attached to a lizard!) for *hours*. They’re zombie tails! In my kitchen! Eeeeekkk!!!

    Otherwise, I think they are charming, and they love to eat mosquitoes, so I tolerate them and encourage them to leave the house for the outside. Said encouragement given with a quick pinch of the midsection and a delicate placement on the patio, of course. ;D

  41. Leila

    Here’s my “great idea”. I think that you should collect a bunch of them and send them off to your lizard loving brother. I’m sure that he’d love them and they’d be in a warmer climate.


  42. cindy

    afraid of pocket lint? oh my gosh mir, you kill me. did you make that up or hear it? i know it spoils the word play, but i can’t help it- does your brain work like that?

    once in casual conversation with my sis in law, she says something about something being out of order or conspicuous as “an orange fleck on a black piece of paper”. I just cock my head, much like licorice. kills me.

    too, i loved your post today, and your dads

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