So, you’re dealing with a nasty lizard problem. A SKINK problem. And you need to get rid of them.
In this article, we’ll take it step-by-step using some home remedies to get the skinks out.
You’ll learn about these topics:
- How to identify a skink
- Why you have skinks in the first place
- DIY home remedies to get rid of them naturally
- Ways to manage and control them
- Eliminating them from the home, garden, garage, and more
- How to keep them away from your house
- And more!
If you have any questions, drop me a comment below or contact me.
Feel free to bookmark this guide so you can easily refer back to it.
Sound good? Let’s get those skinks outta here.
Last updated: 6/21/20.
What’s a skink?
A skink is a small lizard that’s commonly found in the garden and pet trade.
Perhaps skinks escaping or being released by owners contribute to their numbers free roaming around the world.
Skinks live throughout the world but are concentrated in the coastal states here in the United States.
They often build nests and hide in homes, apartments, and other artificial structures with up to 30 lizards per nest!
There are over 1500 different skink species. They’re known for their tiny legs relative to their body size.
Some species also have striking colors with dazzling patterns. And there are even some that have no limbs at all!
You may come across a skink that almost looks like a snake.
Skinks have short legs and big bodies with long tapered tails. But there are also some with stumpy tails.
They’re often hard to see without looking carefully because they can camouflage with their coloration.
There are dozens of names and aliases for skinks.
Because they vary so widely in pattern and color, many names have been concocted for these true lizards.
These are the most common names people call them:
- Alligator lizards
- Blue-tailed skink
- Blue belly skink
- Blue tongued lizard
- Blue tongued skink
- Schneider’s skink
- Red-eyed crocodile skink
- Monkey tailed skink
- Fire skink
- Red-sided skinks
- Ocellated skinks
- Common garden skink
- Penny lizard
- Pale flecked garden sunskink
What do skinks look like?
Depending on the species, skinks may have very small legs and even reduced digits (toes) on each foot.
The stand is to have five toes, but some skinks may have less than that. Skinks are known to “slither” like snakes rather than scurry away like lizards.
Skinks with longer toes are likely arboreal (tree-based). And skinks with shorter toes stay close to the surface.
Skink life cycle
Skinks have a basic lifestyle similar to that of any other lizard.
Skinks will breed throughout the year, but usually in the summer to autumn when temperatures pick up.
Females are oviparous and will deposit 2-6 eggs at a time. If there’s a communal nest, there can be multiple females sharing the same nest and over 250 eggs can be found.
Skink eggs are solid in coloration and white. Eggs hatch several weeks later and vary spending on the species and environment.
Blue-tailed skinks, for example, take about 75 days to hatch. Skinks live up to 6 years in the wild, on average. They reach sexual maturity within a year and can start breeding.
This can contribute to a lot of skinks in a short period of time.
Where do skinks live?
A skink is picky about its habitat and will vary on the species.
Some will live on the land over the soil while others will hide in plant matter.
Since there are so many different species, they can range from deserts to grasslands to mountains. The majority of skinks are excellent burrowers and will dig out a nesting site when needed.
Others are good at tree climbing and live in the trees. If you have tall trees native to your area or in your yard, you may be dealing with arboreal skinks.
Some are even aquatic and prefer water habitats, so ponds, lakes, and streams are all possible attractants.
Areas that are dense with plants and heavily forested will be perfect habitats for attracting skinks. If your home is in a remote location, you shouldn’t be surprised that you have these true lizards crawling around your home.
There are also skinks that inhabit deserts and swim in the sand, such as the mole skink or sand skink. These two species are common in Florida.
Skinks will find a nesting site that’s safe from predators and the elements.
There are many different suitable environments for them and this is why people often find a skink in their first-floor apartment.
Other common nesting sites that skinks hide are:
- Crawl spaces
- Under man-made buildings
- Storage units
Skinks will nest together in pairs.
And when more than two are found in a contained area, there’s probably a skink nest nearby.
They are territorial and keep others out. So this definitely keeps their numbers low and makes getting rid of them easier. You mainly just have a single skink to deal with for most smaller lizard problems.
You may see skinks standing near their nest and waiting for prey.
A skink nest can house up to 30 lizards at a single time before some start departing. Nests can be found in homes, apartments, and other structures.
When are skinks active?
Skinks are active during the daylight hours (diurnal) and will be found outside basking in the sun to regulate their temperature.
They use thermoregulation to generate heat and “collect” it for use when the sun goes down.
At night, skinks will hide in their nesting site or safely between two points of contact to shield them from predators. They hide in the smallest of cracks.
There are some skinks that are nocturnal and active at night, but that’s the minority.
What are skinks good for?
Skinks are considered to be beneficial for the garden because they help eat insects.
You can think of them like nature’s janitors that work for you all day long. Skinks don’t damage plants and also don’t pose a threat towards humans- unless you provoke them.
For these reasons, many homeowners just ignore them and let them do their thing. If you don’t mind having skinks roaming around freely, then let them be.
There’s no reason to actually get rid of them unless you have a lot of lizards or you’re afraid of reptiles. And they’re not bad to have around.
Skinks aren’t bad to have.
They should be a part of the ecosystem in your yard. In fact, they’re often kept as pets because of their calm and friendly nature.
Are skinks poisonous?
Skinks can be poisonous when eaten, so this could be a problem for cats, dogs, horses, and other animals.
They are not venomous and do not inject venom.
However, skinks will bite to defend themselves if provoked or threatened.
The typical garden skink runs away and flees rather than fights, so they’re naturally afraid of humans.
Even so, you should never attempt to handle, catch, or endanger one because it’s very possible it’ll bite. The bite rarely causes any serious harm and may result in minor swelling or pain.
Be sure to sanitize the wound regardless and consult a doctor if needed.
The main reason why people are confused about skinks and poison is because of their color.
The blue-tongued skink has bright, flashy colors that people usually associate with venom or poison. Skinks are not poisonous and don’t carry any toxic venom.
But if they’re eaten, they can harbor bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and other dangerous pathogens that can cause sickness.
Therefore, if your pet eats a skink (or even licks one), you’ll want to monitor for signs of sickness. If you handle a skink, always wash your hands afterward with good hygiene.
Skinks aren’t dangerous because they generally avoid humans and flee, but can be harmful if proper handling isn’t practiced.
What do skinks eat?
Skinks eat primarily bugs but will feast on fruits and plants occasionally.
Depending on the species, their diet varies.
Most skinks will eat small pests like crickets, flies, caterpillars, worms, beetles, spiders, moths, centipedes, millipedes, slugs, snails, grasshoppers, and even other smaller lizards!
Some skinks will even eat small rodents like mice and rats.
Since most of these bugs are present in gardens across the US, this is why you have skinks.
All they need is a source of food, somewhere to hide, and a bit of water. This is why getting rid of the excess bugs is the surefire way to get rid of the skinks!
Why do I have so many lizards around my house?
Skinks will congregate around your property when conditions are favorable.
All they need are the basics (food, water, and shelter) and they’ll gladly stay in your yard (or home).
Eliminating pests, removing excess water, and getting rid of hiding places will make your house less attractive to skinks, thus pushing them out.
Make your home decent and get rid of the attractants. This will help keep skinks away.
What does skink poop look like?
Skink poop is easy to identify and one of the signs that you have a skink problem on your property.
The poop is a mixture of a solid particle with a white acidic portion.
Lizards defecate and urinate at the same time, so their waste is a brown cylindrical log with a white “flag” attached to it at the top. It looks similar to bird feces, except it also has solid waste attached to it.
If you find this all over your yard, on your fence, and on your porch, deck, basement, or patio, you probably have some kind of lizard.
How to catch a skink
You can catch a skink using a snare, which is a long rod with a small rope on one end.
You loop the rope around the neck of the lizard and pull on the opposite end to tighten it.
It does take practice to use it properly, but it’s the easiest and fastest way to catch a loose skink.
Here’s a video demonstrating a snare in action:
Signs of a skink infestation
Skinks leave behind many different clues that you can use to identify an infestation.
Be alert and on the lookout for any of these:
- Lizard droppings in your yard, basement, garage, deck, patio, or home
- Shed skin (looks like white transparent fabric)
- Dead bugs
- Eggshells lodged in crevices
- Sound of shuffling when lights are turned on or things are moved
- Visible skinks
It’s not hard to tell when there’s a lizard problem on your property.
But it’s hard to tell what kind of lizard it is.
For example, telling an anole infestation vs. a skink infestation is difficult since they both have similar lifestyles and habitats so to the untrained person it’s hard to tell.
How to get rid of skink lizards naturally
There are some things you can do at home to help control and manage the skink infestation in your yard.
Thankfully, most skinks aren’t hard to get rid of.
Simply eliminating the food source does wonders in controlling their population.
Regardless, here are some home remedies you can do yourself to eradicate the skinks on your property.
Eliminate food sources
The first step (that’s very effective) is to simply remove the food source. What do skinks eat? Bugs. Insects. Pests.
Do whatever you can do to reduce the number of free-roaming bugs in your garden and you’ll see fewer skinks. Less available food means that the ecosystem in your yard can only support fewer skinks.
Yes, there exists a balance between all species in your yard- believe it or not. Yoru garden is a small ecosystem in and of itself.
Depending on where you live, what bugs you have in your garden, and the native skink species that you’re dealing with, this step varies.
You’ll need to do a thorough inspection of your property and see what kind of bugs live on it. Check your garden, home, shed, outhouse, basement, garage, attic, etc.
You’ll need to check for bugs that you have a lot of because these are likely part of skink’s diet.
If you live in a temperate, humid region, the skinks may be eating silverfish, spiders, pillbugs, and more.
Find out what bugs you have and get rid of them.
Do some research and find out how to control those bugs, which will control the skinks. If you don’t know where to start, hire a pest control professional to assess the situation.
Do a thorough cleaning of your yard
Skinks eat small bugs that fly and crawl as their primary food source.
They’re less interested in plants, fruits, and veggies as they’re tuned to moving prey and are insectivores. Keeping your yard clean and maintained naturally helps bring down the number of insects that are attracted to it.
If you can just practice basic maintenance, you’ll be in good shape and make it a less favorable environment for small bugs, flies, and other lizards like green anoles.
If you’ve never done any yard work, now’s a good time. Set aside an entire weekend for this project because it WILL take time.
But the nice part is that once you clean it up once, you can routinely maintain it which takes a lot less time.
Time to break out the garden gloves and dust off that lawn mower- we have some work to do!
Here are some pointers that you should consider to help drastically eliminate bugs in your yard:
- Keep your lawn mowed and tidy
- Pull or remove tall vegetation and weeds
- Keep all your plants pruned
- Pick up and dispose of leaf litter
- Keep your trash bin and compost area secure and clean
- Keep firewood on raised surfaces and protect it from pests
- Get rid of ALL unnecessary clutter
- Store your unused equipment in a shed or outhouse
- Use plastic containers that don’t allow pests inside for storage
- Keep water features clean and maintained
- Keep bird, rodent, dog, cat, and any other feed away from access
- Cut down, remove, or pull any plants you don’t need
- Don’t let plants grow a bridge to your home
- Don’t let plants grow too tall
- Remove any plants that in direct contact with your house
- Avoid using trellises that touch your home’s walls
These tips should get you started to a pest-free yard, which will then become skink free after they have nothing left to eat.
The effects may be sudden as skinks need to move quickly to find a stable food supply.
You may be able to fully get rid of them in as little as 2-3 weeks with persistent effort.
Remove hiding places
Skinks will hide and sleep in cracks and crevices found in your home and garden.
Since they’re small reptiles, they can easily hide and conceal themselves around your property. This is why you may find them hiding in your garage, attic, basement, or other dark areas during the day.
They can also hide outside between patio furniture, fencing, foundation cracks, crawl spaces, voids, patio or deck construction, wooden panels, or even within objects outdoors!
They’re masters of concealment and pressing their bodies into a crowded space makes them feel safe.
You can reduce the number of skinks by removing possible hiding areas.
This will make your property less favorable to them, so then they may avoid infesting your yard and rather go to your neighbors.
Check your yard for these common nesting sites:
- Under patio furniture
- Under appliances
- Between panels on wooden fences
- On windowsills
- Between storage containers (or inside them)
- In sheds, outhouses, or greenhouses
- Behind potted plants
- Within cracks and crevices
- Foundation cracks
- Tree bark
- Under leaf litter
- Within long grass
- Between rocks
- They can also hide in your basement, attic, or even your garage.
Since they’re small, they can just squeeze right under door gaps, damaged weatherstripping, vents, grates, or torn window screening.
If it’s very cold or hot outside, they’ll be seeking a more comfortable ambient temperature, so they can wander into your home to thermoregulate.
They may also be attracted to the dark or the plentiful hiding areas inside your house.
Don’t be surprised to see a skink scurry out when you move that old box of junk!
Turn off your lights
Nighttime and daytime lights are an attractant for lizards. Bugs are attracted to light.
And skinks are attracted to bugs.
So if you leave your lights on at night, bugs will flock to the light and feast, breed, and establish nesting sites.
This will just lead to more pests in your garden, which will then lead to more skinks and other lizards.
So you’ll want to prevent bugs from coming to your property in the first place.
Eliminate all sources of nighttime lighting that you don’t absolutely need:
- Porch lights
- Deck lights
- Patio lights
- Solar pathway lights
- LED lights
- Picnic table lights
- Grill lights
- Security lights
Anything that produces light for decor should be shut off when not in use
You’ll also save power and get a discount on your electrical bill- not to mention keep the bugs and skinks away.
And don’t forget: Lights from inside your home are also a problem.
Use shutters, blinds, or curtains to block out the light from inside your home leaking outside at night.
This is also a problem because bugs will try to find ways into your home through the windows, under doors, or through other cracks where light bleeds out. This will have them exploit all the possible entry points into your property.
You can also replace them with vapor lights, which are said to not attract insects during operation, according to this page.
So block the light to block the bugs. And this will block the skinks. Does that make sense?
Set up glue traps
Glue traps can be used to catch skinks that wander into them.
They’re often called sticky traps, glue boards, or glue boxes.
You may find them in many different variations, but they all work the same way- the skink walks onto the sticky adhesive and gets trapped. You can buy these at most hardware stores- just read some reviews online and pick out a decent one.
Use as directed by the manufacturer.
You’ll want to place them in strategic locations:
- Between the surfaces where two joints meet
- Under door gaps
- Throughout your basement
- In the outside yard
- Within your garage
- Storage areas
- Or any other area that you suspect lizard activity
They allow you to catch lizards humanely so you can relocate them.
After the lizard gets stuck on it, you can use some canola or vegetable oil to release them.
Be sure to relocate them at least 10 miles from your home to prevent them from finding their way back. Also, be mindful of the area where you drop them off.
Don’t cause a lizard problem for another neighborhood!
Block off water sources
Lizards need water to correctly shed their skin.
Just like a steady source of food, they also need water. Except to not the same extent.
Just a few drops of morning dew on a plant leaf is enough for them, as they get most of it from the bugs they consume.
If you have accessible water where a skink can easily lap some up, you should remove it.
The same goes for things like fountains, ponds, birdbaths, or other water features. If you don’t need it and it’s just pooling up water, remove it.
This will also stop other moisture-loving bugs from infesting your yard.
So you’re killing two birds with one stone.
Clean up debris
Make sure your garden has no clutter and debris. Ignoring these things will bring more bugs to your yard, which will inadvertently attract skinks.
Remove any overgrown vegetation, dead plants, leaf litter, or other organic matter. Keep your lawn mowed. Prune your plants. Cut down any plants that make contact with your home, such as bridging tree branches or plants on trellises.
Keep your yard clean and free of clutter and garbage as much as you can.
Don’t keep things you don’t need. You can sell or throw out old furniture, storage goods, or other equipment like that lawnmower that’s been weathered for years.
These are all just areas for bugs and skinks to hide. BE TIDY.
Seal up your home
If you have skinks coming into your house, seal up all cracks that they’re using to get inside.
Do a thorough exam of your property and caulk, repair, or replace any crevices you notice. Skinks are small and can slither through door gaps, damaged weatherstripping, foundation cracks, damaged grates, vents, and torn window screening.
You’ll want to go through your home and seal up any entry points.
Don’t forget to check the gaps between electrical wires and plumbing systems.
These go straight through to your crawl space and allow skinks (and other lizards) to get inside.
You can also make the inside of your house less favorable to skinks.
If you have them crawling around your living room, consider doing the following:
- Set up glue traps around the perimeter of your indoor rooms
- Keep furniture at least 8” from the walls
- Turn off lights when possible
- Don’t store any accessible food
- Put garlic under furniture, appliances, or other hiding places
- Block off any entry points
- Keep doors and windows closed
- Use essential oil sprays around the home (more on this later)
Attract predators that eat skinks
There are plenty of natural enemies that eat skinks.
Since they’re small, many larger predators will prey on them without hesitation.
Birds, snakes, ferrets, skunks, raccoons, toads, foxes, crows, hawks, herons, possums, cats, and even dogs are excellent skink hunters (though you probably shouldn’t use your own dog because of transmissible diseases).
But if you have any other predators native to your area, consider attracting more of them to help control the skink population.
Do some research online and see how to bring more of them to your yard.
For example, you can attract more birds by providing bird nests, bird feeders, and birdbaths. Just make your yard a favorable environment and take it from there.
Remember that you may allow other bug populations to jump up because you’re eradicating the skinks. They’re beneficial lizards because they help control other bugs.
But if you’re scared of lizards or can’t stand skinks, it may be worth it to deal with other bugs at the benefit of fewer skinks.
Get a cat
Cats are excellent hunters of skinks.
They can stalk, pounce, and catch skinks all day. Any skink that makes its way into your home may end up being cat food.
Not to mention that the skinks will be scared of cats and naturally won’t enter your home.
However, you should consider that your cat can get sick by eating skinks. And this can transfer over to you zoonotically.
So even though they make excellent hunters, you may be better off attracting stray cats to do the dirty work for you. That comes with its own can of worms because stray cats can also harbor diseases as well. Food for thought.
Check your HVAC unit
Your home’s heating and cooling units can be a perfect environment for skinks to hide and get into your home.
You should make sure that your HVAC system is maintained and not covered with vegetation, debris, or other organic matter.
Keep it clear and prune any plants that creep to your AC. Bugs will also be less likely to live inside it, which will keep the skinks out.
Replace your plants
Lizards have been known to chew on vegetables, fruits, and succulents. If you have a ton of these plants, the skinks may be eating them.
You may want to swap your plants for something less edible, such as marigold, chrysanthemum, or other plants that naturally deter critters.
This isn’t always possible, but just be aware that your plants can be feeding the skinks.
Spray essential oils
Lizards dislike the powerful aromatic scent that comes from essential oils.
Consider using some popular oils like peppermint, lavender, basil, garlic, onion, or neem.
You can buy a small bottle and mix a few drops into a liter of water. Then spray it around the yard, home, and garage. This will help keep bugs AND lizards away from your property.
Some individuals may be sensitive to these oils even if they’re natural. Check with your family and make sure your pets don’t ingest the stuff, as some oils can harm pets.
Always follow the label and do your research before using any type of essential oil repellent.
Chop up garlic
Garlic can be an effective natural deterrent for skinks.
You can grow garlic plants, use garlic powder, or chop up raw garlic and place it around the home and yard.
Garlic will emit an odorous aroma that keeps skinks and all sorts of bugs away.
Place the garlic in strategic locations like under doors, within cracks, crawl spaces, and around the yard. Watch out for kids and pets and make sure they don’t come into contact with the garlic.
Onion can also be a substitute for the garlic as a lizard repellent. They both are excellent at keeping lizards out. The aroma and contact with their skin make it a powerful repellent.
Mothballs can be an effective deterrent when used in enclosed spaces
The way mothballs work is by releasing toxic fumes that build up over time. Out in the open where the air is exchanged readily, they don’t work well.
They need areas that are sealed up with poor airflow to fully exterminate or repel skinks.
This can be areas like storage containers, cardboard boxes, or under various equipment or storage containers in your garage or attic. If you have crawl spaces under your deck or junk on your patio, you can also use mothballs.
Note that you should never use them where you spend a lot of your time. The residue released by them is harmful. Always used as directed.
Sprinkle spices and herbs around the yard
Spices and pepper can also work just like garlic as a skink repellent.
You can buy spices at the store and just sprinkle it around your property. Use it where you’ve seen skinks hanging out or where you suspect them to be.
You can use cayenne pepper, black pepper, chili powder, jalapenos, ghost peppers, habanero peppers, or just plain ground up chilis. The overwhelming aroma from the spices helps keep skinks away.
Don’t let your pets or kids come into contact with these repellent stations. The spices will deter them by making it very uncomfortable to touch when they brush against it with their skin.
Be sure to reapply after rain or wind.
Use bird feathers
Lizards fear birds. So you can use feathers around the yard to naturally keep them out.
Skinks will be on high alert when they come across a feather.
Buy them in bulk online for cheap and then tape them to areas where you suspect skinks to be active.
You can tape them to walls, trellises, fences, doors, trees, patios, decks, windows, basements, attics, garages, and more. If you have skinks that live in your outhouse or shed, consider just scattering the feathers all over the place to keep them out. You can use peacock, raven, or crow feathers.
Depending on the skink species, they may or may not have a response to the feather. You have to see and play around with them to get it right.
Eggshells signal to skinks that other snakes, reptiles, or birds are around.
This again acts as a repellent and keeps them away.
You can just use regular eggshells broken in half and place them where you notice skinks present.
Use commercial lizard repellent
When you’re out of options, you can consider using commercial sprays, granules, and applications to kill or repel the skinks.
There are plenty out there so you’ll have to do some research on what works for you. Always get organic or natural sprays when possible. Use as directed.
If you’re growing edibles, avoid using sprays and consider hiring a professional that can rid the lizards using natural approaches.
Hire a professional exterminator
There’s no reason you should avoid hiring a licensed professional from a pest control company to help out.
Sure, a lot of us have pride (or just want to save money) but not hiring a pro.
But that could cost us in the long run when we waste time and money on solutions that don’t work.
A lot of large pest control companies give free inspections and can give you a quote.
You should do some research and read some reviews online first, then collect a few quotes from companies near you.
he only thing you should pay attention to is natural pest solutions. This is safer for you, your pets, your plants, and the environment.
Avoid using dangerous compounds and residues when possible. Not all pest management companies offer this, so be on the lookout. Give them a call and see what they can do for you.
What kills skinks lizards instantly?
There are a few different things that kill skinks instantly. It can be as basic as just swatting one with a shoe, but that’s far from humane. You can use a commercial lizard killer if you want a solution that works right away.
But you need to be aware of the dangerous compounds you’re bringing into your yard when you apply these reagents.
Also, some of them may just not work well and you risk the skink walking through it and then bringing it to your home. That’s even worse. This is why you should always relocate, not kill.
How do you kill a lizard humanely?
You should avoid killing skinks, but rather relocate them when possible.
They can be relocated 10 miles away from your property to avoid them finding their way back and possible reinfestation.
The only humane method to kill a lizard is injection. This will need to be done by a vet, as the materials needed aren’t available to the public. This isn’t some OTC medication that you can buy from the store. There are other methods that are touted by the public, but they’re NOT humane.
Freezing is one example. This is tortuous as most people don’t do it correctly. And the lizard will suffer for an extended period of time. Freezing a lizard is not humane. If you want to kill a skink humanely, the only surefire way is to have a vet take care of it.
How to get rid of skinks in the garage
Got skinks doing a rampage in your garage?
This should be little-to-no surprise because they seek out man-made buildings and will take shelter to protect them from being preyed upon.
Your garage is a near-ideal hiding place because it:
- Provides a source of food (bugs that hide in the dark like spiders, millipedes, centipedes, beetles, etc.)
- Likely has plenty of places to establish a nest (storage, cardboard, vehicles, foundation cracks, appliances, wall voids, behind the wallpaper, etc.)
- Has a source of water (leaky pipes, bad plumbing, condensation, water heater, or the HVAC unit)
Since the average garage fulfills everything a skink needs to live happily, they’ll gladly infest it.
Here are some tips to get the lizards out of your garage:
Remove all sources of moisture
This includes any condensation from your pipes due to temperature changes.
You may want to invest in some insulation wrapping to prevent dewdrops from forming and the lizards drinking it up.
You should also fix any leaky pipes and block off anywhere that water can seep in.
Get rid of clutter
Clutter will be the ultimate hiding place for lizards. Skinks will build nests that can support dozens of lizards if the provided conditions are right.
Anything that you don’t need, throw it out. Anything that does, store it in a plastic container with a cover. Get rid of all the junk by donating it, selling it, or just tossing it.
The fewer items you have, the less chance that a skink will find somewhere suitable to hide.
Remember that skinks are territorial, so you’ll likely never find more than 2 of them in your garage.
But if they build a nest, you may find up to 30 at a single time. Get rid of them before they establish a true nest.
Kill the bugs
The lizards are eating the bugs that are living in your garage.
Do some pest control at home and exterminate them. Get a shop vac and suck up as many as you can find. Lay out sticky traps to catch any crawlers. Spray essential oils (peppermint or lavender) to keep bugs out.
If you can rid the bugs, there will be no food left for the skinks.
Here are some guides that you may find useful:
Or you can do a search for a specific pest you have in your garage by using the search bar.
Seal up cracks
Sometimes, the lizards will live in your garage but go outside to feed. If you block up the entryway that they’re using to go outside and come back inside, they’ll be stopped.
This is usually a doorway with a door gap, a garage vent, or a crack in the foundation or wall.
Electrical outlets and plumbing inlets are problems. You’ll want to eliminate any cracks that they could be using to travel into your property.
With these in mind, you should be able to clear out your garage from skinks.
How to get rid of skinks in the yard
If you have skinks in your yard, you can practice the following techniques to get rid of them.
Note that if you’re in an area native to skinks where they’re abundant, no degree of DIY home remedies will get rid of them.
You can only reduce their numbers, but trying to get rid of every single lizard is nearly impossible without the use of toxic chemicals.
This depends wholly on your situation and what you’re willing to do to eliminate them.
Keep your yard clean
The most obvious choice, but least practiced.
Skinks are attracted to food and shelter. Keep your vegetation pruned and tidy.
This will reduce the chances of them finding somewhere to live. Remove all leaf litter ASAP. Keep the lawn mowed.
Don’t let plants overrun the yard. Dense foliage such as shrubs and bushes are hiding places for skinks and they can establish a nest in them. Trim or remove any foliage you don’t need and keep it bare.
Skinks will drink dewdrop off plants, which you have little control over.
However, you can control other water features like fountains and back-flowed gutters.
Remove any stagnant water and cover up other sources of open water. This will also reduce the moisture content in the air which can help keep other bugs out also.
Get rid of the bugs
Your yard is home to thousands of bugs with a delicate ecosystem.
Skinks surface when there are plentiful amounts of bugs to feast on. If you can control and manage the pest population in your garden, you can reduce the lizard population as well. If you’re dealing with a specific bug that you can’t control, hire a pest company to help.
You can also search for a bug guide on this site using the search bar at the top of the page.
Set up skink repellent
You can use garlic cloves, eggshells, essential oils, onion bulbs, bird feathers, and other repellents listed here.
Use these as necessary over your yard to keep the lizards out
Do this after the yard has been cleaned for the best effect.
How to get rid of skinks on the porch, deck, and patio
Lizards like porches because they provide easy access to basking areas when the sun rises.
Side railings, ceiling beams, and floorboards all receive direct or partial sunlight which makes it easy for the skink to regulate temperature.
Beams in the roof and under the patio deck provide places to hide and look for bugs to eat. So it’s no surprise that skinks infect decks, patios, and porches.
You can control lizards and keep skinks away from your porch by doing the following best practices:
Keep your porch clean
Don’t leave clutter all over your deck. If you have unused furniture, old potters for plants, saucers, end tables, or other objects, get rid of them or store them.
This gets rid of any hiding places for skinks.
Prevent entry to crawl spaces
Older homes have bare decks with a lot of void space under the boards.
This harbors all sorts of bugs.
You’ll want to seal this up and prevent any possible entry.
Look for cracks and caulk or block them off. If it’s accessible, consider using a natural repellent like soaked cotton balls with essential oils and tossing them under.
You can also use sticky traps or sticky tape and place it around the entry points. This forces the lizards to walk over it before entering.
Clean up the rest of your yard
It’s very likely that lizards were initially attracted to your garden and then made their way to your patio.
If your patio is clean, but your yard is unkempt, this will be useless because you’ll just keep attracting more and more skinks.
Keep the entire outside clean and free of plant debris.
Reduce as much clutter as possible. Don’t allow access to food and water sources for ALL pests- not just lizards. And review the DIY remedies above for additional tips and tricks to get rid of them.
How to get rid of skinks in the house
Skinks in the house is a common problem for people on the lower story.
These lizards will seek out artificial structures and aren’t afraid to infest them. If you have skinks getting into your home, here are some tips to help keep skinks out of the house.
Block access to your home
The only way a reptile can get inside your home in the first place is if there were some kind of opening it used to sneak in.
If you block off all possible entryways, then the lizard has no choice but to stay outside!
As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to do a thorough evaluation of your home (on the outside) to check for entry points.
Since skinks can be extremely small (1” as a baby), they can squeeze through cracks as thin as 0.25”.
You know all those cracks you see in the walls of your home, around the windows, and even on the cement floor? Those are all possible ways they can enter your home.
And don’t forget about under doors and through window screens.
Remove hiding places
Your home is a whole new world for lizards.
There are plenty of objects and shiny things for them to hide in, on, or under.
Think about your refrigerator, oven, furniture, washing machine, dryer, couch, table, dresser, wardrobe, TV stand, closet, and more.
This makes it hard to completely eliminate everything that the lizard can use to hide. You’ll want to assess the situation and see where you notice the skink to hang around.
Then you’ll want to block off possible hiding places it could be using. If you see more than two skinks in a small area, there’s likely a nest nearby that may require a professional exterminator to handle.
These nests can house up to 30 lizards and you definitely don’t want them to bite you (or run and disperse throughout your home).
Eliminate food and water
Skinks will establish territory close to a food and water source.
Their food source is small insects that are found throughout your home.
Depending on what bugs you have, you’ll want to take the proper steps to get rid of them. Spiders, millipede, centipedes, beetles, thrips, flies, and other critters are all things they eat without care.
Water can be found on leaky faucets, damaged plumbing, and even through simple condensation (such as behind your fridge).
These lizards just lick off the drops of water found throughout the home and that’s all they need. The water you drop on the floor after using the sink can be enough for the day.
Every day, skinks will come out of their hide to bask in the sunlight for UVA/UVB.
You can catch them in the sunlight during these peak hours in the afternoon.
Check to see which area of yours has a lot of sunlight streaming in and look for the skinks there. You can also block sources light from shining into your home by shutting the blinds or closing the curtains.
This makes your home not a suitable environment because they NEED sunlight. The lizard may then depart and migrate away on its own.
How to keep skinks away from your house
It all starts outdoors in your yard.
Keeping your yard pest-free with plenty of natural repellents will be effective to keep skinks out.
They come to your property in the first place because of the garden. And they may find their way into your home after that.
So if you keep your yard unfavorable to them, they probably won’t bother checking your house. Read the section above for tips and home remedies on repelling skinks outdoors in the yard.
How to get a skink out of the house
Once a skink gets inside your home, it’s hard to remove unless it leaves on its own. If you can catch it using a snare, then you can relocate it to the outdoors.
Otherwise, once a lizard gets into your home, you may have to make conditions unfavorable to get it to leave.
f you keep your home clean, remove all hiding places, and set up natural repellents throughout the place, you’ll have a better chance to get the stink out of your house.
How to get rid of skinks permanently
Skinks can be difficult to get rid of for good.
They’re extremely adaptable and can continue to infest your home and garden unless strict measures are taken.
The effective way to control them involves using a combination of different repellent techniques.
This means doing the following:
- Sealing up all entryways to your home, garage, basement, etc.
- Keeping your yard clutter-free and well maintained
- Applying skink repellents throughout the home and garden
- Monitoring for progress
You can use a combination of remedies to do this.
For example, sealing up your home’s foundation to keep the skinks out. Then pruning all the foliage that touches your home.
Also consider laying out eggshells, mothballs, pepper, and onion around the common areas where skinks are spotted.
Then finally checking your progress over time. Is it working? Does something need to be adjusted? Constantly reevaluate the situation by seeing the number of skink encounters.
Here are some references you may find useful:
Did you get rid of the skinks?
You should have a vast foundation of knowledge now to manage, control, and eliminate skinks on your property.
Although they rarely cause any damage and are a beneficial lizard to have, some people just can’t stand them.
They hate lizards. They hate reptiles. Or they just can’t bear to imagine a four-legged, sticky skin, stub tailed organism running across the garden fence!
Skinks are relatively easy to control compared to other backyard pests, so with patience and the right combination of DIY home remedies, you should be able to somewhat manage them quite well.
You may never fully eradicate them from your yard, but you should be able to reduce their sightings.
If you have any questions or if you found this article helpful, please let me know by dropping a comment below.
Consider telling a friend or neighbor who may also be trying to get rid of skinks!
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.