How To Catch a Blue-Belly Lizard

Updated on May 14, 2013
Blue-Belly Lizard
Blue-Belly Lizard

Preparing a Lasso to Catch a Blue-Belly Lizard

The Western Fence Lizard, commonly known as the Blue-Belly Lizard can be found across the Western United States. Typically, they are spotted sunning themselves on a rock or log during the day. Their scales make them a little rough to handle, but they are fairly docile and a lot of fun to catch.

There are multiple techniques I've used over the years to catch them from just being quick with my hands to baited small snares, but by far the best technique is to make a lasso out of grass and to slip it over the lizard's head. This technique works so well, because Blue-Belly lizards can only run forward, so there is only one way for them to go which will tighten the noose.

A grass lasso
A grass lasso

Selecting the Grass for the Lasso

Select a long piece of grass like a foxtail that is at least three feet long and is green enough that the flimsy thin end can be tied to make a lasso without breaking. Pull the grass out of the ground from near the roots as possible. Remove all the small branches so that you're left with a single long stem of grass. Next, take the tip and loop it back about one and a half inches and tie a half knot around the stem. The loop if pulled will tighten.

Approaching a Blue-Belly Lizard
Approaching a Blue-Belly Lizard

The Art to Catching Blue-Belly Lizards is in the Stalking

To be successful at catching blue-belly lizards, you have to stalk them very slowly. Here are three tips to stalk a lizard.

  • Move very slowly
  • Stalk from behind the lizard
  • Make sure your shadow never covers the lizard

Most people that aren't successful at catching lizards tend to move quickly and forget to think about their shadow. As soon as the shadow hits the lizard, the lizard darts off for cover.

Once your grass can reach the lizard slowly bounce the grass up and down. If the lizard's head starts bobbing, there is a good chance it will remain still for you to slip the loop over its head.

A long piece of grass can be a bit tricky to hold still enough, but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it. When the loop is over the lizard's head, gently pull up on it. You need to be quick enough to pull it tight before the lizard can run through, but not so quick that you hurt the lizard.

Blue-Belly Lizard Lasso
Blue-Belly Lizard Lasso

Removing the Lasso from the Lizard

Once the catch is in your hands, gently put the lizard on it's back and rub its belly. This will mesmerize and calm the lizard down. Once it's calm, push the loop open and slide it off it's head.

If the lasso becomes too tight, just be patient when opening it up. Blue-Belly lizards have little gill like features on the side of their neck that can catch the grass. Just be really careful to open the loop gently.

Sometimes the lizard will thrash around when trying to remove the trap from its head. It's not uncommon for blue-belly lizards to lose their tails. This is a natural defense mechanism of the lizard. Don't worry too much if this happens, the tails will grow back, but it can make the lizard appear as if it's badly hurt. Just remain calm if this happens and continue to work on removing the loop from its head.

Once the loop is off, you don't want to handle the lizards too much. I usually flip them over and give them a tummy rub to see how long they will sleep, then I put them on my shoulder and let them stay there until they run a way.

Happy Blue-Belly Hunting!

Questions & Answers

    82% of readers found this article helpful.

    30 votes so far. Click a star to add your vote!

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Paul Edmondson profile imageAUTHOR

        Paul Edmondson 

        14 months ago from Burlingame, CA

        I hold them all the time. While they may act like they are going to bite, I've never been hurt. Hold them gently, roll it over on its back and lightly rub its belly. It will sleep:)

      • profile image

        Mia 

        14 months ago

        I just caught a blue bellied lizard it's in a plastic container with holes on the top I want to hold him/her but I am worried if it will bite or jump I was wondering if someone can tell me if it is safe to hold him/her

      • Fawntia profile image

        Fawntia Fowler 

        2 years ago from Portland

        I don't think I've ever seen a lizard like this before, but the blue color on the belly is so unusual! I've heard that blue is not very common in nature.

      • profile image

        lizard lover 

        3 years ago

        what worked most successfully for me was first, to take a long thin stick ,second then get dental floss and cut off about a foot of floss then make a lasso at one end of then string then attach the other side of the string to the end of the stick. i have caught countless lizards using this method and have never hurt or damaged any of my lizards.

      • Availiasvision profile image

        Jennifer Arnett 

        3 years ago from California

        What a fun idea! I used to catch them by hand by sneaking up on them. I'd put them in the same cage as my anoles and they got along great. Blue bellies are really easy to tame and will sit on your shirt for hours. Now I don't have to use the pouncing method.

      • DDS profile image

        David Sproull 

        5 years ago from Toronto

        @Paul: as long as you know I was trying to be helpful and not critical for it's own sake. Stick with it, you'll get this hubbing thing figured out in no time! ;-)

      • Paul Edmondson profile imageAUTHOR

        Paul Edmondson 

        5 years ago from Burlingame, CA

        @DDS thanks for the grammar tip. Some day we will have a feature that let's other Hubbers fix things up like that. Thanks again!

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 

        5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

        Fascinating. We did this years ago in Key West with the center stalk of a palm frond leaf. There were loads of lizards on the island. Although I never saw the western Blue Belly ones, of course. Lizards always reminded me of tiny dinosaurs. Never thought to rub their bellies but we did keep them on sewing thread with a safety pin attached to our shirts. Ah, you've reminded me of the old tomboy days.

      • DDS profile image

        David Sproull 

        5 years ago from Toronto

        Hi Paul, you might want to do a quick re-check on the spelling as you have 'tales' in for 'tails'

        An honest mistake, but figured you'd want to fix it.

        Nice article otherwise!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)