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I am tired of having tons of dying cockroaches around my house from poison so I am thinking of letting a gecko loose in my house to help get rid of the infestation. I would stop using the poison and just let the gecko eat the roaches and am wondering what I should do to help it to live, like how will it get water (how much water do geckos need)? They feed the gecko cockroaches at the pet store, so I figured it would work. We have a LOT of cockroaches, so he will have plenty of food.

So, I was wondering what precautions I should take or if anyone has ever done this before or has heard of this being done or can give any helpful advice to help me avoid ending up with a dead gecko.

Any help will be appreciated as I know about nothing about keeping geckos.

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Try rearing a cat. The cat should not be overfed. You will note that both your cockroaches and the geckos have both disappeared. –  m alexander Jun 1 at 14:23

5 Answers 5

up vote 18 down vote accepted

If I read your question right, you want to use the gecko to clean up the poisoned roaches? You'll just end up with a poisoned gecko that way. But either way, a free-roaming gecko isn't going to make a dent in your roach problem, because roaches go out of their way to live and breed in places that predators can't reach, and to be honest the population is probably more than large enough to sustain itself even with minor losses from poison or predation. Plus, roaches tend to live within a few meters of their food supply, and letting reptiles run around your kitchen increases your risk of catching salmonella from them.

It sounds like you have a pretty bad infestation, which unfortunately is not going to be easy or quick to get rid of. There's never a silver bullet for any kind of infestation, and you need to look at everything that's encouraging the roaches to settle in your kitchen: how new ones come in, where they're getting their food and water, where they're hiding and breeding, and so on. This approach is called integrated pest management, and it's the most effective response to any vermin problem. It's perfectly reasonable to hire a professional exterminator who understands IPM in a case like this (and I'd personally be skeptical of any exterminator who doesn't).

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I would stop using the poison and just count on the gecko eating all the roaches. I hadn't heard about the salmonella. –  SuperScript Dec 25 '13 at 18:12
    
@SuperScript Yeah, any reptile can potentially carry it, not just geckos. –  toxotes Dec 25 '13 at 18:49
    
+1, most especially for the "hire a professional exterminator" bit. –  ClickRick Jun 1 at 20:50

Honestly, for your plan to work, your house would need to be infested with geckos, then you'd be looking at something that eats geckos, something that eats the animals that eats geckos. Etc. Your best option is to cut off the roaches food supply. Clean the area that you're finding roaches with a burning passion. Then, seal off any cracks you can see. Cockroaches can fit in any space that's as thick as their head, and their heads are tiny.

There is the issue if securing the gecko as well. If the gecko isn't native to the area you live, and it escapes, you could become responsible for introducing an invasive species into the wild. It's really hard to say what kind of impact it could have on the local wildlife and even plants. Certain species of geckos can store sperm for later use, so a female that gets loose will be able to reproduce without a mate.

Even if the area is non-conductive to geckos living in the wild, it's still immoral/unethical to put a gecko into the situation where they wouldn't be able to survive on their own. It's not the same as letting a cat loose to catch mice in a barn as the cat can move onto a different area if food runs out.

On a related note if you actually care about the gecko you should never feed your it wild insects. If it's an issue of not wanting to buy insects every so often, ask how to set up a colony for it. I can tell you how to get one going. Feeder insects are a separate strain of insects bred in captivity.

Wild insects are exposed to many things in their lifespan. Chemicals people spray in their grass like weedkiller and pesticides. Poison like you're using. Insects can also carry parasites that are harmful to reptiles. This is why people breed insects as feeders, so that they know their insects are clean.

tl;dr If it's just a tool you want to get rid of the cockroaches then you should get a tool, not an animal.

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This would be harmful to your gecko. For a start, the cockroaches are probably too big for the gecko to safely eat. You should never feed your gecko any animal that's bigger than the space between its eyes. (Ones that are long and thin, like mealworms, are fine - as long as they're not wider than that space - otherwise it risks choking on something that's too big for it to safely swallow.)

You should also never feed your gecko wild insects. It might save money in the short term, but wild insects can carry a whole host of parasites (not to mention pesticides that they might have picked up from the gardens in the neighbourhood). You don't want to risk exposing your lizard to that.

And finally, leaving the gecko to run around the house will not do it any favours either. If there's space for the cockroaches to get in, there's space for the gecko to get out, and then it ends up being eaten by a cat or something. Even before it escapes the house it is in significantly more danger roaming around than it would be in a safe environment like a terrarium.

The other answers have suggested alternate methods of pest removal and I would strongly suggest you follow one of these - and look into gecko keeping (leopard geckos are a great species to start with) separately, if you want to do that as a hobby.

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Yes lizards will eat roaches. I was stationed in Thailand during the Viet Nam war. I lived off base and as is Thai custom the house I rented had a resident Ginjoke. A fairly large lizard who spent most of it's time on the ceiling. In the 9 months I lived there I did not see a roach in the house. The only downside was that occasionally the Ginjoke hanging on the ceiling in the bedroom would lose his grip and you would be woke up by a fairly large lisard on your stomach. They pose no problems except this one. It is considered "good Luck" to have these fellows in your home.

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Your question is not unreasonable. When my sister was in the Marines stationed at Kaneohe, all the Marines kept geckos in their barracks. Loose. To eat the roaches as needed. The gecko would be around, but not bother any thing. It was not a "pet", but a working animal.

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