How to Find a Lost Snake, Pet Lizard or Other Reptile in Your House

When a small snake or reptile gets loose in your house, it can be difficult to find the pet in a timely manner and for some animals, time is really of the essence as without a heat lamp, they can develop hypothermia and die.

When you discover that your pet is missing, it’s important to perform a thorough search of the entire home. Snakes, lizards and other small reptiles can fit in extremely small spaces. So you’ll need to thoroughly search the home, looking in every nook and cranny. Pay special attention to the small areas beneath dressers, bookcases and so forth. Also look in closets.

Baseboard heating panels are a common hiding spot due to the warmth, so thoroughly examine the space beneath your baseboard heating panels, radiator, forced hot air registers and other warm spots. In addition, the area behind your refrigerator and other warmth-emitting appliances are also common hiding spots, though it can be difficult to check these locations as you may injure the pet if you attempt to slide the appliance. It’s best to use a flashlight (and if necessary, a small mirror) to check beneath and behind the appliances before attempting to move them and if you do need to slide them out, do it very, very slowly so the animal can move out of the way.

If your cursory search does not lead you to your lost pet, the next step involves setting up warming and feeding stations throughout your house. These stations will serve two purposes: they’ll attract your lost pet, providing you with a better idea of his location and they’ll serve to keep your pet warm, buying more time for you to find him or her!

Follow these steps:

  • Gather several clip-on lamps or desk lamps.
  • Place a lamp on the floor in a central location in each room. Situated clip-on lamps by affixing them to a chair or table leg. Position the lamp so it’s close to the floor and provides warmth via its light.
  • Sprinkle a bit of flour on the floor around the lamp. If you have carpeting, put down a bit of newspaper and sprinkle the flour on top of the newspaper.
  • Place a small saucer with water on the floor, nearby.
  • Close all of the interior doors in your home. If there is a space beneath the door, roll up a towel so the pet is contained within the room.

Monitor the warming stations every few hours and examine the floured area to look for footprints or snakeprints — at minimum, you’ll be able to pinpoint his location to a specific room. If you’re lucky, you may find your missing snake or lizard basking in the warm light!

If you’ve determined that your lost reptile is located in a specific room, take measures to ensure that room remains off-limits to small children and other pets. And, of course, keep all windows and doors closed. Once you’ve determined the animal’s approximate location, place a few additional warming lamps and water stations in the room and be on the lookout for your friend!

In addition, it’s important to kennel your dog or keep your cat confined to a safe room where you’re sure the lost lizard or snake is not located. Many reptiles can pose a danger to your pet — they may attempt to strangle your cat or dog or they may be toxic if eaten, so it’s important to keep your animals separated to ensure everyone’s safety.

Also, keep your lost pet’s cage open and check it periodically. It’s not unheard of for your pet to find his way back to his terrarium!

Whatever you do, don’t give up hope and keep looking! It may take a few days to find your lost reptile, but it’s absolutely possible for these animals to survive for days or even weeks on their own, providing they find a source of warmth.

See PetLvr’s related article for more tips on finding a lost pet, including how to make lost pet posters and what to do if you lose a dog or cat.

Photo Source: Piotr Menducki on

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Mia Carter is a professional journalist and animal lover. Her furry family members include 6 dogs and 12 cats. She is also a feral cat colony caretaker. Carter specializes in pet training and special needs pet care. All of her animals have special needs such as paralysis, blindness, deafness and FIV, just to name a few. She also serves as a pet foster parent and she actively rehabilitates and rescues local strays and feral kittens.

  1. Samantha Schwartz
    | Reply

    Hello! my pet lizard was not in his enclosure today! he is sitting up somewhere too high up. [tall screen] what do I do?

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