Lizards come in a stunning array of shapes and sizes, and all of them are flatulent. Unlike most animals with fur, feathers, or skin, lizards are not known for their smell.
Lizard owners know that only applies to their bodies, but feces and gas can smell awful. I will share everything you need to know about what lizards smell like, how they detect scents, and how to clean up after your pet.
What Do Lizards Smell Like
A Lizard doesn’t give off a smell because they don’t have musk glands, fur, or sweat. A Lizard sheds its skin which has almost no smell. Unfortunately, lizard excrement, urine, and flatulence all have noticeable strong and unpleasant scents.
Do Lizards Give Off A Smell
Lizards do not give off a smell. Or, more accurately, healthy, clean lizards don’t have a strong enough smell for humans to detect.
Creatures who possess the Jacobsons Organ would likely disagree. Nevertheless, if you want a non-stinky pet, then choosing a lizard is a good option.
Most members of the reptile family are odor-free. There are a few exceptions, such as alligator lizards and a few snakes that produce a pungent musk.
Rock lizards (Iberolacerta Cyreni) are known for scent marking their territory according to NCBI. Typically, the more odiferous lizards are also the least likely to be household pets.
Notably, lizards, like most pets, have individual personalities with different likes and dislikes. Just as some dogs will roll in their poop (or other animals), some lizards will decide to take a tumble in their droppings.
Naturally, this will result in a very stinky lizard. All you can do if your pet takes up this distasteful pass time is give them baths.
What Gets Rid Of Lizard Smell
If you notice problems with ‘lizard smell,’ then it’s time to clean their habitat. Lizards don’t smell, but their feces and urine do.
It is important to clean reptile habitats at least once a week. Lizard species who prefer damp environments may have mold or bacteria growing inside their terrariums.
To get rid of the lizard smell, follow the steps below.
- First, remove your lizard(s) and place them in a safe, temporary holding container. You can get a small, portable terrarium or breeding tank from a local pet store for this.
- Take out any hot rocks or other permanent ‘landscape’ features and set them aside.
- Remove temporary substrate or bedding materials and dispose of them.
- Use clean hot water, unscented dish soap, or a lizard-safe terrarium cleaner for regular cleaning. Scrub the walls and bottom of the habitat and air dry or wipe it out with a microfiber cloth.
- Next, you need to mix up a ten percent solution of bleach. Spray this on rocks, wood, and other porous items you plan to return to the enclosure. Make sure you let these dry off.
- Replace any sand, substrate, or other ‘ground’ with clean material and add the clean, dry decorative items.
Once your lizard’s habitat is clean, it should be odor-free as well. If you have lingering odor issues, then lizard urine may have soaked into any plastic parts of your tank.
Do Lizards Stink When They Are Alive
If your lizard stinks, and it is definitely alive and responsive, it probably needs a bath. Lizards are not overly invested in hygiene, which isn’t to say they’re ‘dirty,’ but you wouldn’t worry too much either if you could slip out of your old skin.
That said, you don’t need to ‘live with’ a stinky pet.
Most lizards don’t need your assistance to bathe. It is important to make sure your pet has a wide, shallow container of water to soak in.
I recommend tear-free baby shampoo for particularly dirty bearded dragons.
You should never add soap to a lizard’s regular bath because they will often drink as they soak.
Instead, give them a gentle scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush and rinse your lizard in warm 85–88 °F (29–31 °C) water. If the water is too hot or too cold, it can hurt your pet.
What Do Dead Lizards Smell Like
A Dead lizard’s smell is not very different from any other dead animal. It smells like rotting meat, and the odor will get stronger over time.
Until the body is fully desiccated, it will keep putting off an awful, even eye-watering aroma. Please make sure you properly dispose of any lizards who die in your home.
Pets or not, having a dead animal around is bad for your health.
What Does Lizard Pee Smell Like
Lizard pee probably isn’t what you think of when you imagine it. Unlike animals which excrete a liquid from their bladders, lizards cannot produce hypertonic urine.
Instead, they have urate, which is a solid white color. This uric acid paste comes out of their cloaca since lizards do not have a bladder and urinary tract.
Since lizards use the same ‘exit’ for pee and poop, lizard pee smells like poop.
What Does Lizard Poop Smell Like
When you clean up promptly, lizard poop smells won’t be a problem. That said, if your lizards’ poop does smell unusually rank, you should probably take a stool sample to the vet because your pet could be suffering intestinal distress.
Depending on your pet’s diet, the poop will smell more or less gross. Animals that eat meat or cauliflower often have especially unpleasant-smelling poop.
Do Lizard Cages Smell
Clean lizard cages should not smell. It is normal for any animal’s habitat to stink if it is full of poop and pee.
Fortunately, with regular cleaning and a little elbow grease, you shouldn’t have any problems keeping the ‘lizard smell’ to a minimum.
Plastic terrariums can have an odor associated with plastic. Some people and animals are especially sensitive to plastics’ smell.
The simple solution for this is to choose a high-quality glass terrarium for your pet.
How Do Lizards Smell
Lizards have nostrils, but they primarily use their tongues to smell. Like a snake, lizards flick their tongues out to collect scent particles.
Additionally, lizards have a highly developed Vomeronasal Organ. This unique receptor, also known as the Jacobsons Organ, allows lizards, snakes, dogs, cats, and other animals to ‘see’ the world through their sense of smell.
The vomeronasal organ is a collection of cells that open onto the roof of the lizards’ mouth. Unlike humans, animals with this ‘super sense’ can detect odor particles in the air too faint for our less-developed nasal cavity.
Lizards use their tongues to sniff out prey, even when it’s hiding.
Helpful Tips To Know About What Lizards Smell Like
Lizards normally don’t smell. If your pet has an unusual odor about it, please consult a vet. However, keep in mind that some lizards roll in poop or secrete musk so that it could be a ‘normal’ scent.
Here are a few helpful tips to know about what lizards smell like.
- Bearded dragons owners know that if these intestinally delicate creatures have a problem, you will probably see it in their poop first. If you own this species, it pays to become an expert on bearded poop.
- Take the time to clean your lizards’ shallow bathing pool more than once a week. They not only sit in there, but they drink from it as well. You wouldn’t want to drink week-old bathwater, and neither does your pet.
- Always remember, if it smells bad to you, with your human nose, it probably smells ten-thousand times worse to your pet because of their vomeronasal organ.
Lizards are a lot of fun, and they generally don’t smell like other animals can. Lizards lack the musk, sweat, and fur that many pets have.
However, everything that comes out of a lizard has a distinct odor. For pet lizard owners, that means a lot of cleaning to prevent having a stinky home.
Luckily, lizards are easy and quick to clean up after, so you can have a pet lizard without worrying about the odor.