Lizard Fishin'!

H. laoticus

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
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Mar 11, 2009
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1,017
Sup everyone!

Just today I went lizard fishin' with my friend at my school. To give you a little info on what I've been doing leading up to this point and before I explain what lizard fishing actually is for those who don't know:
I've been trying without success to catch Western Fence Lizards aka blue belly lizards for the past month by using the old hand method which basically means sneaking up on them, slowly reaching out with your hand, and with speed + luck, hopefully catching a lizard. Well, that method sucks and I didn't catch squat. So, after much trial and error with that, I tried the pit fall trap method, which is digging a hole in the ground, putting in a tall container with some bait (crickets) and hoping to come back the next day finding a lizard in it. That worked for me in the past, but during this time when I really wanted to catch them, it didn't work (isn't that always the case!?).
So, I decided to look online for some advice and found that there is a much easier way to catch these fast and fidgety creatures. All that's needed is a long blade/stem of grass. What you do is get a long, green one (because those are still strong and flexible), then you tie a slip knot at the tip of the grass. The trick is to slowly go up to a lizard, slip the knot (lol) through the lizard's head, and then tug. The knot will tighten with the tug and the lizard's pull, but will not be tight enough to choke the lizard or harm it. The beautiful part is the lizard doesn't get frightened by the approaching blade of grass because they're used to getting smacked in the face by them in their natural habitat. Well, I went lizard fishin' today and hooked--or should I say 'noosed' 7 western fence lizards and hand-captured an alligator lizard to top it off. I kept 3 along with the alligator lizard and released the rest.

Well, without further ado, the pics:

First up is the habitat. This is an area in between my school and the beach. It's an area almost nearly surrounded by the university's man-made lagoon on one side and the beach on the other.



Here's what the blade of grass/slip knot looks like:



And one of the catches:



Much better than real fishing! I love seeing what I'm going to catch lol



My friend and I named this guy "Godzilla" because he was the largest one and I thought it was going to break my line!





The little alligator lizard. I've been trying to catch one of these for months as some of you may know.









Check out the prehensile tail. I was surprised to see how often it used it.



Western fence lizard in its unfinished setup:

 

Obelisk

Arachnobaron
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Jun 15, 2009
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I used to catch anoles this way when I was a little kid. I agree, it is a much more effective method for catching them. I would sometimes have over 10 of them in a tank outside by the end of the day.
 

xhexdx

ArachnoGod
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Jul 20, 2007
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I used to do that when I was younger as well. I don't know why...I was perfectly capable of catching them with my hands back then. I've slowed down in my old age, so this is definitely something I'd utilize nowadays if I were to go searching for lizards.
 

Galapoheros

ArachnoGod
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Hey I never heard of using grass to do that. That general idea though has been around at least since the 60's. I used to have a small book that recommended using a stick and a piece of string with a loop on the end but using grass took it to a new level haha. With the string or fishing line, I remember it pointed out that it works even though it's not that natural because the lizard is paying attention to you and not so much a piece of string.
 

H. laoticus

Arachnoprince
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Mar 11, 2009
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Hey I never heard of using grass to do that. That general idea though has been around at least since the 60's. I used to have a small book that recommended using a stick and a piece of string with a loop on the end but using grass took it to a new level haha. With the string or fishing line, I remember it pointed out that it works even though it's not that natural because the lizard is paying attention to you and not so much a piece of string.
This is advanced stuff, man lol. Yeah, I've read about using a stick or even a real fishing rod, but using just a blade of grass is as simple as it gets :D
 

ZergFront

Arachnoprince
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May 2, 2009
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Cool. I currently have a male fence lizard and unsexed alligator lizard, both the same size in the same cage. They just seem to ignore each other.

They've been very lazy since it's still pretty cool weather. The alligator lizard always curls up under the planter pot and the fence buries himself in the sand/soil substrate.
 

H. laoticus

Arachnoprince
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Mar 11, 2009
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Cool. I currently have a male fence lizard and unsexed alligator lizard, both the same size in the same cage. They just seem to ignore each other.

They've been very lazy since it's still pretty cool weather. The alligator lizard always curls up under the planter pot and the fence buries himself in the sand/soil substrate.
Nice, what color is your alligator lizard? It doesn't surprise me that they don't mind one another because at the very same place I caught some of the fence lizards, I caught the alligator lizard as well.
 

Jmugleston

Arachnoprince
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Jul 31, 2007
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We use nooses as well when we are trying to capture them. I have the same problem Joe mentioned above. I don't seem to be as efficient at catching them bare handed as I was when I was younger. The noose helps make up for that. Since we're in a desert I prefer a dead stick and some fishing line. I lack the skills to make anything useful from the bits of grass we have out here.
 

Versi*JP*Color

Arachnoknight
Joined
May 11, 2010
Messages
204
There is an easier way to catch lizards!!!
I'll remember this when I visit my cousins in St.George again.

This would be a lot more useful for me if it worked on snakes, no lizards where I am:eek:
 

Jmugleston

Arachnoprince
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There is an easier way to catch lizards!!!
I'll remember this when I visit my cousins in St.George again.

This would be a lot more useful for me if it worked on snakes, no lizards where I am:eek:
It does work on some snakes slender body and fast moving snakes. You'll find Coluber constrictor out where you live and I've used this method to snare them. You have to be careful not to injure the snake or allow it to injure itself while you're doing this. I wouldn't use it on the heavier bodied snakes. Also, around your area you should see there are at least four lizard genera that should be fairly easy to find if you go into the canyons....and provided this cold weather ever lets up.
 

dtknow

Arachnoking
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Aug 18, 2004
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Noosing is very effective on fence lizards as they are easily approachable.(I haven't had much luck noosing whiptails, however). In fact, my main problem sometimes is that the some lizards rather than being wary will attack the noose and try to eat it.(or merely sit their while you pet their backs with the noose due to poor depth perception)

Grass sometimes works. As does string, monofilament line, and thin wire(I've never tried the last but some people swear by it). I've found one of the best natural things is strands from palm fronds...for anyone out in the desert these make nooses as good as any string.

My main problem is that it can often be hard to see the noose if you are using a really long pole...and really hard to get it around the lizards head if the breeze is blowing. Next time I try it I'll probably put a little tab on it to make that easier.
 

H. laoticus

Arachnoprince
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dtknow: Speaking of petting their backs and fighting against a breeze, I was slapping the heck out of the first lizard I tried noosing and luckily for me it didn't seem to mind lol.

The key to catching them for me was making sure the noose went around the thin area, where the neck is so you can have leverage. I also positioned myself in a way that would allow me to pull toward the tail of the lizard so that I could set off the tightening and then when the lizard moved forward, it would tighten the noose as well. I've never tried catching a snake this way, but it sounds like it might work.

I've also read on other string tightening methods such as using a stick/rod, making a loop, and then while holding the stick with one hand, pulling the string with the other. You're basically tightening the string by yourself.
 

dtknow

Arachnoking
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Aug 18, 2004
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you definetly want to pull towards the tail. Be quick about it-but not so much that you end up throwing the lizard.(pulling up-btw...often results in the lizard doing a backflip out of the noose). One of the advantages of thin wire is that it is not affected by the breeze as much.
 
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