Lizard Handling and Restraint

Key Points

  • The goal of proper lizard restraint is to control the natural serpentine movement of the lizard while being cautious of the mouth, feet, and tail.
  • Be particularly cautious of carnivorous lizards, like monitors and tegus, as they possess powerful jaws and lightning fast reflexes.
  • Iguanid lizards tend to protect themselves with their claws and tail.
  • Tail autotomy is a defense mechanism that utilizes tail loss to escape predation present in some species like iguanid lizards and geckos.
  • To restrain a lizard, place one hand around the neck and pectoral girdle region while the other hand supports the pelvis and tail base.
  • To minimize the risk of zoonotic exposure, wear disposable gloves whenever possible and always wash hands thoroughly after handling a lizard.

Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures cannot be administered until you and your staff can safely handle and restrain the lizard patient. This article reviews patient transport and defense mechanisms of the lizard, including tail autotomy, as well as protective gear and restraint techniques . . .


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