What Do Lizards Eat?

How do you feel about Lizards peeking from a wall? Or watching you behind a rock? Crawling on the floor or your foot? Well, some of you would scream out in fear while others would whoop with delight. No matter what you feel about lizards, you can’t deny that they are truly fascinating creatures.

Being the most widespread and diverse group of reptiles on Earth, Lizards have more than 3500 living species grouped into 40 different families. They’ve prowled for about 200 million years on our planet. However, recently, scientists have revealed “the mother of all lizards,” a fossil that dates back to 240 million years.

Since a great number of lizards’ species have been evolved, they’re clumped into 5 broad categories. Among them, the Iguania consisting of more than 900 species, have some of the best pet lizards such as anoles, iguanas, and chameleons.

Lizards are adaptable to all the regions except for cold places and deep oceans. So you can find them everywhere on the Earth except for Antarctica.  They live in deserts, marshes, prairies, and rocky areas.

This is why their food choice is more diverse, depending on their species. Some eat crickets and grasshoppers while some munch on leaves and pollens. Also, some big lizards even feed on giant breeds of prey such as carrion, deer and other bigger animals. However, lizards are subdivided into four types on the basis of their feeding habits.

Types of lizards

Herbivorous lizards

These lizards are absolutely vegetarian as they chomp on leaves, fruits, and other plants. Regardless of what food they should stick to, sometimes they readily feed on insects which lead them to some health issues. So, if you want your herbivorous lizard to stay healthy, keep an eye on it.

Insectivorous lizards

Some particular lizards including alligator lizards, a true chameleon, and geckos feed on to more than 25 different species of insects. They like to tuck in crickets, locusts, mealworms, and many other small insects.

Carnivorous lizards

Except for Komodo monitors (the largest and heaviest lizard) who feed on carrion, other wild lizards hunt down relatively small creatures including snakes, insects and some lizards. The Carnivorous pet lizards devour on mice, fish, rats, and chicken.

Omnivorous lizards

These lizards are more foodie as they like to consume both plants and animals. Having various food choices, they can dine on what they find first. They feed on insects, mammals, and resort to plants as well.

Lizards that Eat Plants

Herbivorous lizards need a vast variety of greens when it comes to their feed. They prefer to eat various plants from their surroundings. They feed in rock clefts, on the ground, and even in the trees. What’s more? Some herbivorous lizards snack on algae from the sea stacks.

Iguanas

Iguana basking

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Having sturdy stature, saggy skin on its neck and the scaly spines protruding from its head to tail tip, Iguanas can easily be recognized. They certainly are the most popular pet lizards today! They have a fairly strict vegetarian diet and can live to 20 years if appropriately nursed.

If you are planning to own an Iguana, make sure to feed him green beans, fruits, and grains in limited portions. As they’re highly capable of extracting protein from green leaves, therefore, they don’t require additional diets. Sometimes, the pet Iguana likes to gobble up crickets and worms as well. So you’ll have to add these to their vegetarian diet.

Chuckwalla

Chuckwalla sitting on a rock basking

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Growing up to more than 20 inches, Chuckwallas are the desert dwellers and are purely vegetarians. They have a large stocky body, and they usually eat daily. Once cram in, they laze to raise their body temperature up to 92 Fahrenheit.

Pet Chuckwallas are likely to prefer fruits, flowers and succulent plants. They gladly thrive on leafy green veggies and perennial flowers. The pet chuckwallas feast upon any fruit or vegetable, ranging from broccoli to prickly pear and strawberries.

Uromastyx

Uromastyx sitting on a rock

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Uromastyx is small dinosaur-like lizards. They have a spiny tail for defense. You will mostly find it in Asia and the Middle East. They usually like to eat wild squash, bristlegrass, and gourds. They gobble up desert bushes. Yet Hibiscus and Acacia are the most favorite flowers they thrive on.

Since Uromastyx is vegetarian, they should be given only leafy greens. You can feed them endive, collard greens, escarole, dandelion leaves, mustard greens, and spring leaves. If feeding them a completely plant-based diet doesn’t work out well enough, you can add lentils, beans, split-peas and some seeds in their diet.

Lizards that Eat Animals

In contrast to the lizards that eat plants, carnivorous lizards only devour insects and other small animals. Quite a few species of Carnivorous lizards are those which consume insects only. They usually like to crunch on small spiders. The most popular Carnivorous lizards include Geckos, Anoles, and Ackies.

Geckos

Gecko

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The Geckos store fat in its tail for the time when food is scarce. In their natural habitat, Geckos eat anything that is enough to power them and easily consumable. They mainly thrive on crickets and grasshoppers. Some of the Geckos species feed on small spiders, scorpion, and centipedes whereas another hunt down small and young rodents.

However, pet Geckos need exactly the same diet they get in the wild. So if you have a Gecko lizard, make sure to feed him crickets, silkworms, mealworms, and even locusts to make your pet happy. In case you’re nursing a baby Gecko, you can feed him fruit flies only.

Anoles

Anole sitting on a leaf

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You may startle the green lizard crawling on the leaves or climbing trees in the garden or yard but remember that these lizards are not harmful to you. In fact, they can help you in a way that they feed on small insects including crickets and cockroaches.

If you’re planning to keep the anole in captivity as your pet, don’t forget that these small lizards don’t chew their food rather they gulp it whole. So you can feed him small insects including mealworms, small crickets, and maggots. Avoid feeding him kingworms as they can harm your anole. Besides, chunks of fruits including apples and oranges taste just like candy to anoles.

Ackies

Ackie sitting on a log

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Commonly, these spiny-tailed monitors are mostly found in drier regions of Australia. They can be grown to 2 feet from snout-to-vent.

As ackies are Carnivorous lizards, their diet can include a bulk of insects. However, it stores fat in its tail so feeding too much can make it a bosc monitor. In captivity, it’s better to leave them in an open area so they can hunt for food. These spiny-tailed monitors like to feast upon rodents (mice), mealworms, crickets, cockroaches, snails, and lobsters.

Omnivorous Lizards

These lizards are likely to munch on a wide variety of food. Some of the Omnivorous lizards’ species eat food in combination; they feast upon leafy greens, small insects and animals.  Most of the other species chomp vegies, flowers, meat, and insects. But as these lizards age, they mostly like to consume plants. Some popular Omnivorous Lizards are Bearded dragons, Veiled chameleons, and Plated lizards.

Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragon from closeup

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Being one of the most relaxed reptiles on land, Bearded Dragons are becoming a popular choice for pet lizard nowadays. They are known to be exotic and easy-going lizards. Pet Bearded Dragons, if cared for properly, can live up to 10 years. Though they can run up to 9 miles per hour, they are the most sedentary lizards.

When it comes to its diet, they are not picky and enjoy a good combination of pants, vegetables, animals, and insects as their food. You can also feed him chopped pieces of vegetables including zucchini, carrots and romaine lettuce. Besides, they eagerly thrive on greens and fruits as well.

Veiled chameleons

Veiled chameleon closeup

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Mostly found in deserts, mountains and coastal plains, they carry a prominent veil on top of their heads to survive in rough climates. There are approximately 200 species of Chameleons in the world, but the Veiled Chameleons are the most popular lizards to be kept in captivity.

Like other Omnivorous lizards, veiled chameleons also eat a wide variety of food. Ranging from crickets, waxworms to leafy greens and Ficus, they have a plentiful selection of foods to choose. Young Veiled Chameleons are more likely to eat food in combination whereas the older veiled Chameleons mostly prefer to eat plants.

Plated lizards

Plated lizard side picture

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They are usually large, grayish brown in color and features plated scales with yellow spots on them. They have an extensive range and considered one of the most easy-going reptiles to be kept in captivity. These Omnivorous lizards feed on various food diets ranging from small animals to greens and fruits.

Plated lizards are likely to enjoy soft fruits, beetles, flowers, millipedes, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. Sometimes when they starve, they eagerly boggle up small lizards as well. You can feed them with mice, worms, crickets and a variety of leafy greens.

Conclusion

Having more than 3500 diverse species, all the Lizards have various eating habits depending on what species or habitat they belong to. You will be quite surprised to know that certain lizards can feast upon giant animals. Komodo dragon is the perfect example of such an extraordinary phenomenon. Also, these lizards are known to feed on human corpses as well.

For those who have pet lizards, make sure to plan your lizard’s diet accordingly. A well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle are essential for your pet lizard. Whatever diet you’re giving to your pet, just try to feed it the kind of food that is close to what it would eat in its natural habitat.