Lizards come in many different types and colors. The most popular ones include fence lizards, agamas, green anoles, and chameleons. These are commonly found in gardens and households. Many people even pet lizards, which brings up the question ‘what do lizards eat?’
Feeding a lizard is not a challenging undertaking, provided that you have first-hand information about its dietary needs. Although there are hundreds of lizard species, all of them are categorized into only a few feeding groups. Hence, knowing which feeding group your lizard belongs to will give you a good idea of what it should be fed on.
What do Lizards Eat?
Many species of lizards will eat anything from insects to leafy greens. But even the lizards of the same species may be divided into different subtypes, depending on what they eat. This is mainly due to the difference in lifestyles, hunting habits, and body size.
Lizards kept as pets – such as anoles, house geckos, and leopard geckos – are usually insectivores, meaning that they will only eat invertebrates and small insects, such as mealworms, roaches, and crickets. The wild versions of these lizards eat grasshoppers, moths, crickets, ants, flies, and many other tiny insects.
Another type of lizard is an omnivore. Examples of these lizards are crested geckoes, blue-tongue skinks, and more. These species eat plants and insects. But whether or not a particular lizard likes to eat plants more than insects depends on its particular species. In general, omnivorous lizards will eat small animals, eggs, grass, berries, leaves, and fruits.
The other two types of lizards are herbivorous and carnivorous.
Herbivorous lizards, as the name implies, will only eat plants. However, these lizards are extremely rare. According to an estimate, about 3% of all lizards are herbivorous.
Carnivorous lizards are quite the opposite of herbivorous species as they only eat meat. Although these lizards are not as rare as herbivores, they are significantly fewer than insectivorous and omnivorous lizards. Carnivorous lizards usually eat fish, rats, mice, rabbits, and large insects.
Despite their tendency to eat so many kinds of ‘foods’, you do not want your pet lizards to eat everything and become sick. At the same time, you have to make sure that you provide them with enough food variations to fulfill their nutritional requirements.
The stage of a lizard’s life is a helpful indicator based on which you can determine the nutrients it requires at the moment. For example, a baby lizard requires more food than an adult reptile due to its rapidly growing body.
What do Baby Lizards Eat?
Baby lizards require a proper diet with fulfilling nutrients because their skeletal and muscular systems demand more sustenance. Generally, baby lizards will eat more insects and a few vegetables or fruits. Their favorite sources of nutrition are usually bottle fly spikes, flightless fruit flies, and pinhead crickets.
The diet of baby lizards is different from adult lizards of the same species because of their smaller body size. Adult reptiles will eat larger insects and can survive longer foodless sessions. On the other hand, baby lizards cannot hunt animals that are too large for them to prey on and cannot go long without eating.
However, the feeding frequency of baby lizards decreases as they age.
A good idea to feed your baby lizards is to provide them with prey in a bowl. This way, your reptile will easily hunt its food, and you will be able to keep a check on the amount of food it gets.
It is worth mentioning here that the exact amount of food a baby lizard may require usually depends on sex, species, and growth rate. Keeping these factors in mind is imperative to develop a feeding schedule for your pet reptile.
What do Wild Lizards Eat?
Wild lizard is an umbrella term used for all lizards that like to remain outdoors. This also includes garden lizards, some of whom can be kept as pets. These lizards are mostly insectivorous and have a likeness to spiders, crickets, flies, and larvae.
Feeding a wild lizard is easy because they tend to rely on pest invertebrates commonly found in the garden. That way, not only do they find a large amount of their food on their own, but they also mitigate the risk of pest attack on your garden. However, you may still have to feed your garden lizards three to four times a week.
In general, smaller lizards, such as fence lizards and anoles, may eat up to 5 small crickets or 2 mealworms at a time. Larger lizards like agamas may eat 10 medium-sized dubia roaches or 20 large crickets.
When it comes to feeding adult wild lizards, make sure to provide them with a good number of appropriate-sized mealworms, dubia roaches, or crickets.
Remember, adult lizards do not experience rapid growth. So if you notice a sudden increase in their size, it might mean they are being overfed.
Some lizards are fun to pet, mainly due to their colors and adorable moves. While these reptiles are not as demanding in terms of their diet as other pets, feeding them properly is imperative to their good health. The above guide should help you well enough in developing a proper diet plan for your pet lizards.