What Do Lizards Eat? Over 6,000 species of lizards exist in the world today. All lizards belong to the Reptiles family in the animal kingdom. Lizards feed on different kinds of food sources from fruits, small insects, worms, frogs, and even small birds.
Some lizard types are considered to be menacing predators. Aside from feasting on a carnivorous meal (birds, mammals, members of the reptile family, and snails), the diet consumed by the different types of lizards may also include fruits, algae and a wide array of plant material.
Table of Contents
- Lizard Diet by Types
- How Do Lizards Hunt?
- When Do Lizards Eat?
- How Often Do Lizards Eat?
- What Eats Lizards?
- Do Lizards Eat Bird Eggs?
- Do Lizards Eat Birds?
- Do Lizards Eat Lizards?
- Do Crows Eat Lizards?
- Do Eagles Eat Lizards?
- How Often Do You Feed Lizards?
- Where Do Lizards Fit in the Animal Food Chain?
- Key References
What Do Lizards Eat?
|Type of Lizard||Diet|
|Iguania Lizard||Baby mice, crickets, and worms.|
|Gekkota Lizard||Small reptiles, small rodents, Insects, and small lizards|
|Scincomorpha Lizard||Caterpillars, crickets, beetles, and flies|
|Anguimorpha Lizard||Worms, tadpoles, snails, small birds, eggs, frogs, and lizards.|
|Amphisbaenia Lizard||Arthropods, small vertebrates, insects, and worms|
Lizard Diet by Types
A plethora of lizard species exist in the world today. This section will, however, tackle 5 broad types or infraordersWhat is an infraorder?In the biological classification of organisms, infraorder taxonomic category ranks under a suborder. of lizards.
What Do Iguania Lizards Eat?
Most are herbivores, however, others enjoy a diet of baby mice, crickets, and worms.
- This group of lizards includes famed examples like the chameleons, anoles, and iguana.
- This suborder is considered to be the largest group of lizards, constituting of about 1,000 species.
- Members of this infraorder, with the example of family Chamaeleonidae, inhabit warm habitats from deserts to rainforests.
What Do Gekkota Lizards Eat?
Some eat small reptiles, while large species eat small rodents. Others eat insects and small lizards.
- This category of lizards includes famous examples like the geckos, and legless, and the blind lizards.
- Seven families are recognized in this type of lizards.
- Members of this group of lizards, with the example of geckos, live in warm climate habitats.
What Do Scincomorpha Lizards Eat?
- Examples of members categorized in this infraorder include wall lizards and skinks.
- Members of this infraorder reside in a myriad of habitats including dunes and rocky crevices.
What Do Anguimorpha Lizards Eat?
Members of these order eat worms, tadpoles, snails, small birds, eggs, frogs, and lizards.
- There are 5 families make up this infraorder.
- Famed examples of this type of lizards include slow worms, monitor lizards, and Gila monsters.
- Members of this infraorder, with the example of the Chinese crocodile lizards, inhabit cool forests.
What Do Amphisbaenia Lizards Eat?
Members are carnivores eating a diet consisting of arthropods, small vertebrates, insects, and worms.
- An excellent example of this lizard type includes the legless burrowing worm lizards.
- The members of this type of lizards are diverse in their habitats.
- They are present in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, North America, and Europe.
How Do Lizards Hunt?
Carnivorous lizards use an interesting hunting technique. Two approaches were described by scientists in a study intended to understand their biomechanics. The hunting approaches are also considered foraging mechanisms/styles.
- The Sit and Wait Approach: In this approach, the lizards sit and wait in a particular location waiting for their prey. Lizards can spend a significant amount in this one location. When their prey passes in front of them, they then move quickly and with speed to snatch it using their specialized tongues.
- Active Foraging Approach: This hunting approach is different from the first approach because unlike the earlier strategy of sitting and waiting, the lizard actively but slowly moves in its environments searching for prey. The lizard’s chemosensory abilities facilitate this approach for stalking prey.
Though the above hunting approaches are complete opposites, active foraging is believed to have evolved from the sit-and-wait technique.
When Do Lizards Eat?
Most lizards are diurnal meaning they are active during the day. As such, most of these lizards will tend to feed during the day. Other kinds of lizards, on the other hand, have a different lifestyle in the sense that they have evolved to being nocturnal as they are active at night, and their feeding habits are influenced as a result. These lizards will tend to eat at night.
How Often Do Lizards Eat?
How often lizards eat depends on their activity, age, and diet type.
What Eats Lizards?
Lizards have numerous predators, which include gorillas, sloths, birds like hawks and eagles, monkeys, snakes and other mammal species feed on lizards. Some Lizard species consume fellow lizards too! (Example: Komodo dragon could eat its own babies)
Do Lizards Eat Bird Eggs?
Depending on the species, certain lizards do incorporate bird eggs in their diet.
- One of the lizard species to eat these eggs is the monitor lizard—it was given its name because it can often be seen stalking its prey, “monitoring” it.
- Regarding birds, however, this lizard would be closely watching the nest, waiting for the adult bird(s) to leave the nest (probably for food) so that it would be easier to pounce on the egg(s).
- Finally, it should be noted that the lizards which consume bird eggs are almost always carnivores (the omnivorous species typically eat smaller-sized meat).
Do Lizards Eat Birds?
Yes, many species of lizards eat certain types of birds.
- Lizards usually do not try to catch adult medium-sized since they are far too agile and robust; most attempts are immediately unsuccessful.
- However, it should be noted that lizards are more likely to consume adult birds of smaller species (sparrows, for example) since they would be much easier to catch.
- Large bird species are never targeted since they would probably be powerful enough to eat the lizards instead of being the other way around!
- On the other hand, no matter the birds’ species, the younger ones are almost always more likely to be eaten by lizards since they are much weaker and more accessible to digest.
- Additionally, like with the eggs, baby birds have usually left alone when the parents hunt for food, so it is much more straightforward to catch them.
Do Lizards Eat Lizards?
Although it is quite unusual, certain lizards have been documented to eat other lizards (both their own species and others).
- For example, in mid-2018, two students traveled to Remote Aegean Island to study its ecosystem; while there, the managed to take a picture of an adult Aegan wall lizard chewing another adult of the species.
- Since then, there have been many other counts of island lizards showing cannibalistic behaviors.
- It should be noted that other species of lizards — the Bengal monitor lizard, for example, more commonly eat other lizards’ eggs and young, as opposed to the adults.
- Also note that some lizard species do not eat lizards of their own species but eat lizards of different species.
Do Crows Eat Lizards?
To put it briefly, even though they are omnivores, crows—depending on the species—do eat certain types of lizards.
- For example, the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) has many lizards in its vast diet. These birds can consume lizards—with their rough and scaly skin—due to their firm and narrow beaks, which can easily cut through lizard scales.
- However, it should be noted that most crow species have hundreds of items in their diet, so it isn’t typical for them to eat lizards – they would only do it if they come across one (they wouldn’t actively be looking for them).
Do Eagles Eat Lizards?
Like crows (mentioned in the previous section), eagles—depending on the species—do eat certain types of lizards.
- For example, some eagle species that include lizards in their massive diet include bald eagles, golden eagles, African fish eagles, harpy eagles, crowned eagles, and much more.
- It should be noted that all eagles that eat lizards consume the bones; they can do this due to their strong beak and potent stomach acids.
- Most eagle species kill the lizard by crushing the prey’s body using its sharp talons; the force exerted by this movement can be as high as 1000 psi!
- Finally, please note that the amount of lizards consumed by eagles depends on their species. For example, almost 40% of martian eagles’ diets come from lizards and snakes (mainly the former); on the other hand, less than 15% of crowned eagles‘ diets come from lizards.
How Often Do You Feed Lizards?
Depending on the species (carnivorous, omnivorous, herbivorous, insectivorous), the age, and the lizard’s living conditions, it should be fed nutrient-rich food anywhere between three and seven times a week.
- The most popular lixard pets are leopard geckos and bearded dragons.
- Bearded dragons are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals (this includes insects). Regarding the times of feeding, bearded dragons should be fed plants every day; insects and other small meat products should be given very sparingly (only 6 to 8 times a month) as it can cause health issues if too much is ingested.
- On the other hand, leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning their diet is entirely made up of insects.
- Like bearded dragons, leopard geckos should also be fed seven days a week but shouldn’t be force-fed; they contain quite a lot of fat, so too much shouldn’t be consumed.
- Finally, it should be noted that carnivorous lizards—although less common to be kept as pets—definitely should not be fed daily since the animals they eat can usually last them for a few days!
- Herbivorous lizards follow a feeding schedule similar to that of the omnivores and insectivores.
What Do Baby Lizards Eat?
Baby lizards, like most other reptiles and unlike mammals, began to consume what the adults eat right as they are born; they do not need milk or any other “baby” food.
- However, the difference comes with the quantity that is eaten and how often a feeding occurs. For example, regarding monitor lizards, adults eat more, but there is a long time between feedings;
- The babies eat much more frequently (they need to keep up their strength since they are so weak) the quantity is smaller.
- Like with the adults, the specifics of what baby lizards eat depend on their species; however, some common foods include worms, ants, greens, crickets, flies, and much more.
Where Do Lizards Fit in the Animal Food Chain?
Being classified as reptiles, the different kinds of lizards that exist are imperative to the food chain. They play the roles of prey and predator. One crucial role they play is that they provide food to the food chain. Lizards also feed on different kinds of animals, thus keeping their population under check. The implication of this is that they prevent overpopulation in the ecosystem.
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