Lizards eat different kinds of food. Some of these foods are insects, fruits, vegetable etc. The eating habit varies from species to species but there are definitely some favorites.
So, what are lizards favorite food? Insects like beetles, grasshopper, crickets, moths, butterflies are favorite food of small carnivorous lizards, and animals like water buffalo, deer, pig are favorite food of big lizards like Monitor lizard and Komodo dragon. Herbivore lizards like apples, raisins, cashew, grapes, blueberries.
Continue reading to know more about various kinds of lizards and their favorite foods.
Lizards And Their Hunting Techniques
Lizards belong from the group of squamata reptiles, and there are 6000 species of them. They can be seen all across the world except in Antarctica. People are familiar with lizards that have legs, but there are legless lizards. They look much like a snake, but they have few differences. Lizards are primarily carnivores, and they eat various kinds of food.
Small lizard eats insects and while big lizards eat big animals like deer, water buffalo etc. Four-legged lizards have long tails, a short neck and scales all around their body. Their teeth are inverted, and it functions much like shark teeth. Some lizards also have poison in their saliva, and some lizards can camouflage really well. Snakes hunt some lizards, and some lizards hunt snakes.
There are various sizes of lizards ranging from small home gecko to large Komodo dragons. Some lizard uses their tongue to hunt while others use poison or their brute force to kill the prey and then swallow it. Lizards are carnivorous, omnivorous, herbivorous, insectivorous, molluscivorous and nectivorous. Because of this, they have a wide range of diets.
There are wild venomous lizards, and their venom is deadly.
Gila monster, Bearded lizards, Komodo dragon and several species of Monitor lizards are venomous, and they use their poison for hunting and killing their prey. This is a very effective thing for lizards as these help them to kill big animals. Lizards; loves meat and unlike snakes, they don’t just swallow the food. They can cut and tear the flesh make small pieces and then consume their prey.
Little Bit About Lizards
Lizards are mainly carnivore, and they tend to eat more meat than vegetables. Bigger lizards like monitor lizards are often seen to eat deads animals or hunt animals like rabbit, snakes etc. Lizards are opportunists predator.
There are many omnivorous lizards, and they can eat anything just to survive. This is a very beneficial evolutionary trait. Lizards like Komodo dragon can smell a dead animal from miles and can follow the scent to find it and eat it.
Komodo dragons and few other lizards have poison in their mouth, so if they bite someone, then the victim dies. Komodo dragon is the biggest lizards, and they can be very dangerous. Because of this ability, a Komodo dragon can hunt deer, water buffaloes, pig etc.
The hunting ability varies from species to species, and big lizards are also seen to eat small lizards.
Here is the list of food that lizards like:
Lizards eat a lot of different kinds of insects and beetles are one of them including cockroach. They eat almost any insects that they see moving. They are skilled predators, and once an insect gets trapped inside their mouth, they cannot escape.
Here the list of common insects that lizards usually eat:
There are various species of beetles and lizards hunts most of them. Smaller lizards like home gecko don’t hunt big beetles as they are bigger than what they can consume, but medium to big sized lizards are seen to kill beetles.
Grasshopper is one of their favorite prey. These are harmless creatures and are hunted by small to large lizards. Typically lizards wait and find the perfect moment to strike, and then catches the grasshopper. Although harmless, they can be difficult to catch as they can jump and run away the moment they feel threatened. Lizards like a home gecko, chameleon, are often seen to hunt grasshoppers.
Much like grasshopper crickets are also hunted by lizards. They have the same characteristics as a grasshopper, which is they can jump and get away from the place if they feel threatened but still lizards successfully capture and eats them.
There are various species of spiders. Some of them are poisonous, and some of them are not poisonous. Spiders are predators, and not all lizards hunt them, for example, you’ll not see home gecko hunt spiders, but bigger species of lizards hunt them. They can be easy prey as they are not that fast and can be taken down with a surprise attack.
Termites are one of their favorite food. These are protein-rich insects and stay in clusters. Lizards hunt them as they are an excellent diet for the lizards. They are harmless and can be taken down easily. Although they won’t provide sufficient food for big lizards, they can provide a good amount of nutrients for the lizards.
Moths And Butterflies
Moths and butterflies are also one of their favorite food. They can fly so it can be little tricky for the lizard, but they capture them when they sit on something. The lizard waits for them to sit and attack them suddenly. It’s a lot easier for chameleon as they can extend their tongue at an extremely high speed.
Moths and butterflies are not great fliers, so they become easy prey. Mostly all of the moths and butterflies are harmless, but there are some poisonous butterflies and moths which can kill the lizard if they eat them. But fortunately, most of the lizards know what to eat and what not to eat.
Lizards like eggs. They can eat various kinds of eggs. Big lizards like monitor, Gila monster are seen to eat chicken eggs, various kind of bird eggs, snakes eggs, crocodile eggs etc. They attack the nests when they find that no one is guarding the eggs.
Most of the time, they are successful; however, sometimes, they have to fight against the guardian. Monitor lizards are seen to fight against crocodiles sometimes getting successful in eating the eggs, and sometimes they have to flee.
Big lizards like Komodo dragon, Monitor lizards hunts and eats big animals. These are their favorite food because they provide lot of meat and fulfills their daily requirements.
Deer is also in the diet list of big lizards like a Komodo dragon. Of course, small lizards cannot kill a deer but Komodo dragon can. A bite from Komodo dragon will kill the deer within 24 hours, and then the Komodo dragon can follow the smell of the dead deer, locate it and devour it. It doesn’t matter whether it is rotten or fresh. They have got a very powerful digestive system.
Yes, that’s right. Komodo dragon can kill water buffalo and eat them. They kill it the same way they kill the deer. It is one of their favorite food as water buffalo provides enough food for the entire group. So killing one water buffalo can be beneficial.
Killing a water buffalo is risky even for a Komodo dragon as they are heavy and can kill the Komodo dragon if they attack. So they do surprise attack, bites in their leg and wait for the buffalo to die. Once the buffalo is dead Komodo dragons find the water buffalo and eats it.
Here are a few other that lizards like. Piny tailed iguanas, rhinoceros iguanas, desert iguanas, chuckwallas, Uromastyx etc. are herbivore lizards. So, they can eat fruits and vegetables. Sometimes house gecko is seen to eat these foods.
Fruits And VegetablesApple
Lizards eat apples. So if you have pet lizards or if you keep your apples uncovered then lizard can take a bite.
Lizard also eats a banana. So much like an apple, if you keep banana without cover, then lizard can eat it.
Lizards love raisins, and they pick up one or two raisins and runs away with the food. Then they again come back and consumes more. So next time if your raisins get stolen then remember it can be a lizard who took it.
Lizards like cashew. They take a small bite from cashew and runs away. Keeping cashew in the open can be problematic so keep them covered.
Lizards like lettuce. So they can consume almost any kind of lettuce. If you see bite mark on your lettuce and if you have lizards in your house then it’s possible that a lizard ate it.
Lizards are also seen to eat strawberries so don’t keep strawberries out in the open as lizards can bite it and of course, you don’t want to consume that to happen because you have to throw that strawberry away.
This is very common. Much like raisins which are basically dried grapes lizards are also seen to eat grapes. They carry the grapes with them, eats it and then comes back to consume more. Grapes are one of their favorite food.
Lizards love berries, so blueberries is one of their favorites. So, don’t keep blueberries in open if you have lizards in your house.
If you have pet lizards in your house, then you can feed this food to your lizards but do remember that you need to remove the stem, leaves and seed from the fruits. Lizards can freely eat lettuce so no worries with that.
Diet Of Different Species Of Lizards
Big Lizards: Mostly, all of the big lizards have the same diet. Big lizards like Gila monster, Komodo dragon, Monitor they feed mainly on animals, eggs, etc. They are skilled predators and can track their food from miles away. Monitor lizards and Komodo dragon are seen to invade crocodile and snake nests to consume their eggs.
Because of this nature, they often combat crocodiles and snakes and yet manages to eat their eggs. They are powerful and dangerous. Monitor and Komodo dragon are also seen to eat snakes which proves that they have a wide variety of diet. They live in the wild where food is scarce, and they feed on almost anything to feed their big bodies.
Small Lizards: Small lizards have limited options because they cannot eat big animals. Small lizards mostly depend on insects, and some of them consume fruits and vegetables. There is no shortage of insects; that’s why they never run out of food. Since they are small, they need to consume less. Big lizards also eat insects, but it’s not enough to satisfy their hunger.
Choice Of Food
Usually, lizards like to consume insects, eggs, meat depending upon what species it is, but you can see them eating fruits, although fruits are not their primary choice. In the wild lizards depend primarily on their primary choice of food, but they consume food depending upon the availability.
If you are keeping lizards as a pet, you can feed a mixture of both insects which is their primary food along with that you can feed them different vegetables and fruits. There are many omnivorous lizards, so it won’t be a problem. This is a healthy combination. It’s better to feed them both rather than just feeding them fruits and vegetable. The protein that comes from flesh is essential for some lizards.
What Happens When Lizards Eats Food That Are Not In Their Diet List?
Usually, a lizard won’t consume that food, but if by any chance the lizard ends up consuming that food, the lizard will suffer, and that came also lead to its death. Sometimes lizards can end up eating something that they shouldn’t have, for example in case of house lizard a house lizard can end up consuming plastic thinking that it is a food.
If the plastic has some insect parts attached to it, then it’s quite possible that the lizard can end up eating that. It can become fatal for the lizard as the lizard won’t be able to digest the food and won’t be able to excrete the food, eventually killing the lizard.
It can happen with big lizard also. Polyethylene is a dangerous element for both big and small lizards, and many animals, including lizards, unknowingly consume it. Lizards like the Komodo dragon have a very strong digestive system, and they can even digest rotten food but even their digestive system cannot digest polythene.
If a lizard ends up eating something that they are not supposed to eat, then that can lead to food poisoning. Usually, a lizard is very careful when they are consuming food, but sometimes there can be a mistake. For example, if insects are stuck on a pizza and a lizard ends up eating lots of pizza in order to eat the insects, then it can create a problem.
The lizard may have difficulty in excreting the food, thus disturbing their digestive process. If a lizard is not able to excrete food for some time and the poop keeps on increasing, then the lizard can die.
Food poisoning can also kill a lizard if they cannot digest the food for quite some time. It will make the lizard weak, and the lizard will not feel like consuming food. Usually, when a lizard feels unwell, it tries to vomit and throw the food out of their body. Sometimes this process works and that can be life-saving for a lizard.
Do Lizard Eat Their Poop?
Iguanas are known to eat their own poop or other iguanas poop. Usually, young iguanas can show this kind of behaviour. They typically prefer to eat other iguanas poop, but during starvation, iguanas can eat their poop. The poop also has nutritional value that can help them to survive. But it doesn’t fall under the list of their favourite food.
Can Lizard Eat Snakes?
Some snakes are bigger than a lizard, and some lizards are bigger than snakes, but there is a lizard that can eat snakes because they are bigger, heavier and have a powerful bite.
The monitor lizard is one of them.These lizards are seen to eat spitting cobra, and the poison doesn’t seem to have any effects on them as these lizards have specialized eyelids that covers their eyes when the spitting cobra spits its venom.
Spitting cobra generally spits their poison in the eye of the attacker, causing severe pain and then blindness. But since monitor lizard has this defense mechanism, the spitting cobra becomes easy prey.
Not all lizards possess this ability. This a unique capability of monitor lizards. Monitor lizard can also eat other snakes. They are powerful, and a surprise attack can take down snakes. They are also seen to consume dead snakes. It is an easy meal for Monitor lizards and other big lizards.
Why Lizards Carry Their Food To Their Nests?
Lizards fight among each other for mating and also for food. The fight usually occurs within territorial lizards. These lizards often caries their food to their respective nests and store the food over there. Female lizards are attracted to various kinds of things, and one of these is resources. The more resource a lizard has, the more female it will attract.
Along with that, the lizards need to be powerful. With these specifications, the lizard can potentially become an alpha lizard. An alpha lizard is one of the lizards that gets the most resources and is the most powerful lizards in the territory. Anyone disobeying the alpha can also get killed. As you see, lizards can collect resources just to attract female and to rise in the rankings.
Do Lizards Eat Each Other?
Lizards fight among each other and kill each other, but they generally don’t show cannibalism. However, in some species, bigger lizards are seen to eat small lizards and also its offspring. Komodo dragons are one of them. Komodo dragons are big and powerful lizards. They eat deer, pigs, chicken etc. Large Komodo dragon is seen to hunt smaller Komodo dragons.
Like every animal, there is an alpha in every Komodo dragon who gets to eat first and get to eat the most. If an unknown Komodo dragon from unknown territory enters the area and is smaller in size compared to a nearby Komodo dragon, then the alpha Komodo dragon can kill the small Komodo dragon and eat it.
They are also seen to feed on weak and smaller Komodo dragon of their own group. Komodo dragon eats almost anything that they can kill.
How Komodo Dragon Take Down Big Preys
Along with their powerful jaws, they have poisons in their teeth with that they can take down big preys like water buffalo. A Komodo dragon doesn’t need to kill a buffalo instantly.
A single bite from komodo dragon will spread the poison inside the water buffalo’s body, and within 24 hours the buffalo will die. After that, the komodo dragon will track its prey and eat it. The poison makes the job a lot easier.
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