What Do Outdoor Lizards Eat? What Will Surprise You

What Do Outdoor Lizards Eat What Will Surprise You

First, what do lizards that live outside eat?

Crickets, flies, worms, grasshoppers, ants, spiders and cockroaches are very common foods for lizards, including geckos, because they are so abundant in the wild. Because they consume termites and other harmful insects, small lizards like skinks and fence lizards are prized for their ability to live close to homes.

For more specific information, keep reading.

What Do Lizards Eat?

Anything, from leafy greens to insects, will satisfy a lizard’s appetite. They are a very diverse group of reptiles with various ranges, lifestyles, and modes of hunting. Different hunting methods can even be found in one species with a limited range. But there is one thing in common among all lizards: they belong to one of four feeding groups.

The majority of pet lizards are insectivores, including leopard geckos, anoles, and house geckos. This means they only eat small insects and invertebrates. The small insects that these lizards hunt in the wild include flies, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, ants, and crickets. Mealworms, roaches, or crickets are typically what they consume as pets.

Some species, including crested geckos, blue-tongued skinks, and bearded dragons, are omnivores. This indicates that they eat both plants and meat in their diet. Depending on the species, the proportion of plants to meat can range from 10% to 80%. Eggs, tiny creatures, leaves, berries, grasses, fruits, and omnivorous lizards are all their food sources. For them to remain healthy, their diet must be very varied.

Then there are lizards that are both herbivorous and carnivorous.

Only plants are consumed by herbivores. Less than 3% of all lizards are herbivores, making them extremely uncommon. One of the few domesticated herbivorous lizards is the green iguana.

Compared to insectivores and omnivores, carnivorous lizards are uncommon but not as uncommon as herbivores. Mice, rats, big insects, rabbits, fish, and other meat-based animals are examples of carnivores. The Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world, is a carnivore that eats pigs and deer.

Regardless of their feeding group, wild lizards typically eat less frequently than pets and spend the majority of their time looking for food. Pets consume higher-quality food than wild species because all of their dietary needs are met for them.

What Hunting & Foraging Techniques Do Lizards Use?

Over 300 million years ago, the earliest lizards began to appear. To aid them in hunting and foraging for food over the ensuing millennia, lizards developed a variety of skills. Common adaptations include venom, camouflage, and long tongues with hooks to catch prey. When hunting prey, most lizards employ sit-and-wait strategies. These lizards ambush their unwary victim by waiting until the prey comes too close. While remaining motionless, some lizards, like chameleons, will shoot their long, sticky tongues out to snag insects. Other lizards, however, approach foraging and hunting in a more active manner. These lizards will hunt for ant and termite hills or scale trees to get at birds or their eggs. Some predators will ambush their prey, bite them with venom, and then wait for their prey to become weak from the toxins before advancing to finish them off.

To find prey and hunt for food, lizards use their senses of sight, touch, smell, and hearing. Some lizards prioritize certain senses over others depending on their biology and habitat. Using their vomeronasal organ, all lizards are able to recognize pheromones, which aids in their ability to smell prey. Lizards have eardrums, even though they don’t have external ears, and they use these to listen for predators and prey. Some lizards, such as chameleons, have the ability to individually control each eye’s direction of gaze. This ability even allows them to simultaneously look forward and backward. Other lizards, like the gecko, also use their keen vision to find tiny insects. Some skinks, meanwhile, will burrow themselves into the ground and use their senses of touch and smell to hunt for prey.

Feeding Lizards

Both pet and wild lizards need a balanced diet to stay healthy. Variations in prey and food offer various sources of nutrient and enrichment.

Their diet also changes because, depending on their stage of life, they require varying amounts of nutrients. Baby lizards are an excellent example. They eat more food (proportional to their body weight) than adults as they are rapidly growing.

What Do Young Lizards Eat?

For young lizards, a healthy diet is crucial. Their skeletal and muscular systems are growing during their first few months of life. Baby garden lizards usually eat insects and only a few fruits and vegetables. The ideal insects for young lizards are pinhead crickets, bottle fly spikes, and flightless fruit flies.

Baby lizards require more frequent feedings because they grow more quickly than adults do. Due to their smaller size, they are also unable to consume the same prey as adults and are unable to go as long between meals.

All hatchling garden species should be fed every day.

Only once they are three months old can their feeding frequency be reduced.

It is the same as feeding any other reptile to feed young lizards. They should be fed from a small dish or bowl though, as they aren’t as good at capturing live prey. This makes it simpler for your lizard to hunt, stops prey from escaping, and enables you to keep track of how much they consume. Additionally, to avoid choking, make sure all prey is smaller than the distance between their eyes.

Based on the species, sex, and rate of growth, the precise amount of food will change. A feeding schedule, however, is a useful tool.

What Do Animals In The Wild Eat?

Numerous little lizard species that reside in gardens and homes fall under the general category of “garden lizards,” which serves as an umbrella term. These lizards are mostly insectivorous and eat flies, ants, crickets, spiders, and larvae. You can give treats to your pets like waxworms, butterworms, and hornworms.

Many wild lizards are simple to feed, and since they hunt common garden pest invertebrates, they can actually be beneficial to your garden. Similar to toads, these creatures consume pests and maintain the ecological balance of gardens.

You should feed your garden lizard three to four times per week.

The recommended feeding amount for smaller species like anoles and fence lizards is 2 to 5 small crickets or 2 mealworms per feeding. Larger species, such as agamas, can consume five to ten medium-sized dubia roaches or twenty large crickets.

Only agamas are omnivorous among garden lizards. Adult agamas should be fed kale and dandelion greens along with the insects mentioned above. As treats, you can also give your pet pieces of grapes, raspberries, or bananas.

Adults should be fed mealworms, dubia cockroaches, and crickets of the proper size. Cut up larger food if necessary. The distance between your lizard’s eyes should be its maximum width.

Adult lizards should grow very slowly. If you suddenly notice a weight gain, you may be overeating.

Keep an eye on your lizard’s weight and adjust feeding times accordingly.

What Diet Do Pet Lizards Follow?

Depending on the species, your pet lizard will have a different diet. Consult a local pet store expert or veterinarian to ensure you purchase the proper food for your pet lizard. You can probably find specialized packaged feed mixes for omnivorous, insectivorous, and carnivorous lizards at your neighborhood pet shop. These mixtures may be entirely insect-based, such as mealworms, crickets, or flies, or they may include both vegetables and insects. But some pet lizards should only eat live prey or fresh plants; they shouldn’t thrive on packaged foods. You will need to give your larger pet carnivorous lizard more protein in its diet. This can be done using live or frozen rodents. Be warned—your pet lizard might not be equipped to handle larger live prey. Watch over its feeding to make sure that it isn’t harmed by animals that have been given to it as food.

For their part, herbivorous pet lizards thrive on a variety of healthy leaves, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Safer alternatives for your pet lizard are as follows:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Melon
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Figs
  • Dandelion
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Alfalfa
  • Green peas
  • Squash

Your pet lizard should be fairly healthy as long as it consumes foods from its food family. Even though they belong to the same food family as your pet lizard, some foods can still be toxic or harmful to it. For instance, while some plants and fruits can lower your pet lizard’s nutrient intake, certain insects can harm your pet lizard. You should refrain from feeding your pet lizard certain insects and plants, such as:

  • Fireflies
  • Scorpions
  • Centipedes
  • Ticks
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Chocolate
  • Grains
  • Avoco
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
What Do Outdoor Lizards Eat What Will Surprise You
What Do Outdoor Lizards Eat? What Will Surprise You

Common Feeding Mistakes

It’s common practice to not offer dietary variety. One or two prey items are simple to feed a lizard, but variety is essential for proper nutrient absorption and enrichment. A restricted diet is very bad for their health and can cause vitamin deficiencies and metabolic bone disease, especially in omnivores.

To feed a lizard, it is best to alternate between various foods over the course of a month.

For instance, feed your insectivore a combination of crickets and mealworms one week and roaches and crickets the following week. This will not only offer a wider variety of nutrients, but it will also mentally enliven them during mealtime.

The majority of captive lizards need vitamin supplements in addition to a varied diet to stay healthy.

Growth retardation, digestive issues, and skeletal issues can result from a lack of vitamins, particularly vitamin D.

Twice per week, sprinkle food with a high-quality multivitamin and calcium powder. By giving fresh fruits and vegetables to feeder insects no more than 48 hours before feeding them to your lizard, you can also gut-load them.

Last but not least, feeding lizards an improper diet can cause vitamin deficiencies or even starvation.

Determine the species of the lizard before feeding it. Make an effort to determine whether it is an omnivore, herbivore, insectivore, or carnivore. The best place to begin when developing a healthy diet is with this fundamental knowledge. Although some garden lizards eat fruits and vegetables, the majority of them only consume insects. See more about What Do Outdoor Cats Like To Sleep In At Night?

Size Of Lizards

Since the majority of lizards feed on various insects in your yard due to their predatory nature, they are common. As an illustration, some lizards prefer eating ants, while others might search for bird nests and eat the eggs.

Larger lizards, like the Komodo dragon, which you are unlikely to find in your yard, typically seek out larger prey. It follows that their size has the biggest impact on their diet. Since a larger lizard requires more food to survive, it will undoubtedly search for prey.

However, it’s unlikely that you will see many large lizards creeping around in your yard. Remember that some species, like the Eastern Collared Lizard, may also eat their younger counterparts.

Spiders, beetles, and a variety of other smaller insects are all fair game, and lizards frequently hunt them.

Foraging for food in your backyard is simple for many smaller species. However, the main problem with this is that these lizards will mess with your plants and are unlikely to harm plants that produce fruits or vegetables.

It’s also likely that the eggs may not survive if a bird has built a nest in your garden. So how do you eliminate these lizards from your backyard?

There are many different approaches to removing backyard lizards. Here are some of the most efficient ways to get rid of these bothersome reptiles.

The End

With approximately 5,000 species known to exist, lizards comprise the largest group of reptiles. With the exception of Antarctica, they have also been discovered on every continent. In the wild, lizards consume a wide variety of foods, and their diets change depending on the species and environment. Since lizards can live in wetlands, forests, deserts, or plains, their diet frequently depends on what is readily available.

Best wishes.