what do garden lizards eat and drink

what do garden lizards eat and drink

When you have ever walked round a backyard in the summertime, the probabilities are you’ve seen small, inexperienced or brown lizards. Backyard lizards are quite common and are additionally bought as pets.

Inexperienced anoles, fence lizards, and agamas are all common species present in gardens and households.

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Feeding a lizard may be very easy when you study what they eat and their dietary wants. Regardless of over 6,000 totally different species, lizards all match into certainly one of 4 feeding teams.

Proceed studying to seek out out when and what to feed child, wild and pet backyard lizards.

What Do Lizards Eat?

What Do Lizards Eat

Lizards will eat something from leafy greens to bugs. They’re a particularly numerous group of reptiles and have totally different ranges, life and methods of looking. Even a single species, that shares a small vary, can have totally different looking kinds. But one factor all lizards share is that they match into certainly one of 4 feeding teams.

Most pet lizards, like leopard geckos, anoles, and home geckos, are insectivores. This implies they solely eat small bugs and invertebrates. Within the wild these lizards hunt flies, crickets, grasshoppers, moths, ants, and different small bugs. As pets they often eat crickets, roaches, or mealworms.

Some species, like bearded dragons, blue-tongued skinks and crested geckos, are omnivores. This implies they’ve a food plan of each vegetation and meat. The ratio of vegetation to meat can vary from 10 to 80% relying on the species. Omnivorous lizards eat eggs, small animals, leaves, berries, grasses, and fruits. They want a number of variation of their food plan to remain wholesome.

Lastly, there are herbivorous and carnivorous lizards.

Herbivores solely eat vegetation. They’re very uncommon and fewer than 3% of all lizards are herbivores. The inexperienced iguana is likely one of the solely pet lizards that’s an herbivore.

Carnivorous lizards usually are not as uncommon as herbivores, however are uncommon in comparison with insectivores and omnivores. Carnivores solely eat meat similar to mice, rats, massive bugs, rabbits, or fish. The most important lizard on the planet, the Komodo dragon, is a carnivore that eats deer and pigs.

No matter their feeding group, wild lizards sometimes eat much less continuously than pets and spend most of their time looking for meals. Pets have all their dietary wants offered for them and eat increased high quality meals than wild species.

Feeding Lizards

Collared lizard eating a grasshopper
Collared lizard consuming a grasshopper

A balanced food plan is essential to maintain wild and pet lizards wholesome. Prey and meals variation present totally different sources of vitamin and enrichment.

Their food plan additionally change as they want totally different quantities of vitamins relying on their life stage. instance is Child lizards. They eat extra meals (proportional to their physique weight) than adults as they’re quickly rising.

What Do Child Lizards Eat?

A correct food plan is essential for younger lizards. Over their first few months they’re growing their muscular and skeletal techniques. Child backyard lizards often eat bugs and just a few vegatables and fruits. Flightless fruit flies, pinhead crickets, and bottle fly spikes are the very best bugs for child lizards.

Child lizards are rising quicker than adults and must eat extra typically. Their smaller measurement additionally means they can’t eat the identical prey as adults and can’t go as lengthy with out consuming.

Hatchling backyard species of all sizes ought to be fed daily.

Their feeding frequency can solely be decreased as soon as they attain three months of age.

Feeding child lizards is similar as feeding any reptile. However, as a result of they aren’t pretty much as good at catching reside prey, they need to be fed from a small bowl or dish. This makes it simpler on your lizard to hunt, prevents prey from escaping, and allows you to maintain observe of how a lot they eat. You must also ensure all prey is smaller than the area between their eyes as it will stop choking.

The precise quantity of meals will differ primarily based on species, intercourse, and progress fee. However, utilizing a feeding schedule is a useful help.

Beneath is an instance of a nutritious diet for any child lizard:

Day Meals Monday 5-6 pinhead crickets Tuesday 3 bottle fly spikes, 6 flightless fruit flies Wednesday 5-6 pinhead crickets Thursday – Friday 3 bottle fly spikes, 3 small mealworms Saturday 5-6 pinhead crickets Sunday 3 bottle fly spikes, 6 flightless fruit flies

What Do Wild Lizards Eat?

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The time period ‘backyard lizard’ is an umbrella class for a lot of small species of lizard that may be discovered residing in gardens and houses. These lizards are principally insectivorous and eat flies, ants, crickets, spiders, and larvae. Waxworms, butterworms, and hornworms may be fed as treats.

Many wild lizards are simple to feed and are literally useful to your backyard as they hunt frequent pest invertebrates. That is similar to Toads, additionally they eat pests and steadiness a backyard’s ecosystem.

You’ll want to feed your backyard lizard three or 4 instances every week.

Smaller species like anoles and fence lizards ought to eat 2 to five small crickets or 2 mealworms every time. Bigger species like agamas can eat 20 massive crickets or 5 to 10 medium-sized dubia roaches.

Agamas are the one backyard lizard that’s an omnivore. Along with the bugs above, grownup agamas ought to be fed kale and dandelion greens. Items of grapes, raspberries, or bananas may be fed as treats too.

Each grownup ought to be fed appropriately sized crickets, mealworms, and dubia cockroaches. Bigger meals will should be reduce into items. It ought to be no larger than the width between your lizard’s eyes.

Grownup lizards ought to develop very slowly. Sudden, noticeable weight achieve might imply you might be overfeeding!

Keep watch over your lizard’s weight and alter feeding quantities accordingly.

See under for a feeding schedule for a small, insectivorous backyard lizard:

Day Meals Monday 3 small crickets, 2 small mealworms Wednesday 4 small dubia roaches, 1 waxworm Friday 3 small crickets, 2 small mealworms Sunday 4 small dubia roaches

See under for a feeding a bigger, omnivorous backyard lizard (e.g. agama):

Day Meals Monday 10 massive crickets, 4 massive mealworms Wednesday 7 medium dubia roaches, 1 massive hornworm Friday 10 massive crickets, dandelion greens Sunday 7 medium dubia roaches, 2 grapes (halved)

Widespread Feeding Errors

Desert lizard eating a wasp
Desert lizard consuming a wasp

Not offering food plan variation is a typical mistake. It’s simple to feed a lizard one or two prey objects, however variation is the important thing to correct vitamin and enrichment. A restricted food plan may be very damaging to their well being and may result in metabolic bone illness and vitamin deficiencies, particularly in omnivores.

It’s all the time greatest to feed totally different meals to a lizard and rotate them all through the month.

For instance, feed your insectivore a mixture of crickets and mealworms one week and roaches and crickets the following week. This is not going to solely present a wider vary of vitamins, however may also mentally enrich them throughout feeding time.

Even with a diversified food plan, most captive lizards additionally require vitamin dietary supplements to stay wholesome.

Too few nutritional vitamins, particularly vitamin D, could cause stunted progress and digestive and skeletal issues.

Mud meals with a high-quality multivitamin and calcium powder twice every week. You can even gut-load feeder bugs by feeding them recent vegatables and fruits not more than 48 hours earlier than they’re fed to your lizard.

Lastly, feeding lizards the fallacious food plan may end up in vitamin deficiencies and even hunger.

Earlier than feeding a lizard decide the species first. Attempt to perceive is it an omnivore, herbivore, insectivore, or carnivore. This fundamental data is the very best place to begin for a nutritious diet. Most backyard lizards are pure insectivores, however some additionally eat vegatables and fruits.

Oriental garden lizard hunting
Oriental backyard lizard looking

Can Lizards Eat:

Roaches: Sure. Cockroaches make up a big proportion of many wild lizard diets. Many homeowners prefer to feed dubia cockroaches, that are excessive in moisture, calcium, fiber, and protein. Roaches are a superb, dependable meals supply.

Ants: Sure, however it isn’t a part of their staple food plan. Ants are small, in order that they should be eaten in very massive numbers to have any dietary profit. Some species, just like the horned lizard, are tailored for consuming ants.

Snakes: No. Bigger species like displays and tegus might eat child snakes, however most lizards are preyed on by snakes.

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Scorpions: No. Pet lizards shouldn’t be fed scorpions. Some desert-dwelling lizards just like the Western banded gecko eat scorpions. Nevertheless, that is uncommon, and more often than not it’s the different approach round!

Spiders: Sure. Small spiders are prey for home geckos, skinks and anoles. In lots of ecosystems, lizards are essential predators that regulate the variety of spiders in an space.

Fruit: Sure. Fruit is a necessary a part of the food plan of omnivorous and herbivorous lizards. Sparsely, fruit is a wholesome, vitamin-rich snack that many species get pleasure from. Insectivores is not going to eat fruit, even whether it is provided.

Chocolate: No. Chocolate is poisonous and comprises theobromine, a compound that’s poisonous to most animals, together with reptiles. Theobromine is a stimulant that overloads the nervous and cardiac techniques. It will possibly result in dying.

Greens: Sure. Darkish leafy greens, squash, now peas, parsley, and bell peppers are all nice greens for lizards.

Bread: No. Lizards’ digestive tracts usually are not meant to deal with grains and huge quantities of advanced sugars. Bread is just not nutritious and shouldn’t be provided.

Worms: Sure. Some home lizards will eat earthworms. Nevertheless, due to their slimy exterior, worms usually are not often eaten until they haven’t any different possibility. Different worm-like invertebrates similar to hornworms, waxworms, and mealworms are cherished by lizards and make glorious treats.

What Fruit Can Lizards Eat?

Fruit makes an excellent deal with for lizards each as soon as and some time. Use fruit as a reward, or as a approach to make different meals extra appetizing, similar to including chopped mango to your bearded dragon’s salad.

These fruits are each protected and engaging:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Papayas
  • Honeydew melon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Figs
  • Peaches

Be sure that to clean all fruits completely and chop them up into bite-sized items earlier than feeding them to a lizard. Discard any arduous seeds, pits, or peels, and don’t feed any fruit that’s moldy or not 100% protected for lizards.

Keep in mind, solely about 5% of your lizard’s food plan ought to be fruit. Although wholesome in small quantities, fruit may be very excessive in sugar and consuming an excessive amount of of it may well result in well being issues.

What Greens Can Lizards Eat?

Greens are the principle meals supply for a lot of lizards. Feeding a wide range of veggies is wholesome and reduces the probability of your reptile growing a vitamin deficiency. It additionally makes feeding time a extra thrilling and enriching expertise.

Beneath are some frequent greens that lizards love and are recognized to be protected and wholesome:

  • Kale
  • Dandelion greens
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Candy potatoes
  • Endive
  • Bell peppers
  • Parsley
  • Swiss chard
  • Collard greens
  • Yams
  • Spinach
  • Romaine lettuce

As with fruits, greens ought to be fed carefully, together with bugs.

Wash and reduce greens into small chunks, discarding any inedible seeds or peels. Kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach ought to be given in small parts as a result of they include an enzyme that binds calcium.

What Can’t They Eat?

There are many meals which are edible and protected for lizards, however there are additionally many that aren’t protected. For insectivores, solely use feeder bugs which are free from parasites and illness. For herbivores and omnivores, use recent or frozen-thawed vegatables and fruits which are washed.

The meals listed under are both poisonous or not nutritious for lizards:

  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Fireflies
  • Avocado
  • Juniper
  • Acorns
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Ticks
  • Celery
  • Butterflies
  • Caterpillars

By no means feed wild-caught bugs or vegatables and fruits taken immediately out of your backyard (with out washing them). Wild-caught bugs might carry parasites. Fruit and veggies may be coated in pesticides and different dangerous chemical compounds that may result in illness.

Tree lizard eating a grasshopper
Tree lizard consuming a grasshopper


Most lizards fall into two classes: insectivores and omnivores.

Insectivores solely eat bugs and different invertebrates. They’ll eat something from spiders, flies, and aphids to crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches.

Some species have a food plan much like turtles and are omnivores. Omnivores eat bugs too, however additionally they want vegatables and fruits of their food plan. Secure fruits and veggies for lizards embody bananas, papaya, grapes, yams, bell peppers, carrots, strawberries and dandelion greens.

Be sure to additionally present your lizard with vitamin and calcium dietary supplements twice every week and differ its food plan to make sure it will get all of the vitamins it requires.

What do you feed your lizard? Tell us within the feedback under.

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