What Do Lizards Eat

Learning what do lizards eat is a good idea before you bring one home, especially if you're squeamish. Lizards are predators and hunters, and many species need live food as a regular part of their diet.

Specific Needs
There are many types of lizards, and they all have different diets. Lizards may be herbivorous or omnivorous. If a lizard is herbivorous, it eats only plant and vegetable matter. Omnivorous lizards, which are the majority, eat plant greens as well as small insects and animals. A few species of lizards are carnivorous and will only eat other animals, such as snakes, birds and smaller lizards.

It's important to learn as much as possible about a lizard's natural diet before you try to keep one. Although lizards are popular pets, there is still a great deal that's unknown about lizard care. A lizard may require a very specific type of insect for food, because that insect contains a particular nutrient that's crucial to the lizard's health. As you focus in on a lizard you'd like to own, it's a good idea to speak to a herpetologist in your area or look online for Web sites dedicated to lizard care for specific species. Make sure you can get the right kind of food in your area.

The Lizard Diet
Commercial foods in the form of dry pellets are manufactured for lizards, but these are not the best foods to feed a lizard. Some lizards will simply refuse them, because they only want food that is alive and moving.

If you do feed pellets, you must supplement with fresh plant greens and insects, depending on the type of lizard you have. A lizard will survive on commercial, pelleted food, but it will be much healthier eating a natural diet.

For those lizards that eat plants, most can eat cabbage, carrots, red lettuce and other greens. You can also offer fruits and vegetables. Popular fruits are apples, melon and grapes. Avoid rhubarb, which is toxic to most lizards.

For those that are omnivorous or carnivorous, you can purchase worms and crickets from pet stores that carry lizard supplies. You can also find these insects and worms outdoors in certain regions. If you use pet store crickets, you may want to dust them with additional vitamins, to make sure they have the all the nutrients needed by the lizard.

If you catch food, you need to be certain that it's free of pesticides and pollutants. A trace amount of pesticides or other chemicals can easily kill a lizard. To make sure caught insects are chemical free, keep them in an enclosed area with food they can eat for two to three days.

When feeding a natural diet, take into consideration the size of the lizard. Cut or shred food to the proper size; lizards swallow their meals whole, and food that's too big can cause digestive problems.

The rule for good digestion is to offer food that is smaller than the distance between the lizard's eyes. A whole grape or large leaf may be too much for a small lizard, but a large lizard will easily be able to handle larger pieces.

Food should be placed in a wide, solid bowl that it is not easily tipped over. Your lizard will be climbing in and out of the bowl to get at the food. Remove any fresh vegetables as soon as they start to wilt, to keep bacteria out of the lizard's environment. Live food can simply be turned loose in the lizard's tank. Remove any insects or worms that die before they're eaten. 

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