Lizards live virtually everywhere on earth, so you probably have them in your backyard. Some lizards can change colors to blend into their natural surroundings, which helps them hide from predators and makes them effective hunters.
More colorful lizards are telling other animals that they are toxic to help them avoid becoming a meal, but what exactly do backyard lizards eat?
Backyard lizards don’t all eat the same diet. Though there are many species of lizards, they fall into two feeding categories either Insectivores or Omnivorous. Insectivores lizards only eat invertebrates and bugs like spiders, flies, roaches, crickets and mealworms. Omnivorous lizards not only will insects but will eat fruits and plants like bananas, lettuce, carrots, and dandelion greens as well.
What Do Wild Lizards Eat
Wild lizards are opportunistic eaters with a marginally limited diet. Backyard lizards eat a variety of foods from their given diet, depending on what is available.
Larger lizards eat vertebrate animals, but most little lizards stick to more manageable items.
- Eggs, depending on where they live, can come from clutches on the ground or in trees. Lizards are great climbers, and unguarded nests are easy pickings.
- Various fruits and vegetables in season or even those in a greenhouse are fair game to your local lizards.
- Bigger backyard lizards may eat baby animals like mice and rats or birds. They can even eat smaller lizards in some instances.
- Insectivores eat most types of bugs, including spiders, beetles, and other pests. However, they may also eat beneficial insects.
What Is Lizards Favorite Food
Many common pet lizards like the popular bearded dragons and geckos are omnivores. Like humans and other animals, they may have a particular personal favorite, but they will eat what’s available when they are hungry.
Leafy greens and worms are often favorites. Spoiled pet lizards tend to be choosier because they have the option.
What Do Blue Belly Lizards Eat
Blue Belly lizards are insectivores. These colorful little reptiles prefer small prey items such as crickets and ants when they are young.
As they age, their appetites and stomachs get larger, and they will eat mealworms, grasshoppers, earthworms, and other medium to large-sized insects.
Pet Blue Belly lizards usually eat whatever is on offer from the local pet store. Crickets, cockroaches, and other common feeder bugs are a safe choice for adults of this species.
What Do Florida Lizards Eat
Backyard lizards in Florida are incredibly important for keeping common pest insects under control.
Any Floridian knows that mosquitoes are a real problem, but lizards eat them. They will also dine on flies, spiders, and other bugs.
Brown Anole lizards are particularly helpful. In addition to eating other pest insects, they eat waxworms, mealworms, moths, and ants, among many other species.
These lizards also eat skinks, eggs, and oddly their own shed skins.
What Do Baby Lizards Eat In Florida
Lizards and other reptiles do not get milk from their mothers. In fact, babies are born fully capable of fending for themselves.
Although they will often eat smaller insects, they have the same diet as their adult counterparts. Mammals are the only animals that feed their young with milk, and unlike baby birds, mother lizards don’t stick around to feed the babies.
What Do Small Garden Lizards Eat
Skinks and other small garden and backyard lizards eat smaller insects. Omnivorous lizards may also chew on your vegetables and are fond of leafy greens.
Although lizards use the articular and quadrate bones to open their mouths wider to swallow prey, they are limited by their size.
In general, the smaller a lizard, the smaller the bugs it eats. Snails, ladybugs, wasps, grubs, earwigs, and caterpillars are prey for lizards.
Except for the ladybugs, who eat aphids off of plants, the rest can do damage to your garden, so having lizards around might save your plants. Some lizards even eat aphids themselves.
Do Lizards Eat Garden Plants
Omnivorous backyard lizards will eat garden plants. On the plus side, they don’t tend to take very much. A caterpillar or colony of leafcutter ants will do a lot more damage to your yard.
Better still, you generally won’t see large numbers of lizards in one area, so even if you have a voraciously hungry reptile, it still won’t wipe out your greenhouse or garden.
Do Lizards Eat Cockroaches
Lizards will happily eat cockroaches. Some species such as Leopard Geckos and monitor lizards tend to eat roaches in the wild.
However, most hungry reptiles are willing to crunch down these omnipresent pests when they find them. Pet shops even sell roaches as food for pet lizards.
Can Lizards Eat Ants
By now, you already know that lizards can eat ants. However, ants, spiders, and other bugs are poisonous, so how do the lizards avoid getting bitten or stung?
Sadly, lizards are not immune to toxins like venom, and they will die if they take a nasty sting or enough ant bites.
According to ScienceMag.org, scientists have found the answer. Lizards have large quantities of mucus. By smothering the ants and other dangerous bugs, they can eat them whole without concern.
Do Lizards Eat Bird Eggs
Tiny lizards cannot eat bird’s eggs. However, once a lizard is large enough, it can break open the shell and suck out the albumen and yolk.
Eating another species’ unborn babies is always a dangerous proposition, but the reward is packed with healthy protein for successful egg thieves.
What To Feed A Lizard From Outside
It is generally a bad idea to catch wild lizards and keep them as pets. The stress of being taken from their habitat and caged is often enough to kill a backyard lizard.
However, if you want to feed the lizards in your yard, live insects are the best bet. Unless you know their species, there’s no guarantee your backyard lizards are omnivores. Below are some other common foods people try to feed lizards.
Do Lizards Eat Lettuce
Lizards will eat lettuces. However, it’s best to feed them dark green leafy lettuces such as romaine and more nutritional greens. Iceberg lettuce, in particular, has almost no nutritional value.
A lizard can have a full stomach and still become ill from a lack of nutrients.
Do Lizards Eat Bread
Bread comes from wheat, which is a plant in the grass family. You might think that this would be okay for a lizard as a plant-based food, but it is not.
Wheat represents a complex carbohydrate. A lizards’ digestive tract cannot handle complex carbs or sugars.
Do Lizards Eat Cucumber
Vegetable-loving lizards can eat cucumbers. However, it’s best to feed cucumbers in moderation to avoid health issues, especially if you have a bearded dragon.
Alternately, thanks to the incredibly high-water content, ninety-six percent- cucumber is an ideal snack for a dehydrated omnivorous lizard.
Can Lizards Eat Cheese
Please do not feed a lizard cheese. Even if you convince them to eat it, which is unlikely, dairy is not good for reptiles.
Your lizard will get no nutritional value, and the lactose inside cheese breaks down into sugar, which lizards cannot digest.
Can Lizards Eat Broccoli
Broccoli is a fine snack for an omnivorous lizard. However, keep in mind that store-bought vegetables are often coated in pesticides that can hurt your pet.
Always wash veggies or opt for organic pesticide-free broccoli.
Can Lizards Eat Oranges
Like cucumber, oranges have a high-water content, but they also have a ton of sugar. Worse still, oranges have citric acid.
Some species of lizards like Bearded Dragons may get diarrhea from oranges. Don’t feed oranges to lizards!
Can Lizards Eat Strawberries
A little bit of strawberry is okay for an omnivorous lizard. Like other sugary fruits, too much can cause stomach issues and diarrhea.
Luckily, a small, occasional bit of this tasty red fruit shouldn’t harm them.
Can Lizards Eat Dog Food
One of the most surprising things you can feed some lizards is dog food. Notably, it needs to be grain-free wet dog food.
Because of the high protein content and higher water content, some lizards like Blue Tongued Skinks, Bearded Dragons, and the Tegu often enjoy canned dog food.
That said, unless your vet instructs you to feed them dog food, it’s still best to stick to a more natural diet.
Helpful Tips To Know About What Backyard Lizards Eat
Lizard diets vary by region. These incredibly adaptive creatures can thrive and eat in many different environments.
Whether omnivores or insectivores, here are some great tips about what your backyard lizards will eat.
- Keep it local. Lizards in your area most likely survive on native plants and species of insects that you find in your area.
- Watch lizards for fun and hints. The lizards in your backyard will show you what they do and do not eat if you observe them.
- Lizards don’t eat every day. Most species of backyard lizard only eat about three or four times a week, which is roughly every other day.
- A lizard who looks ashy or dusty and won’t eat is probably about to molt. It’s normal for shedding lizards to have a lower appetite due to hormonal changes during this stage. This can happen as often as every two weeks if the lizard is young or growing quickly.
Unless you live in Antarctica, you have probably seen a few lizards in your own backyard. Brightly colored or blending in, all lizards love a good sunbath on a rock, followed by a nice breakfast of bugs.
However, lizards aren’t picky eaters, some species like more variety. These omnivorous lizards will eat plants in addition to their high-protein insect meals.
If you see a lizard, leave it alone. More lizards in the yard mean fewer bugs to bother you.