What Do Lizards Eat: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Diet

Lizards are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. With over 6,000 species of lizards in the world, it’s no surprise that they have a diverse range of diets. However, as a lizard owner or enthusiast, you may be wondering, what do lizards eat? Understanding their diet is crucial to their health and well-being, whether they live in the wild or captivity. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of food that lizards consume, factors that affect their diet, and tips for feeding them in captivity. So let’s dive into the world of lizards and discover what makes up their diet.


If you’re interested in learning about what lizards eat, this article is an excellent place to start. Lizards are fascinating creatures that can be found all over the world, from deserts and rainforests to urban areas. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and have unique dietary needs.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide to lizard diets, including the types of foods different species of lizards commonly eat and how factors such as their size, age, and habitat can affect their diets. We’ll also offer tips for feeding lizards in captivity, so you can keep your pet healthy and happy.

Whether you’re a lizard enthusiast, a pet owner, or just curious about these scaly creatures, this article will provide you with valuable insights into the dietary habits of lizards. So let’s dive in and discover what these fascinating animals like to eat!

A General Overview of Lizard Diets

Omnivorous Lizards

Omnivorous lizards are those that consume both plant-based and animal-based foods. In the wild, these reptiles have a varied diet consisting of different types of food sources. Among the most common things that omnivorous lizards eat are fruit, insects, small mammals, and birds.

Fruits are an essential part of an omnivorous lizard’s diet. They provide a natural source of sugar and other vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Some commonly consumed fruits include berries, figs, and mangoes. These fruits help to keep omnivorous lizards hydrated since they contain a significant amount of water.

Insects are another crucial component of an omnivorous lizard’s diet. Small insects like crickets, worms, and grasshoppers provide the necessary protein and fats that these reptiles need to stay healthy. Omnivorous lizards consume insects in large quantities, and some species can eat up to several hundred insects per day.

Moreover, small mammals and birds provide a more substantial source of protein for omnivorous lizards. These reptiles hunt and capture their prey using their speed and agility. Some examples of small mammals that omnivorous lizards eat include mice, shrews, and voles. Birds such as sparrows, finches, and doves are also on the menu of some of these lizards.

In captivity, omnivorous lizards require a well-balanced diet to maintain their health. Owners should provide a mix of fruits, insects, and small mammals or birds. Correct feeding frequency is also essential, and owners should feed their lizards according to the needs of the particular species.

In conclusion, omnivorous lizards have a diverse diet that includes various plant-based and animal-based foods. This range of options ensures that they receive all the necessary nutrients for good health. By understanding what these lizards eat, owners can provide them with the correct diet in captivity to keep them healthy and happy.

Herbivorous Lizards

Herbivorous lizards are one of the three main categories of lizard diets. These lizards feed solely on plant matter, including fruits, vegetables, leaves, and flowers. Some herbivorous lizards, such as iguanas and bearded dragons, have specialized digestive systems that allow them to extract nutrients from tough plants that other animals cannot digest.

Vegetables are a crucial component of the diet for many herbivorous lizards. They provide essential vitamins and minerals, along with fiber that aids in digestion. Popular vegetable options include leafy greens like collard greens, kale, and spinach, as well as bell peppers, carrots, and squash. It’s important to note that not all vegetables are suitable for all species of lizards, so it’s crucial to research which vegetables are appropriate for your specific lizard.

Fruits are another important component of the herbivorous lizard’s diet. They provide a source of natural sugars, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to the overall health of the animal. Fruits that are commonly fed to herbivorous lizards include bananas, berries, and melons.

Leaves also play an essential role in the diet of herbivorous lizards. Different types of leaves offer different nutritional profiles, and some lizards may prefer certain types over others. Hibiscus and dandelion leaves are popular options, and many lizards also enjoy munching on rose petals or hibiscus flowers.

Finally, flowers can also make up a portion of the herbivorous lizard’s diet. Flowers like nasturtiums and hibiscus have high levels of vitamin C, while edible marigold flowers contain beta-carotene, which is important for eye health.

Overall, a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, leaves, and flowers can help keep herbivorous lizards healthy and thriving. By providing a variety of plant-based options, lizard owners can ensure their pets are receiving all the necessary nutrients for optimal health.

Carnivorous Lizards

Carnivorous lizards have a diet that mainly consists of insects, snails, worms, and small animals. Unlike herbivorous lizards that feed on plants and omnivorous lizards that consume both plants and animals, carnivorous lizards require a high-protein diet to thrive.

One example of a carnivorous lizard is the Gila monster, which feeds on small rodents, eggs, and birds. Another example is the Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world, which preys on deer, water buffalo, and even humans.

Insects are a primary source of food for many carnivorous lizards, such as chameleons and geckos. These lizards have long tongues that can shoot out at lightning speed to catch their prey. Some species of carnivorous lizards also feed on snails and worms, often digging through soil or burrowing underground to find them.

Small animals such as mice, rats, and birds are also on the menu for some carnivorous lizards. For instance, the green iguana, which is primarily herbivorous, may occasionally eat small insects, snails, and even smaller vertebrates. Similarly, the bearded dragon, another popular pet lizard, requires a diet that includes crickets, mealworms, and other small live prey.

In captivity, it’s important to provide a varied diet for carnivorous lizards. A well-balanced diet should consist of live insects, such as crickets and mealworms, along with feeder mice or rats. It’s also essential to ensure that the size of the prey matches the size of the lizard to prevent choking or digestive issues.

Overall, carnivorous lizards require a specialized diet that meets their unique dietary needs. By providing a balanced diet that includes live prey and appropriate supplementation, you can help ensure your carnivorous lizard remains healthy and happy.

Factors that Affect the Diet of Lizards

Size of the Lizard

Size of the Lizard

The size of a lizard is an important factor that affects its diet. Larger lizards require more food than smaller ones due to their increased metabolic rate and energy needs. Therefore, it’s essential to know the appropriate amount of food required by lizards based on their size.

Larger lizards, such as monitors and iguanas, have a higher food intake than smaller species like geckos and skinks. For instance, an adult green iguana can reach up to 6 feet in length and needs regular feeding of fresh vegetables like collard greens, turnip greens, and mustard greens. They may also eat fruits like berries, grapes, and melons.

On the other hand, smaller lizards consume less food but require a more varied diet. For example, geckos and anoles are small lizards that feed mainly on insects like crickets, mealworms, and wax worms. These insects should be gut-loaded with nutritious foods before being fed to the lizards to provide them with the necessary nutrients.

It’s essential to note that even within the same species, there could be variations in the size of individual lizards. Therefore, it’s crucial to determine the size of your lizard and provide an appropriate amount of food that will meet its dietary needs. Overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to health complications and even death.

In conclusion, the size of a lizard is a crucial factor that determines its feeding requirements. Pet owners should understand the specific dietary needs of their lizards to ensure they are providing a healthy and balanced diet suitable for their size.



Lizards can be found in a variety of habitats, each with its own unique characteristics that affect their diet and behavior. In this section, we will explore the diets of desert lizards, rainforest lizards, and coastal lizards.

Desert Lizards

Desert lizards are adapted to living in hot and dry environments where food and water can be scarce. As a result, their diets consist mainly of insects and other small animals such as rodents, birds, and reptiles. One of the most common desert lizards is the collared lizard which consumes insects, spiders, and other small lizards or snakes. These lizards are known for their ability to run fast, jump high, and catch their prey with precision.

Rainforest Lizards

Rainforest lizards thrive in warm, humid environments where they have access to plenty of vegetation and a diverse range of insects and other small animals. Their diets consist mainly of fruits, flowers, and leaves, as well as insects and other small animals such as rodents, birds, and reptiles. One of the most interesting rainforest lizards is the water dragon which feeds on a variety of insects, spiders, and small vertebrates. These lizards are also known for their ability to swim and dive in water.

Coastal Lizards

Coastal lizards are adapted to living near the ocean where food and water are abundant. Their diets consist mainly of fish, crustaceans, and other marine animals, as well as insects and other small animals such as rodents, birds, and reptiles. One of the most common coastal lizards is the green iguana which feeds on a variety of plants, fruits, and insects. These lizards are also known for basking in the sun and being excellent swimmers.

In conclusion, the habitat of lizards plays a crucial role in determining their diet and behavior. By understanding the unique characteristics of desert, rainforest, and coastal habitats, we can gain valuable insights into the diets of these fascinating creatures.



Age is a crucial factor when it comes to understanding the dietary needs of lizards. Different age groups have distinct nutritional requirements, and it’s essential to cater to their unique needs to ensure optimal health.


Hatchlings are newly born lizards that require special attention when it comes to feeding. At this stage, they require more protein and calcium for proper growth and development. Therefore, it’s advisable to feed them small insects such as crickets, mealworms, and small roaches. These foods provide the necessary nutrients that hatchlings need to grow and develop strong bones and muscles.

Young Lizards

Young lizards are at a stage where their bodies are still developing, and they require a balanced diet that provides adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. As they grow older, their appetite increases, and they tend to eat more frequently. It’s important to ensure that their food is appropriately sized and cut into smaller pieces to make it easier for them to digest. Vegetables such as carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes, along with fruits like berries and melons, are excellent sources of nutrition for young lizards.

Adult Lizards

Adult lizards have different nutritional needs compared to hatchlings and young lizards. They require less protein in their diet and can consume larger prey items such as mice, rats, and larger insects. A varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and insects is essential to provide them with the necessary vitamins and minerals required for their overall well-being. Additionally, adult lizards benefit from supplementation such as gut loading their prey and dusting their food with calcium and vitamin D3.

In conclusion, by understanding the dietary needs of lizards at different stages of their lives, you can provide them with the nutrition they require for optimal health and well-being. Hatchlings, young, and adult lizards each have unique dietary needs, and it’s important to tailor their diet accordingly.



There are several species of lizards, each with their own unique characteristics and dietary needs. Here are some of the most common species and what they eat:


Iguanas are herbivores and require a diet rich in greens and vegetables. They typically feed on fruits, such as berries and melons, and dark leafy greens, like kale and collard greens.


Geckos are carnivorous and primarily feed on insects, such as crickets and mealworms. Some species of geckos also consume small vertebrates, including other lizards.


Chameleons are insectivores and require a diet high in protein. They primarily feed on crickets, flies, and other insects. Chameleons are known for their ability to catch prey with their long, sticky tongues.


Skinks are omnivores and will eat both plants and animals. They primarily feed on insects, but will also consume fruits and vegetables. Some species of skinks have been known to eat eggs and even small mammals.

It is important to note that the dietary needs of each species may vary depending on factors such as age, size, and habitat. It is recommended to research the specific needs of your pet lizard or consult with a veterinarian to ensure they are receiving a balanced and nutritious diet.

How to Feed Lizards in Captivity

Appropriate Food

When it comes to feeding your pet lizard, providing appropriate food is essential for their health and well-being. There are several options for suitable lizard food, including live insects, fresh fruits and vegetables, and high-quality commercial diets.

Live insects are a staple in the diet of many lizards, including bearded dragons and leopard geckos. Live crickets and mealworms are commonly available at most pet stores. However, it’s important to ensure that the insects are properly gut-loaded with a nutritious diet before feeding them to your lizard. This means feeding the insects a healthy diet of vegetables and grains for at least 24 hours before offering them to your lizard. Additionally, dusting the insects with calcium powder can help supplement your lizard’s diet with necessary nutrients.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are also an excellent choice for lizards, particularly herbivorous species such as iguanas. Some great options include leafy greens like kale and collard greens, as well as fruits like apples and strawberries. It’s important to note that not all fruits and vegetables are safe for lizards, so do your research beforehand to ensure that you’re providing your pet with appropriate options.

Finally, high-quality commercial diets can also be a good option for lizards. These diets are often formulated to meet the specific nutritional needs of different lizard species. When choosing a commercial diet, make sure to read the ingredients list carefully to ensure that it contains appropriate sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

In conclusion, feeding your lizard appropriate food is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Whether you choose to provide live insects, fresh fruits and vegetables, or high-quality commercial diets, it’s important to ensure that you’re meeting your pet’s specific nutritional needs. With a little research and effort, you can provide your lizard with a varied and nutritious diet that will keep them healthy for years to come.

Feeding Frequency

Feeding Frequency

The feeding frequency of lizards varies depending on the species, size and age. While some lizards require to be fed daily, others can do without food for several days.

Once a day

Larger lizards such as iguanas and monitors generally require to be fed once a day. They have a high metabolic rate that requires frequent feeding to sustain their energy levels. Additionally, hatchling and young lizards also need to be fed more frequently compared to adult lizards.

Twice a week

Some herbivorous lizards such as green iguanas may only require feeding twice a week. This is because their diet is mainly comprised of plant material, which takes longer to digest. Overfeeding them can lead to health problems such as obesity and other digestive issues.

Depending on the species

Different species of lizards have different feeding requirements. For instance, bearded dragons require feeding once or twice a day as they are omnivorous while leopard geckos only need to be fed every 2-3 days. It is important to research the specific feeding requirements of each species before adopting them as pets.

It is important not to overfeed or underfeed lizards, as this can result in health problems. Additionally, it is recommended to feed lizards in the morning or early evening when they are most active and hungry.

Understanding the feeding frequency of lizards is crucial in providing a healthy and balanced diet for our scaly friends. By ensuring that they are fed at the right intervals and with appropriate food, we can help them thrive and live long, happy lives.


Supplementation is an important aspect of ensuring your pet lizard’s diet is well-rounded and nutritious. Here are some key factors to consider when it comes to supplementing your lizard’s diet:


Calcium is essential for healthy bone growth and muscle function in lizards, so it’s important to ensure they’re getting enough of it in their diet. This can be done by dusting their food with calcium powder, or offering calcium-rich foods such as kale or collard greens.


Lizards also require a variety of vitamins to maintain their overall health. One way to ensure they’re getting all the necessary vitamins is to use a multivitamin supplement, which can be added to their food or water.


In addition to calcium, lizards also need other minerals such as phosphorus and potassium. These can be found in a variety of foods, including vegetables and fruits.

Gut Loading Insects

If you feed your lizard live insects, it’s important to “gut load” them beforehand. This means feeding the insects a nutritious diet prior to feeding them to your lizard. This ensures that your lizard is getting the maximum nutritional benefit from the insects they eat.

Overall, supplementation is a crucial part of keeping your pet lizard healthy and happy. By ensuring they have a well-rounded diet that includes all the necessary nutrients and vitamins, you can help them thrive and live a long, healthy life.


In conclusion, understanding the diet of lizards is crucial for their health and wellbeing. By studying the different types of food that lizards eat and what factors affect their dietary needs, we can provide better care for these fascinating creatures.

Whether you are a lizard owner or just an enthusiast, it’s important to keep in mind that each species has its own unique dietary requirements. Some lizards may thrive on a diet of live insects, while others may need a mix of fruits, vegetables, and high-quality commercial diets. Factors such as size, age, and habitat can also influence the type of food that lizards need.

Feeding lizards in captivity requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Providing appropriate food, supplementing with necessary vitamins and minerals, and feeding at the right frequency are all critical elements of a healthy lizard diet.

Overall, by educating ourselves on the topic of lizard diets and taking steps to ensure that our pet lizards receive proper nutrition, we can help them live long, happy, and healthy lives.
Lizards may be small in size, but they have complex dietary needs that vary depending on their species, habitat, age, and size. From herbivorous iguanas to carnivorous geckos, these reptiles require a diverse range of foods to thrive. By understanding their dietary requirements and feeding them an appropriate diet, you can help ensure they live long and healthy lives.

Whether you are a lizard owner or simply interested in learning more about these fascinating creatures, we hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights into the diets of lizards. Remember to always do your research before getting a pet lizard, and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about their health or nutrition.

In conclusion, the world of lizards is a fascinating one, and their diet plays a critical role in their overall health and well-being. By providing them with the right food and supplements, you can help these remarkable creatures thrive and continue to amaze us with their unique adaptations and behaviors.

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