What Do Lizards Eat?

One of the many wonderful things about lizards is their diversity, but of course, this means that one of the confusing things about lizards is trying to figure out which lizard eats what. One thing that you can count on is that ….

So whether you’re buying a bearded dragon or a leopard gecko, a chameleon or an iguana, it’s good to know what’s in a store beforehand. You can usually find this information out from the breeder, but it’s also good to have a guide to refer to if you’re ever in doubt. And if you’ve not actually decided which lizard is right for you yet, then maybe knowing what their eating habits are might help you make the choice.

To Eat Or Not To Eat

Insects

Most pet lizards, like leopard geckos, chameleons, blue tongue skins, anoles, and house geckos, are insectivores, meaning they will only eat small insects and invertebrates with vegetables not being part of their diet. While this can make some people squirm, leopard geckos need the insects to be living. If you’d like more advice on how to do this, head to our page on the best reptile feeding tongues.

Invertebrates and insects that are popular to eat:

  • Crickets
  • Mealworm
  • Cockroaches
  • Locusts

Greens

If you struggle with the idea of giving live food to a reptile, then it might be a good idea to get a vegetarian lizard. Iguanas, Uromastyx lizards, and chuckwallas are vegetarians, while crested geckos and bearded dragons can be either. These omnivores like to eat a selection of both meat and vegetables, in fact, since bearded dragons do not need the same level of protein as wild lizards, most of their diet (about 75%) should be fruit and veg to prevent obesity.

Vegetables that lizards enjoy:

  • Collared greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Dark green lettuce like remain lettuce.
  • Celery chopped or shredded.

Vegetables to avoid:

  • Iceberg lettuce has no nutritional value
  • Spinach
  • Avacado
  • Kale
  • Cabbage/broccoli

These vegetables prevent calcium absorption.

Fruit

Since fruit is high in sugar, it should be given in moderation to your lizard as a treat. Fruit is high in antioxidants which are important for their diet.

Typical fruit that lizards enjoy are:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • White melon – make sure the core and seeds are removed
  • Apples, but make sure they’re free of seeds as these can be harmful to lizards.

Fruits to be avoided include:

  • Citrus fruits should be avoided.
  • Rhubarb is especially toxic and should be avoided.

Commercial food
You can also buy commercial food from pet stores that’s specifically designed to give your lizard the nutrients they need. Many are high in protein and pre-loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Common feeding mistakes

Calcium

Calcium is an important part of lizards diet, and often they don’t get enough. You should consider calcium and vitamin D3 supplements in order to aid their diet.

Feeding herbivores too much protein

Herbivores like uromastyx lizards, bearded dragons and blue tongue skinks are only supposed to have a small amount of meat. Their diet should be majoritively vegetables with a small percentage of meat. When fed too much, it can be really toxic for them and can lead to diarrhoea and even liver failure.

Final Note

It can often feel daunting wondering what to feed your reptile, but if you’re worried, then you can always speak to your vet or find online forums dedicated to lizard owners. Each lizard has different dietary requirements, so as well as our general feeding advice, you should look into the specific dietary needs of your particular one too.

If you’re still deciding which lizard you want as a pet, then it may be a good idea to ask yourself if you can handle live food. If you can’t, then it’s a good idea to avoid leopard geckos and maybe go for omnivores that can eat dead meat or vegetables.