Ever wondered what do lizards eat? The truth is all lizards are different, but I’ll give you a general answer and then a bit more detail for each of the following lizards: Bearded Dragon, Leopard Gecko, Crested Gecko, Veiled Chameleon and Panther Chameleon.
What do lizards eat?
Lizards eat either a combination of insects and plants or just insects, depending on the species. Bearded Dragons will eat both, while Leopard Geckos will only eat insects. Some of lizard’s favourite insects are grasshoppers and waxworms.
What do Bearded Dragons eat?
The Bearded Dragon is an omnivore, meaning they enjoy a diet consisting of both insects and suitable plants. The exact proportions vary with age. A young dragon should be fed mainly insects to aid their growth. An adult’s diet will still be primarily insects; however, there should also be some vegetables with dinner.
How often should I feed my Bearded Dragon?
You should feed your dragon at least once a day. Younger dragons may need to be fed up to three times a day, while older dragons should not be fed more than once per day. A typical meal for an adult dragon would consist of around 10 crickets per day, while a baby beardie should eat 20-50 insects a day.
For more information on how to look after a Bearded Dragon, check out Bearded Dragons – Everything You Need to Know.
What do Leopard Geckos eat?
Unlike the Bearded Dragon, Leopard Gecko’s are carnivores so will eat only insects and not even look at their vegetables! If you’ve had children, this might sound familiar. Common feeding insects include mealworms, crickets and butter worms.
Leopard Geckos are nocturnal, so their ideal feeding time is between 7-9 pm.
Like most lizards, their diet changes as they mature. At a young age, they will require more insects to help them grow, while once they’ve developed, you should be feeding them notably less.
Leopard Geckos can be prone to overeating, which in turn leads to them being overweight or in extreme cases regurgitating their food! Make sure your gecko is getting the right amount of food for their age.
How much should Leopard Geckos Eat?
Baby Leopard Geckos should eat 5-8 small insects a day, while fully grown Leopard Geckos should be fed 7-8 large insects (e.g. Crickets) around 3-4 times a week.
What do Crested Geckos eat?
Crested Geckos are omnivores so they can eat a mixture of insects and plants. Similar to the Leopard Gecko, they enjoy eating mealworms and crickets. They are also nocturnal, so a reasonable feeding period is between 7-9 pm.
As a baby, you should feed them mainly insects which have been gut-loaded (see below), so they can grow. As they mature, they should eat fewer insects and more plants. However, if your Crested Gecko is not that big on vegetables, it’s okay for them to eat mainly insects.
How often should you feed a Crested Gecko?
As a baby, Crested Geckos should be fed around 8-10 crickets every day. Once fully grown, 4-5 crickets every couple of days would provide all the nutrition and energy they need. If you want to give them a treat, high calcium fruits are a good place to start.
What do Panther Chameleons eat?
Panther Chameleons are omnivores. They can eat both insects and plants; however, they only really eat plants for hydration. If you are keeping one as a pet, you should feed them brown crickets or locusts and ensure they always have fresh water.
If you’re Panther Chameleon hasn’t littered on you for a while and deserves a treat, waxworms or cockroaches will go down a treat. Due to the high-fat content, don’t get too crazy. Once or twice a week is absolutely fine.
How often should you feed a Panther Chameleon?
As a baby you should feed your Panther Chameleon as much as they can eat, these are hungry babies! Once they are an adult (after about a year), you should be feeding them 3-5 insects every other day.
What do Veiled Chameleons eat?
Veiled Chameleons are omnivores, but like most lizards, they prefer to eat insects. They are also one of the fussiest eaters from the Chameleon clan. So be prepared to experiment with the various insect options to find what yours enjoys. Try crickets, roaches and mealworms, remembering to gut-load any insects you feed.
In terms of a tasty treat, waxworms usually go down well. Limit these to once or twice a week due to their high-fat content. No one wants a chubby chameleon!
How often should you feed a Veiled Chameleon?
Baby Veiled Chameleons (younger than 6 months) should be fed 2-3 times a day for 5-10 minutes, to help them grow properly. While adults should be fed every other day for 5 minutes, to prevent them from becoming overweight.
What is gut-loading?
Gut-loading is the process of feeding the insects your lizard will eat. By providing the insects with all the required nutrients, you ensure they are loaded with goodness. This makes sure your lizard is getting the proper nutrition when he eats the insects.
The exact setup for gut-loading varies depending on the insect, but the basic requirements are:
- A well-ventilated habitat for your insects
- A source of hydration for the insects (usually a vegetable like a potato or a carrot)
- A high-calcium diet for your insects (to ensure your lizard is getting a good amount)
For the specifics of each insect, have a look at this video:
You’ll need to clean the insect habitat regularly, to make sure the insects remain healthy.
Gut-loading should take place at least 24 hours before feeding your lizard. This ensures all insects you feed are nutritious (and delicious) for your pet lizard.
Finally, before feeding the insects, you should dust them with a calcium powder. Calcium is essential to a lizard’s growth and general health, so don’t miss this step out.
If this process is new to you, I strongly recommend you read this informative article on Gut-loading and Dusting.
What NOT to feed your pet lizard!
Live rodents: These can seriously harm your lizard. Besides, who wants to eat a rat?
Iceberg Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Cabbage, Broccoli: These prevent calcium from being absorbed properly in your lizard. Something you definitely want to avoid.
Ticks, Spiders, Scorpions, Fireflies, Centipedes, Millipedes: These contain toxins which can seriously harm your lizard, so best to leave these out.
5 Simple rules about feeding your lizard:
- Freshwater daily: Hydration is absolutely crucial for a happy, healthy lizard.
- Live insects provide the most nutrition for your pet lizard.
- Always gut-load and dust insects with a high-calcium powder before feeding.
- Do not leave live insects in your lizard’s habitat (unless it’s feeding time), as these may attack your lizard. Never leave live insects in the habitat if you aren’t going to supervise your pet.
- Insects shouldn’t be too large as you lizard may have trouble eating and digesting them. A general rule is insects should be no bigger than the space between the lizard’s eyes.
You now have all the information to provide your lizard with all the nutrition it needs. There is no substitute for a healthy diet.
Next time someone asks you “what do lizards eat?” you’ve got the answer!
What are you going to feed your lizard?