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Lizards are a type of reptile that are found in almost every country in the world. They are cold-blooded, lay eggs, and have scales instead of fur or feathers. Just as there are many different types of lizards, there also are many different types of lizard food. With more than 3,800 different species of reptiles, it is no wonder their diets vary. Different types of lizard food include mealworms, leafy greens, small mice, fish, and insects.
The primary reason for the difference in food that these reptiles will eat depends upon whether they are omnivores, insectivores, herbivores, or carnivores. Other factors, such as what foods are available in their environment or the time of year, will also determine what type of diet they may have. Even the same species of reptiles may eat a different type of food depending on whether they are free-roaming or live in captivity.
Omnivores are spiny lizards that eat plants and small animals. The bearded dragon is an example of an omnivore. Lizard food for the bearded dragon may consist of small mice, crickets, cockroaches, and worms. They will also eat flowers and leafy greens.
Geckos, anoles, and chameleons are all insectivorous lizards. Insectivores are typically smaller lizards and are often kept as pets. They commonly eat insects and spiders. When kept in captivity they typically are given mealworms or crickets to add protein to their diet.
The Galapagos Islands are home to an example of a herbivorous lizard. It is called the marine iguana, Amblyrhynchus cristatus. They are the world’s only marine lizard and feed on algae that cover rocks on the island. If kept in captivity, herbivores require a plant-based diet to maintain health. They do not function well on animal protein.
Carnivorous lizards are typically larger reptiles. They require a lizard food that is meat-based and will primarily eat small animals and other lizards. The Nile monitor lizard is one of the larger types of carnivore lizards and has a length of almost 7 feet (about 2.1 m). It is known to eat fish, crocodile eggs, and other types of aquatic creatures.
Since the type of food a lizard will eat in the wild generally gives an indication of how they will need to eat in captivity, considerations should be made as to how the diet can be made comparable before a person adopts one as a pet. Potential lizard owners must access their own comfort level to know if they are capable of offering up live mammals as lizard food. They should also evaluate whether the preparation of a special insect diet for their reptile is a good fit for their own personal situation.