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Feeding the lizards
What do lizards eat in the terrarium?

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The lizards they feed mainly on living beings, usually from invertebrates. But this pattern does not work for all lizards. Some are always vegetarians, others change to vegetarian during their evolution.
Varano of the savannah
Varanus exanthematicus in the coastal plain of Ghana – Daniel Bennett, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


What do lizards eat in the terrarium?

Most species of lizards are not very picky about what they eat., as they eat almost all invertebrates and arthropods that they can master. As with snakes, among the lizards there are also feeding specialists who are not suitable for the care of the terrarium (for example, ant and egg eaters). On the other hand, the vegetarian and those who eat snails are very suitable.

Most of the lizards use the combination language and the Jacobson's organ to search for food to look for food, which often exceeds the olfactory capacity of the nose.

Animal-feeding lizards also find their prey by eye contact, especially for their movements. in the terrarium, for example, you can observe a Gecko sitting a few inches from an insect that doesn't move. If you move, will eat it immediately; if you stay still, the Salamander will leave the place and look for food elsewhere. But, not all lizards display this hunting behavior; many smooth lizards, for example, they also perceive the immobile arthropods as food and prey on them.


The capture and treatment of the food vary, of course: for example, the Chameleons “Shoot” to their food with their tongue at great distances and they swallow it; the Skinks and other lizards push on purpose with the muzzle, using lateral head movements to place bulky limbs in a good position to swallow, or they are completely stripped away; the Geckos and some Monitor lizard they hit large prey caught with their mouths against objects to stun them, crush or soften them.

Types of food

Depending on the species and, above all, its size, you have to offer feed the lizards once or twice a day. Young animals, in particular, they should be fed once a day if possible.

The following types of food are suitable:

Various types of crickets, domestic crickets, fruit flies, flies, your worms, various types of worms, mealybugs and their larvae, other beetles and their larvae, wax moths, wax worms, various types of grasshoppers and cockroaches, Collembola, oven fish, mealybugs and prairie plankton. In the case of the latter, nature conservation laws must be respected and poisonous food animals may not be given to the young.

Some of the food species mentioned can be purchased, but the breeding of some of these invertebrates is quite easy and also advantageous, as then there is always enough food available, also in the required size. In general, the animals themselves must be fed a substantial diet, that is to say, they should only be offered the best food. Some animals that our lizards feed on would immediately hide in the terrariums, so they must be offered in suitable containers or directly on the tweezers.

Vegetarian food

Offering vegetarian food is easier. In general, food can be placed directly on a plate or in a bowl in the terrarium. Also in this case it is important to offer food during the activity time of the fry, that is to say, do not put food in the terrarium at night (this does not apply to Skinks night and vegetarian wraparound tail).

Some vegetarians also like to eat dry or wilted foods. (spiny-tailed lizards), but vegetarians also get much of the fluid they need from their fresh, green foods. The diet of “lettuce” should be a thing of the past, because lizards need more nutrients than they contain.

Wild herbs are especially suitable for feeding vegetarian lizards: the leaves and flowers of dandelion, clover varieties, nettle, alfalfa, also sprouted wheat and various types of banana, lentil and thistle. Also vegetables like zucchini, pumpkin or cucumber, while hard varieties such as carrots can be offered grated. Even hay is an important part of the food assortment..

Some more important notes:

It is better to use homemade or organic products, as many vegetables and fruits imported from southern Europe, in particular, are heavily contaminated with various toxins. It also, the vegetables offered should be washed thoroughly. The mixture of lime preparations and vitamin products should be used at appropriate intervals.

Feeding for specialist lizards

Shell snails are a welcome change for some species of lizards – for example, the Red-eyed crocodile skink and the Indonesian blue-tongued skink-, but for others they are the only natural food (for example, the Pink-tongued skink).

Like the skinks mentioned are fairly large members of your family, they can usually break large shell snails by themselves with the help of their jaws. The smallest snails should be offered to their young. If they are not available in appropriate sizes, open the shells of large snails.

To some lizards, especially to some species of Geckos, like to eat sweet foods. For this reason, in the nature, lick the overripe fruit or eat the nectar of the flowers. They are offered fruit pulp, fruit yogurt or fruit puree in small bowls, that are placed on the ground or on top of the terrarium, according to the way of life of lizards. You have to be careful not to give these sweet food components too often, since many lizards then tend to gain weight.

To other lizards - for example, the Monitor lizard or the Argentine black and white tegu (Salvator merianae)- like to eat ready-made foods, as dog or cat food, heart meat of cow and poultry, dead chicks, Rats, hamsters or guinea pigs, instead of live food. Keep in mind that day-old chicks, for example, do not contain large amounts of nutritional values, so they should not be fed or only very rarely.

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