What eats lizards? Like any other pet owner, I worry about every potential hazard for my pet. And, for lizards, this can include natural predators. Fortunately, most are fairly low on the food chain, and some, like the Komodo dragon, are fierce apex predators! But, lots of animals do still pose a threat to these reptiles. So, in this guide, I’ll take a closer look at what things like to chow down on a lizard, and the major threats to be aware of if you own a lizard pet.
What Eats Lizards?
If you’ve ever seen a lizard scurry away upon seeing your shadow, you have a hint of lizards’ biggest predators. Birds are one of lizards’ biggest predators, followed by snakes and other reptiles. But, there’s a huge number of things that will eat lizards in the wild when given the opportunity. Let’s take a look at some of the most common creatures in each of these categories, starting off with one of the biggest predators – birds.
Which Birds Eat Lizards?
All kinds of birds eat lizards. In general, if a bird can spot one of these reptiles, catch it, and fit it in its beak, the lizard will become breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Birds of prey, like eagles, vultures, hawks, falcons, and owls will hunt lizards from above. Shrikes will snatch lizards up and impale them on spikes, making even the scaliest lizard an excellent meal. Smaller birds, like mockingbirds, will not hesitate to eat a lizard they find on the ground. Even sparrows will snack on smaller ones if they spot movement! Lizards make up a large part of the roadrunner’s diet, and waterfowl like herons and egrets depend on lizards that live in or near the water.
While lizards make up a big portion of some birds’ diets, other birds are simply opportunistic. Unfortunately for lizards, most birds are omnivores and would not pass up a lizard-shaped treat if they came across one. For this reason, lizards must work hard to avoid being spotted and caught.
Do Reptiles Eat Lizards?
Yes. Lizards are reptiles, but that does not stop other reptiles from eating them.
Snakes are one of lizards’ top predators and can easily overpower them with constriction or a venomous bite. At the end of the day, it is all about size. Snakes will eat any lizard they can successfully hunt and kill, and lizards will eat smaller snakes. Snakes in the Elapidae family love eating lizards, and geckoes are a preferred snack for tree snakes in tropical locales.
Larger lizards will also eat smaller lizards, and some species of lizards will even eat one another. Komodo dragons, for example, are cannibalistic. Alligators and crocodiles will happily eat lizards, too.
Which Mammals Eat Lizards?
Some common mammals that will happily much on these reptiles include:
- And wild and domestic cats.
Carnivorous and Omnivorous Mammals
For carnivorous mammals with sharp teeth, lizards present an easy meal. Mongooses, for example, will hunt and eat venomous cobras, so a lizard is much less of a battle. Omnivorous mammals will also eat lizards if the opportunity presents itself. Bats, for instance, will snatch lizards right out of trees.
Ultimately, any carnivorous or omnivorous mammal that is fast enough to catch a lizard and has sharp enough teeth to pierce a lizard’s scales will do so.
Do Squirrels Eat Lizards?
Many people are surprised to learn that squirrels eat meat. Squirrels are omnivorous and will eat bird eggs, insects, and even lizards to add protein to their diets. If a hungry squirrel encounters a lizard, it will happily chow down.
Do Cats Eat Lizards?
Yes, both wild and domestic cats will hunt lizards. In fact, Feral cats in Australia eat over 1 million lizards per day. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, chances are your furry friend has even caught a lizard. My childhood cat used to bring these reptiles inside and crunch them under the table while we were having dinner. My first pet was actually a fence lizard I rescued from her before it was too late.
Even Fish, Amphibians, and Insects Eat Lizards
Pretty much any creature that can get its hands, beak, or paws on a lizard will eat that lizard. Fishermen use soft, plastic lizards as bait, and opportunistic fish, like bass, will happily eat them in the wild. If these reptiles are swimming along the surface, a large fish (like a bass or pike) will enjoy a snack.
Similarly, most amphibians will eat anything that fits in their mouths. Luckily for lizards, some frogs and toads prefer prey without bones. Less fortunate, some species of spiders will eat some species of lizards. For example, black widows will eat any lizard small enough to get trapped in their webs.
Humans Eat Lizards
As if lizards did not have enough predators, some people also eat them. Lizard meat is cheap and accessible, and some countries consider it a delicacy.
What Eats Lizards? Pretty Much Any Omnivore!
Lizards are a popular form of food across the animal kingdom. Whether a hawk spots a lizard sunning itself, or a bass sees a lizard swimming, the little reptile’s moments are numbered. These reptiles have rotten luck because even an innocent-looking sparrow or squirrel will not hesitate to eat them up.
Size matters for lizards because the bigger it is, the smaller its chance of becoming a meal. These reptiles also have plenty of other adaptations to keep themselves safe.
Lizards may not be quite as edible as beetles and other insects, but they are not usually dominant on the food chain, and any creature that eats meat will also eat a lizard. Even humans eat lizards from time to time. Although, here at Squeaks and Nibbles, we prefer keeping them as pets.
More Info About Animal Food Chains
- Daley, J. ‘Australian Feral Cats Eat More Than a Million Reptiles Per Day’, Smithsonian (2018)