With hundreds of varieties of lizards, they are usually near the bottom of the food change. However, many lizards have interesting skills that help them avoid predators who choose to snack on them. This includes their speed, their ability to camouflage and adapt to their surroundings, and their ability to skim across water. There are even some species that shoot blood out of their eyes to protect themselves from predators. Read on to learn more.
What Animals Eat Lizards?
Many predators choose to snack on lizards. Here’s a list of a few:
- Hawks: Many hawks enjoy a lizard-shaped snack. For example, red-shouldered hawks eat cold-blooded creatures like lizards as approximately one-third of their diet. Hawks like the Zone-tailed Hawk, found in the Southwestern United States, fly slowly over uneven terrain until they can drop down on an unsuspecting lizard and feast on the tasty morsel.
- Snakes: Snakes are opportunistic carnivores, which means that they will eat a small lizard if given the opportunity. They are often attracted by movement. Lizards have the tendency to move a lot. Although snakes are considered descendants of lizards, that doesn’t prevent them from being drawn to this quick-moving snack.
- Dogs: Some dog breeds, like various Terriers, have been bred to hunt small, quick prey like mice and rats. This means they can easily be tempted by things like snakes and lizards. Any dog will eat a lizard if given the opportunity. However, some breeds of lizards secrete poison through their skin, or have venomous bites. So if your dog captures and eats these speedy critters, it is good to watch for illness or check in with your vet.
- Wolves: While wolves tend to go for larger prey like deer and elk, they have been known to snack on the occasional lizard. A hungry wolf isn’t going to turn down this tasty treat.
- Other Lizards: Yes, lizards are opportunistic eaters. They will eat other lizards, even lizards of the same species. Usually it is larger lizards eating smaller lizards, but the opposite can happen as well. Baby lizards are just as likely to be eaten by another lizard as anything else.
- Spiders: Although spiders may easily become the prey of lizards, the opposite is also true. For, although small, the regal jumping spider has been known to eat lizards. They can actually eat a lizard 3 times their own weight. Larger spiders might also indulge in a lizard treat.
Although there are many animals that eat lizards, it also depends on the species of lizards. Some are simply more able to defend themselves from predators. Other species make the perfect snack. In the case of feeder lizards–they are intentionally fed to help sustain other animals, including other lizards. Read on for more specifics.
What eats desert horned lizards?
Horned lizards, also known as horny toads, live in hot locations like deserts and semi-arid environments. While foraging for their own food (ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders) they put themselves at risk of being eaten themselves. Animals like hawks, roadrunners, snakes, lizards, coyotes, ground squirrels, mice, cats, and dogs all prey on horned lizards. Horned lizards do have some interesting tactics to avoid this numerous list of predators. They have the ability to squirt a stream of blood out of their eyes. Possibly a last resort, they try to aim this stream into the eyes and mouths of their predator. They can also inflate their bodies so that they look like spiny balloons. However, sometimes the best tactic for these leaders is to simply remain motionless flattened against the ground. They blend in well with their surroundings, leaving the predator unable to find them.
What eats feeder lizards?
Feeder lizards are smaller lizards that are intentionally sold to be food for other animals, including snakes other lizards like the Monitor Lizard. Geckos and anoles are popular breeds for feeder lizards. Sometimes they are sold frozen, other times these feeders are live. They are used for a variety of snakes and lizards who live as people’s pets.
What eats frilled neck lizards?
Frilled-neck lizards live in the trees of tropical jungles and forests in Australia and New Guinea. These fairly large lizards have long tails, sharp claws, and a flap of skin that lies against their head and neck. When they feel threatened, this flap fans out in order to make them seem larger than they actually are. Their somewhat large size (1 meter or about 3.28 feet) means they have fewer predators than their tinier cousins. Large snakes are their most dangerous enemies. Other predators that feed on frilled=neck lizards include: owls, dingos, foxes, and birds of prey. Many of these tend to hunt for smaller and young frilled-neck lizards.
What eats monitor lizards?
Monitor lizards are large lizards whose massive size, long necks, and powerful tails and claws make them hunters, not just hunted. They are carnivorous, and for some species (like the Nile Monitor) their food includes crocodile eggs, so they choose to live near the source. Monitor lizards biggest threats come from crocodiles, leopards, eagles, and (of course) humans. Other animals that will feed on young monitor lizards include: predatory fish, herons, and even adult monitor lizards. Yes, they occasionally eat their own young.
What eats collared lizards?
These lizards identified by the two black collars around their necks can be found in the rocky areas of a variety of habitats, including sagebrush, desert scrub, and desert grasslands. The predators who might snack on these lizards include other lizards, roadrunners, coyotes, and housecats. These lizards might attempt to run away, however. They are one of only a few lizard species able to run at great speeds using only their hind legs. If they are unfortunate enough to lose a tail to a grasping predator, it will grow back.
Lizards are an important part of the food chain, as they can be a protein-filled snack for a variety of species. Still, they have fascinating ways of avoiding being eaten, and often turn from prey into predator if given the opportunity.