Lizards as pets are amazing when given the right amount of care, they can last for a very long time. If you own a lizard pet or enjoy seeing them in the wild you must be wondering what they eat. For pet lizards owners who want to breed their lizards knowing the right type of food can make it easy caring for young pets. Below is the research I did to understand that subject better.
What do baby lizards eat? What baby lizards eat is determined by whether they are insectivorous, herbivorous, carnivorous, or omnivorous. Based on these factors baby lizards eats insects such as crickets, ants, flies, grasshoppers, worms, spiders, small rodents, fruits, and vegetables.
For baby insectivorous lizards
- Small crickets
- small grasshoppers
- small spiders
- small worms
- small cockroaches
For baby carnivorous lizards
- small mice
- small rats
- small gerbils
- small worms
For baby herbivorous lizards
- Collard greens
- mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Romaine greens
- some flowers
- Swiss chards
- Parents feces (skinks)
For baby omnivorous lizards
- alfalfa sprouts
- yellow squash
- most leafy vegetables
How do lizards reproduce?
Lizards generally reproduce via two methods Laying eggs or giving birth.
Egg laying Lizards
Egg-laying lizards are the majority, animals that lay eggs are normally called oviparous.
Normally after fertilization which is internal eggs develop inside the female lizards who then deposits them in a thermally stable environment such as under a rock, abandoned bird nest, rock or tree crevices, tree trunk in the wild or in some rugs, or wall crevices for lizards that are found in our homes.
On average lizards takes about 4 to 8 weeks to hatch, with some exceptions that may take longer than 8 weeks or shorter than 4 weeks.
Live birth lizards
Well, very few lizards belong to this group of animals known as viviparous. Surprisingly enough, there are lizards that can lay eggs and also give birth to a situation known as a bimodal reproduction source.
Of all more than 6500 lizards globally only three species of lizards can give birth and lay eggs at the same time.https://www.sydney.edu.au/
Two of these species are located in Australia, strange enough scientists were able to find a three-toed skink lizard that laid eggs and gave birth in the same litter.
When the bimodal reproducing lizards lay eggs, they do not do it like their absolute egg laying relatives.
Normally eggs are retained in their mother for a long time, they are then incubated by the mother for about 35 days.
However, egg-laying three-toed skinks eggs can hatch in as little as 5 days after being laid.
Egg-laying lizard babies normally feed on the egg yolk until they hatch and the egg yolk reserve can serve them for some time as they grow strong enough to forage for themselves.
For other lizards that give birth, the mother lizards normally either incubate the eggs in her belly feeding them through the placenta source.
Do lizards take care of their young ones?
Lizards demonstrate varied parental care to their young ones. There are four strategies that lizards offer parental care.
Every species of lizards has a different way of caring for their young ones. Some species offer some parental care while others do not offer any parental care at all.
It is uncommon for predatory species to eat their species and for such species, it is better for the young ones to disperse as soon as they hatch. Some do not even leave long enough to offer any parental care.
Instead of taking care of their young ones, these lizards will lay eggs in a safe secluded place where temperatures are stable enough for the eggs to hatch. Then they will leave them to hatch and take care of themselves.
These baby lizards suffer from predation, diseases some do not even hatch, due to these factors abandonment lizards lay soo many eggs. This way at least some lizards will survive.
Some lizards on the other hand will provide some protective care to their young ones. As a result of offering some degree of parental care, these lizards do not have a lot of babies, as the survival rate can be high.
Parental care is most common among the skinks lizard. For instance, the five-lined skink lizards lay about 10 eggs and protect them till they hatch.
Long tailed skinnnks on the other hand will even protect her eggs from predators such as snakes.
This form of parental care is very common among the ovoviparity and viviparity lizards. They will protect their young ones with optimal temperatures in the uterus plus food until they are born. Then babies are left to feed for themselves.
These species of lizards offer the most and elaborate form of parental care. Again this species of lizards is composed of the skink lizard for example the Prehensile-tailed skinks.
Once born, Prehensile-tailed skinks babies remain with their mother for about six months to an year.
During this period, the mother and the father lizards will offer protection and care to the baby lizards. Additionally, baby lizards will eat their parent’s feces that go along to boost their guts bacteria that help to digest their food.
What do baby lizards eat in the wild?
Baby lizard’s diet in the wild will be determined by whether it is herbivore, carnivore, insectivore, or omnivore.
For herbivore baby lizards they will start with plant materials right away. And since most herbivorous lizards will be found near where their diet is.
These baby lizards will not have a hard time finding what to eat, their diet will range from, flowers to tender plant stems and leaves.
For insectivorous baby lizards, their diet will compose mostly of small insects that come their way, remember these lizards are not as good foragers as their parents.
In some instances, they may even become food for the same insects they are hunting. Some of the insects that insectivorous baby lizards can eat in the wild include but not limited to small spiders, flies, worms, crickets, roaches, and grasshoppers among others.
For carnivorous wild baby lizards in the wild, their diets will be composed of small animals that come their way, some of these carnivorous may even eat other smaller lizards.
But their diet will range from small birds, insects, smaller mammals, and so on. Examples of carnivorous lizards include the komodo lizards when mature komodo lizards can even eat a buffalo.
For omnivorous wild baby lizards, their diet is varied, these lizards will easily adapt to the new environment, this is so because they can either be carnivorous, insectivorous, or herbivorous.
Most of the omnivorous lizards are insectivorous /carnivorous when young and transition to herbivorous as they grow old such as the bearded dragons.
These lizards will make some of the best pet lizards since they can be offered a wide range of food, some of which are readily available.
Omnivorous wild baby lizards will eat plant materials such as young stems and leaves and flowers plus any insects that come their way.
How to take care of Pet baby lizards
Most lizard babies can take care of themselves right from the word go. When they hatch, baby lizards are self-sufficient, they can walk, run and forage for themselves.
While in the wild these lizards do not anyone to feed them the right diet and do so on their own. At home, you may be wondering what your baby lizards need to survive.
The first step when taking care of your pet baby lizards is to understand the humidity requirements. If these baby lizards come from your pet lizards then you must be familiar with the humidity requirements of your lizard’s species.
Setting the right humidity for your baby pet lizards is very important towards its survival.
Different species of lizards require different temperature settings. Given that lizards are cold-blooded animals means that they get their warmth and heat from their surroundings.
Lizards that come from the deserts may be accustomed to high temperatures as opposed to lizards that come from forest floors.
Understanding the temperature ranges for your lizard species is very iportant towards its survival.
As mentioned earlier, most lizards will have a substantial food reserve from the egg yolk.
Unlike in the wild, captive lizards rely on their owners to provide them with food. Each species of lizards needs a specific type of food for growth and development.
It is your duty to make sure that the food your offer to your lizards contains all the nutrients that it needs, for nutrients that cannot be provided through feeding, you will need to offer them as supplements.
Young and mature lizards need calcium for bone development, therefore ensuring they get calcium in their diet or through supplementation lays squarely on you.
A baby lizard without enough calcium in their diet will suffer from the metabolic bone disease which can be life-threatening especially for young lizards.
Ensure they receive a balanced diet each and every day.
Light (UVB light)
In the wild lizards access sunlight which their bodies use to synthesize vitamin D3, which is very important in their bodies as it helps in the absorption of calcium and strengthening of bones.
Lack of enough vitamin D3 can affect their growth and development, while vitamin D3 can be offered through supplementation. The best way is to provide it by having a special UVB light in the baby lizard’s enclosure.
With this special light, they will be able to synthesize vitamin D3 on their own.
Always ensure your lizard is well hydrated at all times. While some lizards can take water without being forced to or without much effort from your end. Some lizards have to trouble drinking water due to the fact that they cannot see water such as bearded dragons.
For such lizards you should find a strategies to give them water. One of the ways to make sure your lizard is hydrated is to give them food that has a high water content for lizards that do not like drinkig from the bowl.
Remember, some lizards such as bearded dragons cannot see still water, misting is another way to hydrate your lizards, some lizards will enjoy swimming and can take water via their vent.
How to handle baby lizards
In the wild baby lizards are born being self sufficient, they can walk run and forage for themselves right from the word go.
However, captive baby lizards need your care and it may involve handling to move them from the incubator to their enclosures or generally from one point to another.
Generally avoid moving your baby lizards from one place to another, as they are delicate.
Secondly, and most importantly ensure your hands are clean and disinfected, for safety measures wear some gloves.
Never, handle any lizard mature or young by holding their tails. Most lizards are adapted to “dropping” their tails when held by their predators in the wild, for those that do not ‘drop’ their tail they can aggressively bite.
Although their bites are not harmfull, no one likes being bitten right?.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do baby lizards drink water? Just like adult lizards, baby lizards need and do drink water. Water is very important towards the development of baby lizards especially during shedding. Ensure your baby lizards have a constant supply of clean water at all times.
How often do baby lizards eat? Baby lizards should be fed a balanced diet as often as 3 to 5 times a day. Determine what your lizard species eat and make sure they are having enough supply minerals, vitamins, and water in each feed.
Can baby lizards eat fruit? Omnivorous and herbivorous baby lizards can eat fruit as part of their diet, while herbivorous baby lizards will rely heavily on plants based food. Omnivorous baby lizards are carnivorous when young and tend to change when they mature and switch to plant-based diet such as fruits flowers and veggies with some insects here and there.
How long can baby lizards go without eating? Baby lizards should not go without food for any length of time, however, when they are born they can go for some days without food since they have reserves from their egg yolk. Some adult lizards can survive for as long as three weeks without food.
Do baby lizards bite? While baby lizard bite is not painful or even dangerous, baby lizards can bite especially when mishandled and feel threatened. Avoid holding your baby lizards by the tail, this may make them think it is a predator they will either ‘drop’ the tail or turn to defend themselves.
Do baby lizards eat lettuce? While herbivorous and omnivorous lizards will eat lettuce. Lettuce does not offer much to baby lizards since it contains more of fiber and water and it is nutritionally poor.
What can I feed a baby lizard? The diet you will feed a baby lizards largely depends on whether it is herbivore, carnivore, omnivore or insectivore. Understand in which species your baby lizards belongs to and feed them diet tailored for that particular species.
What do baby lizards need to survive? Baby lizards need the following conditions to survive, The right humidity, temperature, food, and water and the right light wavelength.
The diet of a baby lizard will largely be determined by whether it is an omnivore, a herbivore, a carnivore or an insectivore. Carefully consult a vet if you are unsure before starting to breed your pet lizards. Some lizards can be carnivores when young and herbivore when old.