What Animals Eat Lizards? (10 Examples + Pictures)

Sand Cat
Photo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you’re wondering what animals eat lizards, you’ll learn that they’re usually near the bottom of the food chain, so almost every animal can kill them. However, to some animals (usually larger species), lizards don’t provide enough nutrients so they don’t waste their time on them.

Take a look at what animals eat lizards as part of their regular diet:

  • Birds of Prey
  • Spiders
  • Coyotes
  • Wolves
  • Cats
  • Snakes
  • Other Lizards
  • Mongooses
  • Raccoons
  • Rats

1. Birds of Prey

Photo: Jim Bahn / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (clade): Telluraves

Birds of prey, the most famous of them being hawks, eagles and owls, are carnivorous birds that hunt animals and eat meat. Usually, they aren’t interested in smaller lizards.

However, lizards can often grow to be very large, in which case they present a tasty dinner for larger birds. Younger and smaller birds usually spend their time training by catching smaller lizards.

This is actually a good training technique, as smaller lizards are more difficult to spot and to catch. Aside from lizards, they eat snakes, rodents and other birds.

2. Spiders

Photo: Jean and Fred / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Scientific name (order): Araneae

Have you ever seen pictures of massive Australian spiders catching actual pythons in their webs? Well, this might be a nightmare to some, but it’s a completely real threat to both snakes and lizards.

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Lizards, no matter how small or large they are, are often under threat from spiders. Not only do these insects eat lizards, they also actively hunt them. This road, however, is a two-way one.

Insects are often the primary food source to many lizards, and spiders are definitely on that list.

3. Coyotes

Coyote with mouth open
Photo: Don McCrady / Flickr / CC BY NC ND 2.0

Scientific name: Canis latrans

Coyotes will eat anything, be it dead or alive, from bears to lizards. These animals can’t afford to be picky as their pickings in the desert are usually very thin.

Lizards are definitely on the menu, especially when they’re large enough to satisfy their hunger. Coyotes usually need about a pound of meat every day, so catching and eating a few well-sized lizards can be enough food for a day or two.

4. Wolves

Gray Husky Wolf
Photo: Egor Kamelev / Pexels

Scientific name: Canis lupus

Wolves are expert team hunters and they don’t really put their focus on lizards often as they need enough food to feed the entire pack – not just a single wolf. It has been documented, however, that they’ll kill a lizard they come across to eat as a snack.

This usually happens to forest lizards, not so much to lizards living in deserts. However, forest lizards usually don’t live to be large enough, so there isn’t much interest for wolves there.

5. Cats

Sand Cat
Photo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific name (family): Felidae

If you have a cat at home, you might have caught her catching and playing with a lizard before eating it. Wild cats are no different, if the lizard is large enough they’ll definitely catch it and eat it.

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This behavior is more common with younger cats, as they’re small enough to be nutritionally fulfilled by a lizard. Larger cats usually need much more to satisfy their cravings.

However, it has been reported that jaguars kill massive lizards in the wild.

6. Snakes

Photo: Soubhagya Maharana / Pexels

Scientific name (suborder): Serpentes

These reptiles eat lizards very often and they’re actually one of their primary food sources. Although constrictors usually spend their time on mammals and birds and eating lizards is more prominent with venomous species – all snakes will eat a lizard if a chance is presented.

These two species are in a constant battle since they spend a lot of time in the same environments, while snakes usually come out on top as the predators, and lizards are typically the prey. There are instances, however, when lizards actually kill snakes (such as the Komodo dragon).

7. Other Lizards

Photo: Jeff Jackowski / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Scientific name (suborder): Lacertilia

Lizards will very often eat other lizards if they’re easy enough to kill. One thing that was noted with lizards is the phenomena of cannibalism. A mother will sometimes kill its own young and eat it if it’s hungry enough.

Most lizards are predatory and they’ll usually feed on small insects, but smaller lizards are on the menu too if they can catch one. This is more common with larger lizards.

8. Mongooses

Photo: Dr. Harsha Vardhan Reddy / Shutterstock

Scientific name (family): Herpestidae

To say that these mammals eat lizards would be an understatement, as snakes and lizards are a favorite food to them – almost like they’re holding a grudge against reptiles.

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These animals have developed immunity to most venoms, both snake and lizard venom, so they’re able to battle it out with most of these animals with very little repercussions for themselves.

Since they’re clearly physically overpowering lizards, most of these animals don’t stand a chance against a mongoose.

9. Raccoons

Photo: Neil McIntosh / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name: Procyon lotor

Although most people know them for being thieves, ready to sneak and steal their food, raccoons will actually kill and eat if given the chance. About 27% of their food is vertebrates, and that includes lizards.

They definitely have the capacity to kill lizards easily, but with time they’ve developed the habit of stealing, instead of the habit of hunting. That’s why they’ll only kill lizards if they come across them.

10. Rats

Photo: Sergey Yeliseev / Flickr / CC0 1.0

Scientific name (order): Rodentia

Rats will eat almost anything you put before them, and that definitely includes lizards. The issue is – they’d much rather eat a dead lizard than have to kill a live one.

Rats, when in a group, can present a danger to any animal. However, a single rat won’t exactly go hunting for a lizard through the forest as they’re almost completely defenseless against any serious predator.

In Summary

Lizards are, to their misfortune, almost at the very bottom of the food chain, so many animals prey on them with ease. Out of all animals that eat lizards, birds of prey are perhaps the most apparent predators, as lizards often make part of their daily meals.

However, some unexpected animals such as spiders, rats and wolves will definitely eat a lizard if they have the opportunity to. Lizards are usually a target for smaller animals, while larger animals leave them alone since there isn’t much nutritional value in eating them.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

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