What Do Anole Lizards Eat?
What Anole Lizards Eat FAQs
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Anole Lizard Menu
What does anole lizards eat? Bugs, bugs, and more tasty, wonderful, juicy bugs are on the menu—bugs with legs, bugs with wings, bugs that are brightly colored or very dull. Green anoles are generally classified as slow-stalkers. On the other hand, brown anoles, despite their speed, often sit and wait for unsuspecting prey to approach, the sit-and-wait technique.
A key factor in the diet of the anole is what prey happens by their territory. They rarely leave their territory to look for prey, so through fate and ambush they hunt whatever passes through. If a bug is a convenient meal, no matter what type, it is pounced on and devoured. Unless it is too large—either too imposing or dangerous—it’s fair game.
Frequently Asked Questions About Anole Mating, Reproduction and Courting
Anoles are not attracted to bait like birds and squirrels are to a backyard feeder. Anoles only eat live insects and not plant material. They eat mosquitoes, ants, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, roaches, moths, and dragonflies. Generally, anoles do not eat soil organisms like grubs, centipedes, or millipedes, but they do like caterpillars—especially the small juicy ones that turn into butterflies.
Anoles are insectivores, which means they eat bugs of all types. There are several groups of bugs anoles go nuts for. Arthropods are smaller invertebrate animals whose bodies are grouped into two or three distinct segments with jointed legs, they also have a skeleton on the outside of their body that they shed and renew—ants, beetles, and moths fall into this category. Arachnid is a class that forms an appetizing part of the anole diet—mostly spiders. In addition, they also have an appetite for flies, ticks, mites, and small scorpions.
Spiders are a particularly tasty snack for an anole. Spiders have eight legs, eight eyes, a chunky body, and web-producing spiders have an extra little snack pack filled with silk. Yum! Brown anoles have been observed to devastate populations of web-building spider species in some Caribbean locations.
Moths are a perfect and delicious meal for anoles. They have a soft, meaty body with wide, feathery antenna—scrumptious. The wings are tasty as well. However, they are a challenge to catch as they mostly appear at night. If only anoles hunted at night and could fly! Similar to moths, butterflies are tasty treats as well.
Anoles Eat Ants, Mosquitos, Crickets
Anoles love ants, especially long ant trains. They are conveniently easy to catch and available in large numbers. Ants are plentiful and effortless to catch and, despite their small size, may add up to 40 percent of the total anole diet intake in some areas.
Anoles are optimal foragers—this means they invest a certain amount of time and energy in capturing their prey, so naturally they want the maximum benefit in terms of size and calorie intake. Even though they do eat mosquitoes, the energy expended to catch them isn’t really worth the effort. They are too skinny and not very nutritious. However, having anoles in your backyard is not an effective mosquito control measure, unfortunately.
Crickets are a soft-bodied bug anoles really enjoy; they are a staple diet of most lizards. The short-winged flightless field cricket makes up the majority of an anole diet, and they are easy to catch.
No, anoles cannot see stationary objects that well, so the bugs must be lively and moving; they do not eat dead bugs. Movement is the primary way that they find and hunt their prey. What anole lizards eat do not include dead crickets.
Anoles Eat Dragonflies, Grasshopper, Cockroaches
Abundant in Louisiana and Florida, dragonflies are often on the menu. Above all, this is another favorite snack. They suit the slow-stalk hunting style of the green anoles—it is just a matter of time to get close enough, and it’s dragonfly for lunch.
Small grasshoppers fall into the same category as crickets—they are delicious. The large grasshoppers have hard skeletons that are sometimes too tough to eat, unless an anole is extremely hungry.
Yes, anoles can eat small cockroaches that are up to 1 inch long (25 millimeters). But since roaches are most active at night and anoles hunt mostly during the day, they only eat the small ones when they can catch them during early mornings and late afternoons.
Anoles don’t really chew their food—their teeth are designed for grasping and holding the capture. Though small and sharp, they are not terribly effective in tearing prey. Even though it looks like anoles are chewing, they use their teeth primarily to crush, puncture, and perforate, but most food items are slid down the throat and swallowed whole.
No, anoles do not eat plants, seeds, flowers, or vegetation; iguanas and turtles do, but not anoles.
More Frequently Asked Questions
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