Are lizards able to eat ants? While some lizards can eat ants, you are still putting your pet at risk if ants are in your home. Throughout this guide, we’ll explain:
- Do Lizards Eat Ants?
- Is It Safe For Lizards to Eat Ants?
- What Type of Ants Do Lizards Eat?
- Do Lizards Eat Fire Ants?
- What Type Of Lizards Eat Ants?
- Are Ants Dangerous?
- Do Baby Lizards Eat Ants?
- Can I Feed My Lizard Ants?
Do Lizards Eat Ants?
Yes. Lizards such as geckos, skinks, and fence lizards are beneficial to gardens because they eat ants.
Depending on the species, lizards can have an omnivore, herbivore, or insectivore diet. Some lizards like the Komodo dragon have a carnivorous diet, eating on birds, lizards, and other mammals.
While lizards can consume ants, some of them would not like them as a daily portion of their diet. But if they were to consume one, they would only eat one ant because of their awful taste.
Younger lizards have less experience, and when they try to eat an ant for the first time, they will realize ants aren’t worthwhile and learn their lesson and stop consuming the ant.
Basically, some lizards can eat ants, but they aren’t the best source of food for them. Ants have a chitinous exoskeleton that lizards cannot digest.
Is it Safe For Lizards to Eat Ants?
While it is safe for adult lizards, baby lizards should stay away from ants. Not only do ants have a powerful bite, but that bite could potentially harm the baby lizard’s future growth.
Adult lizards can defend themselves from ants with their large teeth. Ants are a part of an adult lizard’s diet that they are unable to digest.
Remember, ants are tiny yet hazardous prey. Over time, they had to adapt to protect themselves from larger predators that could attack them. Most ants have formic acid, which is a venom that they eject when defending from a predator.
Insectivorous lizards tend to avoid eating ants because of their venomous taste. One of the ants’ biggest defenses against lizards is their ability to work in numbers. Most lizards avoid engaging with ants in the wild because the ants can easily overwhelm them and kill them through biting.
What Type Of Ants Do Lizards Eat?
Most lizards tend to eat fire ants, harvester ants, and carpenter ants. Lizards that are larger in size are more likely to eat ants. With ants, give your lizard the recommended amount of consumption (i.e., 3-6 ants a day for adult lizards). Giving your lizard an excessive amount of ants is not a good healthy practice for the long term.
Do Lizards Eat Fire Ants?
Lizards can eat fire ants. While fire ants are poisonous, they can be fatal if a lizard attempts to eat them. Younger lizards can eat a small number of fire ants, but once they become adults, they can eat up to 3 fire ants a day.
Fire ants are venomous ants that are known for attacking fence lizards. They attack lizards that wander into their ant mounds and other lizards that are far away from their mound.
Lizards have developed long legs to protect themselves from large ant swarms. When engaging with wants, the lizard will maneuver in a “dance” like fashion with their legs.
While some lizards use camouflage to protect themselves from predators, it’s ineffective against fire ants. The ants will see through their camouflage and attempt to kill them by attacking them in groups.
To avoid fire ants, lizards do a body shake or twitch to remove them from their bodies. This protects the lizard from fire ants because it keeps their scales outside of their reach. If an ant can lift open a lizard’s scales, they will inject neuromuscular venom into their skin.
What Type Of Lizards Eat Ants?
Horned lizards are known for their sluggish movement and rely on their camouflage to remain undetected by predators. The Texas Horned Lizard is the largest of its class, making it a formidable threat against ants.
In addition, horned lizards eat ants and eat them often. While one doesn’t provide a sufficient amount of nutritional value, consuming a mass amount of ants in one session will give them the protein they need.
Horned lizards tend to eat harvester ants. Harvester ants can bite, but their venom is less potent than fire ants. This venom has no effect on the horned lizard, making it easier for the lizard to eat them.
Thorny devils come from desert environments in Australia. They are camouflaged to match their environment and have sharp spines to protect themselves from predators.
On average, Thorny Devils eat up to 3000 ants a day. Thorny Devils have an adhesive tongue to capture the ants. Their teeth are designed to eat the ants and quickly digest them. With their enlarged stomachs, thorny devils can consume large quantities of ants at once.
In a 2018 study published by the Canadian Journal of Zoology, Eastern Fence Lizards had their diets analyzed. They discovered that ants were a part of 80% of juvenile lizards’ diet. For adult lizards, ants took up only 50% of their diet.
Fence lizards can eat ants and can even eat venomous ant species such as fire ants. Fire ants are venomous, but the fence lizards have built a tolerance to them.
Are Ants Dangerous to lizards?
Ants are dangerous and can be harmful to your lizard if they are poisonous. Ants live in groups, and if a lizard tries to attack them solo, it can mean trouble for the lizard. Some ants have a deadly bite that can cause paralysis for the lizard.
Once the lizard is paralyzed, multiple ants will continue to eat the lizard. Lizards know that ants are a dangerous threat to them, and that’s why they tend to avoid them.
Do Baby Lizards Eat Ants?
Baby lizards are unable to eat ants. First, their bodies are still in development. This means that they don’t have the teeth of defenses for them. Second, the venom inside an ant’s body could potentially kill them.
If you do have baby lizards in your household, keep them away from ants. The ants will group up against the baby lizard and kill it if left unattended.
Can I Feed My Lizard Ants?
Lizards are picky eaters that won’t eat ants that are already dead. Since ants tend to move and attack in numbers, it’s not a good idea to feed them to your pet lizard.
Pet lizards should not be given ants because the ants will attempt to attack it. The ants could crawl over the lizard and bite them. If your pet lizard doesn’t have any way to escape, the ants could kill your lizard.
Instead, focus on giving your lizard a balanced diet filled with plants and other sources of protein (worms, flies, beetles, etc.). That way, your lizard will be able to grow without the need to digest ant venom.
Conclusively, lizards can eat ants if their bodies have the adaptations for it. Those adaptations make it easier for the lizard to avoid their ant mounds and eat them without much hassle.
However, you’ll want to keep your pet lizard away from ants. By doing so, you are protecting them from getting bitten while also keeping them safe from toxins that ants produce.