The Secret Life of Lizards: Uncovering What Backyard Lizards Eat and Drink

Paul West/ Pet And Wildlife Care

Life’s a garden, you just gotta dig it, right? But have you ever stopped to consider the other creatures digging life in your backyard? Yes, we’re talking about those little reptilian neighbors, the backyard lizards.

They’re closer to you than you think, sharing your outdoor space, your love for sunshine, and even your dinner – in a way. So, what do these cold-blooded companions eat and drink? This article is here to feed your curiosity.

We’ll introduce you to the common urban backyard lizard species, their diet, their hydration habits, and how to attract them to your garden. We’ll even show you how to care for them. Why? Because co-existing with nature is what freedom is all about.

So, let’s add a touch of wild to your backyard, shall we?

Key Takeaways

  • Backyard lizards are insectivores and feed on crickets, beetles, caterpillars, and spiders.
  • Some lizards incorporate plant matter into their diets and can be unexpected herbivores.
  • Lizards stay hydrated by licking dew off leaves, absorbing moisture through their skin, and extracting water from their food.
  • Providing a shallow dish of fresh water in a shaded area can help lizards stay hydrated.


You might be thinking that your backyard is just a tiny speck in the grand tapestry of nature, but understanding what those little lizards lurking around your garden nibble and sip on, can open up a whole new world of ecological balance right at your doorstep. It’s no secret that you value freedom, and taking a closer look at the lizard diet and lizard hydration can give you a sense of control over the environment you inhabit.

In the world of common backyard lizards, what they eat and drink is a fascinating subject. Their diet mainly consists of small insects, spiders, and even other smaller lizards. They’re like little pest control agents, you know! They also munch on fruits and vegetables occasionally. Now, when it comes to hydration, they’re not much different from us. They need water to survive. You’ll often find them hanging around damp areas or after a rain shower, lapping up water droplets from leaves or the ground.

So, taking care of these little creatures can be a rewarding experience. By understanding their diet and hydration needs, you’ll not only contribute to their well-being but also maintain the ecological balance in your backyard.

Meet the Backyard Lizards: Common Urban Species

Ready to get up close and personal with your scaly neighbors? Let’s dive into identifying your local lizards and understanding their unique habitats and behaviors. They’re so much more than just sunbathers, and recognizing their patterns can bring a whole new dimension to your backyard experience.

Identifying Your Local Lizards

Let’s dive right into identifying those fascinating lizards you often spot in your backyard, shall we? It’s a thrilling journey into the world of lizard species, their unique behavior, and natural habitat. Identifying your local lizards is not just about knowing their names; it’s about understanding their lifestyle and purpose in your backyard ecosystem.

Observe their skin color, size, and patterns. Are they quick and agile or slow and cautious? Do they prefer sunlit rocks or shady undergrowth? These characteristics are key to identifying each species. And remember, this is your chance to embrace the freedom of learning and exploration in your very own backyard. So, go ahead, play detective, and get to know your scaly companions a little better!

Lizard Habitats and Behavior: More Than Just Sunbathers

Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to a lizard’s life than just lounging in the sun; their behaviors and habitats are as varied as their species. For instance, the Gila Monster, a venomous lizard native to the southwestern United States, prefers to live in burrows and spends a whopping 95% of its life underground, surfacing only to feed and breed.

To understand lizard habitats and behavior, consider these four points:

  1. Lizards are cold-blooded, meaning they depend on their surroundings for heat balance.
  2. Most lizards are agile climbers, offering them freedom from ground predators.
  3. Lizards are territorial creatures, marking their area with scent glands.
  4. Lizard adaptation to their environment is key to their survival.

Remember, proper lizard care acknowledges these behaviors and habitat preferences.

The Gourmet Lizard: A Backyard Lizard’s Diet

So, you’re curious about what your backyard lizard pals chow down on? Well, most of them are insectivores, making them expert bug hunters, but their menu doesn’t stop there. They’re also known to munch on other arthropods and small animals, and surprisingly, some even incorporate plant matter into their diets, making them unexpected herbivores.

Insectivores: The Bug Hunters

Out in the wild expanse of your backyard, lizards are on the prow, their keen eyes scanning for their next insect meal. These creatures, known as insectivores, thrive on a diet largely composed of bugs. Lizard feeding habits reflect their innate love for hunting and their particular preference for certain types of insects.

Here are four items that typically feature on a lizard’s menu:

  1. Crickets: Lizards love these hopping insects. They’re easy to catch and nutritious.
  2. Beetles: These arthropods provide a crunchy exterior and a protein-rich interior.
  3. Caterpillars: Soft and slow-moving, they’re a lizard’s delight.
  4. Spiders: While not insects, these arthropods are often included in the lizard prey list.

This diet not only satiates their hunger but also provides essential nutrients, giving lizards the freedom to roam your backyard in robust health.

Beyond Bugs: Arthropods and Small Animals

While bugs are a favorite, our scaled friends also indulge in a more ‘exotic’ menu, which includes other arthropods and even small vertebrates, offering a fascinating glimpse into their diverse hunting strategies. One of the lesser-known lizard food sources is spiders. This might surprise you, but lizards are skilled hunters, adept at catching these eight-legged creatures. Other insects and lizards engage in a predator-prey relationship too, making your backyard a dynamic ecosystem.

Some lizards are not shy about tackling small animals. For example, the larger backyard species might dine on small birds or mice. However, it’s not all about meat. Some lizards enjoy plant matter too. Yes, there are omnivorous lizards that enjoy fruits and vegetables, making the diet of small animals and lizards, and plant matter and lizards, incredibly diverse.

Unexpected Herbivores: Plant Matter in Lizard Diets

Imagine the surprise when you discover that your scaly friend might be just as excited about a ripe strawberry or a blooming flower as they are about a juicy insect. Indeed, garden lizards, even urban ones, have a surprisingly diverse palate. Making your backyard a lizard-friendly environment can be as simple as incorporating some of their favorite vegetation.

Fruits Vegetables Flowers
Strawberries Cucumbers Hibiscus
Blueberries Lettuce Roses
Apples Carrots Sunflowers
Bananas Peppers Zinnias

Attracting lizards to your garden isn’t just about providing bugs to eat. A varied diet of fruits, veggies, and flowers can keep them healthy and happy. So, don’t be surprised if you spot a lizard munching on your garden’s bounty!

Thirsty Lizards: How Backyard Lizards Stay Hydrated

You’d probably keel over with shock if you knew the lengths backyard lizards go to just to quench their thirst! These little critters have developed exceptional ways to hydrate, from licking dew off leaves to absorbing moisture through their skin. They can even extract water from the food they consume, acting as natural pest control by munching on juicy insects and other small critters.

Creating water sources for lizards in your backyard can be as simple as setting out a shallow dish filled with fresh water. Opt for a low, wide dish that makes it easy for lizards to get in and out, and place it in a shaded area to keep the water cool. Be sure to change the water regularly to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

While providing water is crucial, be aware of potential lizard predators in your backyard. Cats, birds, and snakes are major threats to these creatures. Maintain a safe and welcoming environment for your backyard friends by keeping these predators at bay. Remember, every creature plays its part in maintaining the balance of nature. And for lizards, that includes helping keep your garden pest-free!

Creating a Backyard haven: Attracting Lizards to Your Garden

You’ve got your garden looking just right, but have you ever considered making it a little haven for lizards? Building a lizard-friendly environment in your backyard not only adds a unique and interesting element to your outdoor space, but it also has the bonus of natural pest control. That’s right, lizards can play a crucial role in your garden ecosystem by keeping unwanted pests at bay.

Building a Lizard-Friendly Environment

backyard lizard on a rock

Creating a lizard-friendly environment in your backyard requires careful planning and a keen understanding of these fascinating creatures’ needs. First, offer a variety of food sources. Lizards love insects, so avoiding pesticides and allowing a natural ecosystem to develop will ensure a steady supply of meals. You can also add fruit-bearing plants to attract insects and provide an additional food source. Next, provide fresh water in a shallow dish, ensuring it’s clean and free of chemicals.

Create safe hideouts by using rocks, logs, and plants. Lizards need shelter to escape predators and the hot sun. Finally, a sunny spot for basking is essential as it helps them regulate their body temperature. Remember, your yard’s transformation into a lizard haven is a symbol of your own freedom to shape your environment.

Natural Pest Control: The Role of Lizards in Your Garden Ecosystem

Believe it or not, these little critters can play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of your garden ecosystem by helping to control insect populations. Lizards are insectivores, meaning they feed on various insects, thereby keeping the insect population in check. They’re particularly fond of nuisances like beetles, spiders, and grasshoppers that could potentially harm your plants.

Lizard’s Prey Benefit for Your Garden
Beetles Protects leaves and flowers from damage
Spiders Reduces potential spider bites and web clutter
Grasshoppers Preserves plant leaves and stems

So, let’s appreciate our scaled friends who not only add a touch of natural beauty but also act as a free, eco-friendly pest control service. They’re nature’s little helpers, promoting a more balanced, bug-free garden.

A Lizard’s Best Friend: Caring for a them

It’s a joy unmatched, becoming a guardian to a backyard lizard, nurturing them and watching them thrive under your careful gaze. But let’s be clear, it’s no walk in the park. The challenges you’ll face could be as small as figuring out their preferred meal or as big as creating a suitable habitat.

Backyard lizards are mainly insectivores, feasting on a diet of beetles, spiders, and other small insects. As such, ensure your garden has a healthy insect population. They also appreciate a drink of water now and then, so leave a shallow dish accessible for them.

Creating the perfect habitat is a delicate balance. It should contain plenty of hiding spots and basking areas, but not be overly cluttered. Rocks, plants, logs – these are all great additions. And remember, watching without disturbing is key. Keep your distance, tread lightly, and stay quiet, so they feel safe.

So, as you embark on this journey of lizard care, embrace the challenges. They’re part of the deal. Recognize them as opportunities to learn and grow, and you’ll find that the experience is as liberating for you as it is beneficial for your scaly friend.

Wrapping It Up

So, you’ve journeyed with us, exploring the fascinating world of backyard lizards. Now, you’re armed with the knowledge of what these little critters munch on, and how they quench their thirst. Why not invite them over by creating a little lizard haven right in your backyard? Remember, with just a bit of care and love, you could become their best friend. After all, every garden could use a little lizard magic!

FAQs – What Do Backyard Lizards Eat and Drink?

Do backyard lizards eat plants?

While most backyard lizards primarily feed on insects, some species may occasionally eat plants or parts of plants. However, their diet is predominantly comprised of insects and small invertebrates.

What is the food source for backyard lizards?

The main food source for backyard lizards is insects. They rely on crawling insects like ants and other small invertebrates as their primary source of nutrition.

Can lizards eat fruits and vegetables?

Yes, some species of lizards can eat fruits and vegetables. However, this is not their main diet and they still require a significant amount of insects for their nutritional needs.

How often do backyard lizards eat?

Backyard lizards typically eat every day, as they have high metabolic rates. They require a constant supply of food to meet their energy requirements.

What do baby lizards eat?

Baby lizards have similar dietary preferences to adult lizards. They eat small insects and invertebrates, such as ants, spiders, and baby mosquitoes.

How do I provide water for backyard lizards?

You can provide water for backyard lizards by placing shallow dishes filled with clean water in areas where they frequently visit. Ensure the water source is easily accessible for them.

Further Information And Reading

What Do Backyard Lizards Eat? (A Comprehensive Guide)

What Do Backyard Lizards Eat? (And How Do You Get Rid of Them?)

What Do Backyard Lizards Eat?

Paul West
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About Paul West

Longstanding and passionate about really having family fun in the backyard. I'm no expert but I've picked up a thing or two along the way!