Do Lizards Eat Caterpillars?

This is a question that has wandered the mind of many lizard enthusiasts. The answer is actually fairly simple: yes, lizards do eat caterpillars. However, they don’t do it often and there are a few species that don’t even eat caterpillars at all.

That was the short answer. Now, let’s dive into the details, shall we?

The Species of Lizards that Eat Caterpillars

There are a few different species of lizards that eat caterpillars. The common ones are anole, green anole, Carolina anole, Texas spiny, five-lined skink, broad-headed skink, and six-lined racerunner.

Another thing worth noting here is that lizards generally consume caterpillars when they are in their juvenile stages. Once they reach adulthood, they usually abandon this type of prey in favor of other food options. This is likely due to the fact that adult lizards do not need to ingest as much food, whereas juvenile lizards do.

The Species of Lizards that Don’t Eat Caterpillars

There are several species of lizards that do not eat caterpillars at all. These include the iguana, basilisk, and dragon lizards. That being said, it’s worth noting that these are all fairly large lizards, and they might not consume caterpillars because they are simply not large enough of a prey.

The Types of Caterpillars that Lizards Eat

Some common caterpillars that lizards eat include the monarch caterpillar, the cabbage white caterpillar, and the black swallowtail caterpillar.

One thing to note here is that lizards typically eat caterpillars that are in the larval stages. This means they consume the smaller caterpillars, which are typically more vulnerable to predation.

Another important thing you should know is that when lizards eat caterpillars, they usually do not consume the entire thing. They typically only eat the body of the caterpillar and discard its chrysalis or cocoon. This is likely because these shells are very tough to break down and therefore it is difficult to extract any nutritional value from them.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Diet of Lizards

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the diet of lizards.

1. What Insects Do Lizards Eat?

Lizards eat all sorts of insects. In fact, most of their diet consists of bugs and insects. They love to munch on mealworms, crickets, roaches, waxworms, earthworms, fruit flies, and bottle fly spikes.

2. Do Lizards Eat Butterflies?

Although lizards eat butterflies, they’re not their favorite food. They never go looking for butterflies and eat them only if there is no other food source available. So the only time they eat a butterfly is when it’s right in front of them and they have nothing else to eat.

3. Do Backyard Lizards Eat Caterpillars?

Most of the lizards found in your backyard eat caterpillars. They may not do it often but if the opportunity arises they will happily chow down on a sphinx moth or hornworm caterpillar.

4. Do Lizards Eat Vegetables?

It may surprise you, but lizards enjoy vegetables. They’re not a big part of their diet but they enjoy veggies from time to time. Some of their favorite ones are carrots, kale, green beans, peas, and corn.

5. Do Lizards Eat Fruits?

Yes, lizards eat all types of fruits. However, not all fruits are safe for lizards. The ones that are healthy for them include apples, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya, and grapes.


In conclusion, lizards eat all sorts of worms, insects, and bugs including various types of caterpillars. The critters get their protein from the meat of those animals, which is the main reason why they hunt them.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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