Do Lizards Eat Ants? [Lizards vs Ants]

Lizards can eat all types of ants but there are those that they prefer. Some ants are tasty while others are bitter. Lizards are not intelligent enough to choose. They will randomly eat ants and that is when they will continue or stop depending on how they taste.

Ants contain folic acid which is essential and good for a lizard’s development. This is why lizards that feed on ants in the wild grow strong and healthy. Ants will boost a lizard’s immune because the folic acid extracted from ants will protect them from bacterial and parasitic infections.  

All lizards are prone to those bacterial and parasitic infections. Those that feed on ants have been noted to have minimal parasitic attacks in their intestines. The folic acid extracted from ants is important to lizards because it makes them immune from those infections.

Do Lizards Eat Ants?
Do Lizards Eat Ants?

Is it safe for lizards to eat ants?

It is totally safe for lizards to eat ants. In fact, lizards can even eat deadly ants like fire ants without a problem. However, it is not safe for baby lizards to feed on adult ants that can bite and harm them. It is also safe for a lizard to eat ants as long as they do not go inside a mound because the ants can overwhelm it.

Grown lizards have teeth that are sharp and those can bite and kill ants instantly. Some lizards also have teeth on their palates and this is why it is safe for them to feed on ants without any fear. Ants are part of a lizard’s diet and they are adapted to feed on them as they wish without any problems.

Ants that lizards like to eat

Lizards have a very good tasting ability since their taste buds are functional. If a lizard eats an ant and it continues, it means that the ant is tasty. If it ants 1 or 2 and stops, it means that it is bitter. There are ants that contain formic acid and this may taste bitter depending on the quantities.

All ants contain formic acid which is naturally bitter. The levels of this acid in ants will always vary depending on the size and what they eat. For example, little sugar ants will be tasty to lizards as compared to the big ones. This is because the little ones will not be as bitter as the large ones.

Depending on what an ant feeds on, it may taste sweet or bitter to lizards. There are ants that feed on honey and nectar. These types of ants are sweet to lizards and they will eat them continuously. Even though they may contain folic acid, this will not taste bitter because t will be neutralized by the sweet taste.

This is why house lizards feed on sugar ants because they have a sweet taste. Sugar ants in the house love sweet things and they will always have a good taste on the lizards’ tongue. On the other hand, lizards do not like eating carpenter ants because they have a bitter taste.

What kind of lizards eat ants

As much as all lizards can eat ants, the horned lizards that are found in northern parts of America live and feed on ants. The harvester ants that feed on seeds and mushrooms are the main diet for the horned lizards that live in the wild.

Lizards in the wild prefer to feed on the harvester ants because they are tasty. The harvester ants which are also known as agricultural ants are tasty to lizards because their main diet is fresh fruits and vegetables.

Lizards are omnivore and that means they can also feed on plants. When they eat the harvesting ants, they will find them tasty because they are a combination of both flesh and vegetables. This will give those and a unique taste in the lizards mouth.

All tiny lizards including the anole and the common house lizard can eat ants without a problem. Big lizards need a lot of food to get full and satisfied. For example, the monitor lizard will go for food like fish and snakes which are big enough to satisfy them. However, this does not mean that they cannot eat ants.  

Do baby lizards eat ants?

The answer is yes. Baby lizards can ants because right after they are hatched, they can eat anything that is withing a lizard’s died including ants. However, there are aggressive ants like the fire ants that may easily turn against baby lizards.

Baby lizards are still in the process of learning to eat and they may not be experts when it comes to sensing danger. Grown lizards can eat fast but baby lizards will take time to bite and swallow the ants. In this process, the ants may act fast and can bite them.

Baby lizards can only eat small ants that are less aggressive without any problem. It is also important for them to eat fresh ants because dead ants can infect their intestines. If they have to eat dead ants, they should be still fresh and tasty.

Ants are always moist and lizards can get water from insects that they eat. This is why most lizards can stay without drinking water in deserts as long as they are eating. On the other hand, when a baby lizard eats dead ants that have been killed with bug spray, it can be fatal for them.

When you have dead ants that have died from pesticide chemicals, they can harm lizards. It is therefore dangerous for lizards to eat ants that have been killed using those pesticides because bug spray can baby kill lizards very fast.   

Can lizards eat fire ants?

Lizards can eat fire ants when out in the wild. However, they always risk being attacked especially if they accidentally wander into a group of ants. Fire ants are very aggressive when they feel threatened and they will not go down without a war.

They will fight back by stinging and biting the lizards. They can also bite and release toxic venom which is known as Solenopsin. This venom is released from their abdomen and can be deadly to lizards if they bite in large numbers.

If the fire ants manage to attack a lizard in large numbers, they can paralyze and kill it in a matter of minutes. Lizards can only eat fire ants if they find them catered. However, they cannot go inside a mound to feed on them.

Ants eating lizards video:

Reference:

  1. Reptiles Canada: Folic acid in ants for lizards
  2. Utah State University: lizards feeding on ants