11 Predators That Naturally Hunt and Eat Lizards

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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Published: October 24, 2023

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With over 6,000 species, lizards are a squamate collection of reptiles that vary in size from tiny chameleons to enormous Komodo dragons. With the exception of Antarctica, lizards are indigenous to every continent and the majority of oceanic island chains. As you can expect, there are a plethora of predators that hunt lizards.

In order to survive, lizards have developed a number of antipredator changes, such as venom, camouflage, reflex bleeding, and the capacity to give up and regenerate their tail. A lizard is a food source of many different species and has numerous predators.

Let’s take a look at what animals naturally hunt and even consume these cold-blooded creatures! 

1. Cats

Bobcat (Lynx rufus) Kicks Up Snow on Log Winter - captive animal

Bobcats are one of the larger felines that dine on lizards.

©Holly Kuchera/Shutterstock.com

Lizards are consumed by cats of all kinds. Domestic, feral, and big wildcats all hunt these creatures. Cats are skilled hunters that take down a variety of small game. Cats have curved, razor-sharp retractable claws that they use to cling to lizards and prevent them from fleeing.  

They also have well-honed, powerful teeth that are ideal for taking down small animals. Many times, domestic house cats will avoid eating lizards because their livers have toxic parasites. 

2. Hawks

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Hawks have a 30-mile field of vision!

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Because of their keen eyesight, hawks are able to identify lizards hiding in trees, shrubs, or the ground. Even though they frequently eat rats, rabbits, and various other tiny creatures, these birds will not turn down a lizard. 

Occasionally, hawks will either dive on lizards as they are skittering across the ground or snag them from the limbs of a tree. A lizard has a slim chance when it comes to escaping an expert hunter like a hawk. 

Their best lines of defense are to hide or crawl into a small hole out of the hawk’s sight.

3. Mongoose

mongoose

Mongoose also eat nuts, berries, and small animals.

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Although it is classified as a different species, mongooses are small mammals that look like weasels in many cases. Though they prefer to eat insects, these animals will devour lizards if they come across them.

Quick and nimble, mongooses consume lizards, bugs, snakes, and other tiny beings.  Moreover, mongooses are well-known for challenging and devouring deadly snakes, including the incredibly agile King Cobra.

The mongoose has no concerns about ambushing or attacking from behind like other predators do. With velocity, disposition, and razor-sharp teeth, they will launch an immediate attack. 

They just grab the lizard and devour it before the lizard is even aware of what is happening.

4. Owls

Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum or cactus ferruginous pygmy owl

Some lizards are active at night, making them prey for owls.

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Since several owls are nocturnal, they often eat rodents, mice, and bunnies that are active at night. Nonetheless, certain owls are awake throughout the day, and these large, eyeball-filled birds consume a lot of lizards.

Burrowing owls hunt for food that scuttles around throughout the day because they are on the ground for extended periods of time. They consume bugs, small birds, and naturally, reptiles.

The only thing that lizards are able to do when burrowing owls notice them is to remain motionless and wait until another thing catches the bird’s discerning eyes. 

5. Raccoons

Raccoons at night

Raccoons will eat just about anything, including lizards.

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Being omnivores, raccoons devour virtually anything that they can get their soiled, clumsy hands on. They consume fish, frogs, bugs, and, yes, lizards. With their short, scaly legs, lizards can move quite quickly, even outpacing raccoons. 

However, because raccoons are cunning creatures, they must remain vigilant. These ring-tailed thieves can quickly grab lizards that are sluggish or unwary and begin to devour them.

With any luck, the lizard can be able to escape the raccoon by enthusiastically hissing or dropping its tail. The lizard might be able to escape with this little diversion, but the majority of the time the raccoon emerges victorious, full of lizards in its belly.

6. Snakes

The  venom green snake is eating gecko

Many snakes will eat lizards head-first.

©Trahcus/Shutterstock.com

This animal is a formidable predator that hunts lizards, even though it lacks limbs. Although you would think that lizards would effortlessly elude snakes, these crafty predators have a variety of cunning techniques.

Snakes are experts at remaining undetected in public. They are able to blend in perfectly with the environment and remain still for hours at a time. These are strategies used by snakes to sneak up on lizards along with other victims. 

Snakes also use their venom as a weapon. With their razor-sharp teeth, vipers and other deadly snakes attack their unsuspecting victims, release their venom, and then take their sweet time enjoying their dinner.

Constrictors also frequently employ the ambush strategy to subdue lizards; however, instead of biting and holding on to their prey, they encircle it with their bodies. The snake clenches and presses more forcefully until the lizard suffocates as it struggles. 

When the lizard’s heart stops beating, the snake eats it whole.

7. Foxes

Red Fox

Foxes will also eat rodents and birds.

©RT Images/Shutterstock.com

Quiet and sly hunters, foxes are particularly active at night. To locate food for themselves, they make use of their keen senses of hearing, smell, and vision. 

The fox will use its feet to leap on anything it can consume. The fox uses its powerful teeth to bite its prey until it becomes immobile, and it also has semi-retractable claws. 

If a fox happens to chase down a lizard, it will need to find a suitable hiding place. Since foxes are excellent diggers, a lizard that burrows down could eventually be unearthed and devoured.

8. Alligators

Alligator in Florida catches a turtle and eats it.

Alligators

will eat unsuspecting turtles and lizards whole.

©Jaimie Tuchman/iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Although alligators and crocodiles are reptiles, they are not lizards, despite their deceiving appearance. Not that it would make a difference; lizards still occasionally consume their own. Since they are regarded as apex predators, crocodiles frequently consume lizards, particularly when they are young. 

Bigger crocs and gators look for filling meals such as big fish, large mammals, and birds of prey, but they frequently consume monitor lizards. Because they enjoy eating alligator and crocodile eggs, monitor lizards are somewhat disliked by crocodilians.

If the nests are left undisturbed, these massive lizards will raid them and eat the whole clutch. 

 9. Spiders 

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Like many humans, lizards fear large spiders.

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Although spiders are classified as arachnids rather than insects, lizards are unconcerned with this scientific distinction. When they spot a bug, they become hungry. Spiders have seemingly chosen to switch roles after realizing this. 

Even though bigger, more menacing tarantulas are capable of defeating smaller lizards! It has been discovered that jumping spiders consume lizards that are two to three times larger than themselves! 

It’s likely that you have witnessed jumping spiders scuttling around your property or even inside. They are capable of taking down small, young lizards as well as green anoles. The jumping spider has discovered that it can simply wait for the venom to take effect after biting the lizard. 

The spider follows the lizard until it becomes unconscious, at which point it eats it.

10. Water Birds

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A heron’s diet mostly consists of fish, though they will hunt lizards.

©LittleMouse3/ via Getty Images

Egrets and herons are known to eat fish, amphibians, and turtles by quickly sticking their beak underwater. However, these birds will not think twice to swallow a small reptile if it comes too close. They are yet another predator that hunts lizards.

When close to water, lizards need to be cautious of what is around them. These birds of prey are as swift as snakes when it comes to using their beaks to attack. An unsuspecting lizard doesn’t have time to prepare for a life-saving response when a bird decides to attack.

11. Vultures 

Griffon vultures are scavengers eating carrion.

Vultures are scavenger birds that mostly eat carrion.

©Jesus Cobaleda/Shutterstock.com

Speaking of birds, a vulture will happily eat a lizard! Although their primary food source is dead animals, vultures occasionally prefer a fresh meal. Who can blame them? Lizards can attempt to flee in order to avoid becoming vulture food. 

If it fails to work, the lizard might try to get away by hissing, growing larger, or dropping its tail. Since the majority of the creatures that vultures eat are dead, they are not the greatest hunters. If a cunning lizard can outwit a hulking vulture, it might be able to get away. 

Summary of Predators That Naturally Hunt Lizards 

RankPredatory Animal
1Cats 
2Hawks
3Mongoose
4Owls
5Raccoons
6Snakes
7Foxes
8Alligators
9Spiders
10Water Birds
11Vultures


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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