Are All Reptiles Carnivores?

Are All Reptiles Carnivores

Reptiles come in all different shapes and sizes.  Some reptiles are tiny while others are huge.  You can find reptiles in all different habitats around the world.  Because of their amazing variety, reptiles also tend to have very diverse diets!  While some reptiles eat flowers, others eat small mammals.

So, are all reptiles carnivores?

Not all reptiles are carnivores, though many are.  While some reptiles are carnivores there are also many reptiles that are omnivores, insectivores, or even herbivores meaning they only eat plants!  Carnivorous reptiles eat anything from small birds to medium mammals.  The diet of a reptile in captivity should directly reflect its wild diet.  

In this article, we’ll discuss which reptiles are carnivores and what they eat in the wild. Plus, we’ll briefly discuss some of the surprising other reptiles that have different diets.

Are All Reptiles Carnivores?

Not all reptiles are carnivores.  However, carnivorous reptiles do make up a good amount of the reptiles in existence today.

Carnivorous reptiles can be found in most families of reptiles, but the most obvious category full of carnivores is snakes. Most snakes are carnivores and eat only animal protein.  Common snakes like ball pythons, rainbow boas, and corn snakes are carnivores.

Carnivorous lizards do exist and the most commonly known is the monitor lizard.  Monitor lizards are large carnivores that live in the jungle and feed on small mammals, birds, and even other small reptiles. Even though they aren’t pets, crocodiles and alligators are also huge reptiles that only eat meat.

As far as carnivorous turtles and tortoises go, there is one species that stands out and that’s the alligator snapping turtle.  Snapping turtles are dangerous semi-aquatic turtles that eat both fish and small land mammals.  They have an incredibly sharp beak that’s meant to tear through flesh.

If you’ve never seen one of these animals, check out the video below!

What Do Carnivorous Reptiles Eat?

Carnivores are animals that eat a diet made up strictly of animal proteins.  Carnivores don’t eat grains, fruits, vegetables, or anything else.  In the wild, carnivorous animals will eat just about anything can find.

Some of the food items that carnivorous animals eat in the wild are eggs, chicks, birds, small mammals like rodents and rabbits, fish, and other reptiles.  In captivity, you usually won’t feed out such a diverse diet to a carnivore and will likely end up giving them mice or rats as food items.

Now that we’ve talked a little bit about carnivorous reptiles, we’d like to touch a little bit on the other categories of diets you can find in the reptile world.

Which Reptiles Are Omnivores?

Omnivores are animals that eat just about anything.  Like humans, these animals can eat a wide range of food items. One of the great things about omnivores is that they’re the types of pets you shouldn’t ever need to feed live food to.

Surprisingly, many lizards and turtles are omnivores. Red-eared sliders and box turtles are two pet turtles that are omnivorous. Turtles and tortoises that are omnivores usually eat both insects and plants and it’s pretty easy to find commercially sold pellets that you can feed to these pets.

There are also a few omnivorous lizards that eat a little bit of everything. Bearded dragons are one popular pet that eats a little bit of everything every day. Their meals in captivity essentially look like a salad with fruit and bugs sprinkled on top. They can eat anything from honeysuckle flowers to cicadas!  Skinks, tegus, and day geckos are more lizard species that follow an omnivorous diet.

Which Reptiles Are Insectivores?

Insectivores are usually classified in the same way as carnivores.  However, an insectivore is a special type of carnivore because you won’t find them consuming animal protein, only insects!

Leopard geckos and anoles are popular pets that only eat insects.  Not only are these lizards fun to watch hunt but keeping their food is a lot easier than keeping rats or mice on hand.

If you’re familiar with keeping reptiles, you’ll also know that many babies start out as insectivores.  Most reptiles that end up being omnivorous eat exclusively insects when they’re young.  The high protein content of the insects helps them while they’re growing.

Which Reptiles Are Herbivores?

While there aren’t any snakes that are vegetarians, there are plenty of lizards and turtles that don’t eat meat.

Green iguanas are one of the largest species of pet reptiles.  They also happen to be herbivorous animals! Iguanas thrive on a diet made up mostly of leafy greens but also love to snack on vines and flowers.

Some other herbivorous pet reptiles include chuckwallas, uromastyx, and Russian tortoises. In the wild, you can find even more reptiles that only eat plants such as the green sea turtle.

Final Thoughts

Reptiles have a much wider and more diverse diet than most people think.  Some of the most common and well-known reptiles are carnivores.  The reptiles that we talk about and fear are usually the ones that eat other animals.

However, there are plenty of reptiles that aren’t carnivores.  If you’re looking for a pet that has a diverse diet made up mostly of plants, you should have no trouble finding one.  You can even opt for an entirely vegetarian animal, it’s up to you!

About The Author