What Do Reptiles Eat?

Reptiles eat everything from small insects to large mammals, such as buffalo and deer. Some reptiles, such as giant tortoises, are vegetarians that eat plants, such as cacti, grasses and other low-lying vegetation.

The alligator snapping turtle is a freshwater reptile that lies on the muddy bottoms of lakes or rivers. There it lies in wait for prey, such as fish, another turtle or a mollusk. It lures its prey by wriggling a wormish growth on the bottom of its mouth. When the prey comes near, the turtle catches it in powerful jaws. Alligator snapping turtles also consume frogs, insects, snakes, crayfish, worms and even rodents.

Some snakes, such as egg-eating snakes, are specialists, while others eat a wide range of prey, such as worms, lizards, rodents, other snakes, small deer or small crocodiles. Some snakes simply grab prey and swallow it, while others immobilize their prey with venom or kill it by constriction. All snakes swallow their prey whole.

The diet of lizards is also varied. The chameleon eats insects. It stalks its prey slowly, then grabs it with its very long and sticky tongue. Other types of lizards, such as the green iguana, also eat fruit, flowers and leaves. Caiman lizards prefer snails, while komodo dragons eat wild pigs and water buffalo.