How Do Reptiles Obtain Food?

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Some reptile species, such as many snakes and lizards, ambush prey that wanders too close, whereas other reptiles are prowlers that search far and wide for prey. Some reptiles even graze grasses and forage over long periods of time, as many mammals do.

Many pythons, boas and venomous snakes are ambush predators that lie in wait for prey. Usually, these animals have stocky builds and camouflaged coloration that make it difficult for their prey to spot them. Snakes, such as racers or coach whips, that have thin builds and large eyes are usually prowling snakes that catch food with speed and agility. Some prowling snakes, such as black mambas, are venomous, but others must kill their prey with a powerful, crushing bite or through constriction.

Alligators and their allies are often ambush hunters that lie motionless in the water for long periods of time. When unsuspecting prey approaches too closely, they will spring into action and capture their prey with their strong jaws. Snapping turtles also hunt by ambushing prey.

Herbivorous reptiles, such as tortoises, often spend long periods of time, eating abundant but nutrient-poor food. A herbivorous diet is perfect for tortoises, as they lack the speed or power to capture prey.