Do Cats Eat Lizards? Have you ever met lizards and cats together in your home, yard or compound? Can your lizard and cat pet live together? It is interesting to find how cats go along with lizards in your place? So, do cats eat lizards?
The direct answer is YES! Cats will eat lizards. Cats are great lizard predators. They will hunt, kill and eat lizard either by cutting it into pieces or swallow it whole (for the small sized cats).
Cats prefer eating smaller lizards such as geckos, skins and Savannah lizards. However, depending on the species, cats may not be safe after eating lizards. Some species such as salamanders and juvenile blue-tailed skinks secrets poison in their skin, which may kill your cat if eaten.
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Though house lizards (gecko) may not have venom or poison, they carry parasites (liver flukes), pathogens and bacteria (salmonella) which affect adversely on the health of your cat when eaten.
Related: Is Wall Gecko Poisonous If Eaten?
Details: Do Cats Eat Lizards?
1. How Do Cat Eat Lizards
Cats normally hunt and kill the lizards before eating them. The cat will cut (using its teeth-canines) lizard into parts for easier swallowing. Also, the cat can tear the soft flesh from the body meat of the lizard. Main parts of lizards that are usually fed on by the cats include the body meat, limbs and the tail. When feeding on the lizards, cats do not remove lizard’s skin (which is infectious in some lizard species).
Most cats do not eat the Head of lizard unless when they swallow lizard whole (which is a rare case). Small cats don’t eat the lizard’s bones. You will, probably, find bones leftovers where the cat was feeding.
Cats don’t hunt lizards as a group unless when training their kitten. You are not likely to spot cats feeding since they hide mostly. After killing the lizard, cat begins by eating the tail since it’s soft, fatty and its caudal bones can be chewed together with meat easily.
2. Which Lizards Do Cats Eat Most?
Your pet cat may not be selective when hunting lizards for food. However, most cats have been found to hunt more some of the following lizard species:
- House lizards (Gecko). These lizards are readily available at many homes and are safer when eaten by cats (not toxic/poisonous, contains no venom).
- Moreover, geckos do not run faster when escaping in case of danger and their defense mechanism against cats is weak (mild bite and hiding) as compare to other lizards such as Tree crocodile monitor, which attack its predators.
- The savannah Lizards. These lizards are small in size and are found in subtropical climate. Your pet cat will mainly go hunting them in the fields. Savannah lizards are quick to catch since they do not run fast.
- Nile water monitors. These love water bodies in rivers and pods around your home or region. Cats hunt them even though they get wild during capture. These lizards are safe and non-venomous.
Related: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Tomatoes?
3. Which Lizards Are Poisonous To Cats?
The following lizards are poisonous to your pet cat when eaten.
- The Mexican Bearded These lizards are found in Southern United states and are highly venomous. The roots or Mexican Bearded lizards have venom glands that releases poison every time it bites your cat. The poison lowers the blood pressure of the cat and prevent blood clotting. Moreover, the cat face walking challenges, breathing, have frequent pooping and urination and generates inability to meow after eating Mexican bearded lizards.
- Gila Monitor lizard. This lizard is known attack and bite cats in defense. Its poison is severe than that of Mexican Bearded lizard and its poisonous teeth paralyzes the cat on injection. Their skin also house bacteria that causes severe infection on your cat.
- Komodo dragon. This lizard is able to attack and kill cats on approach immediately. It has poisonous glands that release killing venom on biting. Cats bitten by die in minutes. Most cats fear hunting the Komodo dragon. In fact, Komodo dragon is known to kill human beings.
- Juvenile blue-tailed skinks. The skinks secrets poison in their skin, which kills the cat when eaten. Cats are highly attracted to blue tailed skinks and often prey on them. The skinks don’t run fast in case of attack (they are easily caught by cats).
- They have poisonous skin (skin produces poison) which kill cats when eaten. Salamanders have smooth soft skins and are usually swallowed whole by cats. Salamander don’t escape faster and thus are easily caught by cats (predators).
Is it safe for cats to eat lizards? What are the Dangers?
Most lizards are not toxic to cats when eaten (they are therefore safe). The body meat of lizard do not contain any poison that may affect the health of your cat. However, some lizards such as Komodo dragon and Gila Monitors have poisonous gland at their tooth’s root, which inject venom to its prey (cat) on attack thus paralyzing or killing it.
Though the lizard’s meat may not be poisonous, it may post the following dangers when eaten:
- Get Liver Flukes. Lizards such as skinks, savannah and geckos have liver flukes in their elementary tracks. These flukes do not affect these lizards. However, when your pet cat eats lizards, the liver flukes are transferred into the cat’s digestive canal from where they move up the liver to the gall bladder.
- The liver flukes cause liver inflammations and block the bile duct of your cat leading to death. Some symptoms of liver flukes in your pet cat include yellow eyes and skin, vomiting, diarrhea, Lethargy, loss of appetite and swelling of abdomen.
- Acquire Salmonella Bacteria. The skin of house lizard (gecko), skinks and bearded lizard house bacteria such as Salmonella. The salmonella bacteria may not cause sickness on a healthy cat. However, when the cat fall sick, the bacteria will accelerate the illness.
- Skin Infections. The under skin of skins, Komodo dragon, Gila monitors, house lizards etc. have pathogens which cause severe skin infections on your pet cats.
Related: What Does Leopard Gecko Eat?
How Do Lizards Protect Themselves From Cats?
Lizards have various mechanisms of protecting them from their predator. These ways include the following:
- Running Away. Most small sized lizards such as Gecko, skinks and savannah lizards run away in case of the attacks. However, they may not run very fast, but their swift enables them to reach their hideouts safely.
- Inflate their Bodies. Lizards such as Thorny devil and Horned toad lizard inflates their bodies to appear big so as to scare away their predators. Bearded dragon is able to puff their throat out making them bigger thus scaring their predators.
- Autotomy. This an act where the lizard is able to carry out self-amputation of tail. Lizards such as leopard geckos and house lizards are able to cut off its tail in case of danger. The cut tail is used as a bait or a mechanism that stops the predators (scare/confuse) from following them further.
- Fighting. Monitor lizards such as Tree Crocodile monitor and Gila monitors are famous of fighting against their assailants. The Komodo dragon and Green Iguana use their tail to knock down their enemies.
- Using venom/biting. Venomous lizards such as Komodo dragon, Gila monitors, Mexican Bearded lizards and the Tree Crocodile have venom in their teeth roots, which paralyses their prey on biting.
- Camouflaging. Lizards such as chameleons are able to change color to match their hideouts. Small lizards are brown, grey or black colored, which camouflage well with their environment such as back or trees, rocks or sand. Some lizards such as bearded lizards and Gila monitors camouflage to send a warning signal to their predators.
- Hissing. Frilled dragon opens its frills and produces a hissing sound, which frightens the predator and also makes it look more dangerous.
- Squirting blood from their eyes. Pygmy short horned lizards squirts their blood from their eyes when they spot a predator. This make their eyes to enlarge thus scaring away their predators.
How do I know my Cat has eaten a Lizard? Symptoms?
When a cat eats a lizard, it may generates symptoms that gives an indicator. Some of these symptoms include:
- Shows lethargy or weaknesses.
- Generates abnormal thirst,
- Becomes hyperactivity or nervousness.
- Loses its appetite.
- Diarrhea or vomiting.
- Yellow gums and eyes (crosses a lot).
- Seizures or muscle tremors.
- Abnormal/erratic movements.
- Coma in some cases.
- Mouth foaming and excessive drooling.
NB: These symptoms are as a results or eating poisonous lizards.
In case the lizards eaten has a pathogenic skin or has Salmonella bacteria, your pet cat will show the following symptoms:
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Loss of appetite.
- Sudden shock.
- Rapid heart rate.
- Diarrhea and vomiting
How do you stop/ prevent your cat from eating lizards?
You can prevent your pet cat from eating lizards by applying some of the following ways.
- Lock your cat indoors. This will keep off cats from eating/preying on the lizards outdoors. You can also keep close look on your cat’s activities while indoors.
- Lock your pet lizards in a safe cage. It is crucial to keep your pet lizard away from cats to protect them from being eaten. Try to House your lizard in a cage that cats can’t break into.
- Secure your Compound. Ensure that your house or compound is lizard free by sealing the holes and cracks on the walls where lizards can hide or pass through. The top of the wall should have a flat finish to prevent lizards from climbing over from outside or neighborhood.
- Teach your cat to leave option. You can train your cat not to eat lizards. Professionals can do this where the cats are taught to leave any lizard they find on their way. This method is time consuming and expensive.
Related: What Does a Garden Lizard Eat?
Cats eat lizards. They do not select which species they feed on. However, most cats hunt geckos, savannah lizards and skins since they are easier to catch.
Most Lizards are not poisonous though some like Gila monitor and Komodo dragon contain poisonous venom that paralyzes their prey when injected. Ensure you prevent your pet cat from eating lizards using some of the above ways.