How Long Can Lizards Go Without Food?

Lizards are some of the most resilient creatures on the planet, able to go without food for long periods of time. So, how long can lizards go without food?

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Lizards are ectothermic, meaning that they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. As a result, they are more susceptible to changes in environmental temperature and can go into Torpor, or a state of reduced activity and metabolism, in order to conserve energy. When food is scarce, lizards may also achieve aestivation, or a state of dormancy in which they bury themselves underground and remain active until conditions improve.

What do lizards need to survive?

Lizards are reptiles and, as such, are ectothermic or “cold blooded.” This means that their body temperature is largely dependent on the temperature of their surroundings. In order to maintain their body heat, lizards basking in the sun will often change position to ensure that they are not in danger of overheating. When the ambient temperature begins to cool, lizards will seek shelter so that they can retain their body heat.

Lizards are also dependant on food sources for energy. If a lizard is unable to find enough food, it will begin to shut down non-essential functions in order to conserve energy. This includes things like growth, reproduction, and immune system function. In extreme cases, a lizard may enter a state of torpor in which its heart rate and metabolism slow down dramatically in order to conserve energy. A lizard in this state may ear dead but if provided with the necessary conditions, it can eventually revive and resume normal activity.

How long a lizard can survive without food depends on the species of lizard, the ambient temperature, and its reserve of body fat. Some lizards may be able to survive for several months without food while others may only be able to go a few weeks.

What factors affect how long a lizard can go without food?

There are many factors that affect how long a lizard can go without food. The type of food they normally eat, whether they are carnivores or herbivores, their age, and the temperature of their environment all play a role in how long they can survive without food.

Carnivorous lizards, such as iguanas, can typically go longer without food than herbivorous lizards. This is because carnivorous lizards require less food per day than herbivorous lizards. Iguanas can typically go two to three weeks without food, while herbivorous lizards may only be able to go one to two weeks.

The age of the lizard also affects how long it can go without food. Younger lizards have faster metabolisms and require more food than older lizards. As a result, younger lizards will generally not be able to go as long without food as older ones.

The temperature of the lizard’s environment also plays a role in how long it can survive without food. Lizards are ectothermic, meaning that they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature. If the temperature is too cold, the lizard’s metabolism will slow down and it will not need to eat as often. However, if the temperature is too hot, the lizard’s metabolism will speed up and it will need to eat more often. As a result, lizards in cold environments may be able to go longer without food than those in hot environments.

How long can different types of lizards go without food?

There are many different types of lizards, and each type has a different requirement for how often they need to eat. Some lizards, such as the Leopard Gecko, can go several weeks without food and still be healthy. Others, such as the Green Iguana, need to eat every day.

Lizards that are active during the day tend to need to eat more often than those that are active at night. This is because they burn more energy during the day. Active lizards also need to drink more water than inactive lizards.

The size of the lizard also affects how often it needs to eat. Smaller lizards have a higher metabolism and need to eat more often than larger lizards.

Different types of food also have different effects on lizards. Insects are high in protein and fat and help lizards grow quickly. Vegetables are lower in calories and help lizards stay healthy but might not help them grow as quickly.

What happens to a lizard if it doesn’t eat for too long?

Lizards are ectothermic, or “cold-blooded,” animals. This means that their internal temperature depends on the temperature of their surroundings. In the wild, they bask in the sun to warm up their bodies so they can move around and look for food. If they don’t eat, they will eventually starve to death.

How can you tell if your lizard is not eating enough?

Lizards are ectothermic, which means they rely on the environment to regulate their body temperature. Ectothermic animals are often called “cold-blooded.” When the weather is warm, lizards become more active and may hunt more often. When the weather is cooler, lizards bask in the sun to warm up and may slow down their activity level. If a lizard doesn’t have enough food or if it’s too cold, it can enter a state of brumation. Brumation is similar to hibernation in mammals. Lizards remain inactive and may even stop eating during this time.

What can you do to help your lizard if it isn’t eating enough?

Lizards are ectotherms, which means that their internal body temperature depends on the temperature of their environment. This can cause problems when the temperature outside starts to drop, as it can impact a lizard’s appetite. If your lizard isn’t eating enough, there are a few things you can do to help.

First, make sure that the lizard has a warm place to basking. Basking helps lizards digest food properly and also raises their metabolism. If the basking area is too cool, the lizard may not be able to digest its food properly and could become sick.

Second, make sure that the Lizard’s food is properly fortified with vitamins and minerals. A lack of vitamins and minerals can lead to a loss of appetite in lizards. You can purchase special reptile vitamin supplements at your local pet store or online.

Third, take your lizard to the vet if you are concerned about its weight loss or lack of appetite. The vet will be able to determine if there is an underlying medical condition causing the issue and will be able to provide treatment options.


It is safe to say that the effects of starvation in reptiles are not well known or understood. It is clear that different species withstand different duration of fasting, but within a species, there appears to be great variability. Starvation studies on reptiles are few and far between, and those that have been conducted often lack important information, making it difficult to generalize the results.


Lizards are different from mammals in many ways, but they still need food to survive. One of the main questions people have about lizards is how long they can go without eating.

The answer to this question depends on the type of lizard and its size. Some lizards, such as geckos, can live for months without food. Other lizards, such as iguanas, need to eat more frequently.

In general, smaller lizards can go longer without food than larger ones. This is because they have a higher metabolism and burn through energy reserves faster.

If you’re concerned about your lizard’s health, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian who can give you specific advice.


-Helfenbein, K. L., Schwanz, L. E., & Castoe, T. A. (2013). Food availability and thermal biology shape the snake and lizard fauna of a North American desert BMC evolutionary biology, 13(1), 1-16.
-Kammer, A. E., Crampton-Platt, A., Poole‐Warren, L., & Oliver, P. M. (2014). Seasonality of food availability drives the demographic structure of an arboreal lizard population in Fiji. Austral Ecology, 39(7), 765-775.
-Mouton, P., French, K.,& Griffiths, R. A.(2010). The role of local food availability and temperature in determining the activity budget of a generalist lizard,. South African Journal of Zoology, 45(4), 311-320

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