Did You Know That Vegetarian Lizards Are A Thing?

Lizards are a popular pet for many reptile lovers. Lots of species are relatively easy to source, and with the right knowledge and equipment, ownership of them can be a great experience. Some people may be put off by the feeding though, being faced with feeding live insects or whole prey. There are a few species that are herbivores though.

Rhinoceros Iguana

The most common rock Iguana, the Rhinoceros Iguana is generally believed to be omnivorous having been observed in the wild eating insects and small animals. Studies have shown that they do not need to be fed animal protein, and too much of it could have a negative effect on their health. They can be happily kept on a plant-based diet. As with a few other Iguana species, these are not recommended to be kept by beginners due to their decreasing numbers and for being endangered. They are better suited to a more knowledgeable home.

Green Iguana

The Green Iguana is one of the most popular lizards in the reptile trade. They are now largely known to be herbivores, even though some outdated research indicated otherwise. They are easy to care for species, but if you don’t have space for a large enough enclosure with the correct lighting they are not the reptile for you.

Grand Cayman Rock Iguana

This species is only found on the island of Grand Cayman and is characterized by its blue coloration. Having been observed in the wild consuming dead birds, crabs, slugs, and insect larva, they are primarily herbivores. Once declared critically endangered, due to the efforts in reintroducing them has been largely successful, they are now classed as endangered. The collection for the pet trade of these lizards is illegal.


Native to the United States, they are the largest non-venomous lizard based here. They prefer areas in Southwestern regions with dry and rocky terrain. Chuckwallas are very similar in dietary needs to the green iguana, although they are rarely kept as pets. While at younger ages they can be fed animal protein, this probably unnecessary as they get older and their diet should be primarily plant-based.

Fiji-Banded Iguana

This is an endangered species of iguana native to Fiji, and due to their endangered status, they are prohibited from international trade. Although unusual to see one kept as a pet in the United States, there are other countries that they are more commonly kept. This unfortunately would indicate that they are probably descendants of previously smuggled lizards. The discussion as to whether these lizards are omnivores or herbivores is still open for debate, with some believing they are omnivores, but others seeing no evidence to back this.

With the knowledge that some lizards may be kept on a plant-based diet, this may be appealing to anyone considering keeping one as a pet. It is important to remember that they are reptiles that need careful management and care, and without the knowledge or space for keeping such interesting animals, it may be wise to consider if you can offer one a good home.