What Reptiles Are Vegetarians?

Written by linda basilicato
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What Reptiles Are Vegetarians?
Some types of lizard are vegetarian. (Green Iguana Close-up image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com)

Most reptiles consume a diet of insects, mollusks, birds, frogs, mammals, fish and, sometimes, other reptiles. Vegetarian reptiles include the many species of land tortoise as well as the species belonging to three genera of lizard: iguana, chuckwalla and agamid. There are no known vegetarian snakes.

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The green iguana is a native lizard of Central and South America. In the wild, the bright green male iguana can reach a length of more than 6 feet and weight of more than 5.9 Kilogram. The darker, greyish green female tends to grow to about half that size. Iguanas feed on leaves, buds, flowers and fruits, especially figs. When kept as pets, iguanas often suffer from deformities, vitamin deficiencies, vitamin overdoses and problems associated with lack of sunlight, according to the Greater Cincinnati Herpetological Society.


The chuckwalla is the North American cousin of the iguana. The common chuckwalla of the American Southwest grows to about 20 inches, but several other species are much larger. In the wild, they primarily eat desert plants and leaves, but they will sometimes eat insects. Like other vegetarian lizards, it is difficult to keep pet chuckwallas healthy.


Agamids consist of a wide variety of vegetarian lizard species native to Africa, southern Europe, Australia and parts of Asia. Like iguanas, Agamids dwell both on the ground and in trees. During mating season, male agamids change colours to become red, blue and yellow. A common pet agamid is the Bearded Dragon. Pet agamids are prone to the same problems as pet iguanas and pet chuckwallas.

Land Tortoise

Land tortoises are found all around the world in a great range of sizes. In the wild, tortoises graze on a wide variety of plant foods. Pet tortoises should be fed a high-fibre diet of grasses, clover, yams, carrots, and wild (pesticide-free) weeds and flowers. You may also give them small amounts of dark leafy greens. Before getting a pet tortoise, however, do remember that they tend to live a very long time. A box turtle, for example, can to live to be more than 100 years old.

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