How Long Can a Lizard Live Without Food


Lizards have impressive meal prep skills. They can survive without food for several days. Yet, the exact lifespan depends on their species and age. Younger lizards have higher energy needs than older ones, so they may not survive as long. Hydration levels and environmental conditions also affect their survival.

Note: Even though lizards can survive without food, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for them. Lack of nutrition weakens their immune system and can cause health issues that lead to death.

For pet lizards, it’s a must to give them a balanced diet based on their species’ nutritional needs. If they refuse food, a reptile-experienced vet should be consulted to find out why and provide the right treatment.

How long can a Lizard survive without food?

To know how long a lizard can live without food, you need to be aware of the importance of food for lizards. Factors like temperature and season can affect their ability to survive without food. However, lizards have ways to adapt to survive without food. In this section, we will be discussing record-breaking survival durations and more.

Importance of food for Lizards

Food is essential to the life of lizards. Without it, they can’t meet basic physiological needs, leading to starvation and health problems. Different species of lizards need different amounts of food. Smaller ones require more frequent, smaller meals while adults consume a large portion of their body weight in one go.

Lizards can go without food for a long time, but doing so can weaken their immune system and make them vulnerable to illness. To stay healthy, they need to eat regularly. Provide a balanced diet that fits the lizard’s size and nutritional needs for optimal physical development and longevity. And don’t forget, luck is also essential for a lizard’s survival.

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Factors affecting the survival duration

The survival duration of lizards is impacted by various factors. Species, environment, and age are key elements that determine their ability to go without food.

A table can illustrate the main factors and their duration:

Species1-4 weeks
EnvironmentHotter Climates= 3-5 days
Cooler Climates= 2 weeks
AgeJuvenile= Several days
Adult= Several weeks

Size, weight, and health all affect the duration as well. Lizards’ metabolism gives them an edge over other animals in withstanding starvation.

For example, a lizard named “Mike” survived two months without food and lost 36% of his body weight! This proves that some species can last longer than others. It’s important to consider these circumstances when determining how long lizards can go without food. In short, these creatures are quite capable of surviving when they’re hangry!

Ways Lizards adapt to survive without food

Lizards are adaptable! They can survive without food for weeks or even months! They do this by conserving energy, slowing down their metabolism, reducing water loss, and undergoing torpor. Plus, they store fat in their tails for times when food is scarce.

Some lizards have a great sense of smell – they can even detect prey from a distance! They also have the ability to slow down their digestion process when there’s no food around. Amazingly, this means no hangry lizards! They can break survival records that even grumpiest humans couldn’t manage.

Examples of record-breaking survival durations without food

Living creatures have an amazing capacity for adaptation. How long can one survive without food? Marine iguanas can go two months. Kangaroo rats can go five years – a record-breaking feat!

Different species use different strategies to endure. Snakes slow metabolism for stretches with no prey. Turtles reduce energy consumption to 2%. Frogs and fish can absorb nutrition through their skin and mouth lining.

Galápagos tortoises gained fame for surviving on scraps from whaling ships between 1869-1953. The sailors were unimpressed by their unpalatable meat, as they can live months without food or water.

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Nature’s ability to endure in the absence of food is remarkable and worth further study.

Risks and complications of extended starvation

To understand the risks and complications of extended starvation for lizards, dive into this section. With the sub-sections of Impact on Health and Behavior, Signs of Malnourishment and Starvation, and How to Help a Lizard That Hasn’t Eaten for a Long Time, you can get an idea of what to expect when a lizard goes without food for too long and how to support them.

Impact on health and behavior

Prolonged food deprivation can have devastating effects on the body. Muscle waste, fatigue, dizziness, and organ dysfunction are all common. Mentally, you may experience mood swings, irritability, depression, and even hallucinations.

Metabolic processes break down stored fats to get energy. This leads to rapid weight loss and health problems, such as anemia and vision impairment. Malnutrition also makes you more susceptible to infection.

People have faced long-term starvation throughout history. Nazi concentration camps during WWII saw prisoners go days without proper sustenance, leading to malnutrition and weakened immunity. Young children are especially vulnerable to malnourishment.

Skipping meals is one thing, but going for days without food is another – it’s a sign of distress and a great way to get malnourished.

Signs of malnourishment and starvation

Cutting down on food can bring about malnourishment and starvation. This can cause various health complications, like:

  • Weight loss;
  • Weakness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Dizziness;
  • Constipation or diarrhea;
  • Hair loss.

Dry or pale skin, poor immune systems, and low blood sugar are other signs. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and pica sufferers have a higher risk. If any of these symptoms persist, see a doctor!

Also, if your pet lizard isn’t eating, don’t worry. They likely don’t have a political motive.

How to help a Lizard that hasn’t eaten for a long time

Assisting a Lizard that hasn’t eaten in a while needs special care. Feeding it too much, too quickly can make things worse. Firstly, figure out why it’s not eating. Give it fluids to stop dehydration.

Also, give it small portions of easy-to-digest food, like crickets or mealworms. Try different ways of feeding and keep track of its progress. Mist it or give it a bath to help digestion. Every Lizard is different, depending on its species and age. Talk to a vet to find out the right diet and feeding plan for your Lizard.

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As an example, a pet owner had troubles feeding his Lizard. So he asked a professional. Turns out, his Lizard needed regular meals of gut-loaded insects to get the weight back. Be warned: the only thing more dangerous than prolonged starvation is reading articles about it during your lunch break!


Lizards need food to survive. How long they can last without it depends on the species and size. Some can go up to two weeks, while others for only a few days. Offer your pet lizard the right diet regularly for good health.

Age, sex and health also affect how long without food. Young lizards need more frequent meals. Older or pregnant females may require more.

They cannot live on water alone. Protein and other nutrients must be part of their diet. Otherwise, they may get sick due to lack of food.

In the past, wild lizards survived droughts due to stored water and passing insects. But don’t risk it with your pet exotics. Don’t starve them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can lizards really go without food for a long time?

A: Yes, some species of lizards can survive without food for weeks or even months!

Q: How do lizards manage to survive without food?

A: Lizards have slow metabolisms and can slow down their body functions to conserve energy and water. They also store fat in their tails which they can draw upon during times of scarcity.

Q: Are there any risks of starvation for lizards?

A: Yes, prolonged periods of starvation can weaken the lizard’s immune system, making it more susceptible to diseases and infections. It can also lead to organ damage and even death in extreme cases.

Q: Can I deliberately not feed my pet lizard if I go away for a few weeks?

A: No, it’s not recommended to intentionally starve your pet lizard. Lizards need to eat regularly to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Q: How long can different types of lizards last without food?

A: It varies based on the species and size of the lizard. For example, bearded dragons can go without food for up to 2 weeks while leopard geckos can go for up to 2 months without food.