The legless slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus) is native to the mid and eastern regions of the United States. With the right habitat and diet in captivity, these lizards live up to 15 years and reach lengths up to 42 inches from head to tail. These carnivorous lizards need an ample selection of bugs and regular vitamin supplements to stay healthy.
The glass lizard spends its entire life as a carnivorous creature. In the wild, this reptile will eat any small animal it can fit into its mouth. Natural foods include beetles, crickets, spiders, grasshoppers, mice, eggs, worms, snails, lizards and snakes. Glass lizards are diurnal, hunting during the day, sometimes out in the open. According to Outdoor Alabama, “they hunt largely by sight, responding to moving prey.”
How Much Food
How much and how often you feed your glass lizard depends on the size and season. Smaller and younger glass lizards may need to eat several insects a day, while older adults feed only every other day. These lizards are naturally more active from spring to fall and may slow down or even stop eating during the winter months. Feed your glass lizard according to its needs, considering its age, size and the time of year. Lizards actively looking for food need more. Those ignoring their food need fewer offerings.
Invertebrates and Vertebrates
Glass lizards need a variety of food items offered. Some such as crickets, mealworms, and roaches can be purchased from the pet store. Worms, snails and grasshoppers can be collected from your own yard, if you do not use herbicides or pesticides in your yard. Insects from the pet store are generally not a nutritious meal for reptiles and need to be “gut loaded” first. This means keeping and feeding the insects a healthy food to fill the gut for a few days before using them as food. Pet stores sell cricket food for this purpose. Mealworms and roaches can be fed table scraps and dry dog food. Larger glass lizards will also take pinkie (newborn) or small mice, which you can purchase at a pet store or raise yourself.
Vitamin supplements help provide any missing nutrients in the regular diet fed to a glass lizard. A reptile vitamin dust, also found at any pet retailer that sells reptile supplies, sprinkled once a week on their food is all that is needed. Breeding females need their food dusted twice a week or they may have problems with egg development. The breeding season begins in early spring.
Glass lizards get much of their hydration from their food and environment. However, a clean water dish should be kept in the cage at all times for soaking, even if the lizard does not directly drink from it. Hydration is also provided by keeping the soil damp.
- “Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates: An Identification and Care Guide”; Patricia P. Bartlett, Bill Griswold, DVM and R.D. Bartlett; 2001
- Animal Diversity: Ophisaurus attenuatus
- University of Georgia: Eastern Glass Lizard
- Anapsid: Glass Lizard - Glass Snake - Legless Lizard
- Pet Place: Glass Lizard Tip
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