How to Prevent Lizards from Eating Caterpillars

Lizards can pose a threat to the delicate balance of your garden’s ecosystem by preying on caterpillars. However, there are ways we can protect our caterpillars from becoming a lizard’s meal. By implementing a few measures, we can minimize the risk of lizards eating our caterpillars and foster a healthy environment in our gardens.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creating a caterpillar enclosure can help safeguard them from lizards.
  • Providing suitable food sources, such as potted plants or cuttings, ensures caterpillars stay well-fed.
  • Offering a diverse range of food for lizards can help deter them from preying on caterpillars.
  • Avoid feeding lizards toxic caterpillars, as they can harm the reptiles.
  • Continually monitor and adapt your approach to protect your caterpillars effectively.

Enclosing Caterpillars to Keep Them Safe

One effective method to prevent lizards from eating caterpillars is to create a caterpillar enclosure. By providing a secure space for your caterpillars away from lizards, you can ensure their safety and allow them to thrive. A great option for a caterpillar enclosure is a screen habitat, such as the Fresh Air Screen Habitat for Reptiles made by Zilla. This enclosure is made of black mesh screen, water-resistant PVC, and aluminum, providing a sturdy and protective environment for your caterpillars.

Alternatively, if you prefer a DIY approach or have specific requirements for the enclosure, you can build your own using wood or utilize a patio table. The key is to ensure that the enclosure is large enough for the caterpillars to move and grow comfortably. This will allow them to go through their life cycle undisturbed and reduce the risk of lizards feasting on them.

Creating a caterpillar enclosure not only safeguards your caterpillars from lizards but also provides you with the opportunity to observe their transformation up close. It’s a rewarding experience that allows you to witness the marvels of nature and contribute to the preservation of these beautiful creatures.

Sample Table: Features of a Caterpillar Enclosure

Feature Description
Material Black mesh screen, water-resistant PVC, and aluminum
Size Large enough for caterpillars to move and grow comfortably
Security Provides protection from lizards and other potential predators
Observation Allows for close observation of caterpillar transformation
Customizability Can be DIY-built or adapted to specific requirements

Providing Suitable Food Sources for Caterpillars

To attract and sustain caterpillars in your enclosure, it is vital to provide them with suitable food sources. One effective option is to use potted plants, which offer several advantages compared to cuttings. Potted plants stay fresher and healthier longer, providing a constant supply of nutritious leaves for the caterpillars. They also provide a more stable environment and can be easily moved or replaced when needed.

If you prefer using cuttings, it is crucial to take precautions to prevent drowning. Place the cuttings in containers with fresh water, making sure to puncture holes in the lids. Insert the stems through these holes, allowing the caterpillars easy access to the food. This method helps maintain a steady water supply while minimizing the risk of drowning.

Remember to regularly replace the plant cuttings or potted plants to ensure a continuous source of food for the caterpillars. This will help them thrive and grow into healthy adult butterflies or moths. By providing suitable food sources, you are not only ensuring the caterpillars’ survival but also contributing to the overall health and diversity of your garden ecosystem.

Table: Examples of Host Plants for Caterpillars

Plant Butterfly/Moth Species
Milkweed Monarch Butterfly
Parsley Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Dill Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Fennel Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The table above provides some examples of host plants that caterpillars of specific butterfly or moth species prefer. By including these plants in your enclosure, you can attract and support a variety of caterpillar species, contributing to the biodiversity of your garden.

Natural Deterrents for Lizards

dark greens

Lizards are attracted to a varied diet, including dark greens. By offering a diverse range of food for lizards, such as leaves, flowers, and eggs, you can help deter them from preying on caterpillars. Providing a variety of foods not only helps discourage lizards from targeting your precious caterpillars but also ensures a healthier lizard population in your garden.

It’s crucial to avoid feeding lizards toxic caterpillars, as they can harm the reptiles. While some caterpillars may appear harmless, they can pose a threat to lizards due to their toxic nature. To mitigate this risk, thoroughly clean and cut the caterpillars before feeding them to your lizard. This process helps remove any potential toxins, ensuring the safety of your reptilian friends.

When offering food to lizards, it’s important to provide a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. By including a variety of dark greens in their diet, such as kale, collard greens, and spinach, you can both satisfy their cravings and help deter them from preying on caterpillars. Be sure to research and consult with a veterinarian to ensure the food you offer is safe and suitable for your specific lizard species.

Dietary Recommendations for Lizards:

  • Dark leafy greens: kale, collard greens, spinach
  • Edible flowers: hibiscus, nasturtium, pansies
  • Eggs: hard-boiled or scrambled
  • Commercial reptile diets: pellets or moist foods
  • Small insects: crickets, mealworms, and waxworms
Food Item Benefits
Dark leafy greens Provide essential vitamins and minerals
Edible flowers Add variety to the diet and offer natural antioxidants
Eggs Offer a good source of protein
Commercial reptile diets Ensure balanced nutrition and convenience
Small insects Supply additional protein for growth and energy

By understanding the dietary preferences of lizards and providing a suitable range of foods, you can effectively deter them from preying on caterpillars and maintain a harmonious garden ecosystem. Remember to always prioritize the health and safety of both your caterpillars and lizards by offering a balanced and appropriate diet.


Protecting your caterpillars from lizards requires taking proactive steps to ensure their safety and well-being. By creating an enclosure, providing suitable food sources, and implementing natural deterrents, you can minimize the risk of lizards eating your precious caterpillars.

Creating an enclosure is an effective way to keep your caterpillars safe from lizards. Whether you choose a screen habitat or build your own using wood, ensure it is spacious enough for the caterpillars to move and thrive comfortably.

In order to attract caterpillars to the enclosure and keep them nourished, it’s essential to provide suitable food sources. Potted plants are a great option as they offer freshness, while cuttings can also be used if placed in containers with fresh water. Remember to replace the plant cuttings regularly to maintain a constant food supply.

Implementing natural deterrents is another important measure. By offering lizards a varied diet of dark greens, leaves, flowers, and eggs, you can help redirect their attention away from preying on your caterpillars. However, it’s crucial to avoid feeding them toxic caterpillars, as these can harm the reptiles. Clean and cut the caterpillars thoroughly before offering them as food for your lizards.

Remember, protecting your caterpillars is an ongoing process. Continually monitor and adapt your approach to ensure the safety and well-being of your caterpillars. By following these strategies, you can minimize the risk of lizards eating your caterpillars and maintain a healthy balance in your garden’s ecosystem.