What do Sudan plated lizards eat? When it comes to Sudan plated lizard feeding, the first thing that you need to know is that these lizards are omnivores, which means that they eat both animal and plant matter. In the wild, that includes arthropod insects, small lizards, fruits, and flowers, as well as some vegetation. Providing these foods in the correct proportions is key to the long-term health of your pet.
How much do plated lizards need to eat?
Sudan plated lizard feeding schedules depend on its age. Younger plated lizards need extra energy and nutrients to help them grow, so they need to eat more calorie-dense insects and small animals. Conversely, adult plated lizards are no longer growing and don’t need as much energy, so they eat more plants.
- Hatchlings (<6” long) — Insects daily, plants daily
- Juveniles (6-12” long) — Insects 5 days/week, plants daily
- Young adults (12-18” long) — Insects 3 days/week, plants 4 days/week
- Adults (>18” long)— Insects 2 days/week, plants 4 days/week, no food 1 day/week
The exact number of bugs that you should offer at each feeding is impossible to say exactly, due to individual variation. So here’s a couple of rules to use:
- Feed only as many bugs as your plated lizard can eat consecutively in 5 minutes.
- Bugs should be no larger than the space between the lizard’s eyes.
Skipping feedings may seem cruel at first, but remember that reptiles are built more efficiently than we are. They have evolved to need relatively little food to survive, so occasional “fasting” is good for them and helps prevent obesity. Overfeeding and over-supplementing, although well-meant, can kill your pet just as easily as starving it, so don’t give in when your plated lizard learns how to “beg!”
The key to a healthy reptile is feeding it a variety of foods so it gets a variety of different vitamins and nutrients, so as you look at the lists below, try to offer as many different types of insects as you possibly can.
Sudan Plated Lizard Food List
Animal-based Food Items
Safe for feeding regularly:
- Darkling beetles
- Dubia roaches
- Discoid roaches
- Snails (captive-bred only)
- Black soldier fly larvae
Treats (feed less than 1x/month):
- Pinky and fuzzy mice
- Pinky and fuzzy rats
- Small anoles
- Quail eggs
- Boiled chicken egg
Insects should be offered live, as plated lizards’ hunting instincts are triggered by motion. These can be offered in an escape-proof bowl, offered with soft-tipped feeding tweezers, or let loose in the lizard’s enclosure for hunting on its own. I don’t recommend doing the latter until you have a good idea of how many insects your pet can eat in one feeding.
Safe to feed often:
- Bok choy
- Cactus pads (spines removed)
- Collard greens/Spring greens
- Mustard greens
- Mustard cress
- Pea shoots
- Turnip greens
Safe to feed occasionally:
- Artichoke heart
- Beet leaves
- Bell pepper
- Carrot greens
- Cucumber, peeled
- Carrot, grated raw
- Clover (pesticide- and herbicide-free)
- Dandelion greens
- Lemon balm
- Mint leaves
- Squash, grated raw
- Sugar snap peas
- Swiss chard
- Yam, grated raw
When feeding your Sudan plated lizard vegetables, harder veggies should be sliced or cut into ribbons for easier eating. Leaves, however, can be left whole and present an enrichment opportunity for your pet.
Wild plants (aka “weeds”) can add some highly beneficial variety to your Sudan plated lizard’s diet (after a thorough washing, of course). However, not all found plants and flowers are safe for feeding, and some are deadly. So if you’re unfamiliar with the plants in your area or you’re in a highly urban area, it’s good to grow your own “wild” plants for your plated lizard to munch on even if all you have is a window box. Arizona Tortoise Compound and ProRep both offer excellent seed mixes for a very reasonable price. Use organic potting soil and no pesticides for optimally edible results.
Avoid feeding lettuce or spinach to your plated lizard. While neither is poisonous, lettuce can give your plated lizard diarrhea, and spinach contains a very high quantity of calcium-binding substances (oxalates) that can damage your lizard’s kidneys in excess.
Fruits and Flowers
Plated lizards adore brightly-colored fruits and flowers. However, they’re very high in sugar and calories, so Sudan plated lizard feedings of fruit should be fairly rare —no more than 1x/week. This makes them great for use as treats! I’ve noticed in my own experience that plated lizards seem particularly fond of red and orange fruits.
- Cactus fruit/Prickly pear
DO NOT FEED citrus fruits, as these are too acidic.
- Rose of Sharon
- Rose petals
DO NOT FEED flowers to your plated lizard if you do not know what they are or whether they are safe!
Dietary Supplements: Calcium, Multivitamins & Gutloading
Calcium, multivitamins, and insect gutloading are an essential part of proper Sudan plated lizard feeding and nutrition. Because you will be providing UVB lighting for your plated lizard, you will need a plain reptile calcium powder without phosphorous or vitamin D. Dust the calcium on all insect feeders by sticking the bugs in a plastic sandwich bag with a little bit of powder and shaking them around a bit. If the bugs look like powdered donuts afterward, you’ve used too much powder.
Dust all feeders for every feeding, although it’s okay and even encouraged to skip a dusting once or twice a month, as this helps prevent overdose.
The following are supplements and supplement combos that ReptiFiles recommends for use with Sudan plated lizards:
- Arcadia EarthPro supplement system (instructions here)
- Repashy Calcium Plus
- Miner-All Indoor + Repashy SuperVite
Use each supplement as directed by the label.
For more information on why reptiles need supplements, read our blog post: What You Need to Know About Reptile Vitamins.
Gutloading feeder insects
Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat”? Generally it’s used to encourage a healthy, balanced diet in humans, but it’s also very applicable to feeder insects. Which do you think would have more nutrition: bugs fed on oatmeal and cardboard, or bugs fed on vegetables and fruits? The latter, obviously! What your feeder insects eat directly affects the nutrition that your plated lizard gets by eating them, and the practice of giving nutritious food to feeder insects is called gutloading.
Even if you aren’t raising your own colony of feeder insects, it’s important to gutload any bugs you buy for at least 24 hours before feeding them to your skink. These are my preferred commercial insect gutload formulas:
Just add water!
What I like about these formulas is that they’re plant-based rather than grain-based, mimicking the insects’ optimum diet in the wild rather than just using cheap filler ingredients. The result? Delivering the very best nutrition to the reptiles that eat them. Avoid cheap insect gutloads like Fluker’s Cricket Diet, Orange Cubes, Nature Zone Total Bites, or anything similar. It’s poor quality nutrition for the bugs, and therefore poor nutrition for your plated lizard.
The best water to use for your plated lizard is tap water (assuming that the water in your area is safe for humans), spring water, or filtered water. Not distilled or softened. Here’s why.
A shallow water bowl should be provided, no deeper than up to your lizard’s back in order to prevent drowning. The water should be changed every other day or whenever it gets dirty.
- Introduction to Sudan Plated Lizards
- Shopping List
- Enclosure Size Requirements
- Enclosure: Lighting & UVB Requirements
- Enclosure: Heating & Temperature Requirements
- Enclosure: Humidity Requirements
- Enclosure: Choosing a Substrate
- Decorating the Enclosure
- Feeding Your Sudan Plated Lizard
- Handling and Taming Tips
- Common Illnesses and General Health Information
- Additional Resources