Do lizards eat mosquitoes? (If Yes, How Many?)

By the time governments have implemented effective strategies to counter terrorist attacks and homicides, thousands of victims of the world’s realest killer will have died. And other people will have been infected with its deadly parasites. Mosquitoes are, to a greater extent, the single deadliest animal in the world, with an estimated 750,000 to 1,000,000 deaths directly attributed to them every year. 

Mosquitoes are a menace in nearly every country in the world. Perhaps their only important role in the ecosystem is food for other animals or amateurish pollinators. But these roles can effectively be filled by other species. 

The chemicals used to kill mosquitoes have detrimental effects on non-target species. Fortunately, mosquitoes have many natural predators that help lower their population. So, do lizards eat mosquitoes? Read on to find out.

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What Are Lizards

Lizards are one of the more than 5 000 species of reptiles that belong in the order Squamata, which also comprise snakes. These surprisingly cute reptiles are closely related to snakes, the biggest difference being that lizards possess legs, eyelids, and external earholes. However, some lizards, known as sheltopusiks, look so much like snakes because they do not possess legs. 

There are many types of lizards, from the massive monitor lizards, Australian Gecko, Blue Iguana, Gila monster, Jackson’s chameleon, Komodo dragon, and more. Research into the role lizards play in human ecology is very limited. In some places, lizards are an important source of food. Others harvest them for their skin to make leather goods, while others view them as pest control agents.

Do Lizards Eat Mosquitoes?

As mentioned before, there are many types of lizards on the face of the planet. Although they are often portrayed as insectivores, lizards have a highly varied diet. Few can be purely carnivores, and an even smaller percentage can be herbivorous or omnivorous. Large lizards such as monitors and tegus can be true predators, often preying on large farm animals with ease — but you’ll rarely find these at home as pets.

For the most part, pet lizards are insectivorous, eating a huge variety of insects and small invertebrates. Insectivorous lizards have specialized in catching and feeding upon a variety of worms, beetles, flies, spiders, crickets, and other insects. Lizards DO NOT typically feed on mosquitoes. Occasionally, they will eat the odd mosquito here and there. But these mosquito control services barely have any impact on the mosquito population. 

The bottom line is that lizards are not mosquito predators. Unlike small creatures like the little brown bat that has been found to catch up to 10 mosquitoes in just one minute, lizards do not play a significant role in keeping the mosquito population at bay.

What Eats mosquitoes

There are many effective ways to keep the mosquito population in your home or business under control. For instance, to safely eliminate mosquitoes and enjoy porch sitting, you can reduce the number of mosquito breeding sites by getting rid of all standing water around your home. 

Alternatively, if you want to keep the standing water (birdbath etc.), you can use mosquito control rings or pesticides that control mosquito larvae for a prolonged period.

The most effective way to remove and prevent mosquito invasions in your office is to engage commercial pest controllers. Another easy way to protect yourself from the diseases transmitted by mosquitoes is by increasing the number of natural mosquito predators in your yard.

Here is a list of predators you should attract to your yard to eat mosquitoes:

Dragonflies

Dragonflies have bulging eyes that cover most of their head surface. In fact, their eyesight is so good that it allows them to see both ultraviolet and polarized light. Experts describe these hawk-like eyes as having binocular vision, which makes them excellent hunters. 

Dragonflies feed on a huge variety of insects. They especially enjoy those found in water, and mosquitoes are an easy target. Dragonflies have an extraordinarily agile speed of approximately 30 miles per hour, meaning they rarely miss a mosquito target, even in mid-air. Better yet, younger dragonflies have a preference for mosquito larvae.

Birds

Most bird species are insect predators, so mosquitoes naturally fall prey. However, it is unclear how many mosquitoes a bird can eat, especially because they do not eat insects exclusively. Some claim that purple martins can eat up to thousands of mosquitoes in a single day. But these claims are yet to be fully substantiated.

Other bird species believed to eat large numbers of mosquitoes include red-eyed vireos, downy woodpeckers, common wrens, ducks, nighthawks, chirping sparrows, geese, and Eastern phoebes. You can put bird seeds in your porch to attract these birds along with their big appetite for mosquitoes.

Mosquito Hawks

You will be amazed to know that mosquito hawks are not mosquitoes, and they are not hawks either. Instead, mosquito hawk is a term that loosely refers to three types of long-legged and harmless flies: damselflies, dragonflies, and crane flies. 

Dragonflies are suckers for mosquitoes. Damselflies also have a big appetite for mosquitoes. Crane flies, on the other hand, tend to feed on mosquito larvae. But they don’t live long as adults to make any impact on the mosquito population.

Bats

Bats have a knack for catching mosquitoes. In fact, mosquitoes are a major part of the bat diet. Researchers of a 1960 study found that the little brown bats can eat as many as ten mosquitoes per minute in a period of several minutes. Based on these findings, we can safely conclude that bats can help cut down on mosquito numbers.

Spiders

Insects, including mosquitoes, flies, and moths, are a part of spiders’ diet. Spiders won’t actively hunt for mosquitoes. However, should a mosquito fly into their web, they’ll be happy to wrap it in their silk and feast on the free meal whenever they’re hungry.

Chicken

Chicken do eat mosquitoes—whenever they get a hold of them. But they can’t possibly eat so much as to impact the mosquito population. 

Fish 

Interestingly, fish is one of the most effective natural mosquito predators. Catfish, bass, goldfish, koi, and guppies have been shown to feed on mosquito larvae. Gambusia affinis, also called the ‘mosquito fish,’ aggressively feeds on mosquito pupae and larvae, making it the most effective species for controlling the mosquito population.

Final thoughts

Sometimes, lizards occasionally eat mosquitoes. However, mosquitoes are not a substantial part of lizard diet, and they’d rather feast on other insects like worms, beetles, spiders, and crickets. Lizards won’t eat enough mosquitoes to make an impact on their population. Fortunately, home and business owners can use other natural mosquito predators like bats, fish, and dragonflies to keep the mosquito population at bay.

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