In his book, The Lizard Keeper’s Handbook (1997. Advanced Vivarium Stystems, Inc.), Philippe de Vosjoli explains at length how to select prey items of appropriate sizes to feed to pet lizards. I agree 100% with what he wrote. However, I must say that not all lizards apply these rules under natural conditions (I guess they were absent from class on the day that lesson was taught). Here are some photographs I took of brown anoles and Swinhoe’s tree lizards in my study area that preyed on prey items that most certainly did not fall within the ideal prey size categories.
1. An Anolis sagrei male with a large caterpillar.
2. An Anolis sagrei female with the remains of a grasshopper that she had had in her mouth when we captured her.
3. A Japalura swinhonis female that rushed in to grab a beetle grub that was exposed when we accidentally knocked over a dead betelnut palm (Areca catecha) in our study area.
4. A Japalura swinhonis male that captured an adult Clanis bilineata in the secondary forest in our study area.
And I believe that anyone who works with the brown anole (Anolis sagrei) would agree with me that these lizards can do some truly amazing things, as can be seen from the photos above. One of the most mind-boggling things I have found in the stomach contents of some of these lizards are centipedes. On one occasion I found a 43 mm long Chinese red-headed centipede (Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans) in the stomach of a brown anole male (SVL = 54 mm). Not only was the prey almost as long as the body length of the predator, but centipedes are venomous. It takes guts to take on such a meal!