10 Succulents that Reptiles can Safely Eat.
And 10 They Can't!

Succulents are water retaining plants that are enjoyed by most reptiles. Keep reading to find out which ones are good for your reptile.

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Jimena Bolívar

May 14, 2021


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Introduction

Reptiles love munching on plant leaves, especially succulents. The thick and tender leaves of these plants provide them with a delicious snack. However, with a variety of succulent types out there in the wild, it can be quite tricky to determine which ones are safe for your reptile.

Reptiles can safely eat: Aeonium, Schlumbergera, Haworthia, Echeveria, Stapelia, x Pachyveria, Lithops, Sempervivum, and Dragon Fruit. Toxic succulents include: Jade plant, Silver Dollar plant, Aloe vera, Snake plant, Kalanchoe, Pencil cactus, Crown of thorns, String of Pearls, Peyote and Stonecrop.

What Succulents Can Reptiles Eat?

Succulents such as Aeonium, Schlumbergera, Haworthia, Echeveria, Stapelia, x Pachyveria, Lithops, Sempervivum, Prickly Pear, and Dragon Fruit are safe for reptiles.

Reptiles love munching on plant leaves, especially succulents. The thick and tender leaves of these plants provide them with a delicious snack. However, with a variety of succulent types out there in the wild, it can be quite tricky to determine which ones are safe for your reptile.

Here is a table listing the succulents that reptiles can eat and their scientific names:

Succulents that Reptiles Can Eat Scientific Names
Tree houseleek Aeonium
Christmas cactus Schlumbergera
Zebra cactus Haworthia
Mexican snowball Echeveria
Zulu Giant Stapelia
Little Jewel x Pachyveria
Living stone Lithops
Houseleek Sempervivum
Prickly pear Opuntia
Dragon fruit Hylocereus undatus

1. Aeonium’ Tree houseleek’

An image of aeonium

  • Scientific Name: Aeonium
  • Common Names: Tree houseleek
  • Native to: Canary Islands
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Genus: Aeonium

Aeoniums are succulents that are found in dry climates. They have distinct large and thick petals. They vary in size depending on the region where they grow. Those that grow in Morrocan soil have different features than those of the Canary islands.

They are considered to be safe for reptiles since they don’t have any toxins.

2. Schlumbergera’ Christmas cactus’

An image of christmas cactus

  • Scientific Name: Schlumbergera
  • Common Names: Christmas cactus, Crab cactus
  • Native to: south- eastern Brazil
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Schlumbergera

Christmas cacti usually have lilac flowers. These succulents can grow up to 12 inches in size. They are typically easy to grow and take care of. They require warmer temperatures to bloom.

The Christmas cactus is a nutritious succulent for most reptile species. They are safe for reptiles since they don’t have spines on the stem.

3. Haworthia’ Zebra cactus’

An image of zebra cactus

  • Scientific Name: Haworthia
  • Common Names: Zebra cactus, Pearl plant, Star window plant, Cushion aloe
  • Native to: Southern Africa
  • Family: Asphodelaceae
  • Genus: Haworthia

Haworthias don’t require too much sun and are known to flourish under indoor lighting. They keep growing at a slow rate. They typically require a neutral soil pH.

They are considered to be safe for reptiles because of their non-toxicity. Since they are easy to grow, Haworthias are one of the best choices for you if you have a reptile at home.

4. Echeveria’ Mexican snowball’

An image of echeveria.

  • Scientific Name: Echeveria
  • Common Names: Mexican snowball, Hens, and chicks
  • Native to: Central America, Mexico, and north-western South America
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Genus: Echeveria

Echeveria requires a lot of sunlight. Their flowers have a lasting period of up to two weeks. These often have a variety of colors, such as pink and orange. If you’re interested in propagating them, leaf cuttings are among the most common methods for propagation.

Reptiles enjoy the thick fleshy leaves of the Echeveria. These succulents are non-toxic and are safe to eat for all reptiles.

5. Stapelia’ Zulu giant’

An image of stapelia gigantea.

  • Scientific Name: Stapelia
  • Common Names: Zulu giant, Carrion flower, Toad plant
  • Native to: South Africa
  • Family: Apocynaceae
  • Genus: Stapelia

These starfish-shaped succulents are adapted for indirect sunlight. Warmer temperatures and well-drained soil are essential for their growth.

They are considered to be safe for reptiles. Their stench may drive humans away but attracts reptiles.

6. x Pachyveria ‘Little jewel’

An image of pachyveria or little jewel plant

  • Scientific Name: x Pachyveria
  • Common Names: Little jewel, Exotica
  • Native to: Central America, Mexico
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Genus: x Pachyveria

The hybrid succulent, x Pachyveria, has a variety of leaf structures. It requires a lot of sun and thrives in well-drained soil. These succulents are typically in high demand in the plant market.

They are a non-toxic snack for reptiles. They don’t require much care to thrive and make a good choice for an indoor plant.

7. Lithops’ Living stone’

An image of lithops

  • Scientific Name: Lithops
  • Common Names: Living stone, Split rocks
  • Native to: Southern Africa
  • Family: Aizoaceae
  • Genus: Lithops

Lithops are easy to take care of, primarily because of their small size. They usually have a slow period of growth. They don’t require a lot of water as well.

They are not considered to be toxic to reptiles. It is safe to keep them around your house if you own a reptile.

8. Sempervivum’ Houseleek’

An image of aeonium.

  • Scientific Name: Sempervivum
  • Common Names: Houseleek, Liveforever, Hen, and chicks
  • Native to: Morocco, Iran, Turkey, Sahara desert
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Genus: Sempervivum

Houseleeks are one of the most common houseplants. They can be grown both indoors and outdoors. They are relatively easy to propagate as well.

They are non-toxic and are safe for reptiles.

9. Opuntia’ Prickly pear’

An image of prickly pear cactus

  • Scientific Name: Opuntia
  • Common Names: Prickly pear
  • Native to: Americas
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Opuntia

Prickly pears are one of the most popular succulents. They are safe to consume after their spines are removed. They usually grow in warmer climates and are easy to propagate.

They can be appetizing for most reptiles. In fact, the Prickly pear is a personal favorite of iguanas.

10. Dragon fruit ‘Hylocereus undatus’

An image of dragon fruit.

  • Scientific Name: Hylocereus undatus
  • Common Names: Dragon fruit, pitaya
  • Native to: Americas
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Selenicereus

A tropical fruit, the Pitaya or Dragon fruit is a rich source of fiber. Native to the Americas, this cactus can even be grown indoors. It usually reaches its full potential in dry climates.

It is an edible snack for reptiles and most animals as well.

What Succulents Can Reptiles Never Eat?

Succulents that are not safe for reptiles include: Jade plant, Silver Dollar plant, Aloe vera, Snake plant, Kalanchoe, Pencil cactus, Crown of thorns, String of Pearls, Peyote and Stonecrop. However, their poisonous content may vary depending on the type. Stonecrop is one of the least poisonous ones.

Warning!

If your reptile eats a plant that is toxic for it, it will show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and an irregular heartbeat, rush to the vet immediately for their safety!

Here is a table listing the succulents that reptiles cannot eat and their scientific names:

Succulents that Reptiles Cannot Eat Scientific Names
Jade plant Crassula ovata
Silver Dollar plant Lunaria annua
Aloe vera Aloe barbadensis miller
Snake plant Dracaena trifasciata
Widow’s thrill Kalanchoe
Pencil cactus Euphorbia tirucalli
Crown of thorns Euphorbia milii
String of pearls Senecio rowleyanus
Peyote Lophophora williamsii
Stonecrop Sedum

1. Jade plant

An image of jade plant.

  • Scientific Name: Crassula ovata
  • Common Names: Jade plant, money plant
  • Native to: South Africa, Mozambique
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Genus: Crassula

This succulent often makes a lovely decoration piece since it resembles a miniature tree. The Jade plant can grow easily at room temperature. It can tolerate dry climates as well.

Although not toxic to all reptiles, the Jade plant can pose a serious threat to some species.

2. Silver Dollar plant

An image of silver dollar plant.

  • Scientific Name: Lunaria annua
  • Common Names: Silver Dollar plant, Annual honesty
  • Native to: South-west Asia, Balkans
  • Family: Brassicaceae
  • Genus: Lunaria

This flowering plant has unique features such as thin stems and resembles paper. They reach their full potential in eight months. This plant can grow up to 36 inches.

This succulent has unknown toxins that can be harmful to pets including reptiles. It is best to keep your reptile away from this one.

3. Aloe vera

An image of aloe vera

  • Scientific Name: Aloe barbadensis miller
  • Common Names: Aloe vera
  • Native to: Arabian Peninsula
  • Family: Asphodelaceae
  • Genus: Aloe

The common succulent species, Aloe vera, is a popular ingredient in skincare products. The plant is easy to grow since it requires low maintenance conditions. Well-drained soil and direct sunlight are adequate conditions.

However, it is toxic for many reptiles with a few exceptions being bearded dragons and ball pythons. It is best not to take any risks with this plant.

4. Snake plant

An image of snake plant.

  • Scientific Name: Dracaena trifasciata
  • Common Names: Snake plant, Saint George’s sword
  • Native to: West Africa, Nigeria
  • Family: Asparagaceae
  • Genus: Dracaena

This flowering plant is considered to be one of the most tolerant plants. They can survive in low light conditions and help keep the air inside your house clean. They can easily be propagated through leaf cuttings.

This plant can be toxic for your reptile if consumed in large quantities. It can cause digestive problems such as diarrhea and vomiting.

5. Widow’s thrill

An image of window thrill’s plant

  • Scientific Name: Kalanchoe
  • Common Names: Widow’s thrill
  • Native to: Madagascar
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Genus: Kalanchoe

This tropical plant species was one of the first plants that were sent to outer space. It sprouts a variety of bright flowers. It typically requires temperatures above 40 degrees celsius.

Toxic to most animals, Kalanchoe can cause digestive problems in reptiles as well. It can cause an increased heart rate if consumed in large quantities.

6. Pencil cactus

An image of pencil cactus.

  • Scientific Name: Euphorbia tirucalli
  • Common Names: Pencil cactus, Indian tree spurge
  • Native to: Africa
  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • Genus: Euphorbia

The Pencil cactus is a small tree that thrives in dry climates. Its unique features include several thin pencil-like stems. It can grow easily in low water and bright light conditions.

When injured, this plant produces a poisonous sap which can cause inflammation and stomach problems in both humans and animals including reptiles.

7. Crown of thorns

An image of crown and thorn plant

  • Scientific Name: Euphorbia milii
  • Common Names: Crown of thorns, Christ plant
  • Native to: Madagascar
  • Family: Euphorbiacea
  • Genus: Euphorbia

The Crown of thorns produces compact disc-like flowers. This succulent can thrive in extremely warm conditions. It is relatively a low maintenance plant.

However, its long spines can pose a threat to both humans and animals. It also produces a toxic sap which can cause digestive problems.

8. String of pearls

An image of string of pearl’s plant.

  • Scientific Name: Senecio rowleyanus
  • Common Names: String of pearls, string of beads
  • Native to: South-west Africa
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Genus: Curio

The String of pearls plant has distinct long branches of beads which make it easy to identify. Its leaves are adapted to retain water in dry climates. Subsequently, it can thrive without water for longer durations of time.

This succulent is poisonous for most animals and humans. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea if consumed.

9. Peyote

An image of peyote.

  • Scientific Name: Lophophora williamsii
  • Common Names: Peyote
  • Native to: Mexico
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • Genus: Lophophora

Peyote is a spineless flowering cactus that is native to Mexico. It can thrive in the harsh conditions of a desert. It is often used for medicinal purposes.

It can be toxic to reptiles when ingested. It contains unknown toxins that can produce unpleasant side effects in most animals.

10. Stonecrop

An image of stonecrop plant.

  • Scientific Name: Sedum
  • Common Names: Stonecrop
  • Native to: Africa and South America
  • Family: Crassulaceae
  • Genus: Sedum

These flowering plants thrive in outdoor gardens. Sedums can grow anywhere since they don’t require much care. They produce a variety of flowers which attract insects and birds.

They are considered to be non-toxic. However, feeding Sedums to your reptile is not a good idea since they’re not a rich source of nutrients.

Conclusion

Succulents such as Aeonium, Schlumbergera, Haworthia, Echeveria, Lithops and Stapelia are safe for reptiles. Some of those that pose a serious threat include: Jade plant, Aloe vera, Pencil cactus and Snake plant.

If you want to learn more about cacti, please feel free to check out our special post about types of cacti

How Many Types of Cactus Are There? The Best Ones You Can Get!

Cacti are brilliant plants that can thrive without using too much water. Read ahead to learn about the different types of cacti!

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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