What Do Chameleons Eat?

If you’re going to take on the challenge of keeping chameleons, you have to feed them a specific chameleon diet to keep them healthy. Find out what chameleons can eat from the juvenile stage to adulthood.

Unfortunately, most of the insects you can purchase at pet stores won’t meet this requirement. If you have already equipped your pet’s habitat with UVB lighting, which provides vitamin D-3 and is necessary for the absorption of calcium, you can just supplement once or twice a week.

This should be sufficient to provide your pet with adequate calcium without running the risk of over supplementation. Feed your insects collard and mustard greens as well as other healthy foods like melon, rolled oats , sweet potatoes , spinach and crushed beans. Feeding schedules and amounts vary slightly between growing juveniles and adult chameleons.

According to PetMD , juvenile chameleons should have a constant supply of food, and you must be careful to feed them insects that are small enough for them to consume. Most enthusiasts find the pin-size crickets are just the right size, and baby chameleons readily accept them. PetMD suggests feeding a juvenile anywhere from 12 to 20 of these small crickets each day.

The temperature in your chameleon’s basking area should remain between 90 and 100 degrees F , and the ambient temperature in the rest of its habitat should be about 75 degrees F. While the heat helps your reptile digest food, UV light will help your chameleon produce vital vitamin D which in turns helps him metabolize and process calcium. You need a constant supply of fresh insects to keep your pet satisfied and healthy.

What can I feed my chameleon?

Feed your chameleon crickets, or waxworms daily. ….Dust insects with a calcium supplement twice a week..Veiled Chameleons should also get appropriate greens, such as collards or mustard greens, once daily. ….Chameleons do not drink from a dish.

What fruits and veggies can chameleons eat?

The Role of Fruit for Chameleons. To correct the problem, chameleon owners can feed the insects foods rich in vitamins before feeding them to the chameleon. Fruits such as apples and oranges are good choices, but the insects can also eat broccoli, carrots, collard greens, spinach and sweet potatoes.

Do chameleons only eat insects?

In their natural habitat, chameleons survive on a diet of insects, including grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts, but larger chameleons might consume small birds or even other lizards. There are also a few species of chameleons known to eat some plant materials to supplement their diet.

Can chameleons eat bananas?

Certain types of fruits can be a good supplement to a chameleon’s diet. Choose fruits that are high in nutrients and that possess a high calcium to low phosphorus ratio. Some fruits in this category are apples, peaches, blueberries, prickly pear cactus, mango, melons, bananas and cantaloupe.

Chameleons are members of the reptile family that are well-known for their remarkable ability to blend into the environment around them, which makes it easier for them to hunt prey and hide from predators. They mainly live in African rainforests and savannas and can sometimes be found in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In this article, youll learn what chameleons eat, how they hunt, and much more!

Chameleons diet is mainly made up of small insects, which are the primary source of protein. Greens like dandelions and escarole are also a part of their diet and provide a good source of hydration, vitamins, and essential minerals.

Smaller species like the veiled chameleon consume primarily small insects and vegetation. While in captivity, baby chameleons eat anywhere from 12-18 small insects a day, usually spread out into two feedings. Adult chameleons are opportunistic eaters in the wild, which means they eat as often as they can find prey.

Their eyes also move independently of one another and can see a full 360 view of the world around them, which allows them to search for and locate prey quickly. Once they are within a close distance, they quickly shoot out their sticky tongues to capture their meal in a snap.

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Fruit can also form part of your Chameleons diet, depending on the species. And in the UK, between online ordering from the likes of Northampton Reptile Centre , as well as private breeders of live-food on various Facebook groups (like mine Chameleon Network) the bug variety at your disposal is huge.

Flies Worms Crickets Slugs Snails Caterpillars Tree climbing rodents Diurnal geckos Agamas Small birds And being a treat item, feeding in excess will only lead to health issues like obesity and fatty liver disease. Please note, if you do decide that once a month its a good treat, make sure you feed only a pinky mouse/rat.

The pinky has soft bones, and a belly fully of the mother mouse/rat milk, so they are very high in calcium. slices of squash Sugar-snap peas Lambs lettuce Rocket Carrot Cucumber and Berries Although mine often eat these, I don’t actually leave a bowl of such in the enclosure as I know my bug routine and gut-loading program has the nutritional side of things well and truly covered.

A Panther Chameleon on the other hand will not eat greens or fruit. You’ll definitely notice a Chameleon feeding habits are often a little sporadic when adult. However, it can also be caused by parasites, a female preparing to lay eggs, incorrect setup parameters or the supplements used.

Diet: The remedy in this case is a simple one, offer more bug types. Of course, any prolonged food refusal can also mean illness so if no change after a number of days, book a vet check-up. Its perfectly normal, just make sure you have a dig/lay bin ready for her to dig in.

Or your UVB might not be within correct distance (see manufactures packaging for details or my article on Chameleon vivarium setups . Any of the above can stop a Chameleon eating, due to the major effect they have of food digestion. When you dust bugs in the calcium/vitamin powder its not supposed to be white as a ghost when fed.

It only needs to be a very light coating, so its worth blowing off any excess powder before feeding. I have found the Arcadia range of EarthPro-A and Calcium-Mg, due to the likes of the added bee-pollen, a taste a Chameleon (or any bug eating reptile) finds much more palatable. Mistings systems or a plant dripper work well for your Cham For me, I offer a few different hydration methods.

The main two sources are an automatic misting system (not a fogger) and a plant dripper. Automatic misting systems: The automatic misting systems I use are; the Mist-king and Exo Terra Monsoon which both do a fantastic job at getting stuff wet to offer drinking opportunities :-). Thus giving the opportunity for the Chameleon to walk through the foliage and drink.

Generally if the water is safe for us humans to drink then it’s all good for the Chameleons. Gut-loading in a nutshell is giving all your live-food a huge nutritional and hydration boost by feeding them the likes of quality greens, vegetables, fruits etc. Go with the likes of spring greens, Rocket, Squash, Lambs Lettuce, herbs, fruits, fresh vegetables, the list is honestly endless.

I put great care and thought into what I feed my bugs and I rotate food here also. This comes in powder type and is packed full of such items as Alfalfa, Bee-Pollen and many other things far too many to list. This not only smells a little like banana milkshake, but all bugs seem to enjoy it.

If youre a reader of Practical Reptile Keeping magazine, Gut Loading is something I covered in great detail in the April 2017 edition. The main reason in the reptile world, would be due to supplementation shortfalls. Your Chameleon would be most likely trying to gain nutritional content they feel they are lacking; Calcium, Magnesium etc so therefore a review of your current supplementation routine would be needed.

But of course, if your Chameleon is eating sand and/or soil by the mouthful I’d definitely say there are more pressing concerns, and a herp vet is needed as soon as possible. When it comes to the dietary requirements of your Chameleon, the old saying of you are what you eat has never run so true. Keep your Chameleon’s diet varied, so it doesnt get bored.

Staying hydrated = better digestion and eating also so find what works for your set-up in order to do such.

Gut Loading Insects

One way to do this is to dust the insects with a commercial vitamin and mineral supplement before you offer them to your pet, and it’s easy to do:

Feeding Schedule

Feeding schedules and amounts vary slightly between growing juveniles and adult chameleons.

Feeding Juvenile Chameleons

According to PetMD, juvenile chameleons should have a constant supply of food, and you must be careful to feed them insects that are small enough for them to consume. Most enthusiasts find the pin-size crickets are just the right size, and baby chameleons readily accept them. PetMD suggests feeding a juvenile anywhere from 12 to 20 of these small crickets each day.

Feeding Adult Chameleons

Adult chameleons should be fed insects every other day, and PetMD recommends feeding about 12 large crickets or five super worms on these days. You can also clip some leafy greens to a branch in their enclosures.

How Much Food to Offer

There’s no standard number of insects you should feed at a single feeding. Offer your pet a few bugs at a time and then offer him one more to see if he’ll take it. The size of the insects is naturally going to vary, so you can figure your pet will tend to eat more when you serve small insects. It will take few insects to fill him up when you serve larger bugs.

Temperature and UV Lighting Aids in Digestion

Chameleons need a lot of warmth to help them digest their food. The temperature in your chameleon’s basking area should remain between 90 and 100 degrees F, and the ambient temperature in the rest of its habitat should be about 75 degrees F. While the heat helps your reptile digest food, UV light will help your chameleon produce vital vitamin D which in turns helps him metabolize and process calcium. Without sufficient warmth and lighting, your chameleon will not likely thrive.

What Do Chameleons Eat?

Chameleons are insectivorous reptiles that commonly eat insects such as flies, crickets, grasshoppers. However, due to their environment, which can be food-scarce, they will also opportunistically consume vegetation from time to time too.Chameleons’ diet is mainly made up of small insects, which are the primary source of protein. Greens like dandelions and escarole are also a part of their diet and provide a good source of hydration, vitamins, and essential minerals.

What Do Different Types of Chameleons Eat?

Chameleons usually eat a healthy mix of insects and plants. Larger chameleons can even eat other animals like small birds and other small reptiles.Chameleons primarily eat foods like:

How Much Do Chameleons Eat?

The amount of food that chameleons consume depends on their age.Until their first birthday, chameleons require more food than adults. In the wild, their food variety can be scarce, so they will eat as much as they can when they can find it. While in captivity, baby chameleons eat anywhere from 12-18 small insects a day, usually spread out into two feedings.Adult chameleons are opportunistic eaters in the wild, which means they eat as often as they can find prey. If they can’t find food, they can survive for many weeks without eating as long as they have access to water. In captivity, they eat around 3-4 insects a day.Chameleons do not drink water from pools in the forest floor in the wild or dishes of water in captivity. Instead, they prefer to drink water droplets from leaves or water that drips from leaves after a rainstorm.

Chameleon diet in the wild

Chameleons can eat:In fact there are easily around 30+ different feeders.You have to remember that all the above vary in their nutritional content. So all crickets are not the same. Likewise with a roach, and worms. At their core value, they all differ.But again to ‘enhance’ this still you will be needing to gut-load those bugs. No matter what bug it is (see the gut-loading section).So remember, it is important to offer as many feeder bugs as possible.And in the UK, between online ordering from the likes of Northampton Reptile Centre, as well as private breeders of live-food on various Facebook groups (like mine Chameleon Network) the bug variety at your disposal is huge. So no excuses.

Chameleon treats

Out of the live-food’s listed above, a few of these are considered “treat” items. This is due to their fat content mainly.These would be Morio worms, Wax-worms, Butter-worms, Bamboo-worms and the Pachnoda grubs.And being a treat item, feeding in excess will only lead to health issues like obesity and fatty liver disease. So only feed two or three of these at a time as part of their varied diet.Another big debate is the pinky mouse/rat. Many say these are not to be given, others will say otherwise.Personally, I’ve fed a pinky once a month from time to time for a treat, or after one of my females has laid eggs for a calcium rich protein boost. And I’ve never had any digestion issues. And it would be a part of their natural diet, if the option presented itself.Please note, if you do decide that once a month it’s a good treat, make sure you feed only a pinky mouse/rat. Nothing bigger.The pinky has soft bones, and a belly fully of the mother mouse/rat milk, so they are very high in calcium.

Water for Chameleons

This is something I get asked a lot. And 90% of the time, it’s a simple case of ‘lack of variety’ in the diet. So the Chameleon has gotten bored of its daily boring live-food. However, it can also be caused by parasites, a female preparing to lay eggs, incorrect setup parameters or the supplements used.

Is tap water safe for Chameleons?

Generally if the water is safe for us humans to drink then it’s all good for the Chameleons. However, it’s worth mentioning that chlorine is an irritant. And Chameleons have very sensitive eyes.I personally use a water treatment with my water for my Chameleons.This is mainly out of habit being an Amphibian keeper too. And it’s vital you use a treatment to remove all chlorine from the water for those species. So several drops of ZooMed Reptisafe or Exo Terra Aquatize, does this for you.At the end of the day, whether you decide to treat the water or not, is up to you. The choice is yours.

Gut loading bugs for Chameleons

Gut-loading in a nutshell is giving all your live-food a huge nutritional and hydration boost by feeding them the likes of quality greens, vegetables, fruits etc. Thus filling their digestive systems with goodness. And when fed to your Chameleon that goodness is passed on to them.Go with the likes of spring greens, Rocket, Squash, Lambs Lettuce, herbs, fruits, fresh vegetables, the list is honestly endless. I put great care and thought into what I feed my bugs and I rotate food here also.You want good nutritional food items to be used, not just a piece of lettuce, which I have seen people do (this is not good).Treat those bugs as empty vessels of potential goodness and you have to fill those vessels with that goodness. Then give those full vessels to your Chameleon. Simple.Although bug digestion times vary from bug to bug, a good rule of thumb is to feed and hydrate those bugs for a good 24 hour period before you feed them to your Chameleon. This way, you can be pretty certain, the bugs have eaten, and have a belly full of hydration and goodness to pass on to the Chameleon once eaten.There are a few branded items that I recommend to assist you with the gut-loading process.My main go to gut-loading assist would be, Arcadia Insect-Fuel. This comes in powder type and is packed full of such items as Alfalfa, Bee-Pollen and many other things – far too many to list. And it can be sprinkled on the greens to add a huge nutritional boost. Or, add a little water to the mix, and it turns in to a damp kneed-able mix. And, it offers hydration in the process.To gut load crickets, you could use Nekton Cricket feed. This not only smells a little like banana milkshake, but all bugs seem to enjoy it. And as above sprinkle on your bug food, or supply in a separate dish for them.My only other item I use from time to time, Is Repashy Bug-Burger.This comes in a powder premix and you add boiling water. It sets firm and you can then can cut it up and provide it to your bugs. Again. The nutritional content is huge. So it does make a refreshing change for the bugs to consume.If you’re a reader of Practical Reptile Keeping magazine, Gut Loading is something I covered in great detail in the April 2017 edition.

Why is my Chameleon eating sand?

‘Geophagia’ (animals eating sand/soil/mud/rocks) is common in the animal kingdom. The main reason in the reptile world, would be due to supplementation shortfalls.Your Chameleon would be most likely trying to gain nutritional content they feel they are lacking; Calcium, Magnesium etc so therefore a review of your current supplementation routine would be needed.But of course, if your Chameleon is eating sand and/or soil by the mouthful I’d definitely say there are more pressing concerns, and a herp vet is needed as soon as possible.