If your reading this guide you obviously care about your pet! There's nothing I love more than knowing people are doing their research before mistreating their little creature. Make sure you go through the Diet and Food information to learn more about:
As carnivores, these creatures eat a varied diet of insects. While some larger chameleons will feed on lizards and birds, most enjoy insects such as locusts, stick bugs, crickets, and grasshoppers. However, some eat a small quantity of flowers and plants. Chameleons use their long, sticky tongues to catch insects. When it sees an insect, it quickly snaps its tongue and creates a suction force that allows it to pull the insect. Because it moves so slowly, it relies heavily on its camouflage and keen eyesight to sneak up on prey.
Just like other insectivores, chameleons feed largely on insects. As soon as you get a chameleon as a pet, you should regularly provide it with food even if it is not comfortable eating yet. Some of the insects it will feed on include crickets, meal worms, and roaches, among others. These insects are relatively available online, in pet stores and are not costly. You can also use silk worms and wax worms to treat your pet every once in a while, or to add a little variety to its diet. However, since these insects are a bit fatty, avoiding feeding you chameleon with worms too often. If possible, gut load your insects first before feeding them to reptile. This will ensure that they get the required vitamins and nutrients that they need to develop.
Some chameleon species such as the veiled may occasionally feed on plants in addition to insects. It’s, therefore, important to make sure, if using live plants, that they are not toxic. The best plants for their habitat include Pothos, Ficus, Schefflera, and Hibiscus plants. However, before introducing the plant inside the cage you need to prep it well since pesticides and fertilizer used in the nurseries are highly toxic. The same plants, vegetables, and fruit that you use for gut loading your insects can be fed directly to your chameleon. If your pet likes eating plant matter, try giving it kale, collard, leafy greens, fruits, sliced vegetables, and berries. Before giving it the food, ensure that you chop it into the small bits that it can chew easily. Remember, you should never feed your chameleon anything larger than the gap between its eyes.
If you keep larger chameleons, mice are quite a good option. You can add these to its diets because they are a good source of vitamins and nutrients. Since some mice are quite fatty, your pet should only feed on them occasionally. If you are freaked out about feeding your pet a little mouse, no worries, it will do fine without! Giving it mice once or twice in a month should suffice. As a human way of feeding your pet, ensure that you use pre-killed mice. Frozen mice are cheap, can be stored for long, and thawed in warm water whenever you decide your little pet has been on his best behavior. Before feeding your pet, ensure that it is completely thawed and is close to room temperature. Large species of chameleons also seem to do well when offered mice every month, due to the fact that mice are an amazing source of calcium. However, do not use an adult or fuzzy mice. This is because they chew their food alive hence may be injured by the rodent.
Because food is very important to chameleons you need to provide your pet with a variety of foods. Feeders, in short, are special meals to vary your pet's diet. Some of these feeders are more practical to get and keep hence finding them should not be a problem. Remember, a good nutrition is very important for the well-being of your pet. In their natural habitats, chameleons have access to hundreds of different insect species. It’s, therefore, very important to offer it the largest selection of prey possible and ensure that it’s as nutritious as possible. If you feel that your feeders are not nutritious you can practice gut loading as this will ensure that it gets all the necessary nutrients.
If you are new to keeping chameleons, you may be wondering about the obsession of giving it proper nutrition through gut loading. Why all the talk about gut loading? Why is there a need to gut load its food before feeding it? Well, in their natural habitat, chameleons get all their nutrients from a variety of insects that they feed on. The insects they feed on, in turn, get all of their vital nutrition from feeding as well. Hence, in order for your chameleon to have a balanced diet, they need the same nutrients in captivity that they would receive in the wild.. Gut loading is, therefore, the process of feeding the pet’s prey on nutritious foods so that the pet can benefit from the same.
You want your little guy to be happy and healthy right? Well it's important for you to learn what kind of foods you put into his little belly. Do not feed your crickets or feeders anything that you would not directly feed your chameleon. You need to use high-quality fruits and veggies to provide your feeders with additional food and moisture. The fresher the food, the better. However, you should avoid foods that are rich in oxalic acid because it may end up binding nutrients such as magnesium, sodium, iron, and calcium and prevents their absorption by the body. Some of the best gut loading ingredients include:
Dangerous Ingredients to Gut Load
If you want to gut load your insects it’s very important to use not only valuable ingredients, but non-toxic ones as well. When choosing your gut load you need to check the ingredients and the amount of each ingredient that you will use. While many gut load formulas have useful ingredients, others have too many useful ingredients. Like your mom used to say, "everything in moderation." While choosing your gut load ingredients, look at the levels of vitamin A, sodium, phosphorus and calcium. If you notice that your gut-load ingredient is moldy, smelly, or rancid discard it immediately. Some of the most dangerous ingredients include:
While in the wild, chameleons eat a variety of insects, in captivity they do not get all the diet that they require. It’s, therefore, important to give chameleons a variety of crickets and other diets that have been gut loaded to ensure that they get enough nutrients and vitamins. Ensure that you offer them live insects so that they can hunt for them. Remember, a live insect excites the pet. However, if it is having difficulty with this method, feed them using a cup.
One of the best ways to ensure that your pet is getting enough nutrients is to give them additional supplements so that they can stay healthy. Some of the best supplements include:
If you wish to keep chameleons it’s very important to do some research so as to know what they eat. You should also know the type of species that you intend to keep. While some species feed on a lot of insects others do not. Also, species such as Flap-neck must be given a lot of minerals and vitamins for them to grow strong and healthy. However, when it comes to feeding chameleons, you must be very keen on variety otherwise, they might lack some nutrients. You need to remember that each species has its own diet.
Veiled chameleons should be put on a diet of crickets. However, you should ensure that the crickets are not wider than their heads. Babies and juvenile should be fed twice a day but as they grow old you need to feed them less frequently. To help promote proper growth and health, it’s important to supplement these with vitamins and calcium. You can also gut load the insects to make them more nutritious. While your veiled chameleon is growing it should be fed once or twice a day. You should also give it greens and vegetables once or twice a week. However, an adult veiled chameleon appetite is not as demanding as when they are young, therefore, you can minimize its feeding schedule to once every two days as not to overfeed. Remember, when they refuse to eat vegetables you should not be bothered since they are known to only feed on insects in the wild.
Jackson chameleons depend heavily on a variety of insects such as crickets, flies, and meal worms. While some eat vegetables this is not very common. These little animals can grow up to 13 inches and live up to 10 years while they are in captivity. However, for young hatchlings it’s important to get a good baby food jar. For small youngsters insert a small stick and extend it up to the food so that they have the ability to reach the food. However, it should not touch the bottom since the insects might easily climb out and escape. Remember to feed your insects with a variety of vegetables and fruit that is covered more heavily in the gut loading section above. While feeding them, do not forget about calcium and vitamin supplementation.
The best diet for a panther chameleon is a varied diet. Although crickets are their main staple food, super worm, silk worms, wax worms, roaches, and stick bugs should also be offered. You also need to give them calcium at least 3 times a week. As compared to other chameleons, panther chameleons will readily eat any feeder insects. Some of the common insects that they feed on include super worms, crickets, wax worms, butter worms, roaches, and flies. Since each one of them has its own advantages and disadvantages, you need to be sure to give your pet variety of meals often. However, crickets are not only the easiest to catch but also the most common feeder. The rest of the foods should just be given as treats. You should feed your panther chameleon shortly after the day has started. Avoid feeding it in evenings or Nights. This is because they need the activity and the heat for digestion to take place.
First, it’s important to ensure that you are keeping the baby chameleon at the correct temperature and even have a good system for the water to drip. During the day, the temperature of the cage should be approximately 85 degrees. Apart from feeding them on appropriate gut loaded insects, give them some vegetable and plant materials. You should also try offering them turnips and collard greens. The most important thing is to offer them some vegetation and appropriately sized insects that cannot choke them. Pin head crickets should be their main source of nutrition
One of the most challenging things about chameleons is properly feeding them. Between offering a variety of insects and supplementation, taking shortcuts is very easy. Unfortunately, this can lead to an unhealthy and unhappy pet. You do not want your once cute little friend to turn into a grumpy, hissing hellion. As insectivores, chameleon diets consist mainly of insects. However, unlike other animals that feed on insects, they rarely eat dead insects. This means as part of keeping them you must care for their prey. More so, easy-to-buy insects are not the only good option when it comes to feeding chameleons.
In the wild, they have a variety of insects to choose from, but in the captivity, they only eat what you give them. In many instances, meal worms and crickets are not enough to keep your chameleon truly healthy and happy. Ideally, they need a larger variety to help them balance their diet well. Although it’s easy to rely on one feeder, it’s advisable to give them at least three different types of feeders. Some of the best choices include roaches, mantids, worms, moths, roaches, locusts, flies, and butterflys. You should also remember to gut load the insects that to ensure that they have enough nutrients.
While feeding your pet, you should also be careful about the digestibility of the feeder. While insects are invertebrates they have chitin that can make it difficult for them to be digested. Depending on the type of insect, this can be a major problem such that after eating it as food the poor pet can succumb due to poor digestion. It’s therefore, very important to be careful about this. Remember ti feed your chameleon before 10am to ensure it has plenty of time to digest the food in it's belly.
Apart from feeders, proper supplementation is also very important. The only challenge is that there are many products and some of them are much better hence choosing the best one can be challenging. On a regular basis, ensure that you dust the feeders. While chameleons need vitamin D3 they do not require this on a daily basis because it can lead to toxicity. Do not forget about giving them water. Since they cannot drink water from a container you must spray the plants with water so that they can take it as it drips.