If you want to have a pet chameleon and you have the question – what do chameleons eat? – this article will help you. Chameleons, the exotic members of lizard species, are kept as pets these days and if you are planning to keep one you should know about their diet.
In the natural habitat, chameleons can survive (eat) by their instinct. But if it is a pet you should also know what should not be fed to your pet. A wrong choice of food can be catastrophic. Chameleons are solitary creatures and they should not be fed the same way you would feed your German shepherd. Here I am trying to help you out with some ideas on what can be given to a pet chameleon.
Chameleons are generally known as insectivores – carnivorous by nature. Depending upon the size and type of the chameleon the type of insects can be different. But, most of the chameleons eat grasshoppers, crickets, silkworms, flies, and cicadas.
If you want to get a proper answer to the question what do chameleons eat you will have to consult your pet shop and get to know the species based information. For example, veiled chameleon prefers crickets more than any other insects.
When you feed your pet with insects make sure the number does not exceed than what is given in the diet chart. Because even though the insects are small they are filled with fat and hence overfeeding the chameleon is not a wise decision. You can also get gut-loaded insects (insects fed with nutrients) from pet shops.
Insects like house flies, beetles, and katydids are also favorite food for chameleon. It is not easy to catch these insects at home and feed your pet. Not only that, you have the risk of poisoning your pet with pesticides. So you have to depend up on the pet shops that supply these.
Just like insects, worms are also part of chameleon’s diet. You also can get worms from pet shops. Meal worms, earth worms, wax worms, and silk worms are the most commonly provided food for chameleons and will be readily available in pet shops. You may have to order some of these separately if they are not available in the shops.
While we’ve been discussing about what do chameleons eat, we missed about the quality of their food to meet the dietary requirements. Though you may feed the chameleons a regular dose of healthy food containing insects and worms, at times you may have to give them supplements of calcium and phosphorus.
Typically, chameleons need calcium to phosphorus ratio of 2:1. However, if the habitat of the chameleon is equipped with UVB lighting, you can reduce the calcium supplement.
Although insects is the main food of chameleons, they also take the occasional bites of leaves. Veiled Chameleons are known for their keenness to have leafy greens such as mustard greens, collard greens, and dandelion greens included in their diet.
If your pet chameleon is not having greens, you can try the method called gut loading. Feed the insects with healthy food like collard, rolled oats, melons, crushed bean, spinach or sweet potatoes before subsequently feeding them to the chameleon. This way he stands to benefit from the food that the prey insects have eaten.
What do chameleons eat other than insects and worms? Mice. While it is realistically impossible for smaller chameleons to guzzle down a mouse, larger ones can have an occasional pinkie mouse as a feast! Just be sure that the size is something that the chameleon can handle!
Along with the question what do chameleons eat, you should also have some knowledge about the water drinking nature of these pets. All animals need to keep their body hydrated and water is the one thing that is common for all.
But there are some know-hows while giving water to your pet chameleon. Most important fact is that they prefer water as drops. That too, you may have to give your pet a feeling that the water drops are from leaves or other things that are there in your pet’s habitat. You can use a steamer, or a dripper or a container that has tube and valve to spray the water onto the leaves which will form into drops. More on this you can find in our care sheet.
Feeding a chameleon in captivity is not an easy task. You will have to be really committed to continue feeding it so that it gets the best diet in the best conditions that it deserves.
Sometimes, even the ambience can influence its eating habits. While most of the items in the diet of the chameleon can be obtained from a nearby pet supplies shop, if you have to go a little bit farther or order any of the not so easy to get ones online, please do. After all you are raising a unique pet – that has unique needs!
For a complete step-by-step guide on how to care for your pet chameleon and what to consider before you even get one, check out Robert Jone’s “Chameleon Care Guide” at chameleoncareguide.com which is an 83 pages ebook full of detailed information.
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