Do you want to get a Chameleon for a pet, but you’re not sure what you need to feed it?
Are you a concerned Chameleon owner who wants to know the best diet for chameleons?
As with most pets, one of the most important things we can do as owners is to provide them with a stable and healthy diet. If you have a pet Chameleon, you may find yourself wondering:
What do pet chameleons eat?
When you keep a Chameleon as a pet, it’s mostly going to eat live crickets. These are an excellent source of food for the insectivore. Make sure the crickets are smaller than the distance between the chameleon’s eyes and feed them every other day as adults.
Check out the rest of the article for more information on Chameleon’s diet, health, and how to feed them.
How Often To Feed Pet Chameleons
As an adult, pet chameleons should be fed every other day.
This may not seem like a lot, but this is the way chameleons are meant to be.
If you feed them more than this, you may end up with an obese Chameleon.
This will shorten its life expectancy dramatically.
When you do feed the Chameleon, you should give it a 10 to 15 minute window to eat as many crickets as it can.
When this time is up, remove the crickets from the cage.
There are two exceptions to this feeding frequency.
The first is with baby chameleons.
When chameleons are infants and juveniles, meaning they’re less than nine months old, they should be fed every day and twice a day.
The extra protein is needed to help them grow to the size they are meant to be.
The other exception is during the cold season.
Chameleons don’t go into brumation or hibernation as some reptiles do, but they will slow down during the winter months.
When they start to move slower, you may want to lower the temperature slightly and reduce their feeding frequency to once every three days.
Do this for 2 to 4 weeks, and then gradually increase the temperature and feeding frequency back to every other day.
How To Feed Chameleons
Feeding chameleons is quite simple.
All you need to do when it’s time to feed is to put a few crickets in the cage.
Make sure the crickets are no larger than the distance between the chameleons’ eyes.
Anything larger than this may result in choking or impaction in the digestive tract.
These can cause major health issues.
Watch the Chameleon as it eats.
Place a few of the crickets directly in front of the Chameleon to activate its hunting instincts.
Once the 10 to 15 minute window is up, remove the crickets.
While crickets won’t bite at the chameleons, they may die or cause other problems in the tank.
If the crickets do die and the Chameleon eats them later, your Chameleon may end up getting sick.
Why Feed A Chameleon Crickets?
Crickets are the best choice for feeding pet chameleon hands down.
This is for several reasons.
First, crickets provide a good source of protein without being high in fat.
This is a much healthier choice than some other insects because the Chameleon doesn’t need a lot of fat in its diet.
They need more protein.
Second, the crickets are quite cheap.
For many pets, crickets are one of the staple insects in their diet.
This high demand has also resulted in a very high supply from pet stores and other food dealers.
As a result, you may buy crickets for much less.
Crickets are also easy to care for as insects.
They don’t make a mess, and they don’t bite back at you.
Some other insects will do this, but the crickets are quite gentle.
Their biggest problem is if they escape, they’re hard to find.
You also don’t have to spend a lot of time caring for them.
Just drop in their food in their container every day or so, and they’ll keep eating and living.
Crickets are also good for what we called gut loading.
Read more about this and the next section.
Making Crickets More Nutritious
The biggest complaint about crickets is their general lack of minerals and vitamins.
For reptiles, the biggest deficiency comes in calcium.
However, there are two things you may want to do to increase the amount of calcium your chameleon will get from crickets.
First, you should always just the crickets with a calcium powder supplement.
This will provide a little extra boost and minerals and vitamins needed for a healthy pet.
Check out this Rep Cal powder.
- Rep-Cal Ultrafine Powder Is An Excellent Source Of Calcium For All Reptiles And Amphibians
- Scientifically Formulated From 100-Percent Natural Oyster Shell Phosphorous-Free Calcium Carbonate With Vitamin D3 To Aid In...
- Mix with vegetables, fruits and pastes approximately 1/2 tablespoon Rep-Cal with 1/2 tablespoon herptivite per lbs of food
We recommend this because it’s affordable and also of high quality.
The second and more efficient way is to gut load the crickets.
Gut loading is when you feed the crickets a highly nutritious food 24 hours before feeding them to the Chameleon.
The crickets will then have a lot more nutrition in their system, making it easier for the Chameleon to absorb those nutrients.
Gut loading may be done with just healthier vegetables, or you may want to check out some gut loading food by Fluker’s.
- Allows insect-eating pets to benefit not only from the nutritional value of the insect itself, but from the insect's...
- Provides added calcium
This stuff works well as food, and it’s also affordable.
The problem with gut loading is it requires planning ahead of time.
For those who don’t want to do this, it’s OK to only gut load once per week and use the powder the rest of the feedings.
This should result in a healthy diet, as well.
Note: Loading your Chameleon up with calcium is important, but your pet won’t be able to absorb it unless it also has enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D comes from the sun and its UVB rays.
Make sure you have a dedicated UVB light for your pet on 12 hours per day.
Learn about why your chameleon may not be eating.
We hope you enjoyed learning about what a pet chameleon eats.
These reptiles are easy to feed with crickets and calcium supplements.
As long as you follow our recommendations on a diet, your pet has a much better chance of a long and healthy life.
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