Are you interested in learning what chameleons eat in the wild and captivity?
Did you know some species of chameleons enjoy eating vegetables in addition to insects?
When you are starting to research chameleons, you will learn most are insectivores, but a few species of this reptile do like eating vegetables.
Once you have found this information, you might ask:
What vegetables can chameleons eat?
Chameleon species in captivity who like to eat vegetables can eat acorn squash, butternut squash, bell peppers, pumpkin, okra, sweet potato, zucchini, and cucumber, to name a few.
Keep reading this post to learn more about the vegetables your chameleon can eat.
What Vegetables Can A Chameleon Eat?
Chameleons will mostly eat insects and not much else, but some species will enjoy eating some vegetables directly from your hand or a cup placed in their tank.
Adding vegetables to your chameleon’s diet will help them get some of the vitamins and other nutrients they might be lacking by being in captivity.
When a chameleon is in the wild, they have access to many insects and even small rodents and reptiles.
This variety gives them ample opportunity to get all the vitamins and other nutrients they need, but getting all those nutrients in captivity isn’t as simple.
This is where adding vegetables can come in handy.
Below we have included a list of vegetables a chameleon can eat:
- Acorn Squash
- Butternut Squash
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potato
If you are unsure about feeding your chameleon a certain vegetable, be sure to do some research before trying.
Doing so will ensure you are safely adding items to the chameleon diet.
What Species Of Chameleons Eat Vegetables?
Chameleons have a diet primarily comprised of a variety of insects.
For the most part, chameleons will avoid eating vegetables and fruits, and greens altogether.
In captivity, you will find pretty much the only species known to feast on these items are veiled chameleons.
They developed their enjoyment of vegetables from their wild cousins, who have over time developed a taste for the foliage around them in the Arabian Peninsula.
As they wander in search of protein from insects, they will munch on leaves and flowers.
For veiled chameleons, the vegetables give them the benefit of added nutrition to their diet, along with moisture.
Since there isn’t always a lot of rainfall where chameleons live, and dry seasons are not uncommon.
Eating these moisture-rich items helps chameleons in the wild to avoid dehydration.
Will My Chameleon Eat Greens?
Leafy greens also contain a lot of great nutrients for your chameleon, and there are several options to try to give them.
As with the vegetables, offer these to them in a cup placed in their enclosure, or try to feed them to your chameleon by hand.
Here are some greens to try to get your chameleon to taste test:
- Mustard Greens
- Romaine Lettuce
Don’t be discouraged if your chameleon is not interested in any of these on the list.
Most chameleons will want to stick to a diet of insects, but these items are great to try.
You might find your chameleon loves adding any one of these greens to their diet.
Can I Feed My Chameleon Fruits?
In addition to eating vegetables, some chameleons, like the veiled chameleon, will enjoy snacking on fruits.
Fruit isn’t part of their diet in the wild, but chameleons in captivity can enjoy the occasional helping.
Here is a list of fruits to try feeding your chameleon:
If you want to try any other fruits, be sure to do some research before you introduce them to your chameleon’s diet to ensure they are safe.
What Should I Avoid Feeding A Chameleon?
When attempting to introduce vegetables, greens, or fruits into your chameleon’s diet, there are a few you should avoid for your pet’s health.
Avoid feeding your chameleon the following:
- Iceberg Lettuce
Some of the items are not good for your pet because of their high-fat content (avocados) or are too acidic (tomatoes).
In addition to being too acidic, tomatoes are from the nightshade family, so avoid feeding your chameleon both the leaves from the plant and the fruit.
What If My Chameleon Won’t Eat Vegetables?
As discussed above, it isn’t uncommon for chameleons to want nothing to do with veggies, greens, or fruits at any time in their life.
Even veiled chameleons might not always want to eat their vegetables.
So how can you get all those good nutrients into their system?
Indirectly feed your chameleon those vegetables by gut loading the insects your pet will eat.
Gut loading means you feed the insects’ vegetables, greens, and fruits, and once the nutrients are in their system, you feed the insects to your chameleon.
This way, your chameleon gets all the good stuff wrapped up in a neat little package of the insect they naturally want to eat.
Any items on the approved lists above can and should be fed to the feeder insects for gut loading.
You should feed the insects a mixture of two or three items from the list during each gut loading session.
This will guarantee that your chameleon will get a diverse sampling of nutrients as they consume the insects you are feeding.
While most chameleons will enjoy a diet of different insects, some species, like the veiled chameleon, will also find vegetables delicious.
Vegetables, including squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and more, are OK for your chameleon.
Remember, like people, chameleons will have varying tastes, and what one chameleon loves to eat, another will not.
Allowing your chameleon to try different veggies will help ensure they have a variety of ways to get their nutrition.