Obtaining, Feeding, and Supplementing
It is not unusual for a chameleon in a new environment to go
on a hunger strike. They CAN survive without eating for several days, so do not
panic. Give them time to settle in and get acclimated to their new home. Avoid
contact both physical and visual except to attempt to feed and water
them if you see this. Offer them many different insects...VARIETY is the spice
of life. A chameleon may eat one food every day for a couple of weeks, then turn
his snout up at it. Try throwing in some variety.
the house cricket is one of the best food items. They are readily available and
easily gut loaded (see
breeding the house cricket page). meal worms, waxworms,
king meal worms, and silkworms are also used frequently and available thru the
Methods of Obtaining Feeder Insects
Another method of gathering food is a FIELD SWEEP
(see Grasshopper Sunday video). This is done by going out into a field with a net and brushing it close to the ground. Close it up or empty it into a collection container and sweep again.
BE CERTAIN WHERE YOU ARE SWEEPING IS FREE OF PESTICIDES Virtually any bug is FAIR GAME to a chameleon. Most chams will not eat the BLACK BEETLE that the meal worms turn into, nor will they
eat ladybugs. Experiment with your cham and see what they like.
Breeding your own insects can be fun and interesting, and most insects are fairly easy to breed.
Visit the Feeder Insect Main Page
for instructions on
breeding many different
species. One obvious advantage to this is you can bring them up on a healthy diet. (see
For more on obtaining visit
Notes on Feeder Insects
Methods of Feeding
One fun and interesting method of feeding is hand feeding
This is done by holding the bug either in forceps or your fingers, where the cham can see it. Give them time to find it and watch for the 5 phases of
feeding (see MYTHS, MISCONCEPTIONS, AND FOLKLORE PAGE for explanation and
Another method is to free range the prey insects or let them
loose in the cage. this method allows the chameleon to get exercise and to
HUNT (they are natural hunters) for prey. Be sure not to leave loose prey
insects in with a sick or injured chameleon. Some insects are very
aggressive and a sick chameleon often is not willing or capable of self
defense. This method can allow escapees if your enclosure is not tight
walled. It also makes it difficult to monitor the animal's intake, but the
hunting and exercise are both very beneficial to your animal.
Finally the last method I will cover, bowl feeding, involves
using a dish to place the prey insects in. You can use many different
dishes, but make sure the feeder insects cannot easily escape. The obvious
drawbacks to this method are that it does not allow the animal to hunt, nor
create exercise for them. It does make it easy to monitor how much is eaten.
This method is probably best used for emergency feeding of a sick animal, or
with new hatchlings.
literature cited (1,
/ Outdoor - Developed for Chameleons
Calcium Plus Cricket
Food, Bone-Aid Liquid
Calcium, Bone-Aid Calcium
Tablet, Solar Drops (Pure
Vitamin D) Hydro-Life (Electrolytes)
supplementation can easily be overdone, and should be used in a very
limited and tightly monitored regimen.
technique is to "gut load" your feeder insects with a healthy
is considered the best supplement by more chamowners. It was developed by a chameleon
breeder, especially for chameleons, with an indoor version (with D3) and
an outdoor version (without D3).
lighting system and frequent exposure to natural unfiltered sunlight is
safer than adding powdered or liquid
synthetic D3 supplements, the UVB wavelength allows all reptiles the
ability to regulate their own Vitamin D levels by endogenous synthesis as they
would in nature, and eliminates risk of vitamin D3 overdose (highly toxic) from
literature cited (1,