Your Cham's Diet

Obtaining

More About Obtaining Feeder Insects

  • Ordering either over the internet or through mail order, or purchasing from a bait shop or pet store are good sources.

  • Another method of gathering food is a FIELD SWEEP. 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.

  • Another method similar to field sweeping is the use of traps. There are different types of traps for different areas and types of insects. Light traps, pitfall traps, and funnel traps work well. For more information on traps see below.

  • Breeding your own insects can be fun and interesting, and most insects are fairly easy to breed. This site has breeding instructions for many common feeder insects including crickets, mealworms, waxworms, superworms, pillbugs and more. One obvious advantage to this is you can bring them up on a healthy diet. (see GUTLOAD)

     
    Collection Tools

    Aerial nets are butterfly nets used to catch flying insects. They are usually constructed with muslin covering a metal ring with an end cone of nylon netting attached to the muslin. Aerial nets work well in the air but can easily be snagged and ripped when they encounter thorns, or twigs.

    Sweep Nets have a much stronger netting to gather insects that live on leaves or in the grass.  Sweep nets have plastic or heavy fabric covering the metal ring. The cone is made of heavy muslin.

    Solar Trap Light traps usually gather large numbers of insects that are  active at night and attracted to lights. They should be monitored if you want live material. The trap is constructed with a light above a container (5 gallon bucket) with a funnel set inside. The insects are attracted to the light, fall through the funnel into the container and cannot escape.

    Beating sheets are white or light colored square cloth stretched with two pieces of wood. This square is held below a plant while someone taps on the branches of the plant with another piece of wood. A light colored upside-down umbrella can be substituted for a beating sheet.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The pitfall trap is an adaptation of hunting techniques that date back to primitive man. It consists of a plastic cup with a funnel. A hole is dug in the ground, the trap is sunk into the soil and the mouth is level with soil surface. Many ground dwelling spiders as well other arthropods fall into the trap and are unable to escape.

    Make a Berlese funnel. Carefully cut a 2-liter bottle in half (see picture).

    Wet a folded paper towel  with distilled water and place it in the bottom.

    Invert the top half of the bottle into the bottom half to form a funnel.

    Cut a piece of hardware screen, a little bit larger than the neck of the inverted top, and lay inside the bottle. Cover the screen with a piece of gauze or cheesecloth.

    Gather soil from a garden, field or forest floor. Place one cup of it in on top of the screen in the funnel.

    Position the desk lamp closely over the funnel so that the light warms the surface of the soil. To escape the heat and light, the organisms will crawl out of the soil at the bottom and fall into the container below.

     

    Make a Light Trap

    A simple light trap can be made from a funnel, a round gallon can and a light. You can buy a large funnel or make one by cutting the bottom out of a gallon milk or detergent container. I made this funnel from a piece of poster board. Place the funnel on the can as shown in the illustration, and suspend the light slightly above the funnel. To make my trap I used a clamp light, 2.5 gallon can and a sheet of poster board. Insects that fly into the light bulb fall down the funnel and are trapped in the can. The spout of the funnel should be large enough to let the insects drop through it easily, but not so large as to let the insects fly out again. A few strips of one inch wide newspaper in the can will give insects a place to hide so they are less likely to try to escape. When getting the insects out of the trap, put the can and funnel together into your collection net before removing the funnel. This will prevent active insects from escaping.

    Home Made Fly Trap

    This is a home made fly trap constructed from a 2 liter soda bottle. The top 1/3rd of the bottle is cut off, flipped over and placed in the bottom 2/3rds. Put your bait in the bottom before replacing the top piece. You can use cat/dog food or anything that attracts flies. One option pictured uses the top to help prevent escapes. First, remove the inside seal )top inset) and discard it. Then, using a box cutter, carefully push the blade through the lid until it touches the table below it. Next move the blade and repeat the process. Do this all the way around the top (should be 5 times) stopping before the last cut. This should leave a "door" on the top.  Another option is to punch holes in opposite sides through both the top and bottom, thread a string through the holes and hang this from a branch. I put mine on top of a garbage can and a close look shows the fly entering the trap. The inset shows him trapped.

     

literature cited (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)Link will open in a new window.

Click to go to top of page