Chameleon Diet: Know Why Feeder Insects Are Their Favorite Diet!

Oluniyi Akande
Feb 14, 2024 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on May 12, 2022
The chameleon is a distinct lizard, and here are facts about the chameleon diet.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.2 Min

Chameleons are among the most fascinating animals in nature.

These reptiles have a very interesting ability to camouflage themselves. More recently, these reptiles have become a popular choice among people as pets.

The chameleon is a very highly specialized lizard. They are among the most remarkable reptiles because of the very distinct ability that they carry. This is the body adaptation that allows them to blend into the environment that is around them. Essentially, what this allows a chameleon to do is evade predators and make it easier for them to hunt for prey.

Similar to other reptiles, chameleons lay eggs. These eggs are laid after a period of between three to six weeks. The amount of eggs that are laid at once is varied. For Veiled chameleons, the range lies between 20-200 eggs in a clutch, while for the Brookesia species, it may be between two to four in a clutch. It has seen an association be drawn between the size of the species and the number of eggs laid in a clutch. The larger species, such as the Veiled chameleons, lay more eggs in a single clutch.

What is a good diet for a chameleon?

The chameleon diet is one that is incredibly interesting.

A chameleon's diet is one that is built up of different facets, such as plants, vegetables, fruits as well as insects. A chameleon is omnivorous. In order for these reptiles to gain the nutrients that they need to survive in the wild, in their natural habitat, is gained through a diet that is a mixture of consuming plant-based food as well as eating veggies to make sure that they gain the necessary vitamins and protein.

An important food group to feed to your chameleon and ensure that they receive the necessary dietary fiber is to incorporate veggies into a chameleon's diet. Leafy greens are ideal food groups to feed your pet reptile. These include collard greens, mustard greens, endive, escarole, and dandelions.

While feeding your pet is one aspect, chameleons in the wild survive by making hunting a significant part of their life. Insects are an important aspect of gaining protein for chameleons. Apart from insects, other sources of protein are the different types of meat that they feed on. These can be pinkie mice. While these frozen feeder mice are cheap, you should not treat your chameleon to it regularly as they are high in fat. Treat your chameleon to these mice once in a while.

What fruits and veggies can chameleons eat?

Fruits are among foods that have some of the highest nutritional value. This nutritional value is what makes it one of the most healthy and viable foods for humans, but do these fruits provide the right kind of nutrition for chameleons?

Fruits can be a very useful form of providing your chameleon with supplements. It adds good supplements to a chameleon's diet. The consumption of fruit allows them to eat foods that are rich in nutrients. These fruits must have high calcium to a low phosphorous ratio. The different fruits that are good for the health of your chameleon are apples, peaches, blueberries, prickly pear cactus, mango, melons, bananas, and cantaloupe.

However, you must remember the fact that with good supplements comes the necessity of keeping in mind some things about feeding fruits to chameleons. While you may think that fruit will usually be healthy and only provide nutrition, eating a certain food might not be healthy for a chameleon's diet. It is advised that reptiles, in general, should avoid eating foods, especially fruits that can be too acidic or bitter for lizards, such as citrus fruits. The seeds and the core will not be a good supplement and is, in reality, toxic for reptiles. Make sure that when you feed your chameleon treats that are fruits, you cut away from the core of foods such as apples.

You can also feed your chameleon vegetables. Eating vegetables and plants gives chameleon nutrients. While not chameleons eat veggies, they may have veiled greens. These veiled greens are dandelions, collards, kale, endive, and escarole. Apart from greens, chameleons may also have carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, sweet red peppers, and zucchini.

Brown chameleon on a green leaf waiting for its prey.

How much do chameleons eat per day?

The more interesting aspect of the diet of this species of reptiles is how much they have to be fed every day.

Chameleon should be fed once every day. Gut loading is a process that comes into play. The insects that are fed to your pets are called feeders. Gut loading essentially sees these feeders be loaded up on dietary vitamins and protein. By gut loading, the insect that the chameleon eats is full of nutrients.

In order to supplement the insects that you will be feeding your pet with vitamins, you should be dusting the insect you are going to be providing as food. Place these insects in a small bag, and dust them with a thin layer of vitamins.

Firstly, calcium without Vitamin D3 should be used at almost every single feeding. Feed the insects calcium without Vitamin D3 only twice a month.

Can chameleons eat dead crickets?

So far, we have discussed the treats you can provide to your pet chameleon that are largely plant-based foods, but among the insects chameleons consume, are dead crickets a part of it?

Insects are an incredibly large part of the diet of a chameleon. Dead crickets can be consumed by a chameleon. In fact, dead crickets are among the best staple insects that this reptile can eat. Dubia roaches are also good for feeding. In addition to Dubia roaches, chameleons can also be fed hornworms and reptiworms.

All bugs are not necessarily good to be fed. Some bugs and invertebrates are not good for chameleons to eat regularly as they have a high-fat content. Some of these worms are wax worms, mealworms, and super worms.

One of the things that you must remember about these feeders is the way that you feed the chameleon. These bugs and worms should not be fed directly to your pet but be released into the reptile's enclosure in order to encourage it to hunt for the food, as well as encourage movement and staying active.

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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