Feeder Nutrition & Gutloading

It is important to feed the prey insects well, in such a way as to ensure they provide the correction nutrients for your chameleon. This process is called gutloading the insects.

The "wet" portion of the gutload, which should be your principle gutload, can includes things like (switch it up with a different couple of items every other week): dandelion leaves, squash (butternut, spaghetti), hibiscus leaves and flowers, grape leaves, orange, papaya, carrot, alfalfa sprouts, mustard greens, romaine, spearmint leaves, arugula (rocket), basil, apple, mulberries , clover, garland Chrysanthemum, chickweed, cilantro, okra, a few blueberries, small amounts of raspberries, very small amounts of cooked quinoa, peas, sunflower sprouts, small pieces of steamed (then cooled) yam, leek bulb, Fuki, ... Fruits and veggies such as these are important both for the nutrients they give (via the insect) to your chameleon, and also because well hydrated prey results in a better hydrated chameleon.

The dry portion (the lesser portion) of a gutload can include (blend/grind fine with a coffee grinder or food processor): spirulina; dried seaweed/kelp/dulse; bee pollen; dried alfalfa; organic raw sunflower seeds; sesame seeds; flax seed; hemp seed; poppy seeds; fennel seed, dehydrated cranberry powder; beet powder; zucchini powder; dried Mulberries; fig powder; ground dried hibiscus; ground almonds; small amounts of ground brazil nuts; small amounts of ground/chopped beechnuts; small occassional pieces of oak leaves; small amounts of kale powder; small amounts of quality whole grain breakfast cereal (especially fortified, like GM whole gran Total); barley /oats / cracked rye /wheat germ / stabalized rice bran; small amounts of quality monkey, avian or ignuana food (read the ingredients, be cautious of too much Vitamin A or animal fat).

Limit your use of grains and other items higher in phosphorous than calcium (a little can be very good, a lot is not unless you compensate to fix the ratio). Good grain choices are stabalized rice bran and crushed whole barley.
Limit use of broccoli, beans (phytic acid), cabbage, bok choy, beet leaves, parsley, cassava, watercress, kale, collard greens, spinach, swiss chard, Soy/edamame , bran, buckwheat, almonds, rhubarb, sesame seeds, pine nuts, apricot, figs, kiwi, asparagus (anything high in phytates/Phytic acid, Oxilates/ Oxalic Acid, Goitrogens). Some is fine, possibly beneficial. Just not as a regular item.

Avoid dog food, cat food, fish food, and other prepared foods that are heavy sources of animal protien and/or fat and may provide excessive preformed vitamin A and also D (a little now and then is okay, but too much can lead to gout and other issues). Similarily avoid/limit milk, meat, eggs, etc.

Bug nutrition http://www.chameleonnews.com/02SepDonoghue.html
http://www.beautifuldragons.com/Nutrition.html(scrolldown to mixed list of feeders, fruit, veggies)
http://www.nagonline.net/Technical Papers/NAGFS00397Insects-JONIFEB24,2002MODIFIED.pdf
general http://webhome.idirect.com/~chameleon/owners/chapter4-sub1.html
Nutrition values of Fruits, veg, seeds, etc
Calcium:phosphorus rartio chart for veggies:
More about Gutloading: http://www.chameleonnews.com/05JunDescamps.html
List of commonly used Feeders and info about each:
Where to buy feeders: http://www.chameleonforums.com/blogs/sandrachameleon/171-where-buy-feeders-online.html
Calorie Info:

dry gutload recipies:

If you found this blog entry useful check back now and then, as I do update/add to it occassionally


I have this printed out and I take it with me grocery shopping so I know what to get my feeders. Excellent information!

As for the dry gutload, would you recommend a pellet diet for herbivorous animals, such as a high quality green iguana diet?
Olimpia;bt531 said:
I have this printed out and I take it with me grocery shopping so I know what to get my feeders. Excellent information!

As for the dry gutload, would you recommend a pellet diet for herbivorous animals, such as a high quality green iguana diet?

Glad you find it useful :)
As for prepared pellet foods, some are pretty good. Some arent. It depends on the brand and of course on what animal your feeding them to :)
can adding all these ingredients together, and making the ice cube gutload, be too much vitamins and minerals for the feeders?
While I prefer fresh to frozen, No, I dont think you're likely to harm the feeders by mixing these things together.
Thank you for taking the time to research and put this up here! it helps me a ton! THANK YOU!!!!!!!
Do you chill your wet gut load, and what do you put the wet gut load in? (deli lid?) so do you have the dry seperate from the wet in the cage?
Hi John. I do not specifically chill the we gutload, no. Its either coming fresh out of the garden or out of my fridge or out of the pantry.

how i use it depends on what bug I am feeding.

For roaches, Usually I dump in several locations in the bin and its gone within 20-30 minutes. I toss dry in wherever, and usually less often or less quantity than wet stuff.
I do use a lid for feeding terrestrial isopods or snails, as they dont consume as much as fast and I like to have an easy way to remove uneaten matter.
Thank you so much! I'm glad that you took the time to do this for us! This is very helpful!

Blog entry information

Last update

More entries in General

More entries from sandrachameleon

  • January 2015 Food Log
    Diary of what the chameleons ate this month. Supplement is...
  • October Gutloads
    what I fed the roaches and crickets. Pillbugs, snails, Supers and...
  • May Prey
    Log of Feeder prey offered to adult male panthers and a 1 year old male...
  • April Gutloads
    This months Dry Gutload: a dry meal made from ground raw sunflower and...
  • Todays gutload
    intended for the hissers and dubia all mixed up coarse chopped with a...

Share this entry

Top Bottom