6" male veiled - Feeding Questions

fatedgod

New Member
Hi, I'm new. I've been all over the web looking for a good forum to join and stick around, I really hope this one is it.

So, I am no stranger to herps. I have a decent sized collection of animals from all around the world, each with their own requirements and challenges. I recently decided to finally get a chameleon. I have his home set up perfectly, plenty of space and ventilation in his 65 Gallon reptarium. UVA heat bulb and a UVB/ Full spectrum fixture too match on a 12 hour timed cycle. Huge assortment of plants (potted and hanging, all silk or plastic) for him to climb on, dripped in plain sight and a hanging feeding dish for food (except crickets, they don't stay put, hehe).

His name is Merlin, I forgot to mention it. Anyway, I've done tons of research about them and everything I'm doing seems to match up. My big question though is how I make sure he is getting enough food? I know veiled chameleons aren't overly fond of handling, and he's loath to feed from my hand. I've been placing each cricket near him but he won't always take them, and sometimes he runs away from my hand. I really want to make sure he eats his fill every day, any suggestions?

P.S. I am also feeding him meal worms and some greens. Both of those are in his feeding dish on the warm side, I know he eats the worms from there no problems.
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
I believe that young veiled chameleons should get as much food as they want until they're about a year old. Then you can choose to control the diet more strictly. As far as knowing how much he eats in a day, I would encourage you to create a feeder that crickets cannot escape from so that you can count the insects at the end of the day and do the math.
I do not think free range crickets should be left in the enclosure overnight which is why I figured this out ( tired of chasing down and counting crickets at bedtime). Additionally if you decide to leave them in the feeder overnight you're going to have to provide them with some source of food and moisture.
Of course you know from your personal experience with reptiles that the feeder insects need to be gutloaded. What greens are you offering? And why only artificial plants? The benefits of real plants with a chameleon are numerous and undisputed. I think you need to entertain that possible improvement.
Suffice it to say, I will bet he is getting plenty to eat. Veileds are great hunters and really seem to enjoy the challenge. I have a feeder worth looking at on the kitty blog. It may help you come up with a customized one of your own.
Welcome to the forums! You'll get great help and advice here!

-Brad
 
Brad, considering that female veiled chameleons can begin egg production around the age of only half a year, it would be VERY ill advised to be saying that unlimited food should be offered to them. Overfeeding females can signal their bodies to start producing massive amounts of eggs, none stop, WITHOUT having to be fertilised by a male. Female veileds have been recorded to pump out up to about 120 eggs in a single clutch. Each egg, each clutch, each laying period shortens the live span of females. Females can live about as long as males as proven by one of our forum members, IF their diet is regulated.

As Jim Flaherty said in an interview not too long ago, "for all intents and purposes, your females are almost a whole different species... Their needs require far more attention."

As far as overfeeding males and the benifits and consequences, I suppose that issue is still in study by many.
 

fatedgod

New Member
I don't use real plants in my cages for a very simple reason, I can't keep them alive. You can question my handling of my reptiles, but I know I am a good keeper. However, plants are another story. I am a plant mass murderer. I have had many live plants, most seldom last a month. Fake plants are non toxic, easy to clean, and never die. hence why I use them. As for greens I am offering collard greens and mustard greens. I have a cricket feeding rock in his enclosure so I know they can get their gutload anytime. I only put in 6-7 crickets at a time though, the rest i keep in another box with gutload in it. I put 6-7 meal worms in the feeding dish with the greens which is up high in the cage so he can find it easily. I've seen him eat some, so I know he is adjusting well to his new home. His poop looks good too. Is it normal to be able to see their ribcage outline at times? when her flexes left or right I can see their outlines. How often do you dust your crickets? I learned the hard way that preudsting a whole batch will kill them.

I'll include pics of the setup in my next post.
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
Will,

Thank you for clarifying that. I know a little about Kinyonga's husbandry from previous threads and have great respect for her knowledge and success with these animals.
It was short sighted of me, the thread is about a male veiled and that is all I addressed without specifically saying.....my bad. You are absolutely right.

-Brad
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
It's normal to see their ribs and they puff and swell their bodies with air when they feel threatened.
There are about a million different dusting schedules and a lot of it depends on what you're talking about. Calcium powder, Calcium powder with D3, mineral powder, vitamin powder....etc
I dust no more than once a week with cal w/ D3, and every other week with herptivite. In between my cham gets greens and gutloaded crickets, roaches, zophobas and the occasional waxworm.

-Brad
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Brad Ramsey said "I know a little about Kinyonga's husbandry from previous threads and have great respect for her knowledge and success with these animals"...blush, blush. Thanks, Brad.
 
Brad Ramsey said "I know a little about Kinyonga's husbandry from previous threads and have great respect for her knowledge and success with these animals"...blush, blush. Thanks, Brad.
Lynda, you are too humble! If you ever feel like typing up information or text or stuff that you can link people to, I'd be MORE than happy to host it on my web space and provide you with links to your items.
 

Jordan

New Member
I believe that young veiled chameleons should get as much food as they want until they're about a year old.
I would just add on one thing. I have seen several veileds male that reach full size in 5-6 months. This is not natural. There body can grow quicker then it can get nutrients for good solid growth. I suspect that in these cases the veileds have probably had small bouts with MBD. I would guess that these veileds have weaker bones then a veiled that followed a more natural rate of growth.
 

Brad Ramsey

Retired Moderator
On another thread flpanther mentions something about chameleons that are kept outside in natural sunlight reaching full size much more quickly than animals that are kept under artificial conditions.
At what age is adult size achieved in specimens in the wild?

-Brad
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Will said..."Lynda, you are too humble! If you ever feel like typing up information or text or stuff that you can link people to, I'd be MORE than happy to host it on my web space and provide you with links to your items"...thanks Will...I will keep that in mind!

Regarding growth...I don't hurry the growth of my veileds. It doesn't seem to have been a problem.

IMHO ones in the wild are living at "nature's hand"...and will grow at the rate "allowed" by what nature has given them. I'm sure there are years/seasons of feast and years/seasons of famine that will affect their growth in the wild. I don't think we can ever hope to duplicate "nature" in captivity...so some adjustments have to be made.
 

Jordan

New Member
On another thread flpanther mentions something about chameleons that are kept outside in natural sunlight reaching full size much more quickly than animals that are kept under artificial conditions.
At what age is adult size achieved in specimens in the wild?

-Brad
Chameleons outside have access to unlimited UVb. Inside is quite different. As long as the outside ones are supplemented with enough calcium I guess I really do not see a problem there as far as health growth. Inside the amount of D3 in there system would be a big concern. The ones I have seen all come from one particular breeder in my area. All show bumps and slightly curved bones. He does dose heavy with D3 and all still show something to make me think they have had it. In outside captivity they are still probably getting way more food then they would in the wild but have way better chances of keeping it level. I do not have a reliable source to say what is normal rate in the wild. It would vary as Kinyonga said with season I would imagine and their actual location. Veileds do over eat if allowed too. There locations in the wild kind of make it to where they have to if they want to survive.

I guess one thing I have kind of wondered is what the abundance of all this calcium does to their kidney and liver?
 
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