All Worm Diet?

BugzNelson

Member
Yato, my panther chameleon, only likes to eat worms. Not literally earthworms, but all the usual reptile bugs that looks like worms or caterpillars: superworms, mealworms, hornworms, silkworms, BSFL etc. I think it's something about the way they wiggle that excites him into eating them.
He's made it perfectly clear that he hates Dubias--will even puff up at me for offering him one. I tried to starve him slightly to get him desperate enough to eat a Dubia, but he stubbornly would rather starve to the point that I'm concerned for his health. Rarely, he will eat a cricket. But only a few if he's really hungry and personally I don't like keeping crickets just for the off time he eats them.

It it suitable for me to feed Yato an all "worm" diet if I maintain a variety of worms?
 
The main concern is when they go on hunger strikes, or decide they dont want worms anymore. Now you have nothing to fall back on.

Most use worms to end hunger strikes :p

But yea if you can get the variety of gut load in, you are fine. They can only gut load to 10% body weight, while a big juicy dubia can bulk to 40%.

Your other issue is if you can get the worms to eat different stuff. Super's living off a completely different diet than dubia is wonderful. A bin of super's, a bin of mealworms, and a bin of BSLF, all with the same media/diet, isnt going to work out well in the long term.
 
Hi how are you feeding ie hand ,cup ,feeder run ? I see from a previous post you had loose dubia ( which are mostly nocturnal) and could have biten him at night or at least upset him . You mentioned that some escaped, if you have a deep feeder cup ( and try small roaches ) they shouldn't get out of, he may come round. Do you have any pictures of your enclosure.
 
This was my experience with all 4 of my panthers as well. Funny, my parsons was the exact opposite and only wanted roaches or crickets.

I second everything @nightanole said. It is hard to get adequate gutload in worms, although supers and mealworms can be raised on pretty much the same thing as crickets/roaches. That should bump their nutritional content up a bit. Another thing is the fat content and making sure you’re not over feeding. A fatty feeder is going to be higher in calories than a lean feeder of the same size, so it can seem like they’d need to eat more. It’s like a heaping spoonful or two of peanut butter is going to look like less than a whole chicken breast, but will have as much or more calories.

To switch my panthers over, I had to withhold food for a long time. It was a few weeks if I remember right. Most reptiles can often go far longer than we can imagine being safe, but it’s harmless and even beneficial in some cases. A healthy Cham shouldn’t deny food over the long term if it’s hungry, I just kept offering them daily until they took it.

Hi have you fed locusts, always my girls favourite ( possibly because of there bright colours) ? What size of roaches have you tried vs age / size of your panther ?
Most people can’t get locusts/grasshoppers in the US, but @SauceGandhi has some options to choose from if interested in that route OP.

Hi how are you feeding ie hand ,cup ,feeder run ? I see from a previous post you had loose dubia ( which are mostly nocturnal) and could have biten him at night or at least upset him . You mentioned that some escaped, if you have a deep feeder cup ( and try small roaches ) they shouldn't get out of, he may come round. Do you have any pictures of your enclosure.

Dubia won’t bite, that shouldn’t be an issue.
 
This was my experience with all 4 of my panthers as well. Funny, my parsons was the exact opposite and only wanted roaches or crickets.

I second everything @nightanole said. It is hard to get adequate gutload in worms, although supers and mealworms can be raised on pretty much the same thing as crickets/roaches. That should bump their nutritional content up a bit. Another thing is the fat content and making sure you’re not over feeding. A fatty feeder is going to be higher in calories than a lean feeder of the same size, so it can seem like they’d need to eat more. It’s like a heaping spoonful or two of peanut butter is going to look like less than a whole chicken breast, but will have as much or more calories.

To switch my panthers over, I had to withhold food for a long time. It was a few weeks if I remember right. Most reptiles can often go far longer than we can imagine being safe, but it’s harmless and even beneficial in some cases. A healthy Cham shouldn’t deny food over the long term if it’s hungry, I just kept offering them daily until they took it.


Most people can’t get locusts/grasshoppers in the US, but @SauceGandhi has some options to choose from if interested in that route OP.



Dubia won’t bite, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Thats why I included ( at least upset) also the reason why I asked how are you feeding to see if there could be an other reason for the hissing / defensive behaviour
 
The main concern is when they go on hunger strikes, or decide they dont want worms anymore. Now you have nothing to fall back on.

Most use worms to end hunger strikes :p

But yea if you can get the variety of gut load in, you are fine. They can only gut load to 10% body weight, while a big juicy dubia can bulk to 40%.

Your other issue is if you can get the worms to eat different stuff. Super's living off a completely different diet than dubia is wonderful. A bin of super's, a bin of mealworms, and a bin of BSLF, all with the same media/diet, isnt going to work out well in the long term.
Thank you Nightanole! Very informative. I'll aim to keep a good varied gutload if I can't get him to switch-up his bugs
 
Hi how are you feeding ie hand ,cup ,feeder run ? I see from a previous post you had loose dubia ( which are mostly nocturnal) and could have biten him at night or at least upset him . You mentioned that some escaped, if you have a deep feeder cup ( and try small roaches ) they shouldn't get out of, he may come round. Do you have any pictures of your enclosure.
Yes I had/have loose dubias. I set up a few sticky traps and caught a few of them. I don't know if I caught them all but my traps are coming up empty. I've tried various methods of trying to feed off dubias. I've tried different sizes. I've tried waiting until a dubia recently shed and is all white and soft. I tried a short and a deep feeder cup. I've tried switching their gutloads. I've even tried to fake him out by holding a superworm behind a dubia so he'd aim for the worm and hit the dubia by mistake.
Here's a pic of the enclosure.
 

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This was my experience with all 4 of my panthers as well. Funny, my parsons was the exact opposite and only wanted roaches or crickets.

I second everything @nightanole said. It is hard to get adequate gutload in worms, although supers and mealworms can be raised on pretty much the same thing as crickets/roaches. That should bump their nutritional content up a bit. Another thing is the fat content and making sure you’re not over feeding. A fatty feeder is going to be higher in calories than a lean feeder of the same size, so it can seem like they’d need to eat more. It’s like a heaping spoonful or two of peanut butter is going to look like less than a whole chicken breast, but will have as much or more calories.

To switch my panthers over, I had to withhold food for a long time. It was a few weeks if I remember right. Most reptiles can often go far longer than we can imagine being safe, but it’s harmless and even beneficial in some cases. A healthy Cham shouldn’t deny food over the long term if it’s hungry, I just kept offering them daily until they took it.


Most people can’t get locusts/grasshoppers in the US, but @SauceGandhi has some options to choose from if interested in that route OP.



Dubia won’t bite, that shouldn’t be an issue.
:ROFLMAO: Glad to know it's not just me! I think I made it a week of withholding food before I got worried. So maybe I'll try a little longer next time around. In the meantime, I'll focus on the gutload of my worms.
 
Hi ( in my opinion) I'd add more branches to make the most of the whole enclosure. And more plant cover, what lights are you using ,may be just the picture, is it a red basking light. Have you tried leaving a couple of small roaches in an escape proof feeder for a day to see ?
 
My panther goes crazy for superworms. Luckily he also eats Dubias; probably 5:1 ratio (Dubia to superworm).

My understanding is that silkworms are the most nutritious of all the worms.
 
I agree with the sentiments expressed above and I'd like to add a couple thoughts:

1) My chameleon hates dubias. Always has. He has been more willing to take other kinds of roaches though, and would often take dubia when hand fed. I've hand fed him preferred prey items (crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms, hornworms, etc) for years, and when he just got used to eating things out of my hands I could get him to eat dubias that way. Other species of roaches that might be worth trying include red runners and discoids, neither of which can climb and both of which move around in a feeder more than the dubias which just play dead.

2) I don't often see this mentioned on the forums but chameleons are actually pretty susceptible to dental disease, which can lead to stomatitis if it gets out of hand. One of the main ways to ensure that they don't get excessive calculus buildup is feeding at least some "crunchy" feeders, which can help chip some of that off. None of the aforementioned worms have enough crunch to provide the necessary abrasion to the teeth.
 
Great advice^ I feel there are much better roach options than dubia as well. Even discoid are much more enticing with their movement IME.
 
Great advice^ I feel there are much better roach options than dubia as well. Even discoid are much more enticing with their movement IME.
Yeah, I culled my dubia colony once I got the discoids going. I'm going to use those as my roaches in the future. With all the species you've kept do you have a favorite non-climbing species in terms of palatability to chameleons?
 
Yeah, I culled my dubia colony once I got the discoids going. I'm going to use those as my roaches in the future. With all the species you've kept do you have a favorite non-climbing species in terms of palatability to chameleons?
Well, most people hate them, but red runners are probably the most enticing. They’re soft and they’re like a cross between a cricket and a roach lol. They run and even do little jumps lol. My Chams went after them the same way as they would crickets.

Other good options could be ember or shadow roaches. I’ll probably buy some of these again when I get back into reptiles. They’re a lot like Surinams with different colors and super easy to breed, maybe the easiest of all(they die pretty easily without moist substrate and heat though, so escapees wouldn’t get far). Their one major upside to Suriname is only the adults can climb and they don’t even attempt it if there’s soil. So you can collect loads of soft nymphs by burying a cup in the substrate with some food. They are on the smaller side, but they make a great small/soft/active feeder or addition to variety… my parsons ate them.

Then I had loads of different kinds of blaberus, eublaberus, and byrsotria… those are all pretty similar, active and larger(some more than others). Cool colors in some too. Can’t go wrong with any that fall under these 3 genus’ IME. Eublaberus often make great composters, especially ivory. Of these larger ones, eublaberus ‘pantanal’ are probably my favorite. Super active, get pretty large, but have nice meaty/crunchy nymphs, brighter red color, and Gutload really well. They make nice composters as a bonus.
 
I made the mistake off putting what was left of my hissers into the dubia bin. I dont have any hissers any more...

Hell i think they ate the cleaner crew too. Ive had the same batch of supers in there for 13 years, GONE. Keep your dubia fed folks.
 
I agree with the sentiments expressed above and I'd like to add a couple thoughts:

1) My chameleon hates dubias. Always has. He has been more willing to take other kinds of roaches though, and would often take dubia when hand fed. I've hand fed him preferred prey items (crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms, hornworms, etc) for years, and when he just got used to eating things out of my hands I could get him to eat dubias that way. Other species of roaches that might be worth trying include red runners and discoids, neither of which can climb and both of which move around in a feeder more than the dubias which just play dead.

2) I don't often see this mentioned on the forums but chameleons are actually pretty susceptible to dental disease, which can lead to stomatitis if it gets out of hand. One of the main ways to ensure that they don't get excessive calculus buildup is feeding at least some "crunchy" feeders, which can help chip some of that off. None of the aforementioned worms have enough crunch to provide the necessary abrasion to the teeth.
Do the red runners and discoids fly?
 
One of the main ways to ensure that they don't get excessive calculus buildup is feeding at least some "crunchy" feeders, which can help chip some of that off. None of the aforementioned worms have enough crunch to provide the necessary abrasion to the teeth.
I hate that crunching sound...like fingernails on a chalkboard!
 
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