Anybody feed their chams Pinkies or Mice?

natureboy86

New Member
I'm getting ready to buy a pinky for Koop this weekend.. He's about 1 1/2 years, and his bite is becoming powerful. He's devouring roaches that are larger than I thought he was capable of eating, and he recently ate an enormous grasshopper.... It is time! :D

Anybody else feed pinkies, mice, even lizards to your cham!?
 

Olimpia

Biologist & Ecologist
Most people don't, and those who do (hopefully) know not to feed them more than rarely. Mine will eat house geckos that are unfortunate enough to end up in the cage by accident but I never elect to give them any vertebrates as food. Too many will end up causing health issues like gout, so I stick to an insect-based diet with no animal protein in the gutload either. Pinkies especially are mainly fatty and full of lactose (milk) anyway, neither of which adds a lot to a chameleon's diet.

If you do just make sure it's a rare treat.
 

natureboy86

New Member
Most people don't, and those who do (hopefully) know not to feed them more than rarely. Mine will eat house geckos that are unfortunate enough to end up in the cage by accident but I never elect to give them any vertebrates as food. Too many will end up causing health issues like gout, so I stick to an insect-based diet with no animal protein in the gutload either. Pinkies especially are mainly fatty and full of lactose (milk) anyway, neither of which adds a lot to a chameleon's diet.

If you do just make sure it's a rare treat.

Really? I was assuming that vertebrates would actually be very nutritious. I know, in the wild, they may not catch a mouse per say, but the they eat lizards, frogs, etc.. You'd figure it'd be a significant amount of protein, nutrients in the blood, healthy fat, etc..
 

camimom

New Member
thats exactly the issue, the amount of protein they have.

Too much protein can cause serious health issues with chams.
 

Alexl

Avid Member
Really? I was assuming that vertebrates would actually be very nutritious. I know, in the wild, they may not catch a mouse per say, but the they eat lizards, frogs, etc.. You'd figure it'd be a significant amount of protein, nutrients in the blood, healthy fat, etc..

They are "nutritious", but contain too much fat and proteins, simply said they're way "too nutritious". Chameleons in captivity are mostly overfed (read this posting for more information about overfeeding). In Nature they may sometimes catch smaller lizards, but there will be even days and whole weeks without any food. And by the way... if a chameleon in Madagascar or Yemen only becomes two years old, noone cares. But in captivitiy, our goal should be to keep them as long as possible - and as healthy as possible. Feeding pinkies/mice/other high fat and protein food misfit this idea completely.
 

natureboy86

New Member
thats exactly the issue, the amount of protein they have.

Too much protein can cause serious health issues with chams.

Got ya. well, too clarify, the original thought of this idea and thread is not to make this a primary feeder by any means. It was more of a way to switch up the diet, add variety, and increase the amount of protein occasionally by offering a vertebrate sparingly.

They are "nutritious", but contain too much fat and proteins, simply said they're way "too nutritious". Chameleons in captivity are mostly overfed (read this posting for more information about overfeeding). In Nature they may sometimes catch smaller lizards, but there will be even days and whole weeks without any food. And by the way... if a chameleon in Madagascar or Yemen only becomes two years old, noone cares. But in captivitiy, our goal should be to keep them as long as possible - and as healthy as possible. Feeding pinkies/mice/other high fat and protein food misfit this idea completely.

Of course I want what's best for my chameleon. Just to clarify, are you saying that feeding a chameleon vertebrate occasionally, as a treat, is a threat to their health and lifespan? I'd assume the shortened lifespan you're referring to would be if food such as lizards and mice were offered as a primary feeder? That being said, the same can be said if any fatty treat was offered as a primary feeder, such as feeding a cham meal worms 90% of the time. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Alexl

Avid Member
Just to clarify, are you saying that feeding a chameleon vertebrate occasionally, as a treat, is a threat to their health and lifespan?

I say, no matter whether you see the mices as a "treat" or regular food, it's not necessary at all to feed.

J
I'd assume the shortened lifespan you're referring to would be if food such as lizards and mice were offered as a primary feeder? That being said, the same can be said if any fatty treat was offered as a primary feeder, such as feeding a cham meal worms 90% of the time.

Yes, that's correct. It doesn't really matter if gout or fatty liver comes from too much "mice treats" or a general meal worm diet. Both harms your chameleon. Another problem ist the point - as I said - that most chameleons in captivity are already overfed. Even a "treat" pinkie could then be the last straw. And it's neither a natural feeder nor required for a healthy chameleon.
 
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