Chameleon drops food when it struggles


New Member
Hey everyone, just got a 9 month old chameleon a couple days ago and am getting worried about it not eating the insects I'm trying to feed it. On the first day I fed her 3 super worms with a dusting of supplements and she ate them all with no troubles. Yesterday I tried feeding her a hornworm that she grabbed, had in her mouth then dropped. A little later I tried super worms again and same thing grabbed them and let them go once they struggled. Today I tried super worms again with a dusting of calcium. She came right down to the bowl grabbed one three times but once it struggled she dropped it. Just worried about her and haven't owned a chameleon. Any advice?


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Welcome to the forum! There is lots of advice to be given. You need to search this site for feeding/gutloading information, and also fill out the husbandry questionnaire. It's quite normal for a chameleon to not eat for days when they move to a new home. They are under a lot of stress. I can tell you right now her enclosure is too small and should not have standing water or fake plants inside. She also has no cover from her lights. Please make sure the hottest air temp in the enclosure is no warmer than 85 degrees F and humidity no higher than 40-50% during the day and she has a cooler shaded place to sit (not the floor). Then you need to make sure she has a dripping or misting water source for her to drink. Then it's most important you have the proper type of UVB light fixture. Filling out the questionnaire someone will likely post here is the best way to get all the advice you need. Thanks for posting.


Chameleon Enthusiast
Are they maybe biting her? Both super worms and hornworms can bite. As said above there are some changes to be made to your setup so the chameleon can thrive. She will also need a lay bin as she will lay infertil eggs like a chicken. Check out the chameleon academy and that can give you some tips.

In the health clinic part of this forum there is a post called "how to ask for help" and it has a list of questions. If you can answer them a forum member can help tune in your husbandry.

Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi and welcome. Supers and horn worms are only recommended for treats, to many treats plus high temps =to many eggs. It takes time for a new cham to settle in as long as she is getting enough hydration Do you have pictures of your entire enclosure lights included. Chameleon academy, Neptune the chameleon you tube and casque above. Com are great places to build your knowledge. As Yemen are notorious for eating plants only real plants are reccomended as fake ones can / are an impaction risk ( you will find yeman safe plants in the above sites . Filling out a husbandry form is the best way to get the best help you can find this in the how to ask for help section copy and paste and fill in as much detail as possible 😀


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New Member
I want to thank you all so much for the advice and information. The person that I got her from obviously had little idea about the chameleon and its needs and passed on some incorrect information that I had been going off of.
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Flick boy

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi @Oreo998 . I don't use supers and hornworms are illegal in the uk but I do keep pachnoda grubs all of which can be quite big , maybe your girl is dropping them as she is intimidated by them when they are up close by there size , if you try appropriate sized crickets, locusts, bsfl and dubia all staple feeders (reccomended size is the distance between your girls eyes)

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree this sounds like a case of the feeders biting, HOWEVER, my chameleon sometimes drops food as well—their lips aren't exactly very useful in keeping food in their mouths.

This especially happens with long feeders (like worms) that get bitten in two, or when he snags too much with one zot.

I use giant mealworms as treats—they don't bite, and don't believe the negative hype.


New Member
Does your Cham use its tongue OK? Sometimes when a Cham has tongue problems and can only bite it makes it hard to get control of prey. Any problems with other feeders?
She uses her tongue really well and grabs on to the prey with ease the problem is keeping it in her mouth and eating them. From now on, however, I am going to take @Flick boy advice and will consult with the husbandry if there are any problems that arise then.


Chameleon Enthusiast
She uses her tongue really well and grabs on to the prey with ease the problem is keeping it in her mouth and eating them. From now on, however, I am going to take @Flick boy advice and will consult with the husbandry if there are any problems that arise then.
How much calcium is on the worms? With my frogs if there is too much they sort of go "yuck"..and spit it out. Maybe try one undusted to see if it makes any difference?


Chameleon Enthusiast
welcome! You’ve come to the right place to find people just as concerned about your chameleon being well taken care of as you
A lot of good thoughts have been given already.
it would definitely help to know more about your enclosure and husbandry
if you fill this out, people may have more ideas about how to help you keep your cham happy and healthy
I know it seems like a lot, but if you can meet the environmental and nutritional requirements recommended here, you will likely have a great experience and a long lived healthy Cham 😊

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.


Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.
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