Cricket alternative

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
The most difficult part of taking on having a chameleon is getting over my hate/phobia of bugs. Crickets have been acceptable. I can deal with wormy looking things. I can’t do roaches...dubia is illegal in FL and I just can’t deal with the ick factor of any roach or spider-looking bug. Well, as you all know, crickets stink. I keep their enclosure as clean as I can, but they still stink. Plus, as I only need a couple dozen a week I’ve been having to get them from chain pet stores which I’d rather not give my business to.
I tried a few BSFL and found those were actually kind of cute and Miss Grumpy reluctantly accepted them. Can they be used as a staple feeder? Can they be gutloaded with bug burger and the same fresh greens, fruit & veggies as crickets?
Can silkworms be a staple feeder and if so, how difficult is it to for a complete novice to grow their own from eggs? I looked up how to do it and while it seems simple, I know things aren’t always as easy as they look.
Many thanks
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I was in your position with roaches... And my family was against me bringing them in. So here is what I am going to say.... Honestly they are better then crickets. Crickets jump and smell awful even when cleaning all the time. What I love about feeding dubia... They really have no smell and they are super easy to clean. I simply tilt their little bin and use tongs to direct them into a clean bin. Most do not climb plastic either, they do not jump, most do not even fly. I am now at a point where I have fed them since March doing away with all crickets. I do not mind them at all now. However I hate the adults... They give me the creeps still but to avoid this I just do not breed my own. You can order exactly what you need so you don't have to breed. I buy mine from our site sponsor dubia roaches. I have been totally satisfied with what I get from them. I believe with you being in FL that you can buy discoid roaches which I have been told chams seem to enjoy more...

Ok so now the benefits for your girl. Roaches gut load really really well due to having a long digestive tract so you are passing on so much nutrients to her. You can cup feed these as well. I have found that Beman seems to be much more content eating his roaches like they fill him up more then when I fed crickets. I also like that roaches do not carry parasites, so much less risk.

I think it is funny you like the BSFL... Omg the first order I got I freaked out totally. I literally could not stand to look at them. I took them straight to my local pet store and gave them to them lol. But I use these as a staple as well now. Some people gutload these and some do not. I do not happen to gutload these. I could never get it right. I do use these for when I want to dust with pollen. Since you need to rinse the fiber they live in off I do that then dump them into my pollen tupperwear. Since they are wet from cleaning the pollen sticks perfectly. Pollen is really hard to get to stick to other stuff IMO.

I feed silkworms as well. Not so much as a staple though. Beman gets hooked on these really easily and will then refuse all other feeders. But yes they absolutely can be used as a staple. This is the best thread I have seen on raising silks https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/posting-my-silkworm-experience.168402/
It will really show you what you would be getting into. But you can order these from Morifeeders another site sponsor as babies and not raise your own. Buy them smaller then you will have them the right sizes longer.

So the key is balance in what your feeding... Offering a variety. Right now I am feeding silks, dubia, BSFL, BSF, and Blue Bottle flies. I feed 2 silks, 2 medium dubia, 3 BSFL every other day and then he has the BSF and Blue Bottle Flies that hatch out in his cage in a gum container. Some days he gets 1 or 2 others I have like 10 flying in there lol. Now I have a male so for me I do not have to limit food intake like you will with your female. Carefully monitoring her intake and heat since it is directly linked to her laying a smaller clutch of eggs.

Hope that helps :)
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I was in your position with roaches... And my family was against me bringing them in. So here is what I am going to say.... Honestly they are better then crickets. Crickets jump and smell awful even when cleaning all the time. What I love about feeding dubia... They really have no smell and they are super easy to clean. I simply tilt their little bin and use tongs to direct them into a clean bin. Most do not climb plastic either, they do not jump, most do not even fly. I am now at a point where I have fed them since March doing away with all crickets. I do not mind them at all now. However I hate the adults... They give me the creeps still but to avoid this I just do not breed my own. You can order exactly what you need so you don't have to breed. I buy mine from our site sponsor dubia roaches. I have been totally satisfied with what I get from them. I believe with you being in FL that you can buy discoid roaches which I have been told chams seem to enjoy more...

Ok so now the benefits for your girl. Roaches gut load really really well due to having a long digestive tract so you are passing on so much nutrients to her. You can cup feed these as well. I have found that Beman seems to be much more content eating his roaches like they fill him up more then when I fed crickets. I also like that roaches do not carry parasites, so much less risk.

I think it is funny you like the BSFL... Omg the first order I got I freaked out totally. I literally could not stand to look at them. I took them straight to my local pet store and gave them to them lol. But I use these as a staple as well now. Some people gutload these and some do not. I do not happen to gutload these. I could never get it right. I do use these for when I want to dust with pollen. Since you need to rinse the fiber they live in off I do that then dump them into my pollen tupperwear. Since they are wet from cleaning the pollen sticks perfectly. Pollen is really hard to get to stick to other stuff IMO.

I feed silkworms as well. Not so much as a staple though. Beman gets hooked on these really easily and will then refuse all other feeders. But yes they absolutely can be used as a staple. This is the best thread I have seen on raising silks https://www.chameleonforums.com/threads/posting-my-silkworm-experience.168402/
It will really show you what you would be getting into. But you can order these from Morifeeders another site sponsor as babies and not raise your own. Buy them smaller then you will have them the right sizes longer.

So the key is balance in what your feeding... Offering a variety. Right now I am feeding silks, dubia, BSFL, BSF, and Blue Bottle flies. I feed 2 silks, 2 medium dubia, 3 BSFL every other day and then he has the BSF and Blue Bottle Flies that hatch out in his cage in a gum container. Some days he gets 1 or 2 others I have like 10 flying in there lol. Now I have a male so for me I do not have to limit food intake like you will with your female. Carefully monitoring her intake and heat since it is directly linked to her laying a smaller clutch of eggs.

Hope that helps :)
Ugh...roaches. :cautious: Getting the icky-shivers just thinking about it. *gulp* Suppose it wouldn’t kill me to try *gulp*. I scanned some info about the discoid and it says they move fast. What’s the best way to catch them without resorting to having to touch them? I have a cricket keeper with tubes. Any chance they would be likely to crawl up them like the crickets do and then I can just shake a few out?
Since learning that I should decrease her food intake, I’ve been feeding about 4-5 small crickets daily but wonder if this is still too much.
I didn’t know about changing her temperature. Her basking spot is in the mid 80’s. I haven’t yet checked the ambient temp in her enclosure and I just gave my 2nd thermometer away. I keep the house cool at 73-74* and her room is closed off and warmer than that. (Feels about 76-78 to me) What should the temp be for her to limit egg production? Cooler or warmer?
Many thanks :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ugh...roaches. :cautious: Getting the icky-shivers just thinking about it. *gulp* Suppose it wouldn’t kill me to try *gulp*. I scanned some info about the discoid and it says they move fast. What’s the best way to catch them without resorting to having to touch them? I have a cricket keeper with tubes. Any chance they would be likely to crawl up them like the crickets do and then I can just shake a few out?
Since learning that I should decrease her food intake, I’ve been feeding about 4-5 small crickets daily but wonder if this is still too much.
I didn’t know about changing her temperature. Her basking spot is in the mid 80’s. I haven’t yet checked the ambient temp in her enclosure and I just gave my 2nd thermometer away. I keep the house cool at 73-74* and her room is closed off and warmer than that. (Feels about 76-78 to me) What should the temp be for her to limit egg production? Cooler or warmer?
Many thanks :)
So Females really are not my area... I always defer to people like @Brodybreaux25 @JoXie411 when it comes to their temp and feeding... I believe you are correct on the feeding... Although I know with females they still need to be transitioned to an every other day feeding. Temps for females I believe you are looking at a basking spot of about 83. So your looking at that basking temp being lower with the reduced every other day feedings. And I wanna say that you reduce to every other day around that 5-6 month mark with females since they can start laying eggs as early as 6 months. But do not quote me on this... Wait till my fellow keepers chime in on that.

As far as the discoid roaches... I say try it.. you have nothing to lose. I started out just shaking them off the egg crate pieces into a cup... Now I just grab one and toss it in my cup then dust. I never tried the cricket keepers for them... might work I dunno. I do use this for my supplements and I really love it... I pour them from the cup into the hole on top.. shake the heck outa them then the extra supplement falls to the bottom section then I just pour them back out into my feeder cup. https://www.amazon.com/Rep-Cal-SRP0...ricket+shaker&qid=1563836477&s=gateway&sr=8-1

You may want to figure out a way to have her room get more air just because 78 would be a bit warmer then I would want to do for an ambient.
My ambient sits about 73-74.
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I like the shaker cup. Will have to get one. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to order the discoid tonight. I did get some silkworms but not knowing sizes ordered the small. Now waiting for them to grow big enough to feed her. She has been refusing superworms for a couple of weeks. Those are all she was fed before I got her, so I don’t blame her for not wanting any more.
I’ve tried giving her dandelion greens, collards, bits of fresh fruit and she has no interest. She does nibble her Pothos quite a bit though.
I have the ac vent just barely open in her room, so will open it more to make it cooler.
I’ve put it off but she probably should be changed to every other day now. I’ll set aside my denial and procrastination and make that change now. She’s showing colors now for the past week+ and has been restless for a couple of weeks. I’ve been thinking she’s gotten herself all prettied up and now wants to go out and find herself a man. ;)
A little off subject, but when I take her for a wellness vet visit at the end of the month, should I ask them to do an X-ray to check her bone density/health? She had improper nutrition, supplements and lighting before I got her.
Many thanks again :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I like the shaker cup. Will have to get one. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to order the discoid tonight. I did get some silkworms but not knowing sizes ordered the small. Now waiting for them to grow big enough to feed her. She has been refusing superworms for a couple of weeks. Those are all she was fed before I got her, so I don’t blame her for not wanting any more.
I’ve tried giving her dandelion greens, collards, bits of fresh fruit and she has no interest. She does nibble her Pothos quite a bit though.
I have the ac vent just barely open in her room, so will open it more to make it cooler.
I’ve put it off but she probably should be changed to every other day now. I’ll set aside my denial and procrastination and make that change now. She’s showing colors now for the past week+ and has been restless for a couple of weeks. I’ve been thinking she’s gotten herself all prettied up and now wants to go out and find herself a man. ;)
A little off subject, but when I take her for a wellness vet visit at the end of the month, should I ask them to do an X-ray to check her bone density/health? She had improper nutrition, supplements and lighting before I got her.
Many thanks again :)
I love the cup. My guy hated all fresh veg I offered I tried for a good month. But the pothos well lets just say he ate the heck out of it when he was young. Now he hardly ever takes a bite out.

So when you reduce her to every other day... Do it gradually over the course of a few weeks. Reduce by 2 feeders each week on your every other day schedule until you have her only eating every other day. This is less of a shock on them and will let her adjust slowly rather then boom you get no food lol.

Yeah I don't think it would hurt to check her bone density. I think since she had improper care that you had to correct it would be good to know how her over all health is. And I know if your anything like me it will relieve your worry for her health. :)
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thanks much for the great instructions and advice. I just ordered some discoids *ugh*, shaker cup and strange scissor like device with ball/cup to further avoid touching roaches. I’ll start reducing her feedings tomorrow and hopefully all will go well. :)
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't know if they are legal in FL but I am trying to start a colony of grasshoppers. I hate dealing with crickets and my chams won't touch roaches. They love hoppers, supers, silks, and horns so I'll stick with those.
 
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MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
@MissSkittles how old is this Cham?
Really not sure. Beginning of the month you said sub adult & Joxie guessed around 6 + months.
Pics below when I first got her 5/31, last week, and few mins ago.
You had advised a lay bin as permanent part of her enclosure, which she has.
B6510E1D-ACDC-49C5-8117-DB65B53E90D7.jpeg2AD60D9E-E1AB-4C6F-84CD-944ED841915F.jpeg8D6B82E1-7970-428D-89C3-99D59BB1DE20.jpeg
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Gotcha, good job on the bin. I’d continue your normal feeding schedule until her receptive colors come in. Or has that happened already? Forgive me, I go through so many threads every month...EED01F42-81E3-4507-B0C4-26C98B8A1F7C.jpeg
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
Gotcha, good job on the bin. I’d continue your normal feeding schedule until her receptive colors come in. Or has that happened already? Forgive me, I go through so many threads every month...View attachment 240581
Are those not her receptive colors? She was a pretty even green when I got her and now shows teal and orange. See pics above.
I know you’re busy on the forum! You give great advice though and I listen. :)
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m not really seeing it, might be the lighting?
This is the only and best lit pic I can get right now. She flattened out and turned sideways so am respectfully leaving her alone.
Pardon my ignorance, but if these aren’t her receptive colors, does that mean that these are her normal coloration and she’ll get even more coloring when receptive?
So, back to the question of whether to cut her down to every other day feeding or not?
 

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