Earthworms - Good Source of Calcium and Protein?

iMi

Established Member
Our Vailed loves earthworms. He gets them once every week or two. It's a treat for him. In fact, he gets them with his vitamins. What is the consensus on the nutrition of earthworms? They appear to be rich in calcium and high in protein. Yet, I don't see a whole lot of people recommending them to chameleons. Any idea why?

I found this helpful chart (source: http://www.moonvalleyreptiles.com/crested-geckos/diet-nutrition/feeder-insects)

Feeder_Insects__Nutrition_Facts_on_Insects_for_Reptiles___moonvalleyreptiles_com.jpg
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Earthworms are commonly full of parasites, like lungworm. I would definitely not take the chance.
 

Syreptyon

Chameleon Enthusiast
Even the ones sold at pet stores as feeders?

Yup. IMO earthworms are not chameleon food. Earthworms are primarily subterranean in nature, which exposes them to all sorts of pathogens that chameleons do not usually encounter. Chameleons are arboreal and are metabolically optimized to consume flying and climbing insects. Earthworms are neither of those things and are typically eaten by ground-dwellers with substantially different immune systems than chameleons. Chameleons are particularly sensitive to parasites, whereas animals which eat worms in their natural habitat are evolved to tolerate them without harm
 

iMi

Established Member
Yup. IMO earthworms are not chameleon food. Earthworms are primarily subterranean in nature, which exposes them to all sorts of pathogens that chameleons do not usually encounter. Chameleons are arboreal and are metabolically optimized to consume flying and climbing insects. Earthworms are neither of those things and are typically eaten by ground-dwellers with substantially different immune systems than chameleons. Chameleons are particularly sensitive to parasites, whereas animals which eat worms in their natural habitat are evolved to tolerate them without harm

Interesting and logical perspective.
 
Just like with most bugs that can carry parasites they can be bread to be safer. Sometimes the benefits also outweigh the risks. If you have struggled to get your chameleon to eat anything and it is near death due to a self starvation streak and it will eat earthworms that were raised in clean organic matter from eggs collected, it will obviously save the life of the chameleon. Also, as a child, growing up in South Africa, I have seen flapneck chameleons go down out of the trees to eat earthworms that came out of the ground due to the rain.
 

iMi

Established Member
I think he just enjoys them a lot and supplements stick to them really well. Probably not worth the risk unless I can guarantee somehow they are parasite free. Glad I posted this question because on paper they look like a great feeder.
 

salty dog

Chameleon Enthusiast
Very interesting, beiing they are a sexual, how do you get a captive bred 2nd generation clean?
 
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