Eating soil

Grayson Payne

Avid Member
Hey everyone! So within the past few months, I've caught Gatsby eating soil out of one of his plants. They are all covered with rocks. but there are still some very small cracks that he can get his tongue through. I know that there's no right answer when it comes to eating soil as many people are divided by it. However, I ordered a tall hybrid screen from dragon strand and I would like to use my own personal mixture of soil for his plants in the new enclosure. I'm worried about impaction since I use orchid bark and pumice in my soil. Currently, he has ecoscraps soil for the plants in his enclosure (just indoor potting soil). For my current mixture that I would like to use, there is coco coir, orchid bark, pumice, and charcoal. As I mentioned, my main worry with impaction is the orchid bark and pumice (I will probably make a new mixture without charcoal). I am planning on using a lot more small plants in his new enclosure which would make it very hard to place rocks over all of it.

I know that some people think that a chameleon eating soil relates to a supplement problem. Because of this, here is my supplementation as well as my gutloading/feeders. For supplements, I use Arcaida earthpro-A for every feeding except for Saturday. On alternating Saturdays, I use Arcaida Earthpro-Ca and RevitaliseD3. For feeders, I typically feed dubias, hornworms, BSFL, Silkworms, and for a treat. For my roaches, I use: turnip greens, mustard greens, mango, papaya, carrots, and kale. His heat lamp is angled towards his basking branch which is horizontal with his Arcaida ProT5 6% UVB. Thanks guys!
 
Last edited:

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey everyone! So within the past few months, I've caught Gatsby eating soil out of one of his plants. They are all covered with rocks. but there are still some very small cracks that he can get his tongue through. I know that there's no right answer when it comes to eating soil as many people are divided by it. However, I ordered a tall hybrid screen from dragon strand and I would like to use my own personal mixture of soil for his plants in the new enclosure. I'm worried about impaction since I use orchid bark and pumice in my soil. Currently, he has ecoscraps soil for the plants in his enclosure (just indoor potting soil). For my current mixture that I would like to use, there is coco coir, orchid bark, pumice, and charcoal. As I mentioned, my main worry with impaction is the orchid bark and pumice (I will probably make a new mixture without charcoal). I am planning on using a lot more small plants in his new enclosure which would make it very hard to place rocks over all of it.

I know that some people think that a chameleon eating soil relates to a supplement problem. Because of this, here is my supplementation as well as my gutloading/feeders. For supplements, I use Arcaida earthpro-A for every feeding except for Saturday. On alternating Saturdays, I use Arcaida Earthpro-Ca and RevitaliseD3. For feeders, I typically feed dubias, hornworms, BSFL, Silkworms, and for a treat. For my roaches, I use: turnip greens, mustard greens, mango, papaya, carrots, and kale. His heat lamp is angled towards his basking branch which is horizontal with his Arcaida ProT5 6% UVB. Thanks guys!
They can do this even when gutload and supplements are perfect like yours are.

I would just ensure you have a thick layer of leaf litter if going bio active or if doing pots you could use a layer of fiber glass window screen under the rocks. Maybe he is seeing little bugs and that is what he is going for?
 

Grayson Payne

Avid Member
They can do this even when gutload and supplements are perfect like yours are.

I would just ensure you have a thick layer of leaf litter if going bio active or if doing pots you could use a layer of fiber glass window screen under the rocks. Maybe he is seeing little bugs and that is what he is going for?
Rip...:ROFLMAO: The problem is, I use a lot of vining plants like pothos and philodendron cordatum. I haven't noticed gnats since fall and I know the plants don't have any pests. Idk what to do. I'd love to not worry about using rocks or anything but :cautious:
 
Last edited:

TayloredExotics

Established Member
My personal solution has been to leave two dishes of coco coir in the enclosure, one mixed with some calcium powder and one with a multivitamin (both D3 free). If it's a supplement issue he can self regulate, and even if he just wants dirt he's unlikely to overdose himself 😄
 

Grayson Payne

Avid Member
Isn't coco coir something that can cause impaction?
What form of vitamin A is in your vitamin powder?
After reading my labels, he gets vitamin A (retinol?) with his RevitaliseD3. So basically every other week. I’m not sure if coco coir can cause impaction but I’ve just started to assume anything can if it’s not their food.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
The coir may not satisfy the chameleons needs.
Reasons for eating dirt may not be met with it....
https://www.advancednutrients.com/articles/coco-coir-grow-medium/

Geophagy in animals...
Bats..."Instead, Voigt and his colleagues suspect the bats eat dirt to detoxify themselves. The bats that stop at mineral licks are often pregnant or nursing mothers, so this geophagy may help them protect their young."...
https://www.livescience.com/4956-bats-eat-dirt-stay-healthy.html

https://books.google.ca/books?id=iL...DgU#v=onepage&q=GEOPHAGY AND REPTILES&f=false

http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Abstracts/Diamond_99.html
 
Last edited:

TayloredExotics

Established Member
Isn't coco coir something that can cause impaction?
What form of vitamin A is in your vitamin powder?
I guess anything can cause impaction; I've always heard that coco fiber is digestible, though I'm sure it's less so for insectivores. But I figure it's far less likely to cause issues than soil or rocks, so I make it the easier option to access.
 

TayloredExotics

Established Member
The coir may not satisfy the chameleons needs.
Reasons for eating dirt may not be met with it.

Geophagy in animals...
Bats..."Instead, Voigt and his colleagues suspect the bats eat dirt to detoxify themselves. The bats that stop at mineral licks are often pregnant or nursing mothers, so this geophagy may help them protect their young."...

Ah, I know my snails do something similar, and don't seem to do as well without access to at least some 'real' dirt. I'll have to revisit my coco dish idea. It seemed to help my dirt muncher, but a single anecdote isn't statistically significant...
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Rip...:ROFLMAO: The problem is, I use a lot of vining plants like pothos and philodendron cordatum. I haven't noticed gnats since fall and I know the plants don't have any pests. Idk what to do. I'd love to not worry about using rocks or anything but :cautious:
I get it.... Beman still will go after the dirt here and there. I have even caught Bane doing it. I use mostly pothos and those are much more difficult to cover. A tiny amount is not going to hurt... It is large chucks or actively eating it that you have to worry about. Personally with my boys I do not give them access to eating it if I can help it. Impaction risk is not something I am willing to risk.

So one question. Has he always done this? Or is this recent? Did he do it prior to the arcadia supplements? They are lower in calcium with d3 and vitamin A which is why I am wondering.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ah, I know my snails do something similar, and don't seem to do as well without access to at least some 'real' dirt. I'll have to revisit my coco dish idea. It seemed to help my dirt muncher, but a single anecdote isn't statistically significant...
I added a link to coco coir after you quoted it. You might like to read it.
 

TayloredExotics

Established Member
I added a link to coco coir after you quoted it. You might like to read it.
Oh yeah, I know it doesn't have any nutrition for plants or animals. I figured the reason my dude ate soil was either for fiber/moving things through his guts, or a lack of some vitamin/mineral, which is why I added supplements. I realize that probably isn't going to cover all the micronutrients and similar in soil, though. I realize it's supposed to bind some Ca (and Mg, and Fe), but I figured if you add enough powder, there's only so much the coir can bind
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
It's definitely a theory that they eat leaves, greenery for fiber but I don't know if that's why they eat soil. In my experience, it's more the females that eat the sand/soil (and strip pothos bare) so I'm not sure what the reasoning is. Maybe they're looking for nutrients or maybe they are doing it to get rid of the toxins to protect the embryos... or both? I really don't know.
 

Grayson Payne

Avid Member
I get it.... Beman still will go after the dirt here and there. I have even caught Bane doing it. I use mostly pothos and those are much more difficult to cover. A tiny amount is not going to hurt... It is large chucks or actively eating it that you have to worry about. Personally with my boys I do not give them access to eating it if I can help it. Impaction risk is not something I am willing to risk.

So one question. Has he always done this? Or is this recent? Did he do it prior to the arcadia supplements? They are lower in calcium with d3 and vitamin A which is why I am wondering.
He was doing it before. This was part of the reason I switched to Arcadia. I just wanted to use a supplement more people trusted. And I’ve seen some people say to just let them do it, but I’m like you, I would really rather not risk impaction.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
He was doing it before. This was part of the reason I switched to Arcadia. I just wanted to use a supplement more people trusted. And I’ve seen some people say to just let them do it, but I’m like you, I would really rather not risk impaction.
ok so it is not due to the supplement change... Hopefully he will grow out of it. He is almost a year now right?
 

Grayson Payne

Avid Member
ok so it is not due to the supplement change... Hopefully he will grow out of it. He is almost a year now right?
He's a year and almost two months! I really hope he does grow out of it.
 

Attachments

  • FCAB9F92-BD99-449C-85FC-E5C1400BAF04.jpeg
    FCAB9F92-BD99-449C-85FC-E5C1400BAF04.jpeg
    131.6 KB · Views: 8
Top Bottom