feeding chameleons exclusively on silk worms?

Discussion in 'Chameleon Food' started by bechsgaard, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. bechsgaard

    bechsgaard New Member

    Hi, i've heard afew people say that one a panther chameleon turns 6 months old you can feed them silk worms as a staple instead of crickets, i know that silk worms are lower fat so tell me what you think ;)
  2. moviemanmania

    moviemanmania Avid Member

    I think your only exposing your chameleon to one set of nutrients. Your chameleon isn't getting the benefit of varies nutriments, vitamins, and minerals from other feeders. I think I would use additional feeders such as dubia and lobster roaches, crickets, superworms, and hornworms.
  3. SonTigerPantherCham

    SonTigerPantherCham New Member

    I totally agree with Jon, you can't live on just chocolate (as much as I would like to!)
  4. Dave

    Dave Avid Member

    Amen to that. A varied diet is in the best interests of any life-form. (Ive been watching far too much Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Dang Netflix.)
  5. Echoezra

    Echoezra Established Member

    I don't think he meant silkworms exclusively, just as the main usual. For most people who don't do roaches, it's usually a regular serving of crickets with a mix of other worms. What he's saying is using the silkworms as the cricket part, the mostly regularly part. So the crickets, as well as other worms, would serve as the mix it up part.
    Anyway, I've heard they're pretty nutritious as far as a regular feeder, but I think the concern comes with having an all-soft diet. All squishy worms isn't good. So if you were alternating only silks, horns, and butters for example, all squishy, not good. If there were crickets still regularly in there, and say supers or something, I think that would be better to incorporate some chitin in the mix and whatnot.
    Also I think the other reason people usually use crickets as opposed to silks is being able to control the gutloading, and what's going in it. Silks only eat that one thing. So again, a good reason to still keep crickets & supers in the mix.
    carol5208 likes this.
  6. bechsgaard

    bechsgaard New Member

    thank you for understanding what i meant, your point is true, one food less control for gut loading, but also, crickets have a better fat/protein ratio. silk worms have a ratio of 25% fat and 75% protein, and crickets have aprox 45/55. silk worms would be a great feeder to make up 50-80% of the diet if you had a sick chameleon as they need lots of protein. If you had a gravid female you would want crickets, and waxes for a formerly gravidfemale
  7. sandrachameleon

    sandrachameleon Chameleon Enthusiast

    Nothing should be considered a staple feeder. Variety is important.

    Silkworms are an excellent choice as PART of a varied diet. Although you CAN gutload silkworms on more than mulberry, they still arent as easily and widely gutloadable as say crickets and roaches, and they do not provide needed chinton. Silkworms are great if they form 20-40% of your chameleons diet. The remainder should be largely things like cricket, roach, phasmid, terrestrial isopod, superworm, butterworm...

    My advice is to Try not to have any one feeder make up more than 20% of your chameleons diet, and certainly not more than 50%.

    Here is a link to a list of the commonly used feeders and info about each:
    jastate09 likes this.
  8. bechsgaard

    bechsgaard New Member

    although we are talking about juveniles and they don't have many options other than crickets in which you should have more than 50% of diet with, and silk worms, and occasionally wax worms and butter worms
  9. sandrachameleon

    sandrachameleon Chameleon Enthusiast

    what makes you say Juvi cant eat a wide range of prey? mine do. From 1 week old they are eating a variety of prey (fruit flies, pinheads, very small mealworms, baby stick bugs, baby terrestrial isopods, small silks, etc). At about 3 months, they can eat almost anything an adult can (just smaller sizes), from roach nymphs and small crickets, to small butters, small sticks, small terrestrial isopods, flies, small superworms, small moths, small silkworms, cabbage loppers, small termites ....
  10. DavidBuchan

    DavidBuchan New Member

    Just for variety I also feed up to 3 or 4 w/c insects per week to my monitor and female veiled (someone isn't eating his greens right now so doesn't get his pudding ). Garden spiders, earwigs, blue bottle flies, woodlice, the list is almost endless if you have a chameleon who is an avid eater. Variety is the spice of life, and when you have a free feeder shop just outside the door...juveniles are often more likely to want to try new things, so there's really no excuse for trying to limit your Chams diet.
    If anything you should be doing as Sandra says and offering as much variety as possible in insects and gutloads (just read the blogs to make sure you don't put too much phosphorous in with the calcium and you can't go too far wrong)
  11. Zen Reptiles

    Zen Reptiles Avid Member

    You may not be able to live off chocolate, but cows can live off just grass. Horned Toads and Thorny Devils can live of just ants. Osprey can live off just fish.

    Don't be ambiguous.

    Yes you can feed your chameleon only silkworms as a stable, in fact they are probably the best option for a staple if you can afford them or breed them yourself.

    It is a better idea though, to feed say 75%-90% of the diet in silkworms, and the remainder as roaches, crickets, other worms, wild insects, moths, etc.

    My guys love the silk moths, so pupate them when you get the chance!
  12. DavidBuchan

    DavidBuchan New Member

    Koalas just eat Eucalyptus leaves........but in the wild Chameleons eat a bigger variety of insects than we can possibly provide (making them different to the examples you've listed)......to not be ambiguous for a moment - you should offer as much variety as you can. 90% of the diet being one species of soft worm cannot possibly be the better idea.
  13. bechsgaard

    bechsgaard New Member

    mealworms are certainly a bad idea for juviniles, they often cause seizures and dont have much nutrition. And wild caught insects pose the risk of making ur cham sick if it is infected. Wild cause insects often are the sourse of parasites in chameleons, and the pesticide risk is high, exspecially in North America
  14. bechsgaard

    bechsgaard New Member

    actually, in the wild chameleons prefer insects of the Raico..something.. family, they are essentially small spiders and with the panther chams, over 90% of their wild diet is just these, its quite interesting, that they are virtually same size, nutrition, and taste as crickets. In the wild crickets also love moths, and thats what they consider a treat. Simple is elegant, things dont nessesarily have to be complex to keep your chameleon happy
  15. DavidBuchan

    DavidBuchan New Member

    I never heard of mealworms causing seizures before :confused:, but I'm totally with you on taking extra care with wild caught insects, pesticides and parasites make me paranoid.......I can almost guarantee no pesticides where I collect them, and I do get occasional fecal samples checked.......
    Can't find any info. on Raico spiders?, But the point is really that we can't compare with the abundance of nature (the spiders will gutload themselves on a wide variety of insects, which ate a wide variety of plants and other animals too) - rainforests are very complex and elegant, and you are right, our methods must be much simpler for practical reasons :D.....but unlike mother nature we run the risk of missing something out.........
  16. bechsgaard

    bechsgaard New Member

    its a type of spider and the first part of the species name is raico so it could be something like raicojfdjgjfhbj lol. the last time i fed my chams WC insects, they got worms, it was a simple stick bug, but it cost me 400 bucks in medications and Fecal exams. got to 4 of the babies, and 1 adult
  17. DavidBuchan

    DavidBuchan New Member

    No wonder that was the last time then......:eek:. I have insurance for my 3 lizards, and have never once had a parasite problem in all my years keeping lizards....I guess I've just been lucky on that score.
  18. bechsgaard

    bechsgaard New Member

    yea well, you are, but the more lizzards you have the more will get it. only about 1 every 20 chams i have will get parasites per year, i do a fecal every 6 monthes and befor breeding.
  19. DavidBuchan

    DavidBuchan New Member

    True, it will just boil down to numbers and statistics........
  20. Chris Anderson

    Chris Anderson Dr. House of Chameleons
    Staff Member

    There is nothing inherently dangerous about mealworms that would cause seizures in juveniles. This had to have been caused by some other aspect of their husbandry. I don't recommend using mealworms for other nutritional reasons, but there is no evidence that I'm aware of that they increase the risk of seizures in any way.

    Chameleons can and frequently get parasite infections from captive reared feeder insect sources. One does not need to feed wild insects to have your chameleons contract parasites. This is one reason why people recommend having fecals done even on captive bred animals that are not few wild feeders.

    Regarding wild feeders, pesticides are a risk, but if you can locate fields where you know pesticides are not used and know what insects you can and can't use, wild collected insects are very nutritious for captive chameleons.

    Care to cite your source on this? I've never seen a gut content analysis of wild F. pardalis and never seen any evidence that they are eating a high percentage of spiders of any type.


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