I feed mine wedges of apple and pear, diced melon and berries, and more. I also give them kale, collards, endive, diced squash, slivers of sweet potato, diced carrot, sweet red pepper cut into thin strips...and more. I DO NOT give them oranges, tomatoes, spinach or cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli. Some of these have been recommended not to use, others I have just decided not to use. I have had them pass up insects and go after their "salad".
Some of my veileds also strip the leaves off of the pothos plants and others don't touch them.
I would like to say something on an interesting matter of secondary importance for the nutrition of chameleons, but still worth considering for the well being of our animals.
Over the last few decades the human food industry has bombarded the market with so-called “light” products and information on adverse effects of cholesterol because of the high rate of obesity, and the whole campaign against “bad” fat has transformed people’s thinking and generalised fat as all just bad fat: we never consider the fact that fat is the activator of our hormones that control our moods, and that for the last millennium (at least) people have made great efforts on how to preserve and accumulate fat used for food. This changed mentality – that all fat is bad – has also been adopted by sincere animal owners who with their best knowledge have been applying this idea to animal nutrition. But good animal keeping does not always mean transferring human values to animals. It goes without saying that animals, especially lizards, are in many ways different in their nutritional needs from humans.
In nature we have observed chameleons eating small birds in the nest and insects with high levels of fat in large quantities; we have even seen a pregnant T.C. Melleri dig into the earth and eat fat larvae. The results of a study lasting 6 years by Dr. Cox and colleagues from Bologna and Rimini universities, have proved that the chameleon stores fat in its cheeks, chin and a part of the helm as a jelly substance: this jelly substance is not common fat cells as in humans and mammals but similar to the fat in camels. The fat is assimilated with cholesterin (cholesterin is used in soaps to bind fat and non-fat substances) and not cholesterol as in mammals, which is why the extra fat in chameleons is similar to the fat camels have to store water for the normal functioning of their vital organs, enabling their survival in arid environments – quite logically, every creature living there has survived because it has been able to adapt to the hostile environment demands and successfully live there for millions of years. The other interesting fact about cholesterin is that when animals accumulate too much fat or the fat is not needed its starts excreting the “bad” fat (there are products for lowering cholesterol with cholesterin for humans). Of course, we know that a lizard’s metabolism, especially a chameleon’s metabolism is not similar to a human’s. So it is not at all bad to feed a chameleon regularly (once or twice a month) with pinkies or fat larva if the chameleon has no liver disease and enough space to move. Another matter: with regard to feeding juvenile chameleons with Zophobas Morio or mealworms, these two have a large quantity of fibres that stops them assimilating nutritious elements from their food and tends to stunt the growth of the animal, although they have never proven to be deadly or to make the animal weak.
The next matter I find really interesting is the importance of various chemicals in plants found in nature which chameleons regularly feed on: the general opinion is that the chameleon eats plants when in need of water and food, that’s true. But in nature we find chameleons seeking special plants from the ficus family. The word 'ficus' means 'fig' in Latin, although the tree that bears the tasty fruit we all know and love is different from the fig tree found in Middle East, Africa and India – where it is known as the banyan tree, the holy tree under which Buddha meditated. The ficus group contains some of our most universally popular houseplants and is found throughout the continents. For Yemen chameleons we know that in nature they especially seek the Ficus sp. Delonix elata because of its toxins, which are: Furocoumarins, psoralens, ficin. The same toxins are also found in the ficus Benjaminus which we use to decorate our terrariums. Now, what is the importance of these toxins for chameleon nutrition? The chameleon uses the chemical ficin which could be deadly in large quantities for humans. This toxin in chameleons digests and kills some parasites in the digestive flora and even keeps the growth of filarial (which is quite often found in chameleons in nature) under control. We know of course that chameleon flora is different from human flora (there are different bacteria in the chameleon’s digestive system) and vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) kills some of these bacteria in the chameleon’s digestive system, but it is the opposite case with the iguana, which needs vitamin C, although the iguana is a strictly herbivorous animal. I guess anyone extensively feeding their chameleon veggies with high vitamin C content have experienced diarrhoea in the animal! I hope this information has been useful.
the article is an insert from a new book I’m writing most of the information’s are from researches done by the university "la sapienza" from the biology department with the help of dr. Cox, the university lab and a study book; faunology and morphology of chameleons sp. Originally we though to do the book in Italian but the publisher do to scientific facts and demand want to publish a book in English too, so i decide to post this article bcoz we already use it in the newsletter of the British herpetological society.
For some reason, I thought this book had been published or was very close to publication. Perhaps I thought that because you stated that the book has a name, a publisher, and that it is being distributed in the English language. That does seem to indicate that the book is available or will be shortly. Many book selling sites do have preorder and preview pages on books that will soon be available.
Add to that the fact that you are promoting the book on chameleon forums, and you may be able to see why I googled it.