How smart is a chameleon?

Perla Adams

New Member
Can a chameleon learn where to find his food?

This is the situation:

I will be traveling soon. I will be one month in USA. I have an employee that will come to my house to take care of the Champ (the chameleon) and my other pets/plants.

I think my chameleon is stable: he likes his new house (he looks healthy), I have a timer to keep the UBV light on 10 hours per day, he has a dropper running constantly, I will instruct our employee to spray the cage at least two times per day, but still, I have the food supply problem.

Another person (who will be in contact with our employee) is the one that supply me with cockroaches. He picks around 12 German cockroach per week (I know, that is not enough, I am starting a cockroach farm but it will take some time). So far, what I do is feed him 2 or 3 alive roaches (the day I receive them) and freeze the rest to give him 2 or 3 per day using the cup method ( I take him out of his cage and place him in an outdoor bush while hold the cup, he quickly comes to eat them). He does not have problem eating the freeze roaches. His urates are white and poop is what is considered normal (moist solid and dark brown, before, his urates were yellow/orange and the poop watery). He is healthier than when I bring him home. I always dust the roaches with calcium. He survived all the wrong information/practices that I received in the Pet Shop.

Today, I decided to place the roaches in a dish inside the cage; I place the dish in a place where he sees the roaches, immediately he approached the dish and eats them.

I want to know if I can teach him to always go to that spot to eat. It is simple if I just ask our employee to put the roaches in the same dish rather than ask him to take him out of the cage and cup feeding. He is a good employee but to handle the chameleon is always a risk, so I want to make the things simple/safe for everybody.

Thank you
I see a problem with him pooping in the dish if in his cage for a month- I am new to chameleons and my suggestion should be checked for faults with experts - What I do for my panther (who is young and doesn't like me putting my hands in and out of his cage) is to get a couple of disposable cups cut out a hole in the bottom & I cover with a small piece of screening (so as not to let it collect water) and put a velcro button on the side of it - I put his dusted cricket in the cup and then switch it out with the cup that was there - with the velcro I can move it and it's in and out quickly. (I have the other velcro button on a bottle cap that I attach from outside of screen)
Using the bowl I think you would want to have at least two and make sure that they are emptied and cleaned.

Perla Adams

New Member
Hello Kplatvoet:

Do you change the position of the dishes?

I have three dishes that I can hang around in the cage (I have a wire cage, not screen). I’m not sure is if I need to show him roaches before hang the dish near to him, or I can leave the dishes in a certain spots and he will eventually learn to look for food in those spots. Of course, if he doesn’t eat the roaches, I will replace them for fresh ones the next morning.

If I am in home, I have no problem cup feeding him or place him in a tank with live roaches and flies ( he is not stress If I take him out of the cage, he is a very friendly veil chameleon),but since I will be away, I want make the system the most human-independent possible.

Thank you

little leaf

Avid Member
I cup feed, and I do not move my cups, I have found that they will go look in the cup when they are hungry - just from what I have noticed, when I introduced new food to my baby chams, they were much quicker to eat a new food item from the feed cup vs letting it lose in the cage - if you use a deli cup , the roaches have a harder time crawling out- poke a few tiny holes so they will not keep water ,there are many post on how to make cup feeders, and most are very easy
I am not sure about the laws and roaches traveling, but while you are in the USA, maybe you can pick up some dubia roaches and take back with you - they breed very fast, and easy - you will soon have more than he can eat - but like I said, make sure you can take them back - don't want to get you in trouble - :)


I cup feed, hand feed, and sometimes he hunts down any escapees. My cham always knows when he's getting fed, because I bring out these green tweezers that I use to handle the crickets with... as soon as he sees those, he knows it's time to eat. What surprised me the most about this is that he learned this by the 3-4th feeding. Now a days, if I'm introducing new food, all I need to do is show him his tweezers, and he eats whatever I give him, no problem. I used that method to introduce him to strawberries, and ever since the second piece I gave him, he takes the pieces right out of my fingers - no tweezers necessary.
(Actually, he learned this so well, he tried to eat my finger, thinking I was offering him food, when I wasn't, one time)

So I would say that yes, they are smart enough to be trained when it comes to food. Every chameleon has it's own personality, likes, and dislikes, that can vary, but as long as he likes what he's eating, I don't see why yours can't be trained either.

Perla Adams

New Member
Thank you Tyaeda:

Can you tell me how you introduce your chameleon to strawberries? I used to place fruit (small pieces of mango and grapes) and some leaves in a dish, but he never touches them. I wish supplement his diet since I have very limited access to insects.

Thank you


Chameleon Enthusiast
I assume its a veiled if it likes fruit. While not the best idea, i fly my fruit around with string or put it at the end of a long stick.
Top Bottom