Introducing new food

icefuzion

New Member
I have two four month jackson chameleons and I've been feeding them dusted crickets. I've also tried waxworms, mealworms and superworms, but I've never gotten them to eat them. I've had to force feed them a few times and they've eaten it but to get it on their own, was something i've never seen. (if i catch them yawning i would put the food in their mouth :p)

My male is fine, he eats crickets with no problems. i also caught him trying to get a spider from outside but he missed and the spider used its escape line. (LoL)

My female used to eat crickets and I let her go outside and ive seen her catching flies.

What tactics can be used to introduce them? They dont seem to be interested by those wax/meal/super worms...

I bought one of those live bug catchers so I can get moths and everything due to summer(as of today), but is there any other large low care bugs I could get? I also just bought 2 preying mantis cocoons and Im waiting for them to hatch.
 

Heika

New Member
You may want to give roaches and silkworms a try. I keep an ever-expanding roach colony, and feed different sizes to all of my chameleons. The ones that I have are blaptica dubias, and they don't climb or fly. They are easy (really easy) to keep and don't stink. Getting a colony started is the hardest part, since most sellers will only send nymphs. It takes them a while to start reproducing. Once they do.. look out! Silkworms are another great option. Or, you can allow your wax worms to turn into moths. My panther won't willingly eat a wax worm, but he will take a wax worm moth from my hand.

Heika
 

icefuzion

New Member
Well I brought the male outside and put a superworm near him while he was pearched on a chair and he ate it! Can you give me some sources for the roaches and a way to get a waxworm/mealworm/roach/superworm colony?
 

Heika

New Member
For roaches, a great source is www.blaberus.com. The owner is really helpful. Or, if you are looking for a small colony, I can probably help out in a month or so. I just gave away a colony of around 50 adults, so I want them to recover somewhat before I get rid of any more.

For starting your own colonies of other types of bugs, check out this site.. www.justbugs.com. It is a fantastic site! Also, I know I have said this a few times now.. but I just bought a new bug book that is really good. It is published by the Chameleon Information Network, and called "Thoughts for Food." I currently keep breeding colonies of meal worms, wax worms, and roaches. I also have several cultures of fruit flies going at a time. Recently, I started hatching my own crickets for the pygmies.. I wouldn't do it if I had to raise them to adult sizes, but pygmies can only eat up to about 1/4" crickets so it works out alright. I have a bunch of super worms, and my panther chameleon has decided that he doesn't like them anymore, so I am going to see if I can get them to pupate into beetles.

Keeping colonies of bugs that reproduce isn't just cheaper, it is more convenient. I have a pretty good variety of feeders all the time. While lots of people think that mealworms are crap to feed because of the chiton, I have a large colony and can pick through for ones that have just molted. The beetles are great to feed before their shells get hard, too.

I bought a bag of wheat bran and a bag of alfalfa pellets from my local feed store for bug food. A 50 lb bag of wheat bran was only $7.00, and the 25 lb bag of alfalfa pellets was less than that. For the meal bugs, I mix these two ingredients with dried mashed potatoes, WER gut load, and powdered eggs. They also get a slice of fresh fruit every day. For crickets, I use the same mixture for food in their cages, but also give them a spoon full of grated fruits, vegetables, and crumbled boiled egg every day. The wax worms are in a glass jar with wheat bran, baby cereal and honey mixed together.

Keeping the bugs is almost as much fun as keeping the chameleons! The only ones I really don't like to mess with are silkworms. I just don't do well with them, and they take too much time for me. I will mess with them more later, maybe.

Heika
 

Heika

New Member
I don't think I would be willing to try and keep a colony of praying mantises. They are cannibals by nature, so you wouldn't be able to keep them all in the same container. Maybe if you can cage each one seperately, it might work? Praying mantises are common here, so I think that, for myself, I will leave them as an occasional treat when I can catch them. If you decide to give it a try, I would like to hear how you do with them!

Heika
 

ydktdborg

New Member
If you can find locusts then they generally love them. my cham doesnt really eat from my hands but if i have one then he will definatly go for it.

I found that my chameleon never really liked any variey until he got older. He never ate any thing apart from crickets and locust. Now he eats carrot, lettuce, waxworms, flies and loads of plants as well!

I guess just try and introduce them bit by bit!
 

Heika

New Member
Sure, I would be happy to post photos.. if you can wait a day or two. I have to finish my accounting homework, and get rid of unwelcomed bugs in the pygmy enclosures. Looks like I have nasty, blood sucking mites. Wish me luck.

Heika
 

Heika

New Member
Ok.. here are some bug shots. I posted these roach photos on this forum a while ago, but the enclosure is still identical and producing well. This container stays in the garage. I like to use water crystals for the roach and the cricket enclosure, they seem to work pretty good.









This is the cricket house. I am almost out of crickets right now, although I have a bunch that have hatched and are growing. I want to use the last of these and then dump the bedding and clean the tank before adding new ones. Cricket glop right now is applesauce, grated zuccini, boiled eggs, and some leaf lettuce. I mix it up every few days from whatever we have on hand and a boiled egg, and then change it daily. I put it on a little paper plate so I can just throw away the whole plate and replace it. The water crystals are in a chick feeder from the feed store.. they seem to stay cleaner that way. When they dry out, I add water to them. The cricket ones get dirty after only a couple times, and then I toss em and start over. Word of advice... as tempting as it seems, don't flush water crystals. Just not a good idea.. don't ask me how I know. The bedding is a mixture of grains, instant mashed potatoes, WER gutload, powdered eggs and alfalfa pellets ground to powder in a coffee grinder.





Here are some newly hatched crickets. The "dirt" is coco dirt, and the white sprinkles are WER gutload. I will move them to another container that isn't quite so wet in a couple days.





This is my bug heat box. It is an old cricket container, so the sides and the top have screened sections in them. The heat source is a reptile heat pad. I keep cricket eggs and newly hatched crickets, fruitfly cultures, and wax worms in here. I also leave a little food in the bottom of the container for escapees. It works out pretty well.. right now, there are 6 fruitfly cultures in there, but I took two out to take pictures. Three are new ones that I just put in today. The wax worms are usually kept in a glass jar, but the culture crashed a couple days ago. I pulled all the healthy looking ones and the pupates and put them in a critter keeper with new bedding. The waxed paper is in there for the moths to lay eggs on. I am still having some die off going on.. hopefully, the wax paper has enough eggs that I can pull it and start a new culture in the next few days.



This is one of the fruit fly cultures I have going right now.. these glad containers are nifty and work well, but I really hate cleaning them out after the culture is spent, so I bought "throw away" containers. The recipe I am using seems to produce well.. it has grape juice and bananas in it along with a bunch of other things, and the fruit flies produce for a long time on it.



I keep the pupating mealworm beetles seperate from the beetles and the worms so no one chews on them. I add a cup or so of new bedding to the container about once a week, but after a while, it gets kind of dirty looking so I move them all over to a new box with clean bedding. I keep the old box for a while, because of the eggs and tiny mealworms in the old bedding. When I am pretty sure it is done, I dump it and wash the container. I use a slotted spoon to sift out dead mealworms, molted skin, and any uneaten fruits.







I keep superworms in a deep container because they can climb pretty well. I use a barely damp towel to lay over the bedding. They do really well, and I rarely find a dead one, but none of them have pupated. I will eventually try putting a few worms in camera film containers to see if they will pupate, but haven't yet. They tend to dig fast when I lift the towel..







Ok.. that is it for now. I will take pictures of wax worms and moths when I have a healthy culture going again, which may be a couple weeks. I would really like to see everyone else's bug collections, too. It is really great to see what other people do and get new ideas!

Heika
 

lhaley14

New Member
My wife's starting on her graduate degree in entomology this Fall. She's my bug girl, lol. Your colonies are great! Thank you very much for sharing! I'd love to see the springtails. I have a cricket colony starting out, possibly some silkworms (since the mulberry trees have lots of leaves now), and a mealworm colony that's many generations already. I'd like to start doing roaches and waxworms now. I feed my crickets mainly cat food and occasional vegetables. My camera's out of battery now and I can't find the charger, but I'll post pics tomorrow when I get a chance. They're not very impressive like yours, though.
 

lhaley14

New Member
icefuzion said:
I have two four month jackson chameleons and I've been feeding them dusted crickets. I've also tried waxworms, mealworms and superworms, but I've never gotten them to eat them. I've had to force feed them a few times and they've eaten it but to get it on their own, was something i've never seen. (if i catch them yawning i would put the food in their mouth :p)

My male is fine, he eats crickets with no problems. i also caught him trying to get a spider from outside but he missed and the spider used its escape line. (LoL)

My female used to eat crickets and I let her go outside and ive seen her catching flies.

What tactics can be used to introduce them? They dont seem to be interested by those wax/meal/super worms...

I bought one of those live bug catchers so I can get moths and everything due to summer(as of today), but is there any other large low care bugs I could get? I also just bought 2 preying mantis cocoons and Im waiting for them to hatch.
When I first had my Jackson's, he got picky for a little while. Part of it was that I needed to increase his drinking times. I think he was getting into early dehydration stages. I was gone over the weekends and wasn't able to spray as often as needed. I installed an automatic mister and it worked well since then. He stayed picky for crickets, but then I introduced him to silkworms. He gobbled them up quick. He loves silkworms.
 

Patrickn

New Member
Thank you Heika. very nice bug collection. In order to start my bugs colongy, i would like to get more information of them. However, the www.justbugs.com link is broken. could you recommend me other websites? Thx
 

jbfromsc80

New Member
here are a few links that I have found while doing research

http://www.bluebeastreptile.com/feeders.htm

http://skylab.org/~chugga/cricket/

http://www.adcham.com/html/insects/insects-map.html

http://www.mantidforum.com/forum/index.php

just a few, there are many more out there.

I love you setup heika, and I cannot wait to delve into this hobby/adventure. I am glad that I have you guys expertise to lean on, definitely a lot to learn. Thanks

forgot a great resource!

http://www.chameleonnews.com/

If you look through the issues, there is a great article on horn worms, and many other feeder insects, gut loads, and chameleon info in general. i am still reading through all the articles!! definately a great resource to our community.
 
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