Male Veiled Chameleon Diet

Hello chameleon community,

So I just bought a male veiled chameleon yesterday, super excited, he’s really awesome and healthy and seems to like his new home! One little issue I ran into was his diet.

Initially I knew crickets were a must but I wasn’t too crazy about the idea of them, I was just ready to suck it up and do it for the little guy. When I went yesterday to finally pick him up, the lady that was helping me told me I Don’t necessarily have to do crickets, I can do meal worms for everyday food and he should be okay. I did a little further research after going home with him, the food and all of his supplements and saw a lot of people say meal worms and super worms should be given as a treat, rather not everyday food. I was a little nervous because he wasn’t eating it initially but it was just because of the way I was approaching the process of feeding him, got that all figured out. I ended up posting this problem on Reddit because my account for here was waiting to be approved and I got some good responses, one in specific that seemed like it came from a knowledgeable person. He basically told me I need to get crickets because I don’t want my chameleon getting used to the worms, as they are more fats than nutritious. Anyway, after he finally ate the worms I brought home I was relieved but I still feel I need some more opinions, especially now that I got approved for the account on the forums.

Basically the main question to be asked, do I have to go to crickets or can I try dubia roaches? I got my chameleon at a pretty young age, I think he’s a few weeks- maybe a month old, he’s pretty small. The guy also said that because he’s still young I should avoid even the small dubia roaches.

Oh yeah, reason why I didn’t want crickets was because I’m not a big insect guy and neither are my family. I know they can get annoying and stubborn when dealing with them, but I will suck it up If it’s necessary!

Any help/advice or tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you :)
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
If you didn't like bugs you got the wrong animal.... This should help. I'd stay away from mealworms. Superworms are OK as treats. Silkworms, crickets, and dubia roaches are considered good stable feeders. Variety is key to a healthy chameleon though. I like to give my chams a smorgasbord of 2 to 3 different bugs a day.
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Gutloading 101.jpeg
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CamrynTheCham22

Avid Member
First of all, stay away from mealworms, as they can cause impaction. Superworms are a better staple as long as they are gutloaded well, same goes for any feeders you decide to use. I find that the dubia roaches worked way better for my cham and I because they never escaped, they gutload easily, and they are healthy for the cham and easy to breed. Roaches are a great staple, again so long as you gutload. I always got my roaches from dubiaroaches.com. When I had a cham, I got her on dubia roaches and she never got sick of them throughout her whole life, which is wild.

The gutload is one of the most important part of feeding, so I hope you are prepared with ingredients from this list:
Gutloading Ingredients
 
First of all, stay away from mealworms, as they can cause impaction. Superworms are a better staple as long as they are gutloaded well, same goes for any feeders you decide to use. I find that the dubia roaches worked way better for my cham and I because they never escaped, they gutload easily, and they are healthy for the cham and easy to breed. Roaches are a great staple, again so long as you gutload. I always got my roaches from dubiaroaches.com. When I had a cham, I got her on dubia roaches and she never got sick of them throughout her whole life, which is wild.

The gutload is one of the most important part of feeding, so I hope you are prepared with ingredients from this list:
Gutloading Ingredients
Sounds good thank you so much for the advice, it was actually really helpful! Just a few questions: first are superworms actually dangerous because of their ability to eat through skin? I’ve heard about it from a few different forums and also in one of the responses I got on Reddit. Also do you think a rotation of a different insect every week would be okay or should I be doing different ones daily?
 
If you didn't like bugs you got the wrong animal.... This should help. I'd stay away from mealworms. Superworms are OK as treats. Silkworms, crickets, and dubia roaches are considered good stable feeders. Variety is key to a healthy chameleon though. I like to give my chams a smorgasbord of 2 to 3 different bugs a day.
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This was extremely helpful thank you so much. I’ll make sure to keep variety in his diet for sure. I’m really glad everyone who has replied emphasized gut loading as much as they did because they sure didn’t at the vivarium I went to.
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Sounds good thank you so much for the advice, it was actually really helpful! Just a few questions: first are superworms actually dangerous because of their ability to eat through skin? I’ve heard about it from a few different forums and also in one of the responses I got on Reddit. Also do you think a rotation of a different insect every week would be okay or should I be doing different ones daily?
That is a myth. Superworms drown in 1/16" of water they die almost immediately in the chameleons digestive track. Different feeders weekly is fine as well. Just as long as you're correctly supplementing and offering variety. You'll fine chameleons to be picky eaters sometimes too. Preferring one food item to another.
 
That is a myth. Superworms drown in 1/16" of water they die almost immediately in the chameleons digestive track. Different feeders weekly is fine as well. Just as long as you're correctly supplementing and offering variety. You'll fine chameleons to be picky eaters sometimes too. Preferring one food item to another.
Got it. And yeah I made sure to get both the multivitamins and the calcium that works with the UVB and made sure to soak the worms in it. Also, I did notice that a lot of people described them as picky so I’ll try to track which he likes best and making different combinations off that. Thanks again, truly saved me and possibly saved my little buddy before anything could have gone badly! :D
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Got it. And yeah I made sure to get both the multivitamins and the calcium that works with the UVB and made sure to soak the worms in it. Also, I did notice that a lot of people described them as picky so I’ll try to track which he likes best and making different combinations off that. Thanks again, truly saved me and possibly saved my little buddy before anything could have gone badly! :D
That's why we're here and that's what we're here to do!
 
That's why we're here and that's what we're here to do!
Okay one more question: I just got some super worms and I didn’t really realize they game in different sizes. I got the large ones, again, my chameleon is still on the smaller side. Is it okay to feed him the big ones or do I need to go find some smaller ones?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
So one thing I would like to add... when you say he is a few weeks old this concerns me. They typically eat very tiny feeders at that age. If he is eating mealworms then he is not a few weeks old. Maybe post some pics of him and your cage lighting down.
 
So one thing I would like to add... when you say he is a few weeks old this concerns me. They typically eat very tiny feeders at that age. If he is eating mealworms then he is not a few weeks old. Maybe post some pics of him and your cage lighting down.
I may be wrong on the few weeks, let me send pictures of what I have saved.
 

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Red light needs to go... Be careful with the substrate in the tank due to impaction issues and bacteria growth. Typically Glass enclosures are not great for new keepers. You have a very large potential for RI.
The red light is for heat, I don’t think getting rid of that would workout . And what’s RI and what are the risk factors?
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
The red light is for heat, I don’t think getting rid of that would workout . And what’s RI and what are the risk factors?
Right but you can not use a red bulb. It is not good for them. You need a regular incandescent household bulb. RI is a Respiratory infection. Moist air from misting+heat from lamps with very little air flow=RI... These can kill them. This is why typically we recommend screen cages for new keepers.
 
Right but you can not use a red bulb. It is not good for them. You need a regular incandescent household bulb. RI is a Respiratory infection. Moist air from misting+heat from lamps with very little air flow=RI... These can kill them. This is why typically we recommend screen cages for new keepers.
Okay I’ll take note of that and try to go grab one of those bulbs, I really appreciate it thank you so much! And as for the RI with the cage, what are things I should do to prevent that? Being if I want to keep the cage I have now.

Man, I really thought the vivarium I went to would have all of the correct setups and tips being that I was a beginner! The vivarium is a old, well rated place that seemed like they had experienced people but of course the two people I spoke with in the process gave me all of the wrong info! They told me I needed ventilation but recommended the one with only mesh on the top. They told me meal worms were okay for everyday meals which they aren’t! I’m glad I’m receiving help from outside sources. Thanks again.
 
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