Maybe I'm a dummy....


New Member
....but I'm not quite getting it on the calcium, vit A, gut loading thing yet.

I have a baby veiled, and am feeding my crickets flukers calcium quencher, shredded carrots,and various sliced fruit/vegies and some little dry cricket ballies called T-Rex calcium plus food for crickets.

I am offering "Dipped in Butter" crickets daily, and he eats anywhere from 3 to 6 "small" crickets each day. Twice weekly, I dust the crickets with Miner-All-1.

Right now, he is totally an inside guy, as I don't yet have an outside cage for him, and here in the desert, it is over 100(f) and just too darned hot for him to be out there anyway.

He has a 5.0 UVB and a basking lamp. Temp at basking is around 90, with the lower portion of the ficus and branches in the upper 70's. Night time temps in the house are around 70.

I am feeding him in a deli dish, near his favorite basking branch, putting the crickets in there with romaine leaves and some fruit/vegies to keep them there, and to encourage him to taste the greens. I have offered him wax worms, but he didn't appear to know that they were a food source. He ignores the greens also. I figure that I will re-try the wax worms in a few days.

So, my question is I supplementing enough, too much.....or what ?
I will tell you what I do for my chameleons. Everyone's opinion differs slightly on gutloading and supplementing, so this is just my routine ;)

I gutload my crickets, roaches and superworms on a diet of mixed grain infant baby cereal, alfalfa, shredded and unsweetened coconut, turnip,collard,mustard and dandelion greens, escarole, green, yellow and acorn squash, sweet potato, carrot and endive. I also occasionally throw in whatever other grain or vegetable I have on hand at the time (red pepper/zucchini/leeks). I do not use much fruit in my gutload really. Occasionally some melon and that is about it.

I may not get all of these ingredients into my gutload every single time, but i make sure that the cereal, all of the greens and at least a few vegetables make it in there.

Here is a great site with nutritional ingredient of common gutloading vegetables:

As far as supplementing, I use a pure calcium supplement with no D3 around 4 times a week. I use a calcium supplement WITH D3 twice a month. I also use a reptile vitamin supplement twice a month. I order feeder insects twice monthly so it makes this schedule easy to keep up with.. I just use the D3 and vitamin supplements the day after i get my feeders (once they have had time to gutload properly).

I do not use romain lettuce to gutload with nor do I offer it to my veileds. It really has little in the way of nutritional value. Collard greens keep well and are better accepted as well as mustard greens, turnip greens and dandelion greens.

I know some people feed waxworms occasionally, but I never offer them. They are very high in fat and my chameleons already get enough fat from their great love of superworms ;)

Also, for my baby veileds, I try to keep the basking spot closer to around 85. The little guys overheat very easy and can quickly become dehydrated. I usually wait to move the basking spot up to 90 at around 4 or 5 months old.

I hope this helped some! Good luck with your chameleon.
Good advice Cherron!

More comments....the importance of the calcium, gutloading, supplementing, etc. that we do for chameleons it to (of course) make and keep them healthy. Phosphorous, calcium, D3 and vitamin A are big players in bone health (and play other parts in the body as well) its important to keep them in balance.

Most of the feeder insects we use have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorous so dusting the insects with a phosphorous-free calcium powder before feeding them to the chameleons helps to make up for this.

Dusting with the vitamins/minerals ensures that they have the vitamins/minerals that they need that we might have missed in whatever is fed to the insects or whatever the insects contained already. However, there are some like D3 and preformed vitamin A that can build up in the system so we have to try not to overdo those.

D3 produced from exposure to UVB or sunlight (which does not pass through glass or plastic) will allow the chameleon to use the calcium in its diet. (Insufficient D3 will prevent the chameleon from using the calcium efficiently and can lead to MBD). Excess vitamin D3 from SUPPLEMENTS can cause problems too.

If your vitamins include beta carotene sources of vitamin A it will not build up in the system, but there is controversy as to whether chameleons can convert beta carotene to vitamin A so some people give their chameleons a bit of preformed vitamin A once in a while to ensure that they won't be lacking it. (Preformed vitamin A comes from animal sources mainly, but can be found in some of the commercial gutloads and supplements too. Beta carotene comes from plant sources usually...but can be included in gutloads too.) Excess preformed vitamin A can prevent the D3 from doing its job and lead to MBD.

If the chameleon can not heat its body up warm enough to digest the food properly, it won't be able to absorb nutrients properly which can also lead to health issues.

Hope this helps to make it a little clearer!
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