Neonates need 1 week of spiders?


New Member
I read somewhere that there was a week, possibly two, in the first two or three months of the chameleon's life, that there should be spiders in the diet.
Anyone heard that?
AND... any word on NOT feeding my baby cham aphids while they are in abundance?
Don't know who you heard that from but it isn't true. They can eat spiders, provided they aren't a dangerous species, but they definitely don't need them or prefer them over other feeders in my experience.

Be careful with aphids as they are often targeted by insecticides.

Aphids clean of insecticides

Because of concern, thank you, Be assured that that's a given as I am careful about that stuff, even for me. More so for the little git.
Forget EVERYTHING that the person who told you about spiders, has ever told you about chameleons. Forget it ALL.

Also, be carefull what plant you find the aphids on. There are many plants that aphids consume that are toxic but safe to them. They might not be safe to your chameleons.

The aphids I know are probably much to small to feed for a 3 month of most larger chameleon species that are reserved for starter species.
While many chameleons seem to relish spiders, it should be avoided. Even if the spider is nontoxic, it could bite the inside of the mouth, causing an infection.
I agree sean, but thats just as a cricket, superworm, locust or hornworm could?

The toxicity is moreso the factor in my mind. They may not contain strong venoms, but I beleive all spiders contain varying levels of poisions that subdue their pray, many of which could possibly be problematic, especially if bitten.
That's correct Will, most feeders are capable of biting to some degree. While I derive no enjoyment from mutilating insects, many have body parts that are injurious to chameleons, and this should be taken into consideration. It is my personal preference to remove the mandibles of superworms (fingernail clippers, scissors, etc.) to avoid mouth injuries. Likewise, I would advise those feeding locusts to remove the part of the hindleg (tibia) below the knee, as this part often has very hard spines. In regards to hornworms, the horn should be removed if not for the danger of mouth injury, then because, it poses the risk of eye injury when it is flailing about before consumption. Also, a word about katydids, they possess extremely powerful mandibles for their size, and aren't shy about using them.

There is only one known family of spiders that do not contain poison glands, Uloboridae, commonly referred to as hackled orbweavers. They rely entirely on encasing their prey in silk before feeding.
Ive never seen problem with the horn of hornworms... but they WILL take a big chunk of skin out of you, the inside of your chameleons mouth or possibly its tounge. Maybe I can convince KristinaT to share one of her horrible hornworm experiences where a hornworm was nearly the demise of a special chameleon.

I beleive hat hornworms should behand fed and not released into the cage. Their grip is too strong and whenever feeding then they should be held on a plastic lid for the chameleon to take it off of. Their feet will not stick.
Last edited:
Ive never seen problem with the horn of hornworms... but they WILL take a big chunk of skin out of you, the inside of your chameleons mouth or possibly its tounge. Maybe I can convince KristinaT to share one of her horrible hornworm experiences where a hornworm was nearly the demise of a special chameleon.

Sure thing.

May 20, 2006

This morning, I fed out 1 appropriately-sized (not full-grown) hornworm to each of my largest melleri. I started working in the next room, and a while later, I heard a hiss/cough noise coming from the cham room. My largest cham was repeatedly swallowing and then dry heaving. She had not moved to bask after her meal, she was just sitting where she'd been fed, and occasionally wiping her mouth on a branch. Her hyoid was visible in her profile, which is unusual- something had to be pressing it down. Her color was normal. I moved her out of the cage for a closer look. Luckily, this particular cham is a snot, and promptly gaped at me when I looked in her eyes. There, laying in her throat, hanging onto the back of her tongue by its mandibles, was her meal! She had not killed it before swallowing, and it was hanging on for dear life, causing the cham discomfort.

This is a 17" subadult melleri with a very strong bite and an attitude. My first thought was to "get the worm off her tongue", but the second thought was, "without losing a finger!" I grabbed sterile tweezers and a wooden spoon. The spoon was needed to prevent her from biting down on the tweezers and damaging her teeth. I looked at her, so she gaped, then I lightly laid the spoon handle across her lower jaw, and tried to remove the worm with tweezers. The worm was not letting go. Trying to get the worm's head made it pinch the cham's tongue harder, making the whole scene a moving target. I managed to irritate the worm into flinging its body forward, pulled all my tools and fingers away, and the cham bit it. The chomping made it release its own bite, and the cham swallowed it without further trouble. I have never been so deep in a cham's throat before and hope to never have to be again. Thank goodness, it was a large space to work in, and for all the cham's personality problems, I did not have her restrained in any way. She LET me fish in her throat. More reasons to love the giants. LOL I took another look down her throat, and the worm was way down in the stomach, at last.

From now on, I will stun or kill the hornworms when feeding them out, and advise others to do the same. This is the third dangerous feeding issue I have witnessed with hornworms, and each time, I have been home to notice and correct the situation before the cham choked to death or stressed out. I don't even want to think about what would have happened if I had not been around to hear and see the problems. First, when feeding a juvenile last year, the worm's back foot clamped down on the juvie's inner lip and similarly caused choking/gagging until I broke its suction; second, a hornworm (being chewed) bit a subadult on its eye turret, causing a wound that took weeks to heal up; this tongue episode is the last straw. I love hornworms as WC boosting feeders or as treats for growing chams, and I'll still buy them, but they are too risky as live prey IMO, and I'm feeding BIG chams, at that. I can't feed them live and then walk away without a worry in the back of my head. Freshly killed, no worries.

I kill hornworms by crushing their heads with a pair of huge needle-nose pliers. The pliers have long grips, so I just offer the worm from the pliers, still twitching. So far, so good. I also had some success with cutting live hornworms into halves for subadults, and offering on a plastic lid. It is messy, but the chams don't seem to mind. The subadult is still with me, almost an adult now. I'm still amazed at how she just perched where I put her, and let me reach in her throat!

I know, it's way more than anyone ever wanted to know about gross bugs...
Now that is a disturbing story. I have never feed my chameleons hornworms and now I do not think I ever will.
Jordan, wasn't mean to deter you from using such an amazing feeder! Only caution you, just as we have cautioned against spiders.

Full size hornworms litteraly contain as much liquid as a chameleon would drink in a day long shower. Up to 5/6 inches of juicey yummy tastey green jelly. Minus the mandibles and sticky feet, and its a dream feeder, especially for Wild caughts as K said.

How can you say No to that satisfied face?
Yes, that is one satisfied customer. They look big. I use silkworms. They love them.

I guess the thing that got me in that story was having to intervene. I had to fight one of my veileds of over a stick it was trying to eat and the way the story read it just brought back those memories. I do not use ficuses any more because of that day.
Yes, that is one satisfied customer. They look big. I use silkworms. They love them.
I try and feed equal parts Silkworms and Crickets. But when I can get them I will. I can buy them about 1" long in "pods" with food and in 4 days theyll grow to 4" or more. The one in the photo above was about 4 inches, but I measured one that I let get to 5 3/4" before feeding it to a bearded dragon who ripped it to shreds. They get HUGE! Nearly an inch around!

Whats more is they will become Giant months with 5" wingspans that fly, just asmuch of a treat- and twice the stimulation for feeding response. I think Heika has this hilarious photo of her handsome Sambava chowing down on one in her gallery. You can tell hes enjoying.

I just can't stress how important it is to take safety measures when feeding them- though I dont find this as too much trouble because it would be expensive to feed them as a staple.

^Wild one, NOT to be fed.
Top Bottom