New and Doing HW

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
#1
Hello All,

My name is Josh and I am new to this forum and have been doing my HW on chams before I buy one. I have a couple of things that have come of the research that will make or break and I feel I would like to ask the pros.

I have always wanted a cham as long as I can remember. When I was young my mom bought me a green iguana as my first pet and I had her for a long time and loved her but I still wanted a cham.

First I am an avid salt water reef keeper and am not new to keeping sensitive fish. I am very much aware a cham is not a fish so I am not comparing them but the aquarium has daily needs that I have stream lined. I attached a photo in case there are anyone on here into fish and want to see.

As for the cham questions, my wife hates bug and reptiles but agreed that a cham isnt as creepy as other lizards/snakes. The one thing I cannot get past her is to help feeding or to allow me to breed/raise bugs around the house. This includes the garage. This creates 2 problems for me:

1) I travel for my new job and it may not be that often but I am gone for a week or 2 at a time. This means I wont have any help to feed them as I also don't know anyone who owns these and I feel boarding them would be a big stress.

2) Crickets and Roach keeping is an absolute no go. Would super worms be ok to be a staple and crickets an occasional food along with roaches that I can buy and give to them myself?

Another issue I don't know if its an issue but I have 3 small dogs that bark whenever someone is at the door or comes in the house. The cham would be kept in an office and the dogs don't go in there much but will the barking be a problem?

I understand that if this does not seem doable I will not buy one am the type that doesn't take on a pet unless it is doable without making the life of the pet uncomfortable. I have been on many forums so I am not afraid to hear the answer I don't want to hear haha.

Thanks for your time and depending how this goes I have some more questions but will only worry about them if we get past the first hurtles.

Thanks
Josh
 

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Longhorn1234

Established Member
#2
1) Not eating for a week or two is not great for a baby/juvenile chameleons. They need to eat everyday. Adults can go days without eating but I think 1-2 weeks is too long. You can always get around this if you have larva pupating into flies in your enclosure so your chameleon has some food, but then you cannot use the supplements needed. Taking your chameleon on the road every time you travel is not great either, most people would agree that it is too stressful for these sensitive creatures.

2) I don't think superworms are great as a staple. You can probably use silkworms, black soldier fly larva and the flies as well, blue bottle flies, and house flies. Then it would be great if you can offer the occasional cricket/roach as you mentioned. I would make sure that when you're feeding crickets/roaches you gutload extremely well. You can also use superworms as a treat.

3) I believe chameleons have bad hearing so maybe your dogs barking shouldn't be much of a problem. I'm not sure on this one though, so I would wait until someone more experienced chimes in.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
#3
Thanks for the quick response.

The main reason I was leaning towards the superworms was because I was going to prep her some cups that she could dump into a food bowl and she wouldn't be creeped out as much when I go away for those weeks. Sorry for the confusion, I didn't intend to leave the cham without food for that long as I would never do that to any animal. I was trying to find a way I could have her help me that would be less stressful to her then crickets or roaches. Silk worms would probably be ok with her. Can a juvi handle those and how many of these would they need per day? I will need to check into a supplier.

Josh
 
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Longhorn1234

Established Member
#4
Well you can use the same tactic of leaving the cups prepared for her with bsfl or blue bottle flies, time it right so that you get flies when you are on the road. Then just feed roaches and crickets when you are home. Another good feeder that I personally believe gutloads well and is high in calcium is the great canyon isopod. You might be able to get your wife to feed those guys since they don't look so creepy
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
#5
I googled that and it looks like they are just rollie pollies. Is that correct? I edited the previous post but these or silk worms seem like they would work well as long as they are a safe and solid staple. Are the isopods easy to get?
 

VerucaSalt

Established Member
#6
If you did a bioactive enclosure, after time you might have a diet self contained and maintained....but, you want to start and troubleshoot that far before consideration of a Cham also to check for issues. Praying mantis, leaf bugs, wax worms, etc....but, gut loading would be important, to where I'm not sure 2 weeks ahead would provide any nutrients trying the prepared food method. I'm not sure which bugs feed off others either, unless your wife would have a variety of cups to use in the am.
 

Longhorn1234

Established Member
#7
They are not rolly pollies since they do not roll into a ball. You can easily find isopods for sale online and even in the forum. However, they are not your best option as a staple and serve more as an enrichment feeder. I recommended them for when you're traveling and your wife has to do the feedings. Silkworms are great but you also need to offer some hard bodied prey, I believe that too many soft bodied insects will give your chameleon liquid poop (at least I think I read that in here). Juveniles can eat silkworms, but I cannot give you an exact amount.

If you cannot breed your own crickets/roaches then another option is to catch insects in the wild, depending on where you live. Grasshoppers, katydids, cicadas, and praying mantids would be nice treats if you catch them in pesticide free areas. However, remember that parasites are a risk.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
#8
I could get away with feeding the crickets and roaches while I am home and then while I am away I could have the wife or friend feed them the isopods, silk, wax, or super. Would that be acceptable so that the cham is not strictly given isopods or silks as a staple? If you guys go on vacation do you board them or ask a friend?

Thanks for all the help guys I really want to do this but also be responsible.

Josh
 

Longhorn1234

Established Member
#9
If you can feed roaches and crickets when you are home then that's great. The reason for using roaches and crickets as a staple is because they gutload well, so then your chameleon gets all those nutrients. You can also feed bsfl and the flies. Those are great feeders as well and your wife can feed them when you are away. As for waxworms, they are high in fat so I would avoid or limit them.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
#11
Funny I have a very similar background as you, loved chameleons since I was young. Prior SW enthusiast(I relate bioactive enclosures to marine aquariums often). Wife that hates bugs and reptiles, but thought chameleons were cool. Shoulda seen how mad she was when I ordered roaches and she saw them, when I told her I was just getting potatoe bugs(isopods).

Now I'm up to 3 make panther chameleons, 1 female, and 1 Male YL Parsons. With 9 roach species among colonies of other random feeders all stored in a heated basement room.

Depending on how often. There are definitely ways to work with week long absences. Not sure how often you do this? But maybe feed roaches/crickets as your staple while you're home and when you leave something simple that she could toss in like:
-Superworms
-Silkworms/silkmoths
-Hornworms
-BSFL/flies
-Pupate bottle fly spikes inside the enclosure before leaving
-Giant canyon isopods or any other similar sized
-snails if you can get them
-waxmoths
-stick insects
-roaches that aren't as intimidating(green bananas dont even look like roaches to the untrained eye)
-safe WC bugs

Also if someone didn't say it already, chameleons don't hear much, barking should be no issue.
 
#12
Silkworms, throw in some crickets, you can feed roaches too, and if you want to save money you can breed those feeders easy. As for the dogs barking chameleons actually can't hear very well, they have microscopic ears basically, they can only hear sounds ranging from like 200hz to 650hz , But basically everyone at the top has touched upon everything even what i said :D I ordered like 250 silkworm eggs from ebay that came from coastal silkworms for like $15 and free shipping! Also for you feeders food, silkworms you can purchase silkworm chow or if you have mulberry trees near you snatch them leaves off of them LOL, superworms, they'll eat carrots sometimes potatoes too. Not sure with roaches.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
#14
My wife would lose it if I brought home roaches but will defiantly be looking into the green banana ones. haha. I dont think I will have to do the week long leaves that often but it was more of a just in case thing. When my kids are a little older I know they will be on board with helping as well (currently ages 6 and 1.5) since my daughter (6) also really wants to get a cham.

I could see me getting addicted to chams since I already have the itch to get one going and then try another species. Like I said I love looking at them and really love the idea.

Sorry if this is a dumb question but what is a BSFL and also how do you keep flies such that when you open a lid they don't fly out?
 
#16
I think the easiest solution for long business trips is bioactivity. You can load a large terrarium up with super worms, bsfl, isopods etc. when you leave, just toss in a bunch or hornworms, silkworms, and a cup feeder with crickets and supers. This free range feeding is great stimulus. The bsfl pupate and fly around the cage, my cham loves the chase. The super worms pupate into huge beetles that climb all over...and get eaten! Plus if the hornworms or silk worms go uneaten, as long as they’re large, they turn into delicious moths! Again, the chameleon will go crazy for them. Best yet, if your wife thinks all the bugs are gross, she never has to even open the cage! There is really little spot cleaning with a good bioactive cage. Best yet, as you know with the salt water hobby, automation is the best part to geek out on. Now things get expensive, but you could leave for a couple weeks, and your wife could just enjoy how amazing the terrarium looks, and how great the chameleon looks in it. All the lights, heating, and misting take care of themselves. Then again, you could look into tortoises, they’re just as cute, and very hardy animals.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
#17
I will look more into the bio setup for sure. I already plan on having the lighting, heat and mister on automation as that is how my aquarium is at the moment and have plenty of spare timers.

I always seem to read that you should not load up the cage with bugs and leave but if this is possible then I'm golden. The bsfl seems like a solid solution as the cham can eat them at a couple stages and if I put plenty in there they should last a while. along with other worms of course. Would you put a couple food trays with different types of food or keep it to one dish?
 
#18
Well people don't leave their feeders in there overnight etc. because they can actually go and bite your cham while he/she is sleeping more and likely with crickets. And I would have them in a couple trays just in case a different feeder wants to eat another type of feeder just in case. IMO
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
#20
I have all kind of feeders in my enclosures that I have dropped. The biting your cham thing isn't a worry when it comes to a stocked up bio system. The only reason crickets have done this is in sterile set ups with no food. You might bite a live animal too if you're starving and on the edge of death. I have had cricket colonies live in my enclosures for a whole year. Superworms, bsf, worms of all sort, etc. I couldn't tell you all the insects living in my enclosures. Best part is, any fungi, dead bugs, mold, poop, etc are eaten immediately. If you like SW you might get addicted to bio set ups as well hah.

Below are a couple pictures of my favorite enclosure. Spent a good amount of time on this for several weeks.
 

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