Overwhelmed Chameleon?

I am working on cup feeding and Kato has been very picky about his cups. We have tried a couple of cups and he will get upset about it being in his enclosure, except for this one that we have in there right now. He is walking around it and will even look inside at his food inside, but for some reason, he won’t eat any of them? He just keeps watching them move around. I have switched him and Cairo from crickets to Dubia Roaches with some hornworms and super worms. I know he isn’t hurt because he ate a Dubia roach normally but I guess he is overwhelmed?
Does anyone have any insight on if I need to do anything or should I just let him get used to the cup/bugs moving around? I have about 15 Dubia Roaches, 1 super worms and 2 hornworms. I put a good amount so they move around to entice him to eat.
 

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AmandaS

Moderator
Staff member
Do you remove the cup daily and put it back in at feeding time?
My only suggestion would be to leave it in there as a permanent fixture, at least until he is used to it.
 
Do you remove the cup daily and put it back in at feeding time?
My only suggestion would be to leave it in there as a permanent fixture, at least until he is used to it.
I have been taking it out and putting it back in, and he knows that it means food so he will come up to the cup, but then he will just sit there and watch the inside of the cup. I will leave it in there and let him do his thing, I just don't want him to not eat because of it! ☹️
 

AmandaS

Moderator
Staff member
I have been taking it out and putting it back in, and he knows that it means food so he will come up to the cup, but then he will just sit there and watch the inside of the cup. I will leave it in there and let him do his thing, I just don't want him to not eat because of it! ☹️
Chances of him not eating if he is truly hungry is pretty low. Others may chime in with a better way.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
How deep is the actual cup your using? I never used clear ones for my guys they hated them. Then I switched to better feeder runs.

How big are the actual feeders. Baby is small. If the feeders are too large this may be why he is not going for them. Also if he was on crickets prior then he does not know what these feeders are. If that is the case you have to add crickets in for him to see them and then he will pick off the other feeders as well. Otherwise he is staring at them because he has no idea what they are.
 

Arpretty

Avid Member
Weird, my chameleon has been doing something similar; lately he's been hanging out literally staring into the cup but hardly eating out of it. He chows on free rangers though. Best part - sometimes he'll be staring into the cup, and a feeder will pop out of it, and THEN he snatches it. 🤦‍♀️

A couple thoughts:
- Double check your temperatures and humidity levels (could impact appetite)
- Try some free range. Sprinkle a few crickets on nearby plants, place a couple worms and/or roaches (that can hang on) onto nearby branches or leaves
- I wonder if the cup may be a bit too deep for his comfort? (this is me being nitpicky though)
- Stick with one cup, in one spot, for a while and just let it be...sometimes, I think when we call attention to certain things and express outward anxiety over those things, our animals then feel as though they should be anxious about it as well
 
How deep is the actual cup your using? I never used clear ones for my guys they hated them. Then I switched to better feeder runs.

How big are the actual feeders. Baby is small. If the feeders are too large this may be why he is not going for them. Also if he was on crickets prior then he does not know what these feeders are. If that is the case you have to add crickets in for him to see them and then he will pick off the other feeders as well. Otherwise he is staring at them because he has no idea what they are.

ahh I see! I will have to get more crickets then, sadly lol those are definitely my least favorite feeder after switching. 😂

the Roaches aren’t that big but maybe the worms may just be too big for him. I’ll remove them and see if he goes for the little guys! 🙂

I wanted to train him on cup feedings for trust but maybe the clear bottom is also confusing him? *sigh* he’s much more high maintenance than Cairo LOL
 

skywes13

Member
When I had my first Cham I had the same issue as you, and making a feeder run cup is what solved it for me. I personally used one of those mini orange juice bottles in the simply orange brand with a roll of kitchen drawer liner hot glued in and it worked great, especially with smaller feeders. There's a really good video on how to make your own with household materials by Bill Strand on youtube:
 
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What's in the bottom of the container?

Agree that the bugs might be too big.
It’s a dark grey semi-transparent bottom, and the Dubias, hornworm and super worm are just walking around in circles in it. I’m glad they are moving around so he pays attention to them, but he just stares at them instead of eating them 😂
 
Weird, my chameleon has been doing something similar; lately he's been hanging out literally staring into the cup but hardly eating out of it. He chows on free rangers though. Best part - sometimes he'll be staring into the cup, and a feeder will pop out of it, and THEN he snatches it. 🤦‍♀️

A couple thoughts:
- Double check your temperatures and humidity levels (could impact appetite)
- Try some free range. Sprinkle a few crickets on nearby plants, place a couple worms and/or roaches (that can hang on) onto nearby branches or leaves
- I wonder if the cup may be a bit too deep for his comfort? (this is me being nitpicky though)
- Stick with one cup, in one spot, for a while and just let it be...sometimes, I think when we call attention to certain things and express outward anxiety over those things, our animals then feel as though they should be anxious about it as well
I did check the humidity and temps first, and they are good, sitting at 85F basking and 50% humidity.
I will release some free range worms. That’s a good idea! I just hope they don’t kill the plants 😅
i was thinking about the depth of the cup so I put a vine over it just now, and he’s now on the vine and doing the staring thing again 😂
100% about the anxiety and I am keeping my distance. I can watch him from my work desk but wasn’t sure why he was being so weird about the cup lol I’ll leave him be and just count the feeders at the end of today. Hopefully he’s grabbing them and I’m just not seeing it!
 
When I had my first Cham I had the same issue as you, and making a feeder run cup is what solved it for me. I personally used one of those mini orange juice bottles in the simply orange brand with a roll of kitchen drawer liner hot glued in and it worked great, especially with smaller feeders. There's a really good video on how to make your own with household materials by Bill Strand on youtube:
This is amazing! Going to get the supplies today, great idea and video! Thank you 🙂
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
ahh I see! I will have to get more crickets then, sadly lol those are definitely my least favorite feeder after switching. 😂

the Roaches aren’t that big but maybe the worms may just be too big for him. I’ll remove them and see if he goes for the little guys! 🙂

I wanted to train him on cup feedings for trust but maybe the clear bottom is also confusing him? *sigh* he’s much more high maintenance than Cairo LOL
Right but I would get crickets. This is what most breeders feed so they know what it is when they see it. I have always slowly converted mine from crickets to other feeders. But I never cold turkey cut the crickets out. At that age they have to be eating well and they can take down 15 feeders easily.
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Some chameleons are shy eaters and/or drinkers.
If your cham is very small, and still thinks you're going to EAT him, he may be intimidated.
I would try backing off, or completely leaving the room for an hour to see if that makes a difference.

It could also be he's interested enough to watch, but his appetite isn't quite stimulated yet.

I've gone through both of these situations with my lizards. They both came around, but my chameleon is still a bit shy at times, depending on how hungry he is. The chameleon also has specific (what I call) "hungry colors" he displays when hungry, moving toward the feeder cups, and eating. If he displays those coors but won't eat, I back off for a few minutes, and when I come back, he's eaten.
 
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