Silkworms?

Wally

New Member
Hello Reptile World. I was wondering if anyone else out there feeds their chameleon silkworms? And if they do should the silkworms be gut loaded? And if they should be gut loaded what do I gut load them with? Thanks.
 

PukaKeha

New Member
I dont know what everyone else does, but I just feed mine to him. The ones I have are pretty picky and will only eat the chow or mulberry leaves so I gave up trying to give them anything else.
 

Julirs

New Member
The mulberry leaves/silkworm chow is a good gutload in itself. I feed primarily heartily gutloaded crickets, and then silkworms, and then the occasional superworms or waxworm.
 

PamsChams

New Member
You can only dust a silkworm before feeding it to your cham not gutload. As said the food it eats is already healthy.
 

Marc10edora

Avid Member
Yeah, as pam said, I only dust my silk worms with calcium. I beleive they have really high phosphorus. That's the reason for dusting them every time I feed them off. But they are full of moisture.
 

lele

Avid Member
I beleive they have really high phosphorus. That's the reason for dusting them every time I feed them off. But they are full of moisture.
Hi Marc,

Actually, they are naturally high in calcium. They build up calcium oxalates in their system (specifically their Malpighian Tubules, which are more or less like a vertebrates kidney) as they grow. You can dust them, but not necessary every time (of course depending on age of cham being fed) just use normal dusting routine. If they are eating silkies exclusively you can even back off on the calcium dusting a bit. Personally, with my adult herps, I never dust them with Ca. They tend to 'binge" on them for a while and then get bored with them.

lele
 

Marc10edora

Avid Member
Hi Marc,

Actually, they are naturally high in calcium. They build up calcium oxalates in their system (specifically their Malpighian Tubules, which are more or less like a vertebrates kidney) as they grow. You can dust them, but not necessary every time (of course depending on age of cham being fed) just use normal dusting routine. If they are eating silkies exclusively you can even back off on the calcium dusting a bit. Personally, with my adult herps, I never dust them with Ca. They tend to 'binge" on them for a while and then get bored with them.

lele
Good to know. I think I misread a nutritional chart somewhere. My cham is 9 months old right now. When should I stop dusting (ex. what age?)
 

lele

Avid Member
Good to know. I think I misread a nutritional chart somewhere. My cham is 9 months old right now. When should I stop dusting (ex. what age?)
To clarify, when I said I don't dust for my adults I meant I don't dust the silkworms. I try to get the best nutrition into my herps via gutloading their feeders with healthy and varied diet (beautiful dragons website has a great nutrition chart with Calcium:phosphorus ratio of foods). I separate out the dozen crickets, supers or whatever is to be fed the next day and put them in a separate container with nutritious food (this is so their feeding is more concentrated) to make sure they recently ate.

I dust with Ca/D3 (phosphorus free) about once a week and a vitamin dust about once a month (again, try to get Vit from foods). I think I slowly backed off on my dusting at around 9 months or so and by a year am on this schedule.

I am sure that some will disagree with me, but this is what was advised to me a long time ago and seems to be working. Btw, just my opinion, but I do not think commercial gutload and cricket bites, etc. are worth the money. You can make your own (adcham.com has a good recipe) or buy a quality gutload from cricketfood.com, reptayls or others.

As usual, probably more info than you asked for but I am feeling chatty today! :)

lele
 

Wally

New Member
Thanks

I appreciate all the great replies. I have silkworms now just ordered them. Lots of care required but its fun. Luckily a friend of mine has a Mulberry tree. Pretty cool. Have to be careful with them though the tend to fall away from their feeding area and shrivel up and die. Lost a few already unfortunately. Hope the rest make it at least long enough to become Wallflower's chow. LOL Peace
 

lele

Avid Member
You should go to a store that has a gardening section and get some of that mesh stuff and make sleeves for them so if they fall they can climb right back up to the leaf and not die :D
http://www.chameleonnews.com/silkworms.html
this site has pictures of the sleeves.
The mesh is called Remay and is used as a cover crop. We buy it by the roll to make many large sleeves (you then need to sew up on 2 or 3 sides), this is what you see in the article photos.

An inexpensive alternative is the 5-gallon nylon paint strainers that you can buy at home depot/lowe's or most any hardware store(usually 2 in a pack for about $1.50). They have an elastic opening but it still has to be tied around the branch. Since these are small (i use giant sleeves (4-6' long) for my wild silks) you will not want crowd them as disease is easily spread (esp. if lots of rain). Hope this helps, I probably have more photos of outdoor sleeving than what's in the article if you want to see or have other questions about sleeving.

You can also cut branches and set them up in a tank or screen cage, just be sure all water is cover or they may fall in and drown.

lele
 
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