Some Feeding and Supplement Questions


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So today I noticed that my male juv. Panther decided to start chomping down on some of the branches in my enclosure. I have heard about Panthers doing this before but I am not too worried. It was kindof interesting to watch but got me thinking. My question is- is this a sign he is not getting enough supplements. I am dusting crickets three days a week with Calcium plus D3 and twice a month with a multivitamin. Crickets are gutloaded with a dry mix, cricket bites, sliced oranges and romaine lettace to name a few. Should I up the multivitamin to once a week- its Herpevite?

On another note I am wondering what to do about silkworms in the winter. I have noticed that they are difficult to ship this time of year. Plus I live in Colorado I need to start using another insect besides crickets for some variety. Whats a good feeder insect recommended for this situation?
Butterworms and waxworms survive the cold very well.
Silkworms can be packed with a warming pack and sent via faster shipping.
Roaches are OK at surviving the cold as they go dormant, but can be shipped with warming packs.

Having less variety and a more complete gutloaded cricket is fine. Remember, Gut loading means having food in the bellies of the cricket RIGHT WHEN your chameleon eats them, not JUST having crickets raised on healthy food.
I prefer to only use calcium/D3 supplement lightly twice a month and just calcium a couple of times a week rather than risk overdoing the vitamin D3 since D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB can't. When you supplement you take the "choice" away from the lizard and put the onus on yourself to ensure that the balance is is indicated in the following article...
"my research over the last decade has shown that, if the UVB and visible gradients are correlated, panther chameleons have the ability to assess their own vitamin D-condition, see and respond to UVB radiation, and adjust their exposure to optimize their vitamin D condition."

I gutload crickets with a wide assortment of greens (dandelion greens, ROMAINE lettuce, endive, kale, collards, parsley, etc.) and veggies (squash, sweet potato, white potato, carrots, zucchini, small amounts of sweet red pepper, etc.)....and can only assume that, since in a couple of my (non-chameleon) lizard cages I have an eco-system of sorts going where the crickets have reproduced for several years now, what I'm feeding them is okay.

I dust with vitamins (that the vitamin A source in is beta carotene) twice a month.

Re: chomping on branches...I'm not sure if chewing on branches is a sign that a chameleon is lacking some nutrient in its diet....but here are some interesting articles (I realize they are different animals, but was more interested in the content of the bark)...
"We conclude that bark appears to be an important source of calcium and potassium".
"Make sure your horses have access to loose minerals and a WHITE salt block at all times--he could be eating bark because he needs minerals."

Maybe this is another reason?....
"One reason horses often start chewing wood is a lack of fibre in the diet".

I provided the above sites about bark eating just as food for thought.
Yes that Parsonii article was interesting and unfortuneate. Believe me I watched him very closley once he started to take a bite outta that branch. I never saw him swallow any maybe he was just modifying it for basking purposes. I didnt look like he got any. Anyway- my wife sees so many animals that have obstructions. I here about dogs and cats or horses eating something about once a week mostly due to lazy owners.

So should I get a supplement that just has Calcium and dust regularly with that even though he rarely gets direct sunlight. Or just dust less frequetly with the Calcium + D3.

Also I was wondering if anyone has feed their crickets dried or wet apricots for a source of vitamin A. This is what we used to treat birds with vit A deficiancy when I worked at the aviary. It worked well if they ate the apricots that is- such picky animals.
One last question if I may what are some good vendors for silkworms? Looks like Mulberry Farms and Silkworm Wholesale- any other recommendations?
Will...good point about the dangers of letting them eat bark!

Podenbeck said..."So should I get a supplement that just has Calcium and dust regularly with that even though he rarely gets direct sunlight. Or just dust less frequetly with the Calcium + D3"....I dust a couple of times a week with only calcium powder and then in addition to that I dust with a calcium/D3 powder. IMHO, because insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorous its important to dust a frequently as I do with the calcium. Also IMHO, giving them the couple of light dustings a month with calcium/D3 doesn't seem to overdose them.

I also dust the insects with a vitamin powder (with its vitamin A from a beta carotene source) lightly twice a addition to gutloading my insects with appropriate and nutritious diets.

It took a lot of years to get the balance "right" between the UVB lighting and the gutloading and the supplementation....but remember, when I started keeping chameleons (back in the days of the caveman, as my kids would say) there was little information and even less that was I had to come to a balance through trial and error.

I don't change the brand of lighting or the brand of supplements very often either because that means getting things back in balance again.

Hey Will...did I miss anything this time?? (evil grin)
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