Staple feeder in the wild?

PabloTheCham

Established Member
I was wondering what the most common thing that veiled chameleons eat in the wild, and where can i get it? I would like to feed my cham things he would find in the wild, since crickets are not something they are exposed to in the wild.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
We already told you.

Beetles
Flies
Bees / Wasps
True Bugs (Stink Bugs, Click Bugs, ect)
Grasshoppers (Locusts? Maybe katydids. The study said the genus, not the species, but flying/aboreal seems more likely)
Snails


Pretty much in that order, from most to least common, from the actual study's we have seen (which were on Jackson's) however it's pretty in line with @PetNcs findings.

I'm working on the same goal, actually. I will make a blog soon on it, but have been sick lately, plus all this virus craziness I been busy.

Depends on the particular variety of Chameleon, their originating location, etc.
He said Veilied. However not so much, I mean ya to a species level there is different flower beetles in Madgascar than Yemen, however they both eat alot of pollinator beetles.

Matching down to the species in the US would be fairly impossible anyway. Best we can do is match down to the family, and get as close as possible.
 
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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'd imagine katydids are up there. Most katydids are known for hiding high up in the trees. Waiting on my eggs from last summer to hatch. IMO katydids are probably the most popular feeder among chameleons that I have seen offered.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looking back, my order above was slightly incorrect.

We can look at the only Study's I know of,
In the first study with better breakdowns, flies win pretty much Everytime (number eaten, and percent of Diet). Beetles take second and Bees Wasps very close 3.

Screenshot_20200324-074142.png


We can see a high portion of Diet was katydids, but only 4 were consumed they are just larger than most other insects on the list.

We also see, and I did not catch this before. Crickets, gryllidae are crickets, tettigondae are Katydids.
 

PabloTheCham

Established Member
Looking back, my order above was slightly incorrect.

We can look at the only Study's I know of,


In the first study with better breakdowns, flies win pretty much Everytime (number eaten, and percent of Diet). Beetles take second and Bees Wasps very close 3.

View attachment 261406

We can see a high portion of Diet was katydids, but only 4 were consumed they are just larger than most other insects on the list.

We also see, and I did not catch this before. Crickets, gryllidae are crickets, tettigondae are Katydids.
Where can I get katydids? I can only find one website with each katydid for $20, but that is outrageous. You said you already answered but what I meant was more of "what is the most common food source for chameleons in the wild that is readily available". I know they eat bees and wasps, but i can't buy bees and wasps anywhere (unless I buy a whole hive). For example, I can't feed katydids beacuse they are $20 each (unless you can find a much cheaper website).
What do you feed your chameleons and where do you get it?
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Where can I get katydids? I can only find one website with each katydid for $20, but that is outrageous. You said you already answered but what I meant was more of "what is the most common food source for chameleons in the wild that is readily available". I know they eat bees and wasps, but i can't buy bees and wasps anywhere (unless I buy a whole hive). For example, I can't feed katydids beacuse they are $20 each (unless you can find a much cheaper website).
What do you feed your chameleons and where do you get it?
When you start looking at more exotic feeders, breeding becomes a must, as prices skyrocket.

Again, the list.

Flies are the largest by far the closest to a "Staple" and are cheap and easily sourced start there. Many different type of Flies available most (maybe all?) Flies don't need calcium dusted either.

Crickets are on there. So feed flies alot, crickets and beetles some, gutload with pollen, and call it a day?

I will make a entry of my idea, of accessible feeders soon that will have a better breakdowns, for quick and easy today that's it.
 

PabloTheCham

Established Member
When you start looking at more exotic feeders, breeding becomes a must, as prices skyrocket.

Again, the list.

Flies are the largest by far the closest to a "Staple" and are cheap and easily sourced start there. Many different type of Flies available most (maybe all?) Flies don't need calcium dusted either.

Crickets are on there. So feed flies alot, crickets and beetles some, gutload with pollen, and call it a day?

I will make a entry of my idea, of accessible feeders soon that will have a better breakdowns, for quick and easy today that's it.
What kind of flies should I get? Any random house fly? My cham is not the most...um... predatorial. He will eat crickets that are in the cup, but when they escape he never eats them. I don't think he has the coordination to eat flies. What kind of beetles sepcifically, and what price range should I expect? Don't want to get ripped off.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
What kind of flies should I get? Any random house fly? My cham is not the most...um... predatorial. He will eat crickets that are in the cup, but when they escape he never eats them. I don't think he has the coordination to eat flies. What kind of beetles sepcifically, and what price range should I expect? Don't want to get ripped off.

For flies, Black Soldier Flies, Green/Blue Bottle Flies, dont have a solid answer on beetles yet, working on it.

He is bored with crickets, he will chase flies, promise.
 

Bigsky

Established Member
Surprised there are not more moths, Noctuidae for example. Insects that have nocturnal or crespicular activity may avoid detection. The list probably indicates availability rather preference.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Surprised there are not more moths, Noctuidae for example. Insects that have nocturnal or crespicular activity may avoid detection. The list probably indicates availability rather preference.
Well of course it's based on availability, however the other study's, show about the same results.

They don't really get to be choosey, kind of have to take what they can get. However they have adapted to taking what they can get and what they can get doesn't vary that much by location I wouldn't think.


The Flies, thing adds another level of complexity. There is no Dusting in the wild, and Flies high calcium content, and the occasional snail, are likely how calcium is derived in the amounts needed.

Flies also fill in the gap of the hotly debated Vit A. A lot of the Flies consumed feast on Carrion, which would allow them access to preformed Vit A, that can be ingested by the Chameleon.

They won't say as much, however I am fairly sure that the flies we can purchase as feeders such as the BB/GB as Carrion flies, maggots are raised on said Carrion surely. Folks don't want to know that, as they would be grossed out and think I am not feeding my animal a Fly that has been consuming rotten meat, but I don't think those flies breed with out it. And as we can see calliphoridae (Bottle Flies, Carrion Flies) make up the largest amount of Flies. However stratiomyidae (Soldier Flies) are present as well with a decent amount.
 
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Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
Where can I get katydids? I can only find one website with each katydid for $20, but that is outrageous. You said you already answered but what I meant was more of "what is the most common food source for chameleons in the wild that is readily available". I know they eat bees and wasps, but i can't buy bees and wasps anywhere (unless I buy a whole hive). For example, I can't feed katydids beacuse they are $20 each (unless you can find a much cheaper website).
What do you feed your chameleons and where do you get it?
You have to consider that many cham feeders would be considered agricultural or noxious pests (grasshoppers, roaches, hornworms, etc). You won't find commercially produced ones. Interstate shipping most likely prohibited. Sure, there are a few specific types that have become available but getting there wasn't straightforward.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have some bsfl , how do I turn them into the fly? Just wait?
Pretty much lol.

There is a trick with the Green/Blue Bottles that I have not tried with BSFL, but might be worth a shot.

With the GB/BB when you fridge them they kind of suspend. So people allow them to age right up to pupation, till a few in the cup start to emerge, then they fridge.

That way when the large are pulled from the fridge, they will usually emerge shortly after.


You can buy already ready to emerge soon BSFL they are called Crawl outs. In my experience with my last time buying those specifically, it didn't go so well.

It took a long time for my other BSFL to become flies, but they did so at different times. So Everytime I opened the container of 500, there was 5-10 flies, every other day. With the crawl outs, the majority hatched in a week, and I lost hundreds of flies, more were emerging then I could feed, and so I had to let them die :(.

It since then slowed down to 5-10 a day, but I lost most of my flies, so I will be trying the fridge technique next time, as my current panther stopped eating the larvae and refuses it, but loves the flies.


Also as Carlton said. The regulation in the US which IMO is a tad harsh, makes it very hard to find acceptable feeders outside of the norms as well.

Places like the EU, and it would seem Canada on some, are much more lax. Some of the USDA bans are downright silly. Hissers were against the rules, for the longest though not a plant pest. Now normal Hissers are fine, but Halloween Hissers are technically not legal, they are not plant pests, they eat leaf litter, doesn't matter in the US they seem to implore a ban first ask questions later policy sadly.
 
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Goose502

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have some bsfl , how do I turn them into the fly? Just wait?
Yep. If you use bioactive substrate, just dump a container of larvae into the soil. I recommend maybe 50 or so every 2-4 weeks. Most will emerge as flies and get eaten. But just leaving the container in a dark area that’s not too cold for a week or two will result in flies when you open the container again.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
@cyberlocc yup, wasn't disagreeing on the katydids in the wild. I meant as far as what my chams like to eat, they go nuts for katydids and seem like a solid food option.

Katydids, like mentioned, are mostly illegal to ship from what I understand. I caught mine wild and got them to lay eggs. The eggs often need overwintered in areas that get cold in order to hatch. Next winter I may just leave the whole cage with katydid eggs outside through the seasons and see how it goes.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
@cyberlocc yup, wasn't disagreeing on the katydids in the wild. I meant as far as what my chams like to eat, they go nuts for katydids and seem like a solid food option.

Katydids, like mentioned, are mostly illegal to ship from what I understand. I caught mine wild and got them to lay eggs. The eggs often need overwintered in areas that get cold in order to hatch. Next winter I may just leave the whole cage with katydid eggs outside through the seasons and see how it goes.
Oh I was agreeing they are on there. I am sure they are well liked, its more avaibility than prefrence on that chart, also Hawaii may have less katydids, and bugs that are not found, or vice versa from other locations.

I really wish, we had a study like this from Madagascar, I would be very interested in reading one.

I am fairly sure, that Arboreal Mantids, like Ghosts would be on such a list. I am not sure if its worth the trouble though, been debating it recently, however to care for a colony, is not easy. I would love to have a fully native, semi matching diet for Malagasy Reptiles.
 
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