Staple feeder in the wild?

PabloTheCham

Established Member
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.
don't they need food to turn into flies?
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
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.
Ghost mantids were on my list as well. Would make good feeders and fun pets, but their tendency to only accept flying insects would be a PITA. I've heard they'll eat others too, but prefer a staple of flyers
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
don't they need food to turn into flies?
Nope.

Ghost mantids were on my list as well. Would make good feeders and fun pets, but their tendency to only accept flying insects would be a PITA. I've heard they'll eat others too, but prefer a staple of flyers
Yep pain.

They are supposed to be less cannibalistic than most Mantids but can still be cannibalistic. Also ya, they really only eat flies.

Which is fine in this instance, if we go down the path of a fly heavy Cham diet, than the Mantids fall in with it.

They need FFs at the early stages but graduate to Bottle Flies for the majority of their lives. So if your feeding the Chams the flies, and the Mantids take the flies too, not as bad.
 

PetNcs

Avid 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.
I would humbly recommend to be very cautious in taking this publication into account, as it is obviously greatly influenced by the fact, that the Jackson's Chameleon is introduced by man in Hawaii and therefore not reflecting the natural diet of them in their homecountry.

IMHO the issue, that this is clearly showing, is, that chameleons are opportunistic feeders and eat almost anything they find.
So (specullating now) it is logical, that their real diet will be heavily dependent od the availability of potential prey on the places, where they physically will be present.
as chameleons tend to be quite passive and in times of food availability, they stay at one beneficial place and utilise its food potential and accept the sit-and-wait strategy predominantly, while in low availability periods, they might actively forage, the food composition in the first case (limited either to season or to species) would be "dictated" by the main biotope, which the evolved in and coevolved with.
Therefore, it is of crucial importance to take sp[ecies-specific analysis from throw hjomecountry into account and, as per predominant prey items, the more suitable periods are the periods of abundance, rather than low availability, because then, the spectrum is biassed by the fact they can eat almost anything, what the above study clearly shows. Just two years ago, I was able to study natural droppings of 115 wild T.j.x. from Kenya, at the beginning and full course of the Rainy season. The aggregate food composition was very uniform and there were no significant difference between the two samples (it was a qualitative study, not quantitative):

Hymenoptera, 32%
Orthoptera 22%
Diptera 16%
Coleoptera 11%
Lepidoptera 10%
Arachnida 5%
Unidentified 4%

no of the food items was longer than 1,8mm, two radulae were identified indicating the feeding of snails

The study was more directed to the analysis of parasites, as 70of the samples were related to exported animals:

Parasites of wild Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus

Thanks to the generosity of Steve McNary, we were able to obtain about 70 fecal samples of he imported Tjx, which were combined into 10 clusters for parasitological faecal investigations

Findings:
  • 90% of the samples were positive and revealed at least two types of parasites
  • The infestation levels were rather low, none of the samples showed infestation recommended for treatment
  • There were only 4 types of parasites found in total
The details are as follows:
ROUNDWORMS
Strongylidae larvae: + to +++, 80%
Ascarididae: + to +++, 80%
FLATWORMS
Trematoda: + to +++, 20%
COCCIDIA
Choleoeimeria: +, 20%

Where:
  • the number of + indicates the level od infestation (minimum 1+, maximum 6+)
  • percentage indicates in how many % of samples these parasite type was found
Implications:
  1. Almost all animals are naturally infested with parasites, if your VET visit reveals no parasites, it is extremely unlikely, that the analysis was done properly
  2. There is no reason for treating the animals, the levels of infestation are harmless and do not harm the animals significantly
  3. The captive conditions strongly influence the balance parasite-host, no parasite’s interest is to kill or weaken his host
  4. Redo after several weeks the faecal analysis to see the difference. A worsening od the results is an indication of mistakes in the husbandry and require review od husbandry parameters and in some cases treatment of the parasites will be necessary
  5. Handle the chameleons carefully and wash hands after and before each manipulation with the animals and especially in-between!
  6. Clean the cage from faeces as often as possible.
  7. Help the chameleons to control their homeostasis and parasite-host balance adding pollen regularly to the diet
  8. Use proper UV source, best the natural sun outdoors, to help in these physiological processes.
  9. Share and discuss
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
I would humbly recommend to be very cautious in taking this publication into account, as it is obviously greatly influenced by the fact, that the Jackson's Chameleon is introduced by man in Hawaii and therefore not reflecting the natural diet of them in their homecountry.

IMHO the issue, that this is clearly showing, is, that chameleons are opportunistic feeders and eat almost anything they find.
So (specullating now) it is logical, that their real diet will be heavily dependent od the availability of potential prey on the places, where they physically will be present.
as chameleons tend to be quite passive and in times of food availability, they stay at one beneficial place and utilise its food potential and accept the sit-and-wait strategy predominantly, while in low availability periods, they might actively forage, the food composition in the first case (limited either to season or to species) would be "dictated" by the main biotope, which the evolved in and coevolved with.
Therefore, it is of crucial importance to take sp[ecies-specific analysis from throw hjomecountry into account and, as per predominant prey items, the more suitable periods are the periods of abundance, rather than low availability, because then, the spectrum is biassed by the fact they can eat almost anything, what the above study clearly shows. Just two years ago, I was able to study natural droppings of 115 wild T.j.x. from Kenya, at the beginning and full course of the Rainy season. The aggregate food composition was very uniform and there were no significant difference between the two samples (it was a qualitative study, not quantitative):

Hymenoptera, 32%
Orthoptera 22%
Diptera 16%
Coleoptera 11%
Lepidoptera 10%
Arachnida 5%
Unidentified 4%

no of the food items was longer than 1,8mm, two radulae were identified indicating the feeding of snails

The study was more directed to the analysis of parasites, as 70of the samples were related to exported animals:

Parasites of wild Trioceros jacksonii xantholophus

Thanks to the generosity of Steve McNary, we were able to obtain about 70 fecal samples of he imported Tjx, which were combined into 10 clusters for parasitological faecal investigations

Findings:
  • 90% of the samples were positive and revealed at least two types of parasites
  • The infestation levels were rather low, none of the samples showed infestation recommended for treatment
  • There were only 4 types of parasites found in total
The details are as follows:
ROUNDWORMS
Strongylidae larvae: + to +++, 80%
Ascarididae: + to +++, 80%
FLATWORMS
Trematoda: + to +++, 20%
COCCIDIA
Choleoeimeria: +, 20%

Where:
  • the number of + indicates the level od infestation (minimum 1+, maximum 6+)
  • percentage indicates in how many % of samples these parasite type was found
Implications:
  1. Almost all animals are naturally infested with parasites, if your VET visit reveals no parasites, it is extremely unlikely, that the analysis was done properly
  2. There is no reason for treating the animals, the levels of infestation are harmless and do not harm the animals significantly
  3. The captive conditions strongly influence the balance parasite-host, no parasite’s interest is to kill or weaken his host
  4. Redo after several weeks the faecal analysis to see the difference. A worsening od the results is an indication of mistakes in the husbandry and require review od husbandry parameters and in some cases treatment of the parasites will be necessary
  5. Handle the chameleons carefully and wash hands after and before each manipulation with the animals and especially in-between!
  6. Clean the cage from faeces as often as possible.
  7. Help the chameleons to control their homeostasis and parasite-host balance adding pollen regularly to the diet
  8. Use proper UV source, best the natural sun outdoors, to help in these physiological processes.
  9. Share and discuss
I agree it's outside of normal range. However it's all we have, I know you have stated your findings loosely and they are helpful. However you haven't really shown us a breakdown documented such as this one.

I agree that the area changes, however how much so really? There is flies in Madgascar same as Yemen, same as Hawaii and abundance is likely similar. You stated in your findings that Flies also made up a large part.


I'm simply using the data we have, from you and the study to find a best course of Naturalistic feeding.

I know you disagree with the amount of Bees consumed, and that's fine. That's fine because bees are going to have to be largely ignored by most folks. Feeding bees is great for those that can and are willing to do it. However the regulation, and requirements and space, and such needs to raise bees especially in the US is not really feasible for 95% of keepers. Bees are never something most keepers will be able to feed, so we have to look at the other options and build a better way.



To me and for my plans, personally and I would love to work on this with your help. Is to design a diet, from the study's we have and your data. That fulfills a more natural diet, and even more so, if we can I would personally really love to remove dusting from our equation. If we can setup a feasible, breedable diet, that is natural and removes the need to dust, that to me would be beyond stellar!


The diet I am working on, will hopefully do just that. As again, Flies have a very high C/P ratio, they do not need dusted. Flies will/can eat syrups and such, so pollen may be possible.
 
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PetNcs

Avid Member
know you disagree with the amount of Bees consumed, and that's fine. That's fine because bees are going to have to be largely ignored by most folks. Feeding bees is great for those that can and are willing to do it. However the regulation, and requirements and space, and such needs to raise bees especially in the US is not really feasible for 95% of keepers. Bees are never something most keepers will be able to feed, so we have to look at the other options and build a better way.
I do not disagree with anything that is evident
And evident is, the diet of chameleons heavily varies due to their range and season
Talking about Yemen chameleons, I studied them long enogj in the wild to be sure about high bee and wasp content of the diet, same in C. chamaeleon, zeylanicus, arabicus, F. pardalis, F. oustaleti and T. melleri, which I extensively sampled (and the data still wait for publication).
The best way of course would to do studies not based on fecal samples but on dissections (I am ethically against and will not do killing living animals for that purpose - and fresh dead bodies such as roadkills are not available in representative ammounts) or on stomach flushing (whichbis easy to do with a little experience but based on the current regullations, zmyounarenoften on rhe edge of the law if jusg fotographing rhe animals, ot speak anout any manipuööation which mist be subject if soecial permits, that are either hidden behind terrible bureaucracy and nonsensous fees or are virtually impossible to obtain - such as in Yemen struggling with war fir a decade already). Technically, analysis of faeces is also subject of same regullations but usually, noone pays attention to you colöecting poop of such ugly creature as chameleon - but beware, OnSrialanka a colleague was put in Jail and paid many thousands Dillars fine to fet out for collecting a piece of sh... of a captive tortoise on the hotel ground!
So, be olease tillerant a bit to the lack of data as the are almost impossible to obtain.
 

PetNcs

Avid Member
I agree it's outside of normal range. However it's all we have, I know you have stated your findings loosely and they are helpful. However you haven't really shown us a breakdown documented such as this one.

I agree that the area changes, however how much so really? There is flies in Madgascar same as Yemen, same as Hawaii and abundance is likely similar. You stated in your findings that Flies also made up a large part.


I'm simply using the data we have, from you and the study to find a best course of Naturalistic feeding.

I know you disagree with the amount of Bees consumed, and that's fine. That's fine because bees are going to have to be largely ignored by most folks. Feeding bees is great for those that can and are willing to do it. However the regulation, and requirements and space, and such needs to raise bees especially in the US is not really feasible for 95% of keepers. Bees are never something most keepers will be able to feed, so we have to look at the other options and build a better way.



To me and for my plans, personally and I would love to work on this with your help. Is to design a diet, from the study's we have and your data. That fulfills a more natural diet, and even more so, if we can I would personally really love to remove dusting from our equation. If we can setup a feasible, breedable diet, that is natural and removes the need to dust, that to me would be beyond stellar!


The diet I am working on, will hopefully do just that. As again, Flies have a very high C/P ratio, they do not need dusted. Flies will/can eat syrups and such, so pollen may be possible.
I will gladly do such a project if supported by colleagies (eg the board here) and you
While I do not see disging as a problem, as wild feeders are also verbally dusted ir contaminated both by dust as well as pollen... not in such extent as we do in captiviry however...
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
I will gladly do such a project if supported by colleagies (eg the board here) and you
While I do not see disging as a problem, as wild feeders are also verbally dusted ir contaminated both by dust as well as pollen... not in such extent as we do in captiviry however...
I don't mean dusting with like pollen, I see no issues with that. I would just like to remove the requirement of dusting as a personal goal, it's too all over the place imo. Dusting too much can cause issues, dusting too little the same. If we could remove it, from general use I think that would be good :).
 

PabloTheCham

Established Member
I don't mean dusting with like pollen, I see no issues with that. I would just like to remove the requirement of dusting as a personal goal, it's too all over the place imo. Dusting too much can cause issues, dusting too little the same. If we could remove it, from general use I think that would be good :).
yup... hate it when a cricket escapes and leaves a trail of powdery hell...
 

Bigsky

Established Member
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.
Also, some species of flies breed in manure. Perhaps they might vector pathogens associated with mouth rot? I don't know, just a thought.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Also, some species of flies breed in manure. Perhaps they might vector pathogens associated with mouth rot? I don't know, just a thought.
I dont think so, a lot of our feeders are common visitors and eaters of Doo, or live in Doo. I think it would depend on the type of Animal that left the Doo, if there was pathogens or not. Carnivore Doo, and Herbivore Doo, are quite a bit different in makeup.


I have never seen anyone get mouth rot from feeding reptiles flies, Chameleons are not the only reptile that eats flies, and flies are a pretty common sold food source.

Google returns this,

"Mouth rot in reptiles
Mouth rot, or Ulcerative Stomatitis, is an infection of your lizard's gums and mouth caused by small cuts and food stuck in his teeth. If left untreated, the infection could kill your reptile. Snakes and lizards are especially vulnerable to the disease. Luckily, mouth rot is very easy to monitor and care for."

Seems more likely.
 

PetNcs

Avid Member
I dont think so, a lot of our feeders are common visitors and eaters of Doo, or live in Doo. I think it would depend on the type of Animal that left the Doo, if there was pathogens or not. Carnivore Doo, and Herbivore Doo, are quite a bit different in makeup.


I have never seen anyone get mouth rot from feeding reptiles flies, Chameleons are not the only reptile that eats flies, and flies are a pretty common sold food source.

Google returns this,

"Mouth rot in reptiles
Mouth rot, or Ulcerative Stomatitis, is an infection of your lizard's gums and mouth caused by small cuts and food stuck in his teeth. If left untreated, the infection could kill your reptile. Snakes and lizards are especially vulnerable to the disease. Luckily, mouth rot is very easy to monitor and care for."

Seems more likely.
Agree on the doubt that manure per se increases the risk of mouth rot: it does not. The bacteria ilated from mouth rot pus are usually air-born ones that are around us anyway.

The google definition of mouth rot is a bit weak, especially in chameleons, as we know, that it
1. is very hard to see in initial phases
2. in the case , that the symptoms are visible, the infection is usually severe
3. it attacks the jaw bones and not only soft tissues
4. it is not easy to monitor
5. it is not at all easy to care for... it is often lethal
 

Bigsky

Established Member
I dont think so, a lot of our feeders are common visitors and eaters of Doo, or live in Doo. I think it would depend on the type of Animal that left the Doo, if there was pathogens or not. Carnivore Doo, and Herbivore Doo, are quite a bit different in makeup.


I have never seen anyone get mouth rot from feeding reptiles flies, Chameleons are not the only reptile that eats flies, and flies are a pretty common sold food source.

Google returns this,

"Mouth rot in reptiles
Mouth rot, or Ulcerative Stomatitis, is an infection of your lizard's gums and mouth caused by small cuts and food stuck in his teeth. If left untreated, the infection could kill your reptile. Snakes and lizards are especially vulnerable to the disease. Luckily, mouth rot is very easy to monitor and care for."

Seems more likely.
If a chameleon's lip is scratched by a grasshopper's spur, for example, the cut may be susceptible to infection, right? In the wild, flies breed in and feed on nasty stuff, carrion, rotting vegetation, poop, etc., so they have potential to vector pathogens that could infect a wound. I think the maggots that are sold here locally are raised on rotten meat, but am not sure.
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
If a chameleon's lip is scratched by a grasshopper's spur, for example, the cut may be susceptible to infection, right? In the wild, flies breed in and feed on nasty stuff, carrion, rotting vegetation, poop, etc., so they have potential to vector pathogens that could infect a wound. I think the maggots that are sold here locally are raised on rotten meat, but am not sure.
Sure ya, but other bugs were likely in feces and such as well, Surely.

Ya the maggots we get as feeders are surely fed rotten meat, which is honestly maybe a good thing as it would provide Vit A.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Wonder how often fungus is eaten as well. Mushrooms are pretty popular these days for their supposed health benefits, if that's the case I'm sure it plays some sort of role in the wild?
 

cyberlocc

Chameleon Enthusiast
Wonder how often fungus is eaten as well. Mushrooms are pretty popular these days for their supposed health benefits, if that's the case I'm sure it plays some sort of role in the wild?
I had read a article that said the Lemurs in Madgascar use the Green Pill Millipedes (which eat fungus natively) as medicine. They have antibiotic properties due to their diets.

I have also read here, that they have been reported as being seen eaten by Panther Chameleons in the wild as well.

I really wish we could get those guys in culture. It's been tried, but something happens when exported, they lose gut bacteria and food cannot be digested, they have been tried to keep captive and always results in them starving to death :(.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I had read a article that said the Lemurs in Madgascar use the Green Pill Millipedes (which eat fungus natively) as medicine. They have antibiotic properties due to their diets.

I have also read here, that they have been reported as being seen eaten by Panther Chameleons in the wild as well.

I really wish we could get those guys in culture. It's been tried, but something happens when exported, they lose gut bacteria and food cannot be digested, they have been tried to keep captive and always results in them starving to death :(.
Yeah I read into them a lot a couple years back, thought they would be very cool, but as far as I know they never survive in captivity. Makes you wonder how often that happens, on a more minor scale, with other animals in captivity.
 
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