Unsure of Food Source...Help?

MadiiMcMB

New Member
:confused: My name is Madii and I am very new to the whole chameleon world. I have done a bunch of research and still am confused about food! It is preferred I do not use crickets or roaches (my veiled is inside my house and my mom would not approve of crickets or roaches accidentally escaping), but anything else would be acceptable. He is only four months old, and I was told superworms would be much too large for my li'l guy, and not to mention dangerous as they can chew through the stomach of the cham... I'm tearing my hair out trying to understand what is best for him, and do I need to feed him a variety all at once, or just switch it up once in a while? And do they eat veggies and fruits, too, or just through the insects? Milton is eating mealworms (which I seriously just found out were fattening) and I have only had him for about a week. I want him to be healthy, not fat... I'm a little upset at myself for not understanding food options and gutloading instructions, however, I feel that every source I had went to was inadequate and did not answer my questions fully.

I am also concerned about his water drinking--I don't see him drink though I spray his habitat down nicely twice or three times daily and have a dripper twice a day for about ten minutes... His skin looks dry but his eyes look nice and round yet.

Am I over thinking things or is these legit concerns? :'(
 

VigilantSpearIII

New Member
Oh man, the feeding is a real legit concern here. I hate to burst your bubble, but roaches and/or crickets area necessary staple food for the chameleons. Mealworms are not only fattening, but their chitin can cause impaction. Superworms, while nutritious, are not meant to be a staple food either. A variety of two types of insects consistently is good. IE: Crickets, with a waxworm or superworm as treats, or roaches with waxworms or phoenixworms as treats, etc. I switch it up whenever one colony of insects regenerates its ranks. To be an apprentice herpetologist, almost all of us are expected to become apprentice entomologists as well. It comes with the hobby of lizard pet-care. Chameleons are strictly insectivores, so yes, only insects. I have heard that some people feed veggies to their Veiled chameleons with no consequences. Watering session that you describe seem fine. You need to really get on top of your game.

Read this:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/

Good luck, and learn as much as you can, as quick as you can. We are here to offer advice and help.
 

MadiiMcMB

New Member
Oh man, the feeding is a real legit concern here. I hate to burst your bubble, but roaches and/or crickets area necessary staple food for the chameleons. Mealworms are not only fattening, but their chitin can cause impaction. Superworms, while nutritious, are not meant to be a staple food either. A variety of two types of insects consistently is good. IE: Crickets, with a waxworm or superworm as treats, or roaches with waxworms or phoenixworms as treats, etc. I switch it up whenever one colony of insects regenerates its ranks. To be an apprentice herpetologist, almost all of us are expected to become apprentice entomologists as well. It comes with the hobby of lizard pet-care. Chameleons are strictly insectivores, so yes, only insects. I have heard that some people feed veggies to their Veiled chameleons with no consequences. Watering session that you describe seem fine. You need to really get on top of your game.

Read this:
https://www.chameleonforums.com/care/caresheets/veiled/

Good luck, and learn as much as you can, as quick as you can. We are here to offer advice and help.
Is there a way I could convince my mom to let her know that those choices are relatively safe household wise? I personally have no issue whatsoever with feeding my Milton crickets. She is simply worried about them escaping. What would be the best preventative measure for keeping them from escaping?
 

MadiiMcMB

New Member
Also, I am very upset with myself right now; I feel like I could accidentally kill my little guy with any small mistake... :( especially with food mistakes.
 

Dgood

Member
I put my crickets in a 10 gal aquarium, and have never had an escapee, same with my roaches. If the crickets are put in something that has tall enough sides and is smooth enough they won't be able to jump out. Like a big storage bin or something. And as weird as it sounds the crickets smell way worse than the roaches, in my opinion.
Is there a way I could convince my mom to let her know that those choices are relatively safe household wise? I personally have no issue whatsoever with feeding my Milton crickets. She is simply worried about them escaping. What would be the best preventative measure for keeping them from escaping?
 

VigilantSpearIII

New Member
Is there a way I could convince my mom to let her know that those choices are relatively safe household wise? I personally have no issue whatsoever with feeding my Milton crickets. She is simply worried about them escaping. What would be the best preventative measure for keeping them from escaping?
A fast hands perk, haha. Really even with the quickest of hands, one is bound to escape. Keep them outside in a plastic bin. I use 24 gallon bins that I got at Target for like $5 on sale. Keep the crickets in a bin with an egg carton or two. When I need to feed my guys, I use a small cup that has a lid. A cream cheese or sour cream cup is pretty good. I put the cup in the center of my bin and I pick up a carton to shake it up over the cup. Once the cup is full to my needs, I seal and take it into the house. I add calcium or vitamin powder then I shake and bake, lol. Deposit the bugs into the enclosure and voila, I am done. I almost never drop a cricket or roach. Every once in a while though, I do get that one super-saiyan cricket that makes a 2 foot jump out of my bin to escape into my garden. My mantis clan/colony make quick work of escapees though...my garden assassins.

Just tell your mother that crickets or roaches are harmless. Get dubias, they look like roly-poly bugs and you can easily dupe people into thinking they are cute roly-polies.
 

MadiiMcMB

New Member
A fast hands perk, haha. Really even with the quickest of hands, one is bound to escape. Keep them outside in a plastic bin. I use 24 gallon bins that I got at Target for like $5 on sale. Keep the crickets in a bin with an egg carton or two. When I need to feed my guys, I use a small cup that has a lid. A cream cheese or sour cream cup is pretty good. I put the cup in the center of my bin and I pick up a carton to shake it up over the cup. Once the cup is full to my needs, I seal and take it into the house. I add calcium or vitamin powder then I shake and bake, lol. Deposit the bugs into the enclosure and voila, I am done. I almost never drop a cricket or roach. Every once in a while though, I do get that one super-saiyan cricket that makes a 2 foot jump out of my bin to escape into my garden. My mantis clan/colony make quick work of escapees though...my garden assassins.

Just tell your mother that crickets or roaches are harmless. Get dubias, they look like roly-poly bugs and you can easily dupe people into thinking they are cute roly-polies.
Are dubias available in pet stores or online typically? And I tried to convince her on the harmless, she just hates bugs. *rolls eyes* However, I convinced her that I can try to keep them contained, with the suggestion of the sour cream or cream cheese containers. I thank you so much VigilantSpearIII, and Dgood. I will be getting those things tomorrow after work to be sure my little Milton gets proper nutrition. I will look into dubias to give him some variety as well. Hugs all around! Both of you made me feel a ton better... I admit I was in tears in fear that I am a bad pet owner. I am honestly used to mammals--rabbits, chinchillas, dogs. But I'm going right to the store tomorrow and snatching up some crickets and a couple different tubs.

I have one more question--are house flies good for snacking for my little guy? We have them in our house occasionally, and considered catching one or two for Milton to put in his enclosure. And what about spiders? I want to lay that to rest once and for all, because mom thinks she could just feed him a daddy longlegs. I have a gut instinct that would be very bad for him though.
 

NosyBe15

Member
I use a cricket keeper. And it works really well. I've had only one get out in 6 months. And that was because I wasn't paying attention.
 

MadiiMcMB

New Member
Thanks, NosyBe15. =] I will definitely scope my options out tomorrow. I'm sure Milton will be happy to get off of mealworms and try something new.
 

matt2310

New Member
This for my roaches

Made this one for my roaches... Had to put packing tape on the inside cuz they could climb but not anymore
 

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pssh

Avid Member
I don't believe in using any one type of feeder as a "staple" food source. No one feeder should make up more than 20-30% of your chameleon's diet for proper variety. It is possible to feed your chameleon in a healthy and nutritious way without using crickets or roaches, but it can be a little harder/more expensive.

Worms of all sorts can be used and superworms, mealworms, wax worms, phoenix worms, silkworms, hornworms, and butterworms can all be purchased online easily. Superworms can be used more often than mealworms, and they are a little less fatty. Superworms can be purchased in smaller sizes for smaller animals, and they wont be chewing through your chameleon's stomach no matter how big they are. Wax worms and mealworms should be used as treats, but mealworms can be fed more often than waxworms. Phoenix worms are good for smaller reptiles. Silkworms are very nutritious, and hornworms are good but are mostly water. Butterworms are kind of expensive but are great, easy-to-store treats. In addition to worms, you can use house/blue bottle flies purchased online, mantids, safe butterflies/moths, captive bred snails/slugs, captive bred isopods, stick insects, and a variety of wild insects that you catch outside in a pesticide free area.

For now, I would start with a couple of types of worms if you can. Remember to research all the insects and their various nutritional values as well as how some other keepers are using them as feeders (how often, how much, etc.) I suggest checking out sandrachameleon's blog. The important thing for now is to try and get some variety to help balance out the diet. Be sure to use hard bodied insects for roughage if you want to use softer feeders as well (too many soft bodied insects cause runny poops.)
 

MadiiMcMB

New Member
Thank you all very, very much! :) I'm feeling much more confident now, I have my crickets and a container in it. I will be trying to get some other worms and perhaps look into flies or moths even. I'm sure Milton would have fun with those. Bought the stuff to gutload with too!
 
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