Wants to eat sticks/bark

Gizmo

New Member
One of my 7mo. male panthers seems to have a craving for wood/bark. Can anyone suggest what he might be after/missing from his diet?
The first week I had him home I'd find him every morning hunting around in the pot of his schefflera plant, which luckily I had stuffed with paper towels. This shy little guy would try to outmuscle my fingers to get to the dirt -- and more than once I pulled a little stick or dried leaf out of his mouth. When he finally gave up on the top of the pot he started going for the little bits of twig visible in the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. More worrisome is that he also tries to rip the "bark" off those fake fluker's climbing vines. He grabs the nubs with the side of his mouth and torques his whole body trying to rip pieces off. His jaws are just now getting strong enough to break the plastic, so today I'm replacing the vines with something else. I asked my vet -- a very experienced herp guy -- about this behavior, and he had no idea what to make of it but thought it might just be how Red is managing his first and fairly obvious testosterone surge. I'm no vet but I just know in my bones, watching him, that he is urgently missing some nutrient./vitamin/mineral. His health has been touchy from day 1, and the key lies in whatever he's trying to find in the wood. Any thoughts? Crix are gutloaded with collard, carrots, yams, and orange slices; he's been well Ca/D3 supplemented (oversupplemented, it turns out..), gets vitaminie dust 2x/month.
 
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kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
You said..."One of my 7mo. male panthers seems to have a craving for wood/bark. Can anyone suggest what he might be after/missing from his diet?"...I've heard of a few panther chameleons nibbling the bark....and eating the soil from plant pots. Many animals (and humans too, for that matter) eat things that either provide them with a missing nutrient or for numerous other reasons (like to help them handle toxins in other things that they eat or to rid themselves of parasites, etc.). I don't know the reason panthers do this.

You said..."His health has been touchy from day 1, and the key lies in whatever he's trying to find in the wood. Any thoughts? Crix are gutloaded with collard, carrots, yams, and orange slices; he's been well Ca/D3 supplemented (oversupplemented, it turns out..), gets vitaminie dust 2x/month"...what do you mean that his health has been touchy?

I gutload my crickets with a wide variety of greens (dandelion greens, collards, kale, endive, ROMAINE lettuce, etc.) and veggies (sweet potato, white potato, carrots, squash, zucchini, celery leaves,etc.).

I dust the insects at most feedings with a phosphorous-free calcium powder. Insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorous and this helps to make up for it.

I dust twice a month with a vitamin powder that has a beta carotene source of vitamin A. Beta carotene sources can't be overdosed, but preformed sources can. There is some controversy over chameleons needing preformed though.

My chameleons don't get any direct sunlight only UVB from a florescent tube light, so I also dust twice a month with a D3/calcium powder. Vitamin D3 from supplements can build up in the system, so caution needs to be used not to overdo it.

UVB from sunlight or lights should not pass through glass or plastic. UVB is imporant because it allows the chameleon to produce D3 and thus use the calcium in its diet.

Appropriate temperature is also important for digestion.
 
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