WC crickets, grasshoppers, bugs ???

Tiki

New Member
Hi,
My parents have a large field. It has no chemicals or pollution. Is it safe to net up grasshoppers and crickets for my cham?
thanks,
jim
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
Provided you are sure there are no pesticides there, it should be safe, and it should be a real treat for your cham.

There is a small risk that the bugs have picked up some parasites in the wild, but in my opinion the benefits of diversifying your cham's menu outweigh the risks posed by most WC bugs (there are certain bugs that are well-known parasite carriers, like snails, that should be avoided).

Just make sure they're not toxic bugs (avoid brightly coloured grasshoppers, e.g. red and black, black and yellow). I have a field guide of insects for my region, and I try to identify any bugs I catch and read up more about them before I feed them to my chameleons.

Also make sure the bugs are small enough to feed to your cham. Some grasshoppers/locusts have really strong and sharply serrated back legs, and these could potentially cut open a cham's mouth. If you think the legs are particularly mean-looking, it would be best to pull the hind legs off before you feed the grasshoppers to your cham.
 

Heika

New Member
Net me up some grasshoppers and I will buy them from you!!
It is against the law to ship grasshoppers over state lines in the United States because they are a pest insect. Too bad, I would love to be able to add a steady supply of locusts to my chameleon's diets.
 

BillGTI

New Member
I don't get it tho... In the wild they eat millions of wild poison bugs. why cant i feed my chameleon grasshoppers cought in my back yard
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
That statement is wrong: they don't eat bugs that are poisonous to chameleons in the wild - that would kill them.

In their natural habitat, years of evolution has developed an instinct in them for which bugs are good to eat, and which ones are poisonous.

The problem with WC bugs from your backyard is that these are bugs that the cham would not encounter in its natural habitat, so that inborn instinct can't help it. The cham wouldn't know which of your backyard bugs to avoid, so you run the risk of poisoning the cham unless you're sure the bug is harmless.
 

Laragail

New Member
yeah that's pretty interesting how they distinguish between edible and dangerous insects in the wild.

I wonder if they can tell by coloration alone, or if it's a combination of coloration and instinct. I mean, don't you think that there are poisonous insects in their natural habitat that aren't brightly colored?

I think it would be interesting to find some kind of non-toxic substance that you could put on their favorite feeders, to make them brightly colored, and see if they still eat them.

I just had another thought too---

do chameleons ever spit bugs out? I've never seen mine do it, but then again, they wouldn't have any reason to because I've never given them any nasty bugs.

Do they have taste buds?
I wonder if maybe they could taste the poisons in the bugs from their natural habitats?

haha maybe I'm thinking too much about this
 
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Greenstar

New Member
Just another thought some chameleons, for this example Trace's ellioti won't touch silkworms. It maybe because in there natural habit white, soft bodied catepillars are toxic and no good to eat. I am sure others can attest to there chams having an adverse reaction when offered a certain type of feeder, this maybe because they have that instinct not to eat bugs that fit a certain look, moverment or taste.

Just a thought,
Danny
 
So does anyone know of any places online where you can buy grasshoppers as feeders? I'm sure i could find some if i searched for them...but i just stumbled upon this thread first, and wondered if anyone knows or has experience with any? Also, are grasshoppers a pretty nutritious insect for chams?
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
I think it would be interesting to find some kind of non-toxic substance that you could put on their favorite feeders, to make them brightly colored, and see if they still eat them.
Sounds like a great experiment to try. I have heard that they are more attracted to bright green insects. I've even seen it suggested that you powder crickets with spirulina for difficult eaters, to make the crickets look green and more appetising. That never worked for me, but on the odd occasion that I have fed green insects to my chams, they get eaten pretty quickly.

do chameleons ever spit bugs out?
I've also never seen my cham do it, but I have heard of others who have reported that their chams do this.
It is thought that chameleons can taste, although it is unknown how well their taste buds are developed.
They certainly don't smell well, since they have very underdeveleped Jacobson's organs (the organ in the mouth that most lizards use to pick up scents that are collected when they flick out their tongue - read more about it here: A nose is born)

are grasshoppers a pretty nutritious insect for chams?
Well, they are one of the staple foods of Veiled chameleons in the wilds of the Middle East, so they must have decent nutritional values.
In captivity they aren't very easy to gutload, but their diet consists mainly of grasses and leaves which (in general) are good gutloads.
I think grasshoppers would make good feeders for chams. No one supplies them where I am though - the only ones I've been able to get my hands on are WC.
 

Heika

New Member
do chameleons ever spit bugs out? I've never seen mine do it, but then again, they wouldn't have any reason to because I've never given them any nasty bugs.
I feed a lot of moths that I catch in a bug napper, and recently watched a female elliot catch an unusual moth that I hadn't seen in the bug napper before, chomp down on it, and promptly spit it out. I assume it didn't taste good..

Just another thought some chameleons, for this example Trace's ellioti won't touch silkworms.
While this is a good theory, the WC trio of ellioti that I purchased from Trace eat silkworms, waxworms, and a very small species of super worm type worm with no hesitation. The young eat silkworms without any problem also. In fact, they seem to prefer them over some of the other insects I give them. Personally, I would guess that there is something different between the environment that I am providing for the chameleons and the one that Trace provides that leads to a difference in food preference. The Necas book also observed that the ellioti seem to have a fondness for caterpillars and wax worms. It would be interesting to hear from other keepers of this species about their experience in feeding them.
 

Heika

New Member
That never worked for me, but on the odd occasion that I have fed green insects to my chams, they get eaten pretty quickly.
I tried this once with crickets too, but I used green food coloring. A panther of mine quit eating, and I was trying to entice him. It didn't work for me.. but I had green fingernails for a couple days..
 

Tygerr

Avid Member
It didn't work for me.. but I had green fingernails for a couple days..
Chameleons are supposed to have some of the most advanced eyes/optic system in the animal kingdom. Perhaps, just as a jeweller isn't fooled by plated goods under his microscope, the chameleons aren't fooled by the colouring: they can tell it's just a hack job ;)
 
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