What to do about lazy crickets?

Derrick

New Member
I have either the world's laziest crickets or the world's smartest crickets. Either way I'm having issues.

How can I encourge my crickets to not just sit in the bottom of my veiled chameleon's habitat?

When I feed, I place the crickets as high as possible but they quickly make their way to the very bottom. Once they are there, they never come back up.

Throughout the day I will go in, pick the crickets up and place them back at the top of the habitat. But if my chameleon doesn't eat them before they make their way back to the bottom, they just sit there again.

I hate getting into the habitat several times everyday because it's obvious he doesn't want me in there lol but if I don't he doesn't seem to be interested in moving down to hunt. Soon as he gets his eyes on one up top he's all over it though so I know he's not not hungry. If I give him 12 a day, more then likely 6 or more will be left tomorrow if I don't move them back up.

What should I do? how can I get the crickets to venture up the habitat on their own?
 

Lancecham

New Member
Do you have anything on the bottom of the cage that would encourage them to stay at the bottom?
Do you have a heat lamp on top of the cage. Most crickets like it warm and will stay close to the source of heat.
 

Derrick

New Member
There is absolutely nothing in the bottom of the habitat. Literally just black plastic liner.

Yes, I have the heat lamp at the top of the cage, actually I have two of them. Where I live it is very cold in the winter. During the day I run a 100w ceramic heater in a 10" dome in addition to a standard 100w heat lamp out of an 8" dome. With both lights on during the day the habitat holds a gradient 80 degrees F with a basking spot under the 8" dome at 92 degrees F. At night, the 8" shuts off, along with the UVB, and the ceramic heater stays on dropping the gradient temp to 70-71 degrees F at night.
 

Stanly

New Member
Have you tried hand feeding? it's a good way to have him associate you with something good (food), it allows you to track how much he eats and it's fun!

or maybe cup feeding (or like the milk jug feeder that's posted here some place)

Personally I hand feed about 90% of what my guy eats but yeah with the few I put in for him to hunt I end up "recycling" half of them (if he doesn't eat them all day I try to put them back into the cricket bin so they get freshly gut loaded), but by hand feeding most I don't worry about him not getting enough to eat.
 

Ace

Avid Member
what i do occasionally is that i "lure" my cham down his cage....

i can hand feed my cham....but mostly i want him to hunt his food....so what i do is let him see the cricket in my hand or you can use tongs...he should follow your hand with the cricket....basically let him crawl down the cage and hand feed the cricket....since he is at the bottom area....he should then be looking around for any crix around.....hope this helps

or you can hang a piece of carrot or fruit on the side screen to allure crix going up the screen.....you can hang it with a metal wire or something
 

Derrick

New Member
I've thought about hand feeding but my guys really seems to not like being handled or even having me come into his habitat. I tried handing once shortly after I got him to with no luck so I haven't tried since.

Here are some pictures of what I have going on. It's sort of bear right now but his ficus died because it got froze during shipping :( I tried to revive it with no luck and no where close to me has live plants during the winter. I was going to wait until April and order a hibiscus from hiddenvalleyhibiscus.com
 

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Derrick

New Member
what i do occasionally is that i "lure" my cham down his cage....

i can hand feed my cham....but mostly i want him to hunt his food....so what i do is let him see the cricket in my hand or you can use tongs...he should follow your hand with the cricket....basically let him crawl down the cage and hand feed the cricket....since he is at the bottom area....he should then be looking around for any crix around.....hope this helps

or you can hang a piece of carrot or fruit on the side screen to allure crix going up the screen.....you can hang it with a metal wire or something

I like the carrot idea. Thank you!
 

JackP308

Avid Member
He can see them, if he's hungry he should hunt them. He's the lazy one not the crickets :D



Looks like someone likes to program by the books in the pics.
 

ChameleonRave

Avid Member
is that all you have in the cage? I would add some more plants in the cage and cup feed the crickets if you don't already. that way the chameleon will feel a bit safer.
 

Derrick

New Member
is that all you have in the cage? I would add some more plants in the cage and cup feed the crickets if you don't already. that way the chameleon will feel a bit safer.

It is for now. I had a ficus in there that died. It got too cold during shipping and I was never able to revive it. It got to the point where it was no longer safe for him because the leaves would fall off as he tried to climb onto them.

I was wondering if it was too little in his cage. It also may be bad pictures because the vine is 6' all wrapped around in there in addition to another 6' tiny vine wrapped in and around it all with one of those artifical leaf vines wrapped into it too.

I probably won't get another live plant until April when it starts to warm up and I can get a hibiscus from hiddenvalleyhibiscus.com.

I have another group of vines exactly like the one that is in there but when I put that in there, it really looks overcrowded.

He's asleep now so tomorrow I will add that second vine to the habitat and take pictures again. See what you guys think is better looking at the before and after.
 

yoshi9

New Member
This is just an idea but could be possibly be getting bored with crickets are you mixing up his foods? Maybe try some dubias on his floor?
 

Lingling

New Member
You could feed out of a cup, like Stanly mentioned. Once your cham learns what that cup means, he won't forget! My veiled is particularly good with cup feeding. He hates my guts, but when he sees me put crickets in his cup he'll come down from his free range and ignore me while I stand there watching him. After a couple weeks of holding his cup while he ate, he even started hand feeding. He has no problem with it now, though he still hates me any other time. Because my veiled doesn't like being handled, I find cup feeding and hand feeding helpful - it's the only time I can really get a close look at him and make sure everything is normal and he's looking healthy.

Not all chams take to it quite as well as he has. Although my panther will cup feed, you have to bring he cup to him, he won't go to it. He'd rather track down his own crickets and hasn't seemed to make the same connection with the cup and his meals as my veiled has.
 

Derrick

New Member
This is just an idea but could be possibly be getting bored with crickets are you mixing up his foods? Maybe try some dubias on his floor?

He's had a mealworm a couple of times. He loves them but from what I understand, they are the greatest for him and can be sort of hard to digest so he only gets them as a snack like once a week.

I've thought about ordering some dubias (without telling me wife lol) and trying those but I've read those can actually be difficult to feed a young chameleon because of their exoskeleton too. You have to be careful and only feed real young dubias right after they've molted.
 

Lingling

New Member
It is for now. I had a ficus in there that died. It got too cold during shipping and I was never able to revive it. It got to the point where it was no longer safe for him because the leaves would fall off as he tried to climb onto them.

I probably won't get another live plant until April when it starts to warm up and I can get a hibiscus from hiddenvalleyhibiscus.com.

Have you tried Home Depot or Lowes for live plants? Most of the midwest stores have had tropicals in for several weeks now, including ficus, pothos, & possibly hibiscus (though I haven't seen that one at my store yet). They're cheap (I just bought an awesome 4ft Ficus Alii for $17), you don't have to worry about shipping (and no shipping fee!), and you actually get to see what you're buying. They usually have a very nice selection and healthy plants if you go in late winter/early spring before it's all picked over, or during the weeks they receive new shipments. They should all be washed with a mild dishsoap solution to remove anything that could harm your cham, replanted in organic soil, and have the base covered in river rocks so he can't ingest soil.
 

Derrick

New Member
You could feed out of a cup, like Stanly mentioned. Once your cham learns what that cup means, he won't forget! My veiled is particularly good with cup feeding. He hates my guts, but when he sees me put crickets in his cup he'll come down from his free range and ignore me while I stand there watching him. After a couple weeks of holding his cup while he ate, he even started hand feeding. He has no problem with it now, though he still hates me any other time. Because my veiled doesn't like being handled, I find cup feeding and hand feeding helpful - it's the only time I can really get a close look at him and make sure everything is normal and he's looking healthy.

Not all chams take to it quite as well as he has. Although my panther will cup feed, you have to bring he cup to him, he won't go to it. He'd rather track down his own crickets and hasn't seemed to make the same connection with the cup and his meals as my veiled has.

I tried cup feeding one time briefly and by briefly I mean just once one afternoon. As soon as I started to put the cup in, he got as far as way as possible. I even showed him what was in the cup and he avoided it like the plauge.

He seems to really enjoy hunting the crickets as long as they stay up in his level. I think I'm going to add more vines tomorrow and maybe see if I can create a 'cricket highway' to the top of the habitat.

For the past couple of days I've tried to observe the cricket behavior very closely and while this may be just a fluke the past couple of days but, it seems that the crickets like to walk around the habitat in a counter-clockwise movement along the bottom edge. I was thinking about maybe putting a couple of the smaller vines in the bottom along the end and the other end of the vine in one of the spots he likes to sit and hunt. Maybe I can get the crickets to walk right onto his dinner plate lol
 
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