Why feed chameleons every other day?

MeruJack

Avid Member
I have 9 chameleons. 5 are one month old babies which I feed 2-3 times a day everyday. One is a male veiled Cham which is about 4 months old. I feed him once everyday. The remaining three are adults: a pair of Meru Dwarf Jackson's (the parents of the 5 babies) and a jacksonii female that is five months pregnant. Adults, I've read numerous times, should be fed every other day. My problem is that I have a VERY hard time not feeding them everyday. I feel like I'm starving them. I feel very guilty. What is the purpose/reasoning behind only feeding them every other day? Is it less healthy for them if I feed them half rations everyday? It's not so hard skipping a day here and there with both females as they often do not finish all of their food even when I only feed them five crickets a day. But I feel guilty not feeding my little Meru male at least half rations everyday. He's lean while the girls are ample. Bottom line: Is it less healthy to feed my adult chams half rations (usually 5 crickets and an occasional wax worm) everyday rather than 10-12 feeders every other day? Thanks!
 
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I have been looking for an answer to this for a while -I understand the thinking on not overfeeding females in order to try and have less egg production and a healthier mom- and know that is at least part of the thinking behind that. I also read one thread where in males over eating was said to cause prolapse - I'm interested in what answers you'll get - I usually find that for most of the guidelines here there are good reasons for them- I just haven't seen anything that would cause a red flag to go up- This isn't an answer to your question because I don't know if there is a health reason for feeding every other day instead of less more often.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have been looking for an answer to this for a while -I understand the thinking on not overfeeding females in order to try and have less egg production and a healthier mom- and know that is at least part of the thinking behind that. I also read one thread where in males over eating was said to cause prolapse - I'm interested in what answers you'll get - I usually find that for most of the guidelines here there are good reasons for them- I just haven't seen anything that would cause a red flag to go up- This isn't an answer to your question because I don't know if there is a health reason for feeding every other day instead of less more often.
There are a couple of reasons this can be a good idea long term. First, it generally applies to adults, not fast-growing babies. Yes, controlling food can help prevent abnormally large egg clutches and earlier onset of clutch formation in females. In a way, we are killing them with kindness by overfeeding in captivity. Think about it...we tend to provide an unending stream of relatively large fat feeder insects instead of lots of small ones such as most wild chams would eat during any one day. Also, our chams spend a lot less energy hunting, maintaining themselves, or defending territory than they would in the wild. Body fat can get converted into more eggs and build up in organs.

Chams are notorious for hunger strikes, and feeding them on a less predictable schedule keeps them interested and a little less likely to be fussy. You are not being cruel by not feeding every day, you are honing appetite and interest. I tend to feed well one day and (like you I love to watch them feed and love to interact with them) offer a hand fed snack the next. If my cham doesn't seem keen on eating one day (and I know its healthy) I take the food away and offer it again the next.
 

sandrachameleon

Chameleon Enthusiast
There is really no reason to only feed every other day, IMHO. Honestly any rigid fixed rule schedule seems silly to me - I doubt they eat according to schedule in nature.

I think what matters is variety, quality and overall quantity.

I feed my panthers and one veiled (and my frogs for that matter) 5-6 days a week, different times of day. Occasionally, I offer small amounts twice or three times on the same day (different prey each time). I feel more frequent but smaller (one or two bugs only) meals is preferable. It makes best use of the available digestive juice. The uncertain schedule and variety of prey keeps the chams interest. Skipping a day is also no problem for a healthy non-gravid chameleon.

I dare say the suggested schedule of every other day is a guideline for new keepers who are more likely to overfeed their chameleons
 
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