Wild insects

chamimom

Member
Hi, I know that many cham stewards intentionally draw wild insects to their chams' outdoor enclosures and let their chams eat those wild insects. I was wondering what kinds of wild insects those of you who do this are eaten by your cams? If you do that, am I able to draw some wild insects to bring to my indoor chams to give them some more variety, and if so, what kinds can I do that with? I understand Bill Strand allows his chams to eat wild and has no problems with it. I understand that some of you will say not to do that because of parasites and things, but if Bill Strand and others do this and don't have problems, then I think I'm going to take their word for it. Crickets carry pinworms that could harm a cham if the counts are too high, and people still feed their chams those (I do not, because I recently had issues with that with both my chams and a bearded dragon). Anyways, thoughts/ideas would be very much appreciated!
 

Beman

Social Media Manager
Staff member
So you will get different answers because honestly every person lives in different places...

If you live in the middle of a city where they spray for mosquitoes. Or your neighbor just treated their property for termites. Then any wild insects could have pesticide exposure.
Or say your neighbor sprays for weeds then again pesticide exposure.

Now if you live on 5 acres in the middle of no where and you do not spray for bugs or weeds or anything then chances of insects being exposed to something potentially toxic is low.

Then you need to think about the bugs that are actually toxic to chams if eaten like lady bugs, lightening bugs, and lubbers. Even some spiders can be toxic if they bite the cham. Obviously you would not want these insects getting into your outdoor enclosures.
 

Connorology

Avid Member
I will feed my animals wild caught insects on occasion. The safest rule of thumb for feeding wild insects is only feed insects that you can identify. Spicoli (my panther) seems to particularly like katydids so I will intentionally capture those when in season and feed them to him. I'll usually keep them in an enclosure and gut load them for a few days prior to feeding them off.

As @Beman already said, parasites and pesticides are both potential risks. I personally think the risk is pretty low with occasional feedings for enrichment purposes, but it should be considered. With Spicoli, he's about 6 and slowing down so he's not going to be around forever; I just want him to be able to eat some prey items he seems excited about.

If you set up a hanging sheet and hit it with a black light you can call in a lot of bugs in the spring/summer months. You can also get a sweep net and "sweep" tall grass in open areas. If you take a few photos of your captures, iNaturalist is a good place to get IDs on wildlife (including insects). BugGuide is another good resource.
 

DonKeesh

Chameleon Enthusiast
I feed as many wild bugs that I can get my hands on. I obviously avoid any I know are poisonous or could deliver a sting. I think the caution with wild bugs is a bit overblown. I regularly try to find evidence or examples of wild prey causing harm either due to parasite or pesticide and it just doesn't exist. Benefits far outweigh the risk imo. But what DOES exist is clear evidence of pet store feeders carrying parasites.
 
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