Chameleon Nutrition and Long-Term Health
At Canvas Chameleons, people often ask us for our expert advice on keeping chameleons healthy. One of the best ways to ensure long-term health is to feed your pets a balanced diet.
Chameleons are primarily insectivores, which means you will need to supply them with an assortment of live insects to keep their diet varied. These insects can include crickets, roaches and various types of worms.
Replicating the Food Chain
As humans, we often hear the phrase, “You are what you eat,” which reminds us to make healthy eating choices. That rule of thumb is valid for chameleons, too! Many first-time chameleon owners fail to realize the vital importance of what they are feeding the insects their chameleons eat, which can eventually result in malnourishment.
In their natural environment, a chameleon would have access to a veritable bug buffet, with many different options for prey insects at their disposal. Before becoming dinner, these insects would also have been eating different types of plants, and passing those nutrients along to the chameleon who eats them.
How can you approximate that natural lifecycle in captivity? One way is to feed your insects a variety of fresh leafy greens, veggies and fruits. For example, you shouldn’t expect your chameleon to eat a salad, but by eating a cricket who has eaten a piece of kale, your chameleon indirectly consumes the kale and absorbs its nutritional benefit.
Feeding your insect supply a healthy diet is a process called gutloading, which ensures you’re giving your hungry pet all the nutrients he needs. To more easily satisfy your chameleon’s nutritional requirements, we recommend the Repashy line of products.
- Bug Burger:
Repashy’s Bug Burger is a well-rounded diet that both feeds and hydrates various types of insects. Fortified with vitamins, minerals and calcium, the formula also includes healthy ingredients such as ground flaxseed, dried seaweed, rice bran and brewer’s yeast. When mixed with boiling water, the Bug Burger takes on a gel-like consistency that can be cut into cubes, shredded or used as one piece. You can keep the unused portion in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for as long as half a year.
- Calcium Supplements:
To prevent common nutrient deficiencies such as metabolic bone disease, many chameleon owners use calcium and multivitamin supplements, such as Repashy’s Calcium Plus, in addition to gutloading.
Before feeding, dust insects by placing them in a plastic bag and shaking lightly so the powder sticks to their bodies. Once you’ve finished coating the insects, pour them into the cage or food cup, leaving any unused supplements in the original container.
Good Health Starts With Insects
When feeding your chameleons, remember everything your insects eat is for the benefit of your chameleon. If your insects are eating a healthy diet, your chameleons will live longer and be more robust and at less risk for illnesses.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about chameleon nutrition! We’re always happy to help create better-informed chameleon keepers.