Veiled chameleons are a favorite pet for reptile lovers due to their character and unusual appearance; however, they can be difficult for beginners because of their advanced care needs.
As insectivores, veiled chameleons require a diverse range of insects in their diet; it is vital to choose the right insects that will provide the correct nutrients which are essential to your chameleon's well-being. When selecting the right feeders for your pet, you need to take the ratio of protein and calcium contained in each insect, as they both play an essential role in helping your veiled chameleon to live long and healthy lives. As captive animals, it has been found that your chameleon can enjoy vegetables and plants as a small part of their diet, and it can help them to thrive. So we will also cover what vegetables and fruits can be safely offered to your chameleon. First, we will cover what insects your veiled chameleon can eat.
What Insects Can Veiled Chameleons Eat?
Dubia Roaches — Moisture 71.5%, Protein 21.4%, Fat 3.1%, Ash 1.3%, Fiber 2.6%, Calcium 700mg/kg
Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Nutrigrubs) — Moisture 61.2%, Protein 17.5%, Fat 14%, Ash 3.5%, Fiber 3%, Calcium 9340 mg/kg
Superworms — Moisture 57.9%, Protein 19.7%, Fat 17.7%, Ash 1%, Fiber 2.7%, Calcium 177mg/kg
Crickets — Moisture 77.1%, Protein 15.4%, Fat 3.3%, Ash 1.1%, Fiber 2.2%, Calcium 275mg//kg
Silkworms — Moisture 82.7%, Protein 9.3%, Fat 1.1%, Fiber 1.1%, Calcium 177mg/kg
Butterworms — Moisture 60.2%, Protein 15.5%, Fat 29.4%, Ash 0.8%, Fiber 1.4%, Calcium 125mg/kg
Hornworms (Very high water content) — Moisture 85%, Protein 9%, Fat 3.07%, Ash n/a, Fiber n/a, 464mg/kg
Waxworms (Very high fat content) — Moisture 58.5%, Protein 14.1%, Fat 24.9%, Ash 0.6%, Fiber 3.4%, Calcium 243mg/kg
Babies need to be fed as often as twice per day, while juveniles only need to eat once per day. As they grow into the adult stage, they only need to be fed once every other day. Staple insects can be supplied for every feeding, but treat bugs should only be fed twice per week at most.
Wild-caught bugs should never be fed to your pet chameleon; they often carry nasty diseases and contain parasites that will make your chameleon sick. Always source your feeder insects from a reputable supplier.
Supplementing & Gut-Loading Bugs
Gut loading is an essential aspect of any insectivorous reptile's diet; it is the process of nourishing your feeder insects with foods that will then pass on the nutrients to your pet. Not doing this is missing a valuable opportunity to supplement your pet's diet. Gut-loading is essential for Veiled Chameleons but particularly those that don't eat vegetables and fruit.
One way to gut-load your feeders is to give them the same vegetables that you would offer to your pet and pass the nutrients from the vegetables in that way. Still, a better approach is to give them a commercial product developed for this purpose as it provides a more balanced range of nutrition. You can buy these products specifically available for this purpose by clicking here.
Supplementing your feeding insects is necessary to maintain your Chameleon's health, you will need to supplement their diet with calcium, calcium plus D3, and multivitamin powder. Never give more than one supplement per day; they must be provided on different days. Babies need to have calcium dusted on one of their daily feedings three times per week, two of their daily feedings need to be sprinkled with calcium plus D3 and one of their daily meals with multivitamin powder. As juveniles, they only need calcium powder twice per week, calcium pls D3 powder once per week, and multivitamin powder once per week. Adults need calcium once per week, calcium plus D3 once per week, and multivitamin powder once per week. You can purchase these supplements here.
Safe Fruits and Vegetables For your Veiled Chameleon
As mentioned, you don't need to offer your pet chameleon plants for them to live, but it can help them to maintain better health to provide them with vegetables and fruits. See below for a list of safe options for your pet.
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
- Squash (Butternut, Spaghetti, Acorn, Winter)
- Sweet potato
- Sweet red peppers
Veiled Chameleons that have grown up with a diet of insects may have a hard time recognizing vegetables as food, and if you want your Chameleon to eat these and you have the opportunity, then you should feed them from an early age. They only need to be offered vegetables and fruits sparingly, once a week at most.
Veiled Chameleons can survive for a little while without drinking water but can develop serious health problems if they do not get enough, these may not be visible at first, so it is essential you always have water available for your Chameleon to drink should they need it. Since they drink by licking the droplets from the glass in their habitat, you can mist their enclosure a couple of times per day to provide them with droplets to drink, and if you feel that you don't have enough time to do this, then you can buy a "dripper" which has been made for this purpose which will do the job for you.