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Chameleon Nutrition: How Much & How Often They Eat

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According to expert herpetologist, Gary Ferguson. Chameleons should be fed the following amounts every week:

AgeFrequencyFood ItemsAmount
Juvenile (0-6 months)DailySmall crickets, fruit flies, small roaches.As much as they can eat
Sub-Adult (6-12 months)DailyMedium crickets, roaches, silkwormsAs much as they can eat
Adult (12+ months)Every other dayLarge crickets, roaches, hornworms4-5 Insects

Baby chameleons have huge appetites and often eat up to 20 insects a day, subadults usually slightly less. You don’t need to worry about over feeding chameleons at this age, as they are growing very quickly. Just keep offering them food each day until they have had enough.

Once they reach adulthood, you need to hold off on how much they are fed and stick to the recommended amounts above.

Don’t forget to supplement your chameleon’s food with the appropriate schedule.

Overfeeding

It is possible to overfeed your chameleon. In the wild, chameleons will eat whatever food they can find, as they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

In captivity, you are able to provide a constant source of food for them so, if you provide too much, they can become obese which can cause health problems down the line, like gout. There’s no need to worry about overfeeding for babies, though.

Underfeeding

As long as you stick to the amounts mentioned in the chart at the top of this article, your chameleon will be getting enough food.

You may have concerns your chameleon is too skinny because chameleons look that way in general. Again, as long as you keep to that schedule, they will be satisfied with their food intake.

You would have to deviate far from those recommended amounts for your chameleon to suffer as a result of under eating.



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8 responses to “Chameleon Nutrition: How Much & How Often They Eat”

  1. David Mcfarland avatar
    David Mcfarland

    Excellent. I just got a baby and was wondering why he wasnt eating……..until a fly got too close. Guess he is gonna only go for live food.

    1. Dave avatar
      Dave

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, chameleons will only eat live foods.

    2. Jen avatar
      Jen

      Hi. Thanks for the info. I’m not sure how old my chameleon is. Im guessing around 9-10 months. When you say gutloading insects can you go into more detail?

      1. Jodi Burch-Medinger avatar
        Jodi Burch-Medinger

        Oh my goodness your website has been a godsend! I’ve had a chameleon for about 4 months And I’ve done lots of research but your website is the best I have seen so far! I have a question about live plants in my chameleon’s cage. I do have the organic potting soil mentioned and I’m wondering how to hang a basket of wandering jew? What type of hanging pot do you recommend? While I’m at it I might want to ask what kind of pots do you recommend for the bottom filler plants as well? Also, I’m wondering if you feed the live crickets in the cage with the plants in there or do you remove them at feeding time? I know that the crickets would probably hide in the leaves as well as my chameleon 🙂 thanks in advance I look forward to hearing your reply.

        1. Dave avatar
          Dave

          Hi Jen,

          Thank you for your kind words it’s really appreciated :). I’ll answer each question in turn:

          1. Please read my reply to Steve in the comments on this article it’s for a pothos plant but it will work well with a wandering jew plant too.

          2. For pots I just recommend anything sturdy so your chameleon doesn’t knock them over. I don’t have any specific ones in mind but ceramic ones will work well. Please see my plants post for more info.

          3. There’s no need to remove plants when feeding your chameleon crickets. This will stress your chameleon unnecessarily. Chameleons have amazing eyesight so crickets won’t be able to hide for long! Just try and remove any ones not eaten before his lights turn off as they can sometimes bite your chameleon. during the night.

          I hope these answers are helpful to you.

  2. Louise Mckenna avatar
    Louise Mckenna

    Hi sometimes my chamelon opens his mouth wide gapping mostly when we are sitting in the sun together, is this a normal part of basking to warm Up or am i allowing him to get to hot also in the year i have had him he refuses to drink water for himself so we use a small pipette and give him small drops of water when hes eating he has a mister on a timer which gently sprays 4 times a day and water dish but we have never seen him once lick any leaves i regularly check his poop to see his urate is not to orange, are there any tips you can give that i may not have thought of many thanks.

    1. Dave avatar
      Dave

      Hi Louise,

      I wrote an article on this website answering your question about why chameleons gape their mouth open. It can be due to being too hot but it can also be due to stress too. Are you holding him while you’re in the sun together or is he in his cage? If you’re holding him he may be a bit stressed from it.
      As for your water question it’s not unusual to never see a chameleon drink as many of them won’t do so in front of people. As long as his urates are not orange and are as close to pure white as possible then he is fine and getting enough water. Sounds like you’re doing a great job in caring for him!

  3. Andrea avatar
    Andrea

    Your website is amazing! I’ve been reading your articles for the last hour. I am from Pennsylvania and we just found a chameleon in my mother in laws crepe myrtle tree! Strange to say the least, but we assume an irresponsible person let it loose to fend for itself since the chances of a chameleon escape from a home seem pretty slim. Is there anyway you could help us estimate how old it may be and what type? I believe it’s a panther but not 100% sure. Just trying to figure out age so I know how often to feed him/her. Thank you for any help you can give us.