Chameleons are a great pet to have around. To keep them healthy, these reptiles need to be fed the proper amount of food. When it comes to crickets, these insects make up the bulk of their diet. Since it’s one of their staple food, you may wonder how many crickets to feed your chameleon.
In this short guide, we’ll go through in detail how many crickets to feed your chameleon so that they will stay healthy and strong.
How Many Crickets To Feed A Chameleon Per Day?
The number of crickets to feed the chameleon will depend largely on their age. Feeding them too much can cause them health issues. The same goes for when they are fed not enough crickets.
Below is the amount you should feed your chameleon based on their age:
Baby chameleons grow quickly and require a lot of food to sustain their growth. For that reason, you’ll need to feed them a lot of crickets.
The number of crickets to feed baby chameleons should be between 12 and 18 crickets per day.
When feeding them crickets, make sure they are very small. This will ensure the baby chameleon can catch and eat them without any issue.
If the crickets are too large, they could get stuck in their throat. Chameleons don’t chew their food, they swallow their food whole.
It’s recommended to split the feeding up to twice per day. You can feed them once in the morning and once in the evening.
However, each chameleon is different and grows at a different rate. If you feed them crickets, and they eat it all in a couple of minutes, it’s fine to give them a little more.
Since baby chameleons are constantly growing, you can’t really overfeed them.
Juvenile chameleons are still in the growing phase. They will need plenty of crickets to eat, but not as much as baby chameleons do.
At this age, it’s recommended to feed juvenile chameleon medium-sized crickets. The amount should be around 10 to 15 crickets per day.
It’s best to split the feeding twice per day. For example, you can give them 5 crickets in the morning and 5 more in the evening.
If the chameleon finishes all the crickets within a couple of minutes, you should give them a couple more.
Since juvenile chameleons are still growing, they still need a lot of food to sustain their growth.
When chameleons are an adult, the feeding will be different from those of their younger counterparts.
Adult chameleons don’t need to eat a lot of crickets to stay healthy. For that reason, you should feed them between 5 and 8 crickets per day.
The size of the cricket can be a large one. Adult chameleons are able to eat any size of crickets without any issues.
However, the crickets should not be bigger than the space between their eyes.
Gut loading The Crickets
Chameleons kept in captivity are much more different from those in the wild. In the wild, the chameleons get all their nutrients from the insects they eat.
Insects such as crickets and grasshoppers will eat vegetables and fruits on a daily basis. By the time the chameleon eats these insects, the insects will have a lot of nutrients.
On the other hand, chameleons that are in captivity will have a harder time getting all the nutrients they need. The reason for this is that most, if not all the crickets sold in stores are not fed the proper diet. They will get just enough food to stay alive until it’s sold.
Therefore, it’s important to gut load the crickets first before feeding them to the chameleons.
Gut loading is simply a process of feeding crickets with nutrient-dense food before giving them to the chameleon.
Can Chameleons Eat Wild Crickets?
Chameleons can eat wild crickets, but it’s not recommended to feed them. The cricket themselves don’t contain anything toxin, but the food they eat may contain harmful substances.
In the yard and garden, most people will use chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers. This is to help keep pests away and help the plants grow. These chemicals contain harmful substances and are dangerous to chameleons.
When chameleons eat wild crickets, there’s a chance the insect has been contaminated with one of these chemicals. Once the chameleon eats the crickets, not only will they be getting the nutrition from the insect, but the chemicals as well.
These chemicals are known to be dangerous and could harm the chameleons. Death can even occur if your chameleon ingests too much of these chemicals.
How To Feed Crickets To Chameleons
When it comes to feeding crickets to your chameleon, there are a few options you can try.
Below are the different methods you can try:
This is the easiest method of feeding crickets to your chameleons. Simply place the crickets into their enclosure and let the chameleon chase them down and eat them.
This method helps keep the chameleon active by letting them move around.
However, when letting the crickets roam freely, there’s a chance they could hide in the cage. If they do, at night when the chameleon is sleeping, the crickets may bite them.
To prevent that from happening, put a few crickets in their enclosure. In the evening, check the enclosure thoroughly to see if there are any crickets left.
Feeding Crickets From Your Hand
This is a good method to bond closer with your chameleons. These creatures are smart and able to distinguish who their owner is. By bonding with them first, they will feel comfortable around you. From here, they will feel safe to even let you hold them.
If this is your first time feeding crickets or anything else from your hand, beware of their bite. Their bit is not intentional and will let go once they know it’s your finger.
Grab the cricket by their body gently and move it toward your chameleon. Hold it up to them about 3 inches from their mouth. If they are interested in the cricket and not afraid of you, they will flick out their tongue to grab the cricket from your fingers.
If the chameleon doesn’t grab the insect from your hand, don’t move it any closer to them. Any closer will cause them to feel threatened and could bite you.
Try to feed them the next few days until they start to feed off your hand.
Using The Cup Method
For this method, place the crickets in a cup. Then secure the cup to the cage or to a large branch in the cage.
The cup method allows your chameleons to learn how to hunt without the crickets moving too fast. This method is especially great for baby chameleons.
Avoid using a clear or see-thru cup. This translucent cup could injure your chameleon if they attempt to catch the crickets from outside the cup.
Cups are not what is natural to them and chameleons don’t understand there is a barrier between them and cricket.
How many crickets to feed your chameleons will depend greatly on their age. As they get older, they will require fewer crickets to eat. It’s important to feed them enough crickets to help keep them healthy and strong. Also, be sure to always gut load the crickets before giving them to your chameleon.
Donovan got his first pet chameleon at the age of 7. Ever since then, he cared and raised over 10 different species of chameleons. Beside raising chameleons, he enjoys gardening and the outdoors.