When owning a chameleon, there are a lot of things you will wonder about. One of the things is how often your pet chameleon will eat.
So, how often do chameleons eat? How often they eat will depend on their age. Baby and juvenile chameleons grow up fast and will become an adult at around 9-12 months of age. Due to their fast growth, young chameleons will need to be fed on a daily basis. For adult chameleons, they are no longer growing, so they don’t require much food. Adults should be fed every other day.
What To Feed Chameleons
When it comes to food, chameleons are insectivores. In the wild, chameleons will eat bugs, grasshoppers, crickets, and even flies.
As for pet chameleons, their staple diet will be crickets.
Crickets make a great choice due to their small size, and it has a good amount of nutrients. Also, the insect provides the right protein to fat ratio.
Besides insects, you can feed them fruits and vegetables as well. These foods are not their primary foods, but it makes a great treat to feed your chameleons.
When feeding crickets to your chameleon, the size of them is very important. If the crickets are too large, it poses a choking hazard and could cause impaction, especially young chameleons.
To ensure that the crickets harm your chameleon, the insect should be smaller than the width between both of their eyes.
Crickets are sold according to size. For baby and young chameleons, crickets should be small to medium-sized. For adult chameleons, you can feed them large crickets.
Again, make sure the size of the crickets is no larger than the width of both their eyes.
How Often To Feed Adult Chameleons
Adult chameleons don’t eat as often as younger chameleons do. They only need to eat once every other day.
When feeding them, only give them what they can eat within 15 minutes. Any longer, the food should be discarded.
When feeding them crickets, place a few crickets at a time in the cage. Make sure to keep count and watch the chameleon eat all of them.
Also, try to place them close to the chameleon, so they will take notice.
Once they have finished all the crickets, you can place more into the cage. Once the chameleon gets full, they will stop eating and just watch the crickets.
Any crickets that are uneaten should be removed from the cage. Otherwise, the crickets will try to hide somewhere in the cage. Crickets that hide could bite the chameleons at night when they are sleeping.
Also, this goes for other insects, fruits, and vegetables that you feed them.
Brumation And Its Impact On Feeding
During the winter and spring, the chameleons will go into brumation. This is natural, and all chameleons will do the same around this time.
Brumation is similar to hibernation. For animals that go into hibernation, they will go into a deep sleep of between 4-6 months.
On the other hand, animals that go into brumation will not go into a deep sleep. Their bodies’ function will just slow down.
During brumation, the chameleon won’t eat or move around much. You may see them moving around once a day.
As for food, you should offer them every 3-4 days. They may or may not eat it. If they don’t eat the food, don’t try to force feed them. Their body has slowed down to the point where they won’t have an appetite for anything.
This is normal and will go on for about 3-6 weeks.
Once your chameleon starts to move around and eat more, this is a sign that brumation is ending.
Therefore, you should start to increase the feeding frequency back to normal.
How Often To Feed Baby Chameleons
When it comes to feeding baby chameleons, it’s not the same as an adult chameleon. Due to their fast growth, they need to be feed often.
For both baby and juvenile chameleons, they should be fed 1-3 times every day.
At each feeding, place a few crickets for them to eat. Wait until they finish all the crickets before adding a few more. Keep giving them crickets until they are full.
Once the baby chameleon is full, they will ignore the crickets. Any crickets that are left after 15 minutes should be removed from the cage.
By the time they are 6 months old, you should feed them once per day. At each feeding, give them as many crickets as they can eat.
At around 9-12 months of age, they are an adult. This is when their feeding should be every other day.
Crickets are the staple diet for chameleons, but most of them that you buy from the stores will not have enough nutrients, especially calcium.
Crickets that are raised as feeders will only be fed a minimal amount of food. The food will be just enough to keep the crickets alive until they are sold.
Therefore, you’ll need to give the crickets calcium supplements. There are two methods to do so.
The first one is to simply sprinkle calcium supplement powder onto the crickets or other foods that you’re going to feed them. This supplement allows the chameleon to get the extra calcium that they need to stay healthy.
When using a calcium supplement, make sure to buy them from an only reputable company and that it’s made specifically for reptiles.
The second method is to gut load the crickets and other insects.
Gut loading is when you feed the insects with food that are high in nutrients prior to feeding your chameleons.
Food that is great for gut loading includes vegetables such as kale, spinach, lettuce, and zucchini. As for fruits, it could be apples, bananas, kiwis, and watermelon.
If you don’t feel like gut loading the crickets and other insects, you can buy a gut loading cricket food.
How often chameleons eat will depend on their age. Young chameleons require a lot of food every day to help them grow strong and healthy. When they are an adult, they don’t require much food anymore to stay healthy, so you can feed them every other day.
Feeding your pet chameleon every other day may not seem like a lot, but for them, this is plenty of food.
As long as you give your chameleon plenty of food to eat, especially crickets, they should be healthy and strong.
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.