Chameleons love a bit of variety in their diets, and you may find they get a bit bored with just eating the same staple foods over and over again. They often like to try something new, and many owners of chameleons wonder just what foods they are OK to try.
Chameleons can eat bananas without any health side-effect, and most will be happy to eat them. However, they should only eat bananas occasionally. They should not be part of their staple daily diet, but be used as a supplementary food to add variety to their diet.
Chameleons are able to eat lots of different foods, and doing so is generally good for their wellbeing and happiness. They are curious animals, and you will find changing things up occasionally is good for their general spirit and sense of personal satisfaction.
Chameleons Eating Bananas
Adding some fruit to your chameleon’s diet occasionally is a good way of keeping them interested in their food, and keeping their natural curiosity alive. Bananas are an excellent choice of fruit for this purpose.
Bananas are abundant around the world, easily sourced, cheap, simple and wholesome.
What Do They Get From Eating Bananas?
Bananas are full of all sorts of nutrients. The main ones are the following:
Potassium – A diet that contains plenty of potassium can positively impact blood pressure
Vitamin C – Most fruit contain this fundamental vitamin, and bananas are a great source of it
Vitamin B6 – Bananas are high in this vitamin
Fibre – Constipation issues can effect many reptiles, and keeping their diet rich in fibre is the best way of preventing this
Carbs – Carbs are the main source of energy for all animals
Protein – Crucial for the build and repair of body tissues
Magnesium – This has health benefits for the circulation and heart
Do They Eat Them In The Wild?
Yes, they do. Bananas are found in many of the countries and habitats that chameleons are found.
Most chameleons are from Madagascar, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Northern Africa. They are also sometimes found in Italy, India, Sri Lanka, and some other parts of the world in smaller numbers.
There are probably millions of chameleons in the wild that have never eaten a banana, but there will be many that do when given the opportunity.
What Is A Chameleon’s Staple Diet?
Although bananas are definitely edible for chameleons, they should not be part of their staple daily diet.
The core of a chameleons diet should be bugs. It helps if many of these are alive, as catching food will keep your chameleon happier and healthier.
Some great food choices for chameleons include:
- Meal worms – These can be bought alive or dried out. You may also want to consider breeding your own mealworms to save a considerable amount of money
- Live crickets – Chameleons absolutely love these
- Cockroaches – These come in numerous sizes
- Other more unusual insects – These could include moths, stick insects, slugs, or
- Flies – Including house flies, bluebottles and fruit flies
In the wild chameleons may eat other things as well, though these food sources are not really practical or economic when you have them as a pet. For example, they may eat small rodents, or small birds!
Chameleons have a sticky tongue. You will observe the tongue flicking out quickly to catch their prey.
Eating bugs should be the main part of the chameleon’s diet. They provide all the nutrients they need, and many chameleons will be happy just eating bugs.
What Else Can They Eat?
If you do want to supplement their diet with other things than bugs, then fruit and vegetables are definitely the next best choice.
Remember, however, that feeding them fruit and vegetables is a ‘treat’ and not part of the daily routine.
As I have discussed, bananas make an excellent option for this. Also the following foods make a good choice for occasional food for chameleons:
- Apple – You will probably want to peel it first and cut it up into chunks
- Kiwi – Again peeling is recommended
- Peeled orange – These are a fantastic source of vitamin C, fibre and anti-oxidants
- Mango – A great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C
- Strawberry – Full of Vitamin B9 and antioxidants
- Melons – Again excellent for Vitamin A and C
- Rocket – This is the best type of leaf for chameleons. Iceberg lettuce is not recommended for chameleons and can be toxic for them
- Cucumber – A good source of potassium
- Berries – An excellent provider of Vitamin K
- Tangerines – These as you can probably imagine have a similar taste and nutritional content to oranges
Chameleons Like Variety
Although a chameleons staple diet should definitely be bugs, you may find that your chameleon will occasionally get a little bored of this.
The supplementary foods should be used as a way of spicing things up a little, and keeping your chameleon interested and engaged with eating. Chameleons are naturally curious and like to investigate their surroundings.
Mixing up their diet with treats keeps them happy and healthy both physically and mentally.
Can Bananas Be Bad For Chameleons?
A chameleon will only suffer adverse effects if they eat too many bananas, or they eat it too frequently. It is not wise to let them only eat bananas or fruit in general.
Think of the banana more as an occasional treat. Bugs should be the main part of their diet.
You might want to just give a slice of banana rather than the whole thing. I have a friend that regularly gives their chameleon one slice of banana, and she says that eating this one slice kick-starts her pet’s interest in eating other greens that she has provided.
Are There Any Dangerous Foods For Chameleons?
For all reptiles there are definitely foods to avoid, and chameleons are no different in this respect.
With regards to fruit and vegetables, an important thing to consider is the freshness of the foods you provide your chameleon. Give your pet only fresh produce, and avoid anything even slightly moldy or rancid.
Leftover food, or fruit and vegetables that have been cooked are not a great choice either. Go for raw for maximum nutritional content. Leftovers from the bottom of the fridge are not great either, as food that has been lying around for a long time will have less nutritional value than fresher food.
There are some foods that can be toxic for chameleons and are worth avoiding. Some of these are very common fruit and veg, so please be careful!
Some examples of foods to avoid for chameleons are:
- Iceberg lettuce
To add a bit more complication, it is important not only to make sure your chameleon doesn’t eat any of these foods, but also be careful that you are not feeding these to any of the bugs that your pet is going to eat. Toxins can be transferred to your pet via this route, and this is definitely to be avoided.
Wash The Fruit!
This is definitely not rocket science, but it is a good idea to wash any fruit or veg that you feed to your chameleon. Unwashed fruit will often have pesticides or other chemicals on its skin, and these are not good for chameleons.
Wash everything before putting it into the terrarium.
You certainly don’t want to be letting your chameleon gorge itself on bananas on a daily basis, but giving them a banana as a treat every now and then is definitely a positive thing, and something it is worth trying.
Many lizard owners report that bananas are amongst their pet’s favourite foods. Chameleons like variety in their lives, and may well get bored being given the same foods over and over again. Spice things up occasionally with a little banana, and bring a little curiosity into their lives.