If attempting to raise a baby chameleon, you are recommended to feed them on a daily basis. But what do you give them? Well as primarily insectivores, it’s no surprise to find out insects are high on the list, but should you be aware of any other delicacy that should appear on their menu?
Baby chameleons should be fed a diet of various insects, including crickets, worms, roaches, flies and spiders. Any insect should be smaller in size than the head of your chameleon. It is best to give these insects a plant or fruit-based diet.
Feeding a baby chameleon should not be difficult. As you will see, you only need to contend with a few simple steps and a couple of important points to keep firmly in mind at all times.
So, let’s get into how you should feed your baby chameleon, and what you need to feed them to keep them healthy.
The Basics of Feeding a Baby Chameleon
A baby chameleon must be fed daily to help it through its earliest part of life. As we said, they do love insects, so that must form their entire diet.
So, some people online will talk about crickets for a baby chameleon, and they are certainly a significant food source but don’t just stick with crickets. It’s boring and your new baby chameleon deserves more than just crickets.
In the wild, a baby chameleon would eat various insects, so it’s important to try to replicate that diet as closely as you possibly can. Research has noted the variety of food sources that baby chameleons experience in the wild. (Source) That means you do provide them with crickets, but also worms and roaches. If you were able to provide them with flies and spiders, then they would love that as well.
Oh, and if you catch any moths in your home, or even ants or fruit flies, then feed them to your baby chameleon as they will love you for it.
But there’s one other thing that’s important here, and that’s the size of the insects.
You don’t want to give them something too big. The general rule of thumb is that the insect must be smaller in size than the head of your chameleon. (Source) So, keep this in mind when buying the insects to feed to them. Also, tell the store it’s for a baby chameleon, and they will keep you on the right track.
How to Prepare the Insects
Let’s say you have the insects sitting there in boxes ready to feed your baby chameleon, what do you do next?
Well, if you bought the insects from a reputable store, then they should already be gut loaded and ready to eat. If you catch the insects in the wild yourself, then the process will take a bit longer.
That’s because of this ‘gut loaded’ issue. Basically, you need to feed the insects some fresh fruit and vegetables, perhaps some leaves, or even bits of other plants. Some people also indulge in dusting the insects with a calcium-rich powder.
Any gut loaded insect should be fed to your baby chameleon within a 24-hour period.
What this does is it means your baby chameleon can get a number of significant nutrients from the insect. It’s much better for their health and ability to grow and develop.
So, when the insects are ready, pick them up with tweezers and drop them in the tank. Your baby chameleon will immediately know what to do as its natural instinct will kick in the very minute it becomes aware that there’s some type of food close to it.
More on Dusting
We just mentioned the idea of dusting the insects with a powder, and as this is a far more important step than some people understand, let’s explain it in more detail.
This powder must contain the correct nutrients, while also leaving out some others. It must not contain any Vitamin D while it should only ever have a minimal amount of Phosphorus.
This applies to the once-weekly powder you must put on the insects. It should be a calcium powder specifically designed for this purpose. This powder is important for their continued health, and it should quickly become part of the feeding routine.
But there’s another step you need to take.
Twice a month, dust with a multi-vitamin powder. It’s important that this powder contains some Vitamin A while it should also include small levels of Vitamin D3. Once again, purchase a powder for this very purpose. You must avoid giving your baby chameleon too much of the wrong vitamin. That can lead to a number of health issues.
Only ever purchase these powders from a reputable source. It’s not worth risking the health of your chameleon by taking any chances.
It’s important to also provide your baby chameleon with a source of fresh water. In the wild, they would get water from droplets on plants, so we need to replicate this as closely as possible.
The best way is to mist the inside of their enclosure. Some people will do this twice a day as they will then get the water droplets to help wash down their meal.
How Often Do You Feed Them?
You should split meal times up into a couple of times per day, but it’s the quantity that’s really important when feeding a baby chameleon.
A baby chameleon should eat anywhere from 10 to 20 insects per day, and the mixture between the different insects is entirely your decision. However, we do recommend not sticking to the one type of insect. That gets a bit boring for them, as they will do better with a variety exactly as they would in the wild.
We would recommend splitting the time up equally throughout the day. However, it needn’t be an exact science.
How to Feed Them
You may have watched people feeding other baby animals where a great deal of care, attention, and patience are required to tempt them into eating. Well, a baby chameleon doesn’t require all those added extras.
Instead, it’s more beneficial for your chameleon if you can replicate the actions of the wild. Simply get those live insects, throw them in beside them, and then let the chameleon effectively hunt them down and devour them.
Actually, we would recommend one small extra step.
While some people basically tip in the live crickets, or other insects, we think it’s a whole lot more fun placing their food in different areas. This adds to their sense of hunting for their food in the wild, and it encourages those natural instincts to develop even though they are your pet.
That’s all you need to do. Also, it’s a bit of fun watching them hunt and eat in the way their natural instinct tells them to.
Getting the Temperature Just Right
Even though we have covered what you should feed your baby chameleon, there’s one other topic that’s just as important, the temperature.
Now, by temperature we don’t mean of the food in question. Instead, it’s the temperature your baby chameleon is living in. You already know why this is important for their health, but fewer people may know it also has an impact on their ability to eat.
The daytime basking temperature for your baby chameleon should be between 90 and 95 Fahrenheit. The night temperatures should drop, but only down to the mid 70s.
These temperatures are important. If it’s too hot or cold, then your baby chameleon is not going to feed, and that opens up a whole host of other problems. You may still get them to eat something, but it’s going to be tough as they will lose interest as well as coming across as extremely sluggish.
So, keep an eye on that temperature to help keep your baby chameleon on their diet.
So, to conclude, your baby chameleon will thrive on a diet of fresh insects, but make sure they get that all-important variety. Feed them a couple of times a day and up to 20 insects in total. Also, stick to the size rule using the head of your baby chameleon as a guide.
If you follow the guide above, then your baby chameleon will grow and develop just as it should. Also, it will develop those healthy eating habits like it would have in the wild, and that in itself is a beautiful thing to see.