Owning a chameleon for pet is a nice idea as long as you are sure of taking proper care of your pet. There are quite a few wrong notions regarding the eating habits of the chameleon, like they are insectivorous and only eat insects, they do not like to eat any kind of vegetables etc.
There are certain species of chameleons which can eat and like to eat vegetables along with insects. But when they are on their own in the wildness they are able to eat many more varieties of insects or sometimes the small rodents.
The variety can certainly not be afforded by the owners where he or she can mainly get the food from the pet store. So to offer them some variety you can get them some vegetables which may help them to be attracted towards their food.
There are various kinds of fruits and vegetable those are not harmful for the chameleon, which we will be discussing now.
- 1 What are safe foods for chameleons?
- 2 Are Vegetables beneficial for chameleons?
- 3 Which species of chameleons can eat vegetables?
- 4 How can you make chameleon eat vegetables?
- 5 How to feed vegetables to the chameleon?
What are safe foods for chameleons?
The vegetables which you can offer to your pet chameleon are okra, sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, watercress, butternut squash and acorn squash.
These have been proved to be safe options among vegetable which your chameleon can eat.
Are Vegetables beneficial for chameleons?
There are reasons for feeding these veggies to your pet.
As we have already stated that chameleons are mostly insectivorous. They need to stay hydrated from different sources as they do not prefer to drink water from the bowl like other pet creatures. So getting some amount of hydration from vegetables is a good idea.
Insects that they eat do not contain much water. But when they have a leaf of some vegetable or one or two pieces of fruits, then it helps them to stay hydrated. In fact it has been seen that the chameleons attempt to eat fruits or vegetables when they are not experiencing rain for a long period. So this is a natural instinct and it helps them to stay moist from inside.
Fruits and vegetables always contain a great amount of water than the protein items chameleons usually eat.
This is another factor which works when you feed vegetables to your chameleon. When you feed chameleons with insects they should be gut loaded or powdered with calcium and other minerals. Insects are generally not supposed to be quite nutritious, but when you own a chameleon you know you have to keep the insects as the main meal item for them.
So to compensate the deficiency of the nutrients you can feed the chameleon with vegetables. The ones listed above are mostly rich in various minerals and vitamins. Calcium and minerals can be greatly sourced from vegetables. So in order to stay healthy the chameleon need to munch on a few leaves or vegetable pieces once in a while.
Which species of chameleons can eat vegetables?
There are quite a few species of chameleons that we know and keep as our pets. Other than that, there are even more species that we do not keep at home but they are mostly found in the wilderness of tropical forest or deserts.
Mostly chameleons are used to with eating insects as that is only frequently available in their surrounding areas. Juicy fruits or vegetables are not counted as a part of their daily meal. But when you have brought one at your home you can do some experiment and try vegetables with your pet.
Veiled chameleons are okay with vegetables and even they sometimes are found gorging on the small piece of vegetables given to them. This habit of them may be linked with the days when they are unable to find any suitable prey or insects and munch on leaves of vegetables.
This habit of theirs helps them to stay hydrated and also give them an added dose of nutrition that they cannot avail from the insects only. Especially during dry seasons they can get their required amount of hydration from the leafy vegetables.
How can you make chameleon eat vegetables?
As chameleons are not used to with eating vegetables, at least not all of them, feeding them with the greens may not be an easy task for a new chameleon parent.
If you are feeding baby chameleons, then here are best tips to feed.
Here are a few suggestions for greens which can be tried at first, to see how the chameleon reacts to it. You can try mustard greens, collards, endive or dandelion for the first time. Also romaine lettuce and kale are some of the green vegetable options that can win the attention of the chameleon and they try to eat it.
Do not be disheartened if after serving the pet with all or some of these vegetables, it refuses to eat any. Remember they are not a lover of green vegetables and it may take a few days or months to make them eat the green and like it too. You should try these greens in the months of winter when the atmosphere is not humid so the chameleon feels the need of getting hydrated anyway.
How to feed vegetables to the chameleon?
Before offering them the greens, you can try to gut load the insects with nutritious vegetables.
When the chameleon is in the forest, they gorge on insects that are around them, and thankfully most insects live on green vegetables and fruits. So while eating those insects, the reptile will consume the goodness of the vegetables simultaneously.
If you keep the chameleon at home you need to be careful and recreate the effects which they can enjoy in the forest. So gut loading the insects before feeding them to the chameleon will also be an effective way to make the pet to enjoy the goodness of the vegetables.
This is another way of feeding greens to your chameleon. Bonding with the pet is necessary for any pet owner, and hand feeding is a way through which you can build the bond. You can never ignore the importance of hand feeding as that makes the pet trusts you more.
Chameleons take time to build the bond. Also when you will be feeding them greens, it will make them even less interested. So it is better to break the ice by feeding insects at the beginning. Once you make sure that it trusts you and is ready to get fed by your hand, can you try offering it green leafy vegetables.
However, not all the attempts will be fruitful. Like human, chameleons also are different from each other. Some pets can eat leaves from their owners hand and other cannot. This is a natural scenario and you must not be panicked or shocked if your pet chameleon refuses to eat green vegetables from your hand.
Keeping live plants in enclosure
This is another way of keeping the chameleon hydrated by offering those leaves of green plants. You must keep the plants which are not toxic in the terrarium. Here is the list of best plants for chameleons.
When chameleons are in the wild, they sometimes try to nibble or bite at the leaves of the plants around them. if your pet chameleon tries to do the same, they will be able to get some nutrition and hydration from the plant leaves.
Which vegetables chameleons cannot eat?
As we mentioned the list of vegetables that are good for the chameleons, there are some which are otherwise tasty and quite nutritious for the human but should not be fed to chameleons. Vegetables such as cauliflowers, broccoli, tomato or cabbage are not food for chameleons.
The high fat content or acidic nature of these vegetables make them unfit for chameleon’s consumption and digestion.
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