Chameleons eat a variety of fruits and insects. They’re known to dine on a mixture of grasshoppers, crickets, and a variety of berries amongst other bugs too. Larger chameleons have been known to eat larger meals, such as other lizards or smaller species of birds. There are even some chameleons that eat plants. But throughout this article we will look into the fruits that chameleons like to eat. So can chameleons eat fruit?
Whether you just find these unique lizards fascinating or you have one as a pet, you’ll find the information in this article to be relevant whether or not a chameleons can eat fruit. You’ll discover what fruit chameleons eat in the wild, what fruit a pet owner can feed their chameleon, and some tips about what the healthiest and not so healthy fruits are for this type of lizard.
Read on for valuable information about what fruit chameleons eat, what fruit they shouldn’t eat, and tips for how to properly care for your lizard.
Table of Contents
Can Chameleons Eat Fruit in the Wild?
Wild chameleons aren’t limited to eating only what is provided for them. Some of their diets will be dictated by the environment they live in. Commonly chameleons will eat a loaded diet of live insects, however protein rich food isn’t always available for chameleons in the wild.
Chameleons can be found in Europe, Africa, and Asia, with the majority of them live in parts of Africa and Madagascar. There’s also a growing population of chameleons in the Middle East, which is great to see.
Many of these places have different kinds of climates. Chameleons live in everything from rainforests to deserts. This means their diets can vary broadly as no two foods are found in the same areas of the world.
What Fruits Can Chameleons Eat in the Wild?
Chameleons will only ever eat fruit if they have no access to live foods, or haven’t been able to catch any in a very long time. In the wild the time can some times span longer than intended and chameleons are forced to eat other foods such as fruits and plantations.
Commonly in the wild a chameleon will come across many different variety of fruits, but not all of them are safe for a chameleon to eat. Some fruit that is naturally found in a chameleons diet are;
All these fruits are reasonably low in acidity. Acidic fruits are very harsh on a chameleons digestion, and sometimes causes uncomfortable abdominal pains. In the wild, chameleons will mostly eat fruits which have fallen to the floor, and broken into smaller pieces, and won’t even entertain trying to eat full sizes fruits. As a rule of thumb, chameleons will only eat fruit pieces which are smaller than their head.
Other Foods Which Chameleons Can Eat in the Wild?
Chameleons Eat Insects?
The main staple in a chameleon’s diet is insects. A hungry chameleon probably won’t discriminate when it comes to what bugs to eat, but you can count on grasshoppers, flies, crickets, locusts, bees, and caterpillars as some of the best food you can give a chameleon.
Along with insects, chameleons also eat a variety of worms, snails, and slugs. These foods are more like treats for these lizards due to their fat content.
Chameleons don’t move very quickly. They rely on their fast tongues for snagging food that’s walking or flying by. Chameleons don’t even have to move their heads to see insects around them because their eyes can rotate in every direction independently of one another.
Chameleons Eat Other Lizards
Some species of chameleons are large enough to eat other lizards. Diurnal geckos are one such species. Agamas are another favorite of chameleons.
Chameleons are carnivorous, but some are only big enough to eat insects. Others, such as the Meller’s chameleon, are large enough to eat both lizards and small birds.
Chameleons Eat Small Birds
While there are plenty of large birds that prey on chameleons, large chameleons will sometimes prey on small birds, as well.
As was mentioned above, chameleons don’t move very quickly. So sometimes they have to eat what’s available. Small birds are not off-limits for hungry chameleons. Anything small enough that flies by is fair game.
What Fruit Can Chameleons Eat as Pets?
You can feed your pet chameleon anything they would eat in the wild. The trick is to keep their diets balanced, though. Chameleons eat a variety of fruit, insects, vertebrates, and plants in their own environments. But please be careful about overfeeding your chameleon. Don’t give too many treats. Here’s some of the best fruits you can give a pet Chameleon.
These 4 fruits are easily available at many food store. These fruits are all low in acidity compared to some other fruits which are available to buy. They each have different levels of sugar and vitamins, which means a small amount of these fruit is great for a chameleons varied diet.
All of these fruits are also very easy to eat. Some fruits can be stringy, which means it hard for a chameleons to swallow and digest without becoming stuck. None of these fruits listed about have stringy fibres, so are easily digestible.
The consistency of each fruit it different too, meaning that eating fruits can be exciting for chameleons. The textures are different from their usual insect heavy diet, which adds a little excitement to feeding time.
What Are The Best Foods a Chameleon Can Eat?
As is true of our own diets, not all foods are the same for your chameleon. One of the best things you can do for your chameleon is to feed him a variety of insects and other foods. If that’s not always feasible, go with quality over quantity.
Gut-loading can be the key to raising the healthiest chameleons. Feed the insects fruits and vegetables high in nutritional value that will be passed on to your lizard. The higher the quality of the produce is, the higher the nutritional value will be.
Most regions have reptile specialist stores that sell all sorts of feeder insects. You should be able to find a good variety of bugs to feed your chameleon. Try your best to balance their nutrition by giving them different types of insects to eat.
Be careful not to overfeed your chameleon. You may equate more eating with better health. That’s not always the case. Chameleons can struggle with obesity if overfed. Females, especially, are at great risk of this.
Best Healthy Food Diet To Give A Chameleon
Feed your chameleon insects. If you’re limited to a small selection, go with crickets, roaches, hornworms, and reptiworms. Make sure to gut-load these as much as you can. Greens are the best foods to offer bugs for your chameleon.
Give your chameleon treats from time to time. Waxworms, mealworms, and superworms are the easiest to get. Remember to offer treats sparingly.
You also have the option to dust foods with vitamins. Vitamin supplements for your chameleon can be found at many pet stores and reptile specialty stores. It’s easy to do. Place insects into a bag. Add the supplement dust. Shake the bag lightly to coat the bugs in the supplement.
Should I Offer My Chameleon Water?
Wild chameleons drink water. But not in the way you think. They’re not known for waltzing up to a body of water and lapping some up. Instead, chameleons get the water they need from droplets that collect on the leaves of plants.
You should offer water to your chameleon. Don’t place a bowl of water in their habitat. It’s unlikely they will drink any of it. You should place plants in the chameleon’s enclosure so you can spray them with water. Your chameleon will drink the droplets much like a wild chameleon would.
What Fruits Can’t Chameleons Eat?
There are some fruits you should avoid giving to your chameleon. Many of them can lead to health issues and even death in some instances, so knowing the difference between acceptable and unacceptable fruit is crucial.
Don’t Feed Your Chameleon Mango
Mango is highly toxic to chameleons. Do DO NOT offer your chameleon mango. It will make them extremely sick and could even result in death, so please stay away from this fruit at all cost.
Citrus Fruits Should Be Avoided
All highly acidic fruits should be avoided. Most citrus fruits will make your chameleon sick, while other similar fruits can mess with the digestive system of your chameleon. Fruits such as Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Grapefruit and Pomelo are amongst some of the worst fruits to feed a chameleon.
Luckily, due to the sour citrus flavour, most chameleons won’t even attempt to each these fruits.
Seeded Fruits Should Be Avoided
Seeded fruits can cause some difficulties for chameleons. Seeds aren’t easy for a chameleon to crush and sometimes they can become lodged in their throats when trying to swallow them. Obviously this isn’t too pleasurable for a chameleon and causes a lot of discomfort.
Smaller seeds can also get stuck in places which a chameleon can reach to remove. Seeds are usually covered in some juices from the fruit which can stick to pretty much any part of their bodies. This can cause irritation if not prominently removed.
Fruits that have seeds which should be avoided include; Strawberries, Raspberries, Cherries, Figs, Starfruit and Passionfruit.
Acceptable fruit with seeds disclaimer!!
Many fruits do house seeds inside them and many of the fruits which are deemed acceptable for a chameleon to eat, also have seeds. When preparing the fruit, please make sure you remove all the seeds. Cut the fruit into small pieces so all the seeds can be removed.
The fruits listed in a paragraph above all have seeds which are close to impossible to remove completely. Either housed on the outside of the fruit, or just heavily filled with seeds inside.
Other Foods Not To Feed a Chameleon?
Don’t Feed Your Chameleon Caught Bugs
Don’t feed your chameleon bugs you catch in and around your home. There are differences between the crickets you’ll purchase from the pet store and the crickets in your backyard.
Feeder insects sold in stores are farmed for that reason. They don’t get exposed to harmful parasites and substances that wild-caught bugs do. Your chameleon could get sick from eating insects caught in the wild.
Don’t Feed Your Chameleon Fireflies
Fireflies are poisonous to chameleons. They release toxins from their bodies when any lizard chomps on them. Eating one firefly can potentially kill your chameleon. Should your lizard ingest one, contact your vet immediately.
Don’t Feed Your Chameleon Kale or Spinach
Many leafy greens are good for your chameleon. Kale and spinach are not.
Kale wreaks havoc on a chameleon’s digestive system. Though some owners do feed their chameleons kale, it’s not recommended.
Spinach makes it hard for the chameleon’s body to absorb the calcium it needs. A calcium-deficient chameleon will be lethargic, experience a lack of appetite, and can suffer from broken bones. Spinach blocks calcium from entering the bones and muscles that need it to strengthen and function properly.
How Often Should I Feed My Chameleon Fruit?
Pet chameleons should not be fed fruit at all when they’re young. You should feed them two or three times every day with just insect foods until they’re about 6 months old. From 6 to 12 months, feed your chameleon once a day still with only insect foods.
Chameleons are full-grown at 12 months old. Adult chameleons don’t eat every day, However you can now start to offer your chameleon fruits. Feed your chameleon every other day for 5 minutes at a time, and offer a small amount of suitable fruit in a bowl for them to snack on if they want. They won’t always eat the same amount, but that’s ok. Give them high-quality fruit once a week to ensure proper nutrition.
What If My Chameleon Stops Eating Fruit?
Occasionally, your chameleon may stop eating fruit. Most of the time, it’s nothing. Chameleons, just like us, have preferences with regards to food. They can get bored of the same thing, just like you can. Try offering a better variety of fruit to address the issue.
If offering different fruit doesn’t fix the issue, then it may be worth not offering your chameleon fruit for a couple of weeks. Parasites are somewhat common with chameleons. They can cause your chameleon to stop eating. Your vet can confirm the presence of parasites and prescribe a simple treatment plan for your lizard.
Female chameleons about to lay eggs will often stop eating during the week leading up to the lay. Females lay eggs whether they’ve been with a male or not. She’ll want a digging bed to lay her eggs in. She’ll also need plenty of water. Be sure to mist the tank throughout the day.
Lizards require the correct amount of heat to thrive. The habitat may be too hot or too cold. Your vivarium must have a UVB that’s within its useful life. It also must be positioned at the optimum distance. Check that your setup isn’t what’s impacting your chameleon’s appetite.
Chameleons need the proper nutrition to thrive and stay healthy. Feeding your chameleon a variety of fruit and gut-loaded bugs is one of the best ways to get them the nutrition they need. You also need to ensure they stay well hydrated and warm enough.
Should your chameleon stop eating fruit, assess the situation and involve your vet if you notice a lack of appetite. Your chameleon will live a healthy, happy life if you feed them a well-balanced diet.
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