Chameleons make a great pet since they are very easy to care for. These reptiles are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animal matters. If you’re a first-time chameleon owner, you may wonder what they can and cannot eat. When it comes to insects, would grasshopper be a suitable food source for them?
Can chameleons eat grasshoppers? Yes, chameleons can eat grasshoppers. In the wild, these are natural prey for them and so they’re accustomed to catching and eating the grasshoppers. However, you’ll avoid grasshoppers that wild-caught as they can contain harmful chemicals, which can get passed down to your chameleons.
Is It Safe For Chameleons To Eat Grasshoppers?
Chameleons can eat grasshoppers, but they need to be from a reputable pet store or seller. Avoid grasshoppers that are wild-caught as they can contain or have come into contact with harmful chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.
Sometimes, a grasshopper might accidentally fly into the chameleon’s cage. If that happens and they ate it, it’s no cause for concern. It becomes an issue if they eat too many wild-caught grasshoppers. These insects will fly from one place to another eating plants and other vegetation all day long. The chances of them being in contact with harmful chemicals are high.
Health Benefits of Feeding Grasshoppers To Chameleons
Chameleons enjoy eating a mixture of food that includes plants, insects, and fruit. Not only will it keep them healthy, but also keep them interested and prevent boredom.
By feeding grasshoppers to your chameleons, the will get an extra boost in nutrition. Grasshoppers contain a good amount of calcium, protein, and other vitamins and minerals.
Grasshoppers are High in Calcium
Calcium is required to keep the chameleons healthy and alive. This mineral is essential for the maintenance of bone and organ health of the chameleons. Without calcium, they will become very ill and will show up in the form of metabolic bone disease.
Grasshoppers have a high content of good quality proteins
These insects have a higher protein content than meat. Grasshoppers have between 70% and 77% protein, which makes them excellent feeder insects for chameleons besides crickets.
This is important for the development and repair of muscle tissues in the chameleons.
Grasshoppers supply energy
Grasshoppers are high in carbohydrates which means it’s energy for chameleons. These insects will keep them full of energy throughout the day.
Can Baby Chameleon Eat Grasshoppers?
Yes, the baby chameleon can eat grasshoppers and it’s good for them too.
When feeding them grasshoppers, make sure it’s small enough for them to eat. The insect should be no larger than the space between their eyes.
How To Feed Grasshoppers To Chameleons
When feeding grasshoppers to the chameleons, there are a few options you can try. Since each chameleon is different, it’s best to try each method and see which works best for you.
Feeding Grasshoppers To The Chameleon By Hand
With this method of feeding, it gives you a chance to bond with your chameleon. This is an excellent way to gain trust from the chameleons.
Also, if you’ve bought the chameleons as a juvenile or an adult, they tend to be very protective of their space. By hand feeding them, you can slowly start to gain their trust.
However, with this method, there is some risk involved. Feeding the chameleon by hand could get your fingers bitten. Chameleons may bite your finger by accident as they try to eat the grasshopper off your hand.
Feeding Grasshoppers To The Chameleon By Using Cup
The cup method of feeding grasshoppers to the chameleon will keep the insects in one place. However, you’ll need to clip their hind legs off to prevent them from escaping. For that reason, most will rather use other methods of feeding.
Also, this method doesn’t encourage the chameleon to be active as they just sit at one location and catch their prey.
Free-Range Feeding Grasshoppers To The Chameleon
This method is an excellent way to teach the chameleon to hunt for their food. The grasshopper will move freely through the cage to avoid being eaten.
Not only are they learning to catch grasshoppers, but they are being kept active.
With this method, it’s recommended to not put too many grasshoppers in their cage at one time. Doing so will give the grasshoppers a good chance of hiding from the chameleon.
How Many Grasshoppers To Feed Chameleons
Grasshoppers are found in their natural habitat. In the wild, chameleons will eat as much as they can catch.
In captivity, grasshoppers can be fed to them a couple of times per day. Unlike crickets, grasshoppers are not available throughout the year. These insects are plentiful in the summer but will be scarce during the winter months.
The Benefits of Gut Loading Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers that are raised in captivity don’t really have a lot of nutrition in them. To increase the nutritional value of the grasshoppers, you can gut load the insects.
Gut loading is the process of feeding the insects certain food that you want to pass along to the chameleon.
For example, if you want to give the chameleon vitamin A and C, let the grasshoppers feed on citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables.
What makes grasshoppers popular is that they are easy to gut load. In the wild, grasshoppers will eat fruits and vegetables as their primary food.
Other Insects That Chameleons Can Eat
Crickets are loaded with proteins and the insects that are preferred for feeding chameleons in captivity. These insects are plentiful and can be found throughout the year at local pet stores or online stores.
Cockroaches are loaded with vitamins and minerals that chameleons require. These insects are easy to keep and make an excellent insect to gut load. If you let the roaches free roam in the cage, place a couple of them at a time so you can keep track of them. Placing too many roaches at a time could lead to some of them hiding in the cage.
Mealworms are packed with proteins and excellent feeder insects for chameleons. While it’s packed with nutritions that the chameleon need, mealworms are also high in fat content. Therefore, you should feed them in moderation to avoid any health issues.
Dan got started with his first reptile, which was a green iguana, at the age of 10. From there, he has raised many different species of reptiles. Besides caring for reptiles, he enjoys woodworking, playing basketball, and spending free time with my 4 wonderful kids.