What Supplements Do Chameleons Need? Their Life Depend On It

Like most animals, chameleons require food to survive. In captivity, the staple foods that are given to them lacks a lot of nutrition that they need daily. In order to meet their nutritional needs, supplements are needed to be given to them.

So what supplements do chameleons need? Chameleons need calcium supplement with D3, calcium supplement with no vitamin D3, and multivitamin supplements.

The above are three of the supplements that are important for their health. Below we’ll go further in-depth for each supplement and what it does for your pet chameleon.

Why Do Chameleons Need Calcium Supplements?

Chameleons need calcium to survive. This is essential for the health of the bones and internal organs in chameleons.

If they are not provided enough calcium, their overall health will start to decline quickly. The most common health issues affecting chameleons are the metabolic bone disease.

Metabolic bone disease is the result of not getting enough calcium intake. The result of this disease is usually osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fracture of the bone.

In the wild, chameleons get all of their calcium supplement intake from the insects they eat. These insects will usually feed on fruits and vegetables before being eaten by the chameleons.

Fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of calcium and other minerals.

In captivity, chameleons won’t be able to get the required calcium they need. Most of what you’ll be feeding them are feeder insects, fruits, and vegetables.

Most of the feeder insects that you buy from the pet stores don’t have enough calcium. These feeder insects are usually fed low nutrition food such as grounded wheat and rice flour.

As for fruits and vegetables, there is not enough calcium in each of them to meet the chameleon’s calcium requirements. In order to meet their needs, you’ll need to feed them with a lot of food. Feeding them too much could cause them more harm than good.

Therefore, you’ll need to use calcium supplements to meet their daily calcium need.

Why Do Chameleons Need Calcium With D3?

This is when you don’t have any UVB lights in the enclosure. Since there are no UVB lights, the chameleons are unable to produce any D3 in their bodies.

Without producing any vitamin D3, the chameleon will start to get sick. Prolonged without any D3 could cause the chameleons to die.

Therefore, it’s important to provide them calcium with D3 supplements when there are no UVB lights available.

If you do have a UVB light in the enclosure, it doesn’t hurt to give them calcium with D3 a couple of times per month. Sometimes, they won’t get enough UVB lights, and giving them the supplements will help fill in that gap.

Related Articles: Best UVB Bulb For Chameleons

Why Do Chameleons Need Calcium Without D3?

If you’re using UVB lights in your chameleon’s enclosure, they will get plenty of calcium D3. Your pet chameleon will make all the D3 its body needs.

Also, taking them outside to bask in the sunlight every day will help them get all the vitamin D3 that they need.

However, sometimes the chameleon may not be getting enough UVB light in the enclosure. This can be due to a weak UVB bulb or other malfunction with the light. It’s best to check the UVB light every month to see if the bulb needs changing or not.

This REPTI ZOO UVB Tester, which is available on Amazon. I recommend this product since it’s great for testing the UVB light.

Some people become concerned about their chameleon’s D3 levels. Therefore, it’s recommended to use calcium with D3 once or twice a month.

Can Chameleon Get Too Much Of Calcium?

They will either get their calcium from the food they eat and the supplements. Fortunately, chameleons cannot overdose from getting too much calcium.

If there is too much calcium in their body, the extra calcium will simply be excreted when the chameleon poop.

Most people may notice a white substance near their chameleon’s nose. This is usually mistaken for calcium excretion. the white substance is actually salt crystals, much like sweats in humans.

How Do You Give Calcium Supplements To Chameleons

Chameleons should get plenty of calcium from the food they eat and the UVB lights.

As for food, green leafy vegetables provide the most calcium. These include broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, swiss chard, and kale.

If the chameleons don’t like vegetables, you can simply gut load the insects first. This is the most preferred way of making sure your chameleons get an adequate amount of calcium.

However, feeding them vegetables and insects will not be enough calcium for your chameleon.

To supplement a chameleon with additional calcium, you can sprinkle calcium powder onto the feeder insects.

The calcium powder you should use is the one that doesn’t have any vitamin D3 in them. This RepCal calcium supplement, which can be purchased from Amazon, is what I recommend. It’s high quality and doesn’t contain any phosphorus.

Too much phosphorus can be bad for chameleons. When there is too much phosphorous, it will bind to the calcium and prevent the body from absorbing the calcium. The correct ratio should be 2:1, which is two parts phosphorous to one part calcium.

Additionally, the feeder insects, especially crickets, are high in phosphorous content.

Why Do Chameleons Need Vitamin Supplements?

In captivity, chameleons are unable to get the required vitamins and minerals that they need.

In the wild, chameleons will eat a variety of insects. These insects will usually feed on different fruits, vegetables, and other plants. From this, these insects are loaded with nutrition. When the chameleons eat the insects, they provide the vitamins and minerals that the chameleons need.

Additionally, insects, particularly feeder insects, don’t have a lot of vitamins in them. Feeder insects are usually fed low-grade food which doesn’t have much nutrition in them. These foods are just given to them so they can stay alive and be sold.

In order to get the daily requirements of vitamins and minerals, the chameleons will need to eat a lot of insects each day. This can become costly and may cause health issues for your chameleons.

Instead, multivitamins should supplement their foods daily. Most of the multivitamins are in powder form and as the calcium supplement, you just simply sprinkle some on the insects before feeding them

How Often Chameleon Needs To be Fed Supplements

Depending on the supplements, they will need to be given on a schedule. This schedule is for the popular species of chameleons, but other species are similar as well.

Veiled Chameleon Supplement Schedule

  • Calcium with D3 – Given every 2 weeks
  • Calcium without D3 – Given every day at each feeding
  • Multivitamins – Given every 2 weeks

Panther Chameleon Supplement Schedule

  • Calcium with D3 – Given every 2 weeks
  • Calcium without D3 – Given every day at each feeding
  • Multivitamins – Given every 2 weeks

Jackson Chameleon Supplement Schedule

  • Calcium with D3 – Given once a month
  • Calcium without D3 – Given twice a week
  • Multivitamins – Given once a month

Related Questions

Can You Put Calcium Supplements In The Water?

This is not recommended. Calcium supplements are made to stick to the insects as it’s being sprinkled on them.

If you were to put it in the water like the misting system, it will be all over the enclosure. There will be calcium deposits all over and it will be an unwanted cleanup job. Worse, the calcium supplement could get into your chameleon’s eye and cause them problems.