Most people provide baby chameleons with just 1 type of food: pinhead crickets. But those only make up 20% of what baby chameleon food should consist of. Offering more types of insects will ensure a healthier, more robust adult.
Baby Chameleon Food #1: Bean Weevils
These nutritious little beetles are so easy to propagate, and so nutritious, you’ll wonder how people ever fed baby chameleons without them! All you need is 2″ of beans in a ventilated deli cup, and about 40 weevils. The weevils will lay a small white egg on the outside of the beans. When the egg hatches, the little grub will burrow into the bean and eat the inside over a period of about 3-6 weeks (depending on temperature). The grub will pupate and emerge as a beetle. This process can range from 1-3 months depending on how warm you keep your beetle culture. GURU TIP: use a variety of beans to change the nutrition of the weevils, we recommend mung beans, black eyed beans, and adzuki beans. Make sure you wash and dry the beans overnight before using them, as some bean growers spray their crops to prevent bean weevils! If you only use one type of bean, we recommend Organic Black Eyed Beans.
Baby Chameleon Food #2: Tropical Isopods (Woodlice)
These calcium power snacks are ideal for baby chameleons, as they contain a good ratio of calcium:phosphorous. These need to be kept in a warm, damp sweaterbox with just a little bit of ventilation. Isopods have gills, and breathe oxygen through extremely humid air – so they require lots of places where air gets trapped, such as under leaves and under coconut chips. We recommend using fir bark, peat moss, coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, leaves (Indian almond, oak, or magnolia), as well as some torn up corrugated cardboard. We had the best success sprinkling in dried Repashy Crested Gecko Diet into the Isopod tank, about once every 3-7 days. GURU TIP: To collect the isopods without ripping up the substrate, simply put some baby food or hydrated Repashy onto a small piece of coconut shell, about the size of a Dorito…get another piece of coconut shell the same size, and cover the food (make a ‘clam shell’). In 4-6 hours, many isopods will collect in the coconut shell, and you can place the shell directly into the baby cage, or shake the isopods into a feeding dish. Please note that any uneaten isopods will die within a few hours, so return uneaten isopods to the breeding tank.
Baby Chameleon Food #3: Silkworms
Silkworms can be extremely expensive, especially when you have a hungry baby. It’s easy to hatch your own silkworms, and much cheaper to buy the eggs. Keep the eggs in the fridge, and take out about 50 per week to raise (this way, you will have different sized silkworms). You can find silkworm chow just about anywhere, with instructions to make it (it’s very easy). Simply raise the silkworms to desired size, and start feeding your chameleon!
Baby Chameleon Food #4: Flightless Fruit Flies
We like fruit flies because they can offer a lot of bulk to the diet of a baby chameleon, and fruit flies are plentiful in the natural habitat….likely making them a very common staple among baby chameleons. The best way to raise them is to use Repashy SUPERFLY, simply mix with hot water, let stand, then add flies. Within 10-14 days you will have thousands of flightless fruit flies. GURU TIP: There are small and large fruit flies, we find the large species D. hydeii is favored by baby panther chameleons, however smaller D. melanogaster breeds twice as fast. You can also harvest the grubs for a high-fat, high-energy treat once per week for your baby. The grubs are extremely nutritious since their stomachs will contain all the nutrition of the Repashy formula!
Baby Chameleon Food #5: Pea Aphids
Aphids are another insect that would make up a majority of prey for a wild baby chameleon. Pea aphids are easy to raise, and chameleons LOVE the green color. Simply sprout some organic green peas in a deli cup – soak peas overnight, then place on top of packed down moist paper towel. GURU TIP: They are hard to find, buy them here: http://berkshirebiological.com/product/aphids-50/