A correct diet for your pet chameleons composed of vitamins and minerals assures a healthy pet. Various insects fed to your chameleons provide nutritional value, enhancing their health. However, most people constantly find multiple alternatives for the chameleon’s diet such as superworms.
Veiled chameleons eat superworms which are a good source of nutrients. However, the worms are addictive to chameleons and should be fed to the chameleons at most twice a week. At best, the superworms should be gut-loaded and dusted before being fed to the chameleons. Avoid dead and frozen superworms.
What Are Superworms?
Superworms are large-sized worms similar to mealworms but considerably larger. They are about 5cm (2 inches) long and remain in the larvae stage for as long as 5 months. You can raise superworms right at home for your pets.
They are approximately 5 times bigger than mealworms, composed of more chitin, meaning less meat. They are well-known for their high nutrient contents of fiber, fat, and calcium. Besides that, breeding mealworms is quite similar to raising and taking care of superworms.
What Is the Nutritional Value of Superworms?
Superworms have high nutrient contents that are helpful to chameleons. The table below summarizes the nutrient contents of superworms:
Can Chameleons Eat Superworms?
Yes, superworms are an excellent food for chameleons. Their high nutrient composition of fat, calcium, proteins, and fiber makes them suitable for chameleons.
Various insects make up a staple food for chameleons. They include silkworms, crickets, roaches, and superworms. Therefore, superworms are part of the staple food recommended for chameleons.
However, it is essential to note that superworms should be introduced to chameleons at any age but in limited amounts. This will help to reduce the risk of choking or impaction. Also, it will reduce the chances of addiction as superworms are very addictive to chameleons.
How Many Superworms Per Chameleon?
Veiled chameleons are obligate carnivores. This means that they have evolved to eat a diet composed of insects. The reptile community chameleons have been noted to have a high preference for superworms. However, unlike other insects, you should gut-load and calcium dust the superworms to help in the chameleon’s diet.
Below is the number of superworms to feed to your veiled chameleons at varying ages:
|Chameleon age||Number and size of superworms per week|
|1-3 months old, young veiled chameleons||2-3 < 1”|
|3-6 months old, young veiled chameleons||3-5 1”|
|6-10 months old, Juvenile veiled chameleons||4-6 1.5”|
|10+ months old, mature veiled chameleons||7-8 2”|
It is vital to note that some chameleons prefer superworms to other feeder insects. However, superworms do not form a complete diet for chameleons. Therefore, many pet owners prefer feeding other insects such as crickets in the morning, then superworms as treats later in the afternoon to provide a complete nutrient content for their pet.
Pets like chameleons only feed on the larva stage of the superworms and other worms such as mealworms. Adult insects such as beetles for superworms and mealworms or silkmoths aren’t usually edible. When feeding chameleons on superworms, be careful to avoid obesity in the chameleons since superworms have lots of fat.
How Often Should I Feed Chameleons with Superworms?
Superworms should be used as treats to veiled chameleons at most twice a week. It is important to avoid feeding them to chameleons regularly as they are too addictive. The superworms addiction makes chameleons avoid eating other insects.
How To Gut Load And Dust Superworms
It is necessary to gut load and dust any insect fed to chameleons with a calcium supplement. Gut loading entails deliberately feeding the insects to be preyed on with adequate nutritious foods to transfer the nutrients to their prey. On the other hand, dusting entails supplementing the superworms with calcium supplements.
1. The Gut Loading Process
Superworms, unlike any other insect, should be gut loaded before being fed to chameleons. Gut-loading superworms entails providing them with their ideal diet that comprises vegetables, fruits, carrots, and apples with high moisture and nutrient content. They can also be fed with oat and wheat bran.
You can instead purchase commercial superworm food from your local or online store that has a high nutritional value. The commercial superworm food is a popular gut loading food meant for feeder insects that provide nutritional value to your pet chameleon. It is prepared with proportional contents of vitamin D, A, E, calcium, and phosphorous.
The feeder insects (superworms) should be fed well with the gut loader as early as 24 hours before being fed to the chameleon.
2. The Dusting Process
Dusting is a relatively simple and convenient process before feeding the superworms to your pet chameleons. It entails putting them in a container with a lid or in a plastic bag, sprinkling some calcium powder on them, and later shaking them gently.
You can then later feed your pet with the dusted insects to ensure it gets all the calcium powder benefits. The calcium powder helps your pet reduce the chances of metabolic bone disease.
How Do You Store Superworms?
Unlike other insects, storing and feeding superworms to chameleons is easy. They are easily stored in large containers with air holes made on the lid and kept at room temperature.
You are supposed to cover the superworms with a layer of wheat bedding or oatmeal food. The food and bedding are excellent food sources that keep the superworms healthy. In addition, it is necessary to place a potato slice on the container that is meant to provide moisture.
How Do Chameleons Feed on Superworms?
Superworms are well known to burrow and hide under stuff. Therefore, it is advisable to put them in a cup easily seen just after dusting them. This is a great way to ensure that your pet feeds on the insects without any struggle.
Chameleons eat them simply by picking them up with their mouths and then chewing them before they swallow the worms.
Can Chameleons Feed on Dead Superworms?
It is not advisable to feed your veiled chameleons on dead superworms. Dead superworms will lose the moisture and nutrient components helpful to the chameleon’s growth. This implies no point in feeding them to your veiled chameleon.
In addition, superworms will, in most cases, die of illness or infections. Since the cause of the death is not well-confirmed, there is a risk of transferring the illness or disease to your pet chameleon. To summarize, you should always avoid feeding your chameleons on dead superworms as they are not beneficial and are, instead, risky.
Can I Store Superworms in A Refrigerator for Later Use?
Most people will always prefer storing live feed in a refrigerator. However, this is not the case with superworms. The reason to avoid storing them in a fridge is due to hibernation. The hibernation prevents them from pupating into adults since superworms do not pupate in extreme cold.
Not to forget, hibernation causes the death of superworms. This is because superworms cannot maintain their body temperature, and energy is lost through hibernation, dying from excess cold. As earlier noted, dead superworms are not safe for your chameleon’s health.
The high nutrient value and edibility of superworms make them a staple food for chameleons. They can be offered as part of their meal or as a treat. However, always ensure you dust and gut load them anytime you feed them to your veiled chameleon.
This is an ideal way to increase their nutritional value, ensuring your pet gets the right vitamins and minerals necessary for their health and growth. In addition, feeding your veiled chameleon with multiple insects is a great way to ensure that all nutritional needs are met. Now get started feeding your veiled chameleons with superworms today!
Veiled Chameleon. The Veiled Chameleon.
Louisiana State University. Assessing the Nutritional Value of Black Soldier Fly Larvae (Hermetia illucens) Used for Reptile Foods.
University of Minnesota. Backyard Poultry / Caged Birds / Fish / Reptiles / Amphibians.