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What do chameleons eat?

Chameleons have a certain fascination for people – mainly because of the ability of some types to change their colouring and patterns. They do this both for mating and warning purposes, and to camouflage themselves in order to avoid predators. They also have long tongues which they flick out of their mouths to long distances to catch food. They are found in the wild in Africa and Madagascar but have become popular pets. Because of escapees they can sometimes be found in the wild in parts of the US. But what do they eat?

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Mealworms, grubs, hornworms and some other types of worms are commonly eaten by chameleons. They are, of course, slower moving than other types of food so are a good choice for younger chameleons to enable them to learn to catch food before moving on to faster moving bugs.


These are the staple food of many pet chameleons because they are easy to manage in larger quantities. These are usually fed on potatoes or carrot and you should make sure they are fed before being given to your chameleon. They are also fed live and people sometimes dust calcium or vitamin powder onto the crickets before being put in the tank to boost the chameleon’s levels of nutrients. You can also put in grasshoppers if you can find them.

Flying insects

Normal house flies and other winged bugs like fruit flies can be eaten by a chameleon, but avoid stinging insects like wasps and bees for obvious reasons. Wax moths that grow from wax worms – or grubs – will be readily gobbled up by your chameleon, so if some of your grubs go on to turn into moths, don’t worry, they can still be eaten.


Some species of chameleon like the veiled chameleon will eat leafy green vegetables, watercress and a bit of grated carrot. You should chop the vegetables up small and mix them with the live insects before putting the mix in a bowl in the tank. Try and ensure the insects can’t escape from the bowl.

Larger animals

Some larger varieties of chameleon will eat other lizards and small mammals. Some chameleon owners feed their pets new born mice, but many chameleons won’t eat them.

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About the Author

Robert Macintosh is a full-time journalist based in Northern Ireland. He has accumulated eight years’ experience since 2005, writing for magazines, newspapers and websites in various countries. Macintosh has specialised in politics and entertainment. He has an honours degree in social anthropology, an NVQ level 4 in newspaper journalism and an AS Level in photography.

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