Wild chameleons get vitamins and calcium by eating snails, small lizards, and even small birds. These food sources are not available for pet chameleons. Pet chameleons often suffer from calcium and vitamin deficiency. It is essential to feed them with proper supplements.
Common supplements that chameleons needs
The most common and essential supplements that chameleons need are
- Calcium supplement without vitamin D3
- Calcium supplement with D3
- Multivitamin supplement
Why is calcium important for chameleons?
Calcium is essential for bone development and to maintain healthy body parts in chameleon. In the forest, chameleons gain calcium by eating lizards. This calcium source is not available for pet chameleons. Therefore, it is important to dust calcium with the food.
Calcium deficiency in chameleons leads to a major disease called Metabolic Bone Disease(MBD). It can be treated by providing calcium and proper UV-B lighting(12 hours per day).
How to feed calcium supplements
Crickets and other worms that you feed have enough phosphorous content and not calcium content.
So to feed your chameleon with calcium you have to provide the insects with calcium content foods. This can be achieved by feeding the insects with collared green.
Doing this does not provide enough calcium content for your chameleon. So you have to dust insects with calcium supplements that do not contain vitamin D3 and phosphorous-free.
Why shouldn’t we use Vitamin D3 along with calcium?
Typically vitamin D3 is produced in every living organism with the help of the sun rays.
If you have an indoor cage, then you can supplement Vitamin D3 once in a while along with the calcium supplements. Though it is an indoor cage, we are using artificial UV-B lights, which help the chameleon to produce Vitamin D3 on its own.
If you provide Vitamin D3 supplements, there is a possibility for over-dosing the vitamin content and leads to some other health problems in chameleons.
Is it reasonable to mist the cage with supplements?
Few think that misting the cage with supplements is a good idea because they believe that the chameleon drinks the supplemented water. This causes wastage of the supplements, and chameleons don’t drink water all the time.
The best way to enrich the vitamin and calcium content is by gut-loading and dusting live insects.
What happens when you overdose on calcium content in chameleons?
Imbalance in the phosphorous calcium content is excreted in the form of feces in chameleons.
Why do chameleons need vitamins?
In Forest, chameleons eat a wide variety of insects and gain more vitamins. Pet chameleons do not have the opportunity to taste a wide variety of insects.
So it is important to provide multivitamin supplements to them. Among other vitamins, chameleon mainly needs Vitamin A.
How to feed vitamin supplements
As already said, the standard way you should use is always by feeding the insects with vitamin enrich foods like
- collard greens
- ground legumes
- mustard greens
- rolled oats
- sweet potatoes
The other way is by dusting the insects with multivitamin powder. Dusting should be done once every two weeks. Make sure whatever vitamin product you get, the powder should have Vitamin A in the ingredient’s list.
What happens when you overdose on vitamin content in chameleons?
Overdose of the vitamin can lead to edema in chameleon. If your chameleon is suffering from edema, you can identify it if your chameleon has a little sack of fluid under the chameleon’s throat, neck, and chest.
If you identify the fluid sacks, you should not give the vitamin supplements until the fluid sack reduces.
Schedule for supplements
For Veiled and panther chameleon,
- Calcium without D3 – Should be provided at every feed
- Calcium with D3 – Every other week
- Multivitamins – Every other week
For Jackson Chameleon,
- Calcium without D3 – Should be provided twice a week
- Calcium with D3 – Once a month
- Multivitamins – Once a month
For Male Chameleon
Calcium without d3: 3 to 4 days a week for the male.
For Female Chameleon
Calcium without d3: 4 to 5 days a week for the female.
You may wonder whether there is a particular gram or dose that we should use for supplementing. Well, this is a universal question, and there is no proper answer for that.