What Do Veiled Chameleons Eat? [Full Guide]

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Veiled Chameleons are one of the many species of this reptile. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most common Chameleons to keep as pets.

But what’s the best food for Veiled Chameleons diet?

In this article, we’ll first discuss what a Veiled Chameleon is. Then, we’ll go in-depth about their diet.

For instance, we’ll talk about what Veiled Chameleons eat in the wild and what nutrients they need to thrive. We’ll also share what to feed Veiled Chameleons, how to provide them, how often, and how much. 

Finally, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about Veiled Chameleons and their diet. 

What Are Veiled Chameleons?

Veiled Chameleons are one of the 160 species of Chameleons that are known. This particular Chameleon is commonly found on coastal plains, mountains, and high deserts in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

They have a veil on top of their head to help them survive the harsh hot weather of these climates. Also, this is where the Veiled Chameleon got its name. Aside from staying cool, dew drops can collect on the veil and trickle down to the mouth, hydrating them. 

Veiled Chameleons are one of the largest Chameleons known. However, females are typically smaller than males. Females can grow up to a foot long, while males can grow up to two feet long. Their average lifespan is about four to six years. Some have reached seven years, but no longer than that. 

This reptile needs a large enclosure that’s well-ventilated. So, a glass or plastic tank won’t do the job. Instead, they’ll need a cage with screened sides, allowing them to climb everywhere. In addition, the enclosure should be at least 30 inches tall, allowing them plenty of room to roam. 

Inside their enclosure, they’ll need plenty of hiding spots in addition to climbing areas such as branches and artificial vines. They also need plenty of light and heat with a basking spot with a UVB light. The basking spot should be about 95 to 100 degrees F. 

Veiled Chameleons make for a calm and quiet pet. However, they prefer to be alone. If they’re handled too much, they’ll become stressed and possibly aggressive.

Finally, a Veiled Chameleon’s diet consists of various insects and some plant matter.

Veiled Chameleon eating a cricket
Veiled Chameleon eating a cricket

What Do Veiled Chameleons Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, Veiled Chameleons will mostly consume insects. Live food is what they need the most to grow and develop. Also, insects are easier access for them.

For example, some insects that they eat are as follows:

  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets
  • Wasps
  • Caterpillars
  • Locusts
  • Flies
  • Worms
  • Snails
  • Slugs

Best Veiled Chameleon Diet: What To Feed A Veiled Chameleon

What can Veiled Chameleons eat? Veiled Chameleons are considered omnivores. While they need the majority of their diet to be insects for live protein, they can also eat plants, vegetables, and sometimes fruit. However, it will also depend on their taste. Luckily, Veiled Chameleons aren’t picky eaters.

So, what fruits and vegetables can Veiled Chameleons eat? To take a look at some of the best options, read the Veiled Chameleon food list below for an easy explanation.

PlantsVegetablesFruitInsectsTreats
EndiveCarrotsPearsCricketsMealworms
Collard GreensSquashStrawberriesDubia RoachesSilkworms
Mustard GreensWatercressApplesHornwormsWaxworms
Turnip GreensSweet PotatoMelonsButter WormsSuperworms
Dandelion GreensSweet Red PeppersBlueberriesLocusts
HibiscusZucchiniRaspberriesPhoenix Worms
EscaroleCucumberBlackberriesFlies
Bell PeppersGrapesGrasshoppers
KaleMangoWasps

Now that we know what the best food is to feed your Veiled Chameleon, let’s talk about why this food list is the best diet for them.

What Nutrients Do Veiled Chameleons Need To Survive?

All of the foods listed above will provide your Veiled Chameleon with the proper nutrients they need to thrive.

For example, here’s a quick list of nutrients they need:

  • Anthocyanin
  • Beta-Carotene
  • Calcium
  • Carbohydrates
  • Copper
  • Fats (Lipids)
  • Fiber
  • Iodine
  • Protein
  • Vitamins A, D, and E
  • Various Minerals

Calcium is one of the most essential nutrients for your Veiled Chameleon. For instance, it allows them to grow healthy bones, teeth, and cells.

As a reptile, you want to feed them foods that have higher calcium to phosphorous ratio. Phosphorous makes it harder for their bodies to absorb and use calcium. 

When feeding your Veiled Chameleon, you can also give them dietary supplements with their food. For example, you can buy commercial supplements from the pet store and sprinkle them on top of their meals.

On the other hand, when feeding insects, you can gut-load the insects with vegetables and plants, ensuring your Veiled Chameleon will get extra nutrients when consuming the insects.

Meanwhile, other nutrients will help your Veiled Chameleon’s skin. For example, anthocyanin is an antioxidant that enhances your reptile’s color.

Chameleons use camouflage for hunting their prey. With enhanced coloring, they’ll be able to camouflage better. 

How Often Do Veiled Chameleons Eat?

How often you feed your Veiled Chameleons will depend on their age. For example, babies will need to eat more frequently than adults.

For instance, baby Veiled Chameleons should eat as much as possible within five minutes per feeding. They should have about two to three feedings per day.

As they grow older into juveniles, which is about six months, you can feed them once a day. However, they should still only have enough food to consume within five minutes per feeding.

Finally, adult Veiled Chameleons, when they turn a year old, will need to eat less. You can provide them with food about once every other day, only giving them enough food to eat within the five-minute time frame.

Depending on the size and weight of your Veiled Chameleon, you might only need to feed an adult about two to three times per week.

How Much Do Veiled Chameleons Eat?

Now that we know how often you should feed your Veiled Chameleon, how much should you give them per feeding? Remember, you should only provide them with enough food to eat within five minutes.

With that said, how many insects is that?

For baby Veiled Chameleons, they should be fed 12 to 18 small insects per day, split between two or three feedings.

Juvenile Veiled Chameleons should have about eight to ten medium-sized insects per day.

Finally, adult Veiled Chameleons should consume about five to six large insects every two to three days.

Click here to read more about how much Veiled Chameleons should eat.

How To Prepare Meals For Your Veiled Chameleon

Before you share any food with your Veiled Chameleon, you’ll want to make sure that you prepare it well.

For example, if you decide to feed them any vegetables, plants, or fruits, you’ll want to chop them up into small pieces. This is because chameleons do have small, sharp teeth to chew their food. However, you want the pieces to be small enough for them to pick up with their tongue.

Also, the pieces should be small enough for them to chew but large enough to swallow without the food being a choking hazard.

When it comes to giving them insects, you want to be sure the insect is no bigger than twice the size of your Veiled Chameleon’s head. Otherwise, it’ll be difficult to catch and chew the insect.

Finally, gut-loading is an excellent way to ensure your Veiled Chameleon gets more nutrients.

Gut-loading is a process in which you feed your insects, vegetables, and other plants. Whatever nutrients the insects get from the veggies will pass onto your reptile when they eat the insects.

Alternatively, you can get supplements from your pet store and sprinkle them on the insects, veggies, fruits, and plants when feeding your scaly friend. Regardless, they’ll get the nutrients they need. 

How To Feed A Veiled Chameleon

There are a few different ways to feed your Veiled Chameleon. One method is to hand feed them.

As mentioned earlier, Veiled Chameleons don’t care too much for human interaction. They’d rather be alone and might get too stressed or aggressive if handled too much.

However, once in a while, you can try hand feeding them so that they get used to your presence and learn you’re a consistent source of food. For example, you can hand feed them live insects, vegetables, or fruit.

Alternatively, you can simply pour their food within a cup. Then, you can place it underneath their favorite branch, and your Veiled Chameleon will climb down to it.

The cup should be tall enough so that the insects won’t climb or hop out.

Finally, you can strategically place live insects in different parts of your Veiled Chameleon’s enclosure. In the wild, they’re used to hunting prey. So, leaving insects around will allow your Veiled Chameleon to “hunt” for their food.

They’ll see the insects wandering around, and their hunting instincts will kick in. So not only do they get their meal, but they’ll also get some exercise and enrichment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Fruits Can Veiled Chameleons Eat?

Can Veiled Chameleons eat fruit? Yes, they can.

They can eat a wide range of fruits. Some of the best ones to feed your Veiled Chameleon will be berries such as blueberries or strawberries, apples, pears, melons, mangoes, or bananas. 

What Vegetables Can Veiled Chameleons Eat?

In addition, vegetables are also a good option for Veiled Chameleons. Aside from insects, veggies can give this reptile extra nutrients. So, some vegetable options you can try with them are the following:

  • Zucchini
  • Bell Peppers
  • Squash
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots

But what about lettuce? Read more about Chameleons eating lettuce here. 

What Plants Can Veiled Chameleons Eat?

Veiled Chameleons will also eat many types of plants. These plants also have vitamins and minerals that are excellent for your Chameleon’s growth and development.

For example, the best plant-based food to give Veiled Chameleons are dark leafy greens, such as the following:

  • Collard Greens
  • Turnip Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Ficus
  • Pothos

What Do Baby Veiled Chameleons Eat?

But what about a baby Veiled Chameleon diet?

Baby Veiled Chameleons grow the fastest until they become juveniles and then adults. So, they’ll need plenty of nutrients and food to help them grow and develop well.

In addition, the majority of their diet should be insects since that’s where they’ll get the majority of their nutrients.

So, baby Veiled Chameleons can eat the following insects:

  • Small Crickets
  • Small Flies
  • Small Roaches
  • Small Spiders
  • Small Nontoxic Butterflies
  • Small Nontoxic Grasshoppers

Read more about what baby Chameleons can eat here.

My Veiled Chameleon Won’t Eat. What Should I Do?

Adult Veiled Chameleons can go a week without eating. However, if they still refuse to eat after a week, there are a few possibilities as to what may be wrong.

For example, they:

  • Don’t feel safe
  • Are full
  • Are sick
  • Had a traumatic experience with that food
  • Are about to give birth

Veiled Chameleons love to eat, and it’s easy for them to overeat. This is another reason why it’s important to only put enough food in their enclosure that they can consume within five minutes. What they don’t eat should be removed after about ten minutes.

Call your vet if you’re concerned that something might be wrong with your Chameleon or you’re unsure what the cause is. It’s always best to be safe than sorry.

Conclusion

Veiled Chameleons have a similar diet to other Chameleon species. Of course, insects should be a major part of their diet, but they will also happily consume vegetables, plants, and fruits.

You can try new foods with your Veiled Chameleon to see what some of their favorites are. However, be sure to check with your vet before trying new foods with them to ensure it’s safe.

Learn more about Chameleons here. You can also click here to learn more about chameleons eat in the wild or here for a baby Chameleon diet. Clicking here will take you to a full guide to how big Veiled Chameleons grow.

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Jason Williamson

By Jason Williamson

Jason is a huge animal lover with many pets of his own. He loves sharing all his knowledge of all creatures here and learning more whenever he can.