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Gutloading

Gut Loading:

Filling feeder insects with good, nutritious food before feedingGutloading:

Filling feeder insects with good, nutritious food before feeding them off to your chameleons. The better the gut-load and variety of feeder insects offered the better chance your chameleon has to reach his/her full potential. You want to avoid foods that are high in oxalic acid because it binds to the calcium, magnesium, iron, sodium and potassium and interferes with the absorption of these in the body. Which means even if your using a calcium supplement it won’t be properly utilized in your chameleons’ body.

Below is a list of foods to keep in mind when grocery shopping and others to avoid completely when putting together your own gut-load.

I also make a super nutritious dry gutload to complement the wet gutload

This is available from the shop section of the site

Wet Gut-load Ingredients: (these should be your primary ingredients in your gut-load)

Dandelion leaves

Squash (butternut, spaghetti),

Hibiscus leaves and flowers

Grape leaves

Papaya

Carrot

Alfalfa sprouts

Mustard greens

Romaine

Spearmint leaves

Basil

Apple

Mulberries

Clover

Garland

Chrysanthemum

Chickweed

Cilantro

A few blueberries

Small amounts of raspberries

Peas

Sunflower sprouts

Small pieces of steamed and cooled yam

Leek bulb

Dry Gut-loading Ingredients:(Smaller portion of your gut-load and will need to be well blended in a coffee grinder)

Spirulina

Dried seaweed/kelp/dulse

Bee pollen

Dried alfalfa

Organic raw sunflower seeds

Sesame seeds

Flax seed

Hemp seed

Poppy seeds

Fennel seed

Dehydrated cranberry powder

Beet powder

Zucchini powder

Dried Mulberries

Fig powder

Ground dried hibiscus

Ground almonds

Small amounts of ground Brazil nuts

Small amounts of ground/chopped beechnuts

Small occasional pieces of oak leaves

Small amounts of kale powder

Items that should be limited in your gut load (some are fine but these times should not be regular items in your gut load):

Broccoli

Beans

Cabbage

Bok choy

Beet leaves

Parsley

Cassava

Watercress

Kale

Collard greens

Spinach

Swiss chard

Soy/edamame

Bran

Buckwheat

Almonds

Sesame seeds

Pine nuts

Apricot

Figs

Kiwi

Asparagus

Gut loading ingredients that should be avoided (are heavy sources of animal protein and/or fat and may provide excessive preformed vitamin A and also D):

Dog food

cat food

Fish food

milk

meat

Eggs

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Super hot day

Super hot day in the UK today

It’s important to be aware of your species maximum temperature tolerances and bring down temperatures as needed in these hot spells

I keep some species that prefer cooler climates they do handle the short spells of heat we get here but it’s important to get a good night time temperature drop

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Montane species chameleon care

montane species chameleon care

Montane species Chameleon care sheet

Montane species chameleon care is for species such as jacksons, hoehnellis and sternfeldis come from high up in mountain ranges so they experience cooler temperatures, high humidity and high levels of uv radiation. Until recently a lot of people thought that they did not require high levels uv and kept them under substandard coil tubes. I find that a 12% t5 linear tube https://buzzardreptile.co.uk/product/arcadia-pro-t5-uvb-kit-desert-12-uvb-24-watt-copy/ works well with these species but a cooler basking lamp is a must. I aim for 25-27c for adult montanes depending on the size of the species in question, this will of course be lower (if used at all) for babies, until their roughly 5:6 months and decent size I avoid using basking lamps and prefer to keep ambient at 20-21c during the day with no basking lamp as they can sit under it and dehydrate when small.

Whilst offering this high level of uvb it’s important to provide lots of foliage cover for them to get away from the uv once they have had enough. Lots of live plants also helps to keep the humidity up which is another important factor in montane care. Ideally humidity should peak at 90-95% when misted then dropping off to between 50 and 60% before the enclosure is misted again. It’s important to allow the enclosure to dry out before lights out to avoid respiratory issues. Mesh enclosures are a must for these types of chameleons they require the high airflow to stop the high humidity becoming an issue.

As with all chameleon species a varied and well gutloaded diet is needed. Supplement requirements for montane species are greatly reduced I use sticky tongue farms miner all indoor twice a week and reptivite no d3 once a fortnight.

A lot of montane species are oviparous or live bearing. This is a fascinating event to witness and is quite often missed as the female will usually start laying as soon as it begins to get light. The babies can be difficult to raise with little room for error on humidity or supplementation.

Another very important factor in keeping your montane chameleon happy is a good night time temperature drop as they would experience in their natural environment. I aim to get a good 10c below the daytime temperature. This can be tricky in summer months but you must endeavour to reduce the temperature as much as possible during the night. I use a cool mist humidifying fan in front of an open window. In the very warm months I add ice cubes to the water tank which helps to bring the temperature down to a couple of degrees below even the outside temperature!

Please check out my chameleon supplement guide here https://www.prettyscaleythings.com/2020/01/15/supplement-guide-for-chameleons/ remember jacksons and other montane species need less supplements than panthers or yemens.

parsons chameleonfemale parsons chameleonmontane species chameleon careQuadriconis male chameleonJackson xantholopus malebaby hoehnelli chameleonhoehnelli babies