What Do Veiled Chameleons Eat? 7 of their Favorite Foods

Written by Jude Speegle
Updated: February 24, 2022
Image Credit Lauren Suryanata/Shutterstock.com
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Chameleons are more than just Pascal from that famous Disney movie, though they are definitely that cute. They have their own lives and personalities, just like any other animal. Veiled chameleons can be incredible companions for the right person.

In this article, we are going to learn all about veiled chameleons and what they consume to stay alive both in the wild and in captivity.

Where Do Veiled Chameleons Live?

What Do Veiled Chameleons Eat - Chameleon on Branch
Veiled chameleons are invasive species in large parts of North America.

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Specifically, veiled chameleons come from the continent of Africa and the countries of Saudi Arabia. Interestingly enough, they can thrive in many different climates. Some of these climates include:

  • Deserts
  • Lowlands
  • Mountains`
  • Rainforests
  • Scrub Savannahs

Because of this brilliant creature’s ability to survive in any environment, they have become an invasive species in many places, according to the journal Florida Scientist. Invasive species are species that are not native to the area and that cause harm to local flora and fauna.

Part of the reason veiled chameleons are an invasive species in many places is that in new territories they don’t have natural predators.

Now that you know where veiled chameleons are from, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what they eat.

What Foods Do Veiled Chameleons Eat?

What Do Veiled Chameleons Eat
Veiled chameleons are foragers who sit and wait for moving insects and animals to cross their path.

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Veiled chameleons eat many different things, but their diets tend to consist mostly of flying insects, arthropods, small amounts of fruits and vegetables, and even some smaller animals like lizards.

They track animals with their free rotating eyes and snap them up with their prehensile tongue– that means they grab them with their super sticky tongue.

Here is a list of seven things veiled chameleons eat in the wild:

  1. Butterflies
  2. Caterpillars
  3. Crickets
  4. Flies
  5. Grasshoppers
  6. Locusts
  7. Spiders

Wait- So Veiled Chamelons Don’t Eat Plants?

What Do Veiled Chameleons Eat - Veiled Chameleon Eating
Veiled chameleons do not like to eat plants unless they have no other options.

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Veiled chameleons may consume leaves and vegetables if they must, but they much prefer a moving diet. They tend to perch in trees and hide amongst the leaves waiting for something to pass by.

They stay very still and blend in with their surroundings until a caterpillar scoots by and they snap it up with their long, curled tongue. Veiled chameleons are very cute with their big sideways eyes and curly tails. They move very slow and have funny-looking toes.

Basically- veiled chameleons don’t eat plants unless they have to. Though the Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound Journal says that they will eat plants if there is no other source of liquid. Remember that they originate from regions like Saudi Arabia where finding water supplies can be difficult. Thus, eating plants can also provide liquids when conditions are extremely dry.

How Much Do Veiled Chameleons Eat?

Veiled chameleons are among the biggest type of chameleons in the world. Since they are so large, they eat the most as well. They spend their days perched in trees waiting for prey. They move slowly to remain unseen and don’t burn a lot of energy. 

The Israel Journal of Zoology did a study on the common chameleon’s eating habits. It stated that the common chameleon will eat as many grasshoppers as they can catch when there’s a seemingly unlimited supply. Common chameleons are closely related to veiled chameleons

They should consume about 6 large insects a day but can eat more insects if they happen upon them. They are voracious eaters.

Why Do Veiled Chameleons Open Their Mouths?

This is a very common question about chameleons in general. Chameleons can overheat easily because they are a reptile and reptiles are cold-blooded. They open their mouths as a way to cool off. If a bug happens by they can snap it up, which is just a nice side effect,

It could also mean that a chameleon is drinking water as well, or if there are other veiled chameleons it could be showcasing aggressive behavior.

Do Veiled Chameleons Drink Water?

Chameleons are a special creature in that they don’t have to sip water from a bowl or a running stream. Instead, they open their mouths to drink the moisture in the air. 

The Handbook of Exotic Pet Medicine states that they also drink from water droplets that collect in the crevices of plants. It’s really cute to see a baby chameleon drinking from a large droplet of water. Once again, remember that veiled chameleons originate in some of the most arid environments in the world! They’ve had to adapt to find moisture in environments that can go long periods without rain.

If you’re considering getting a pet chameleon, it’s important to note they receive water differently than many other animals. You can hand spray water on leaves or purchase automated watering systems that provide mists in recurring periods.

What Should I Feed my Pet Veiled Chameleon?

What Do Veiled Chameleons Eat - Pet Veiled Chameleon
A pet veiled chameleon should have their food dusted with supplements to stay healthy.

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Veiled chameleons due seem to suffer from a vitamin D and selenium deficiency according to a study in the Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery. This means that when kept in captivity the veiled chameleon’s food supply should be dusted and fed with supplements. By doing this you can ensure your pets’ health and overall well-being.

Here is a list of six things veiled chameleons eat in captivity:

  1. Hornworms
  2. Silkworms
  3. Crickets
  4. Roaches
  5. Leafy Greens
  6. Fruits and vegetables

Some veiled chameleons in captivity may eat leafy greens or fruits and vegetables, but that depends on the animal and its personality. Just be sure to offer it regularly and keep it in their terrarium.

What Foods Are Toxic to Veiled Chameleons?

Just like any animal, there are a few things that are toxic to the veiled chameleon when ingested. Now, in the wild, they aren’t likely to try and consume any of these things, but as a pet you might give it to them.

Here is a list of five things toxic to veiled chameleons:

  1. Avocado
  2. Broccoli
  3. Spinach
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Found Insects

All these foods can be harmful to veiled chameleons and should be avoided.

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About the Author

Jude is a writer both by trade and by heart. They have been writing since a very young age and have eight years of professional writing experience. Passionate about animals, Jude has three birds and three cats. The birds are named Scoresby, George Michael, and Ketchup Packet. The cats are named Theo, Oatmeal, and Polly.

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