Known for killing insects in the wild, Chameleons might have a hard time eating spiders and ants. While the chameleon can kill them, the toxins inside a spider or ants’ body could potentially kill them.
Continue reading to learn why feeding these two pests might not be a good idea for your chameleon.
Here, we’ll explain:
- Do Chameleons Eat Spiders?
- How Do Chameleons Catch Spiders?
- Are Chameleons Immune to Spider Venom?
- Should You Give Your Chameleon Spiders in Diet?
- Can Ants Kill a Chameleon?
Do Chameleons Eat Spiders?
Yes. Chameleons tend to eat spiders when they’re out in the wild. Baby spiders are easier prey for chameleons due to their lack of defenses. The only thing you have to worry about is if the spider is venomous or non-venomous.
Most of the time, chameleons are found in deserts and rainforests. They are known for their camouflaging techniques to hide from predators or stalk their prey. Chameleons are great hunters, as their camouflage allows them to blend in with their surroundings.
Get a chameleon as a pet if you want to control the number of pests in your garden. The spider web is no match to the chameleon’s powerful tongue.
Since chameleons like to eat insects, you’ll save up costs by having them around.
How Do Chameleons Catch Spiders?
Chameleons catch spiders by watching them approach them, then extending out their tongue to eat them. Despite their relaxed appearance, chameleons are formidable hunters.
They have opposable toes, which helps them with firmly grabbing tree branches. When hunting for spiders, they can use their toes to latch on a tree and wait for their prey to arrive.
Chameleons have eyes that move independently.
Their eyes can move at a 360° angle, giving them complete vision when targeting their prey.
This gives them the ability to target spiders, which may be using the trees to set up their own web home.
Chameleons can change their skin color to match their surroundings.
Their skin color changes because of the nanocrystals cells stored inside of their body. Thus, making it harder for spiders to detect them!
The chameleon’s ballistic tongue is its most powerful characteristic.
Chameleons can pick up prey that’s 30% times their body weight.
The speed of the tongue is another important factor as the chameleon will grab hold of its prey milliseconds after its tongue has been extended.
When capturing their prey, the chameleon’s tongue extends to twice their body size and at an acceleration of 1500 m/s.
Their tongue provides a sufficient amount of adhesion which is necessary when capturing a spider.
The mucus of the tongue is where the chameleon’s power lies.
Based on a study, the chameleons’ tongue has 400 more viscosity than human saliva.
When projecting their tongue, the tongue’s mucus, speed, and projection give the chameleon a powerful weapon against the spider.
Are Chameleons Immune to Spider Venom?
For ingestion, chameleons are immune to spider venom.
However, they still need to look out for the spider’s bite.
Chameleons don’t have issues eating venomous spiders. That’s because their bodies can digest them without much issue. However, we suggest giving your chameleons non-venomous spiders just to be safe.
The spider’s lack of venom makes them easier prey, if a venomous spider comes in contact with a chameleon, the chameleon will have a harder time eating it.
But you can feed your chameleon wolf spiders or black widows once in a while.
Remember that Chameleons can digest spiders regardless if they have venom or not.
The only thing you need to worry about is the spider’s bite.
If the spider is venomous, chances are their bite will kill your pet chameleon.
Should You Give Your Chameleon Spiders in Diet?
No. Just because chameleons can eat them, it doesn’t mean spiders are 100% good for them. Each time you feed your chameleon a spider, there’s a chance your spider can bite and kill your pet.
If you want easier prey for your chameleon, give them ants. Ants are usually smaller than spiders and are easier for your chameleon to catch.
Since they’re usually small, the chameleon has no problem picking them up with its tongue.
Plus, it’s easier to have feeder insects for your chameleon.
The feeder insects are more attractive to the chameleon, and they’re more likely to eat them.
Make sure to feed your chameleon less poisonous insects to ensure that they can digest them properly.
Do Chameleons Eat Ants?
In the wild, chameleons don’t tend to go after ants.
This is because some ants contain a high level of formic acid which makes a bitter taste when eaten.
While chameleons can kill spiders, ants are harder for them to digest.
NEVER feed fire ants to your chameleon. The fire ants have tiny bits of venom that are injected into the chameleon’s body.
Also, if you place ants inside your chameleon’s tank, chances are it won’t show any interest in eating them.
If anything, the ants will be an annoyance to your pet chameleon.
Can Ants Kill a Chameleon?
As we stated earlier, fire ants are a big threat against chameleons. Similar ants of that nature are also dangerous, as they can kill your chameleon when trying to ingest them.
Instead, it’s better to feed your chameleon a balanced diet of non-venomous insects. Feed your chameleon insects such as worms, locusts, cockroaches. They are less poisonous and are a great source of protein for your chameleon.
Where To Get Safe Ants For Chameleons?
Before using ants as a feeder pet, make sure you know if it’s venomous or not.
That way, your chameleon won’t have issues digesting it.
Remember, venomous ants have the potential to kill your chameleon, so it’s best to keep them out of their tank.
Next, some shops provide ants as feeder pets.
Make sure they’re from a reputable source and that the ants are fed properly.
After purchasing the ants, you’ll want to feed them for a few days before giving them to your chameleon.
Once your ants are properly fed, only place a small amount in your chameleon’s tank.
You’ll want to see if your chameleon will show interest in eating them first.
If your chameleon is eating them, add more ants to the tank.
But if they don’t show any interest, it’s best to remove them.
To conclude, chameleons can eat spiders and ants. However, it’s not the best idea to feed them these two pests regularly.
Instead, try to give them smaller insects that are easier for them to digest.
Always find a way to protect your chameleon from harm. If the spider or ant is venomous, keep them away from your tank. By doing this, you’ll increase your chameleon’s longevity and make them more adept at dealing with pests in your garden.
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