Do Veiled Chameleons Eat Nightcrawlers?

If you are a new veiled chameleon parent, you’ll probably be wondering if your veiled chameleon can eat worms, and which worms are best. You may also be familiar with nightcrawlers.

These earthworms appear on the soil surface at night and are most commonly used as bait when fishing. But feeding them to your veiled chameleon may be an entirely different story.

Do Veiled Chameleons Eat Nightcrawlers

Do Veiled Chameleons Eat Nightcrawlers?

Nightcrawlers are not commonly fed to veiled chameleons, nor are they recommended as food in a chameleon’s staple diet.

Is a Nightcrawler an Insect?

A nightcrawler is a worm that is beneficial to garden soil because it ensures aeration of the soil. Their burrowing aids oxygen and water in penetrating the soil more easily and their excrement will fertilize the earth thus recycling nutrients.

Are Earthworms and Nightcrawlers Different or the Same?

Yes, earthworms are generally referred to as red worms and are used in composting organic materials from your garden or food scraps. They are also utilized frequently as fishing bait.

Nightcrawlers are earthworms that are quite large and live in the soil, surfacing only at night. They also are used as bait by fishermen.

Can My Veiled Chameleon Eat Worms?

Yes, veiled chameleons can eat worms such as bamboo worms, buffalo worms, butter worms, calcium worms, mealworms, Morio worms, silkworms, wax worms, and Pachnoda grubs.

Can My Veiled Chameleon Eat Red Earthworms?

Earthworms are known to carry a lot of parasites and depending on the worm may not necessarily be very nutritious. So, it is not recommended that you feed red earthworms to a veiled chameleon. These worms can pick up parasites from dirt or anything around, including a compost bin. 

If you have established a closed indoor vegetable composting bin, it may be safer, depending on what you put in the bin. Generally, it is not recommended.

Veiled chameleons are not creatures that dig up insects or worms from the ground, as they spend most of their time in trees, so they will not have developed immunity to soil-borne parasites.

Also, worms that eat dirt and decomposing matter are not exceptionally nutritious, and you don’t really know what the worms may have eaten in the soil.

What If I Have My Own Worm Farm?

Even having your own worm farm, is not a guarantee against parasites. Your original worms or dirt on the farm may carry or have carried parasites, so they cannot be ruled out completely. 

Also, consider that vegetables often carry the eggs of parasites that may be able to hatch and infect an insect you are feeding to your chameleon. 

In the case of worms, it is easy for the eggs to hatch, grow, and mature into fully formed parasites that will infect your chameleon when it eats the infected worm. Worms are very hospitable to parasites. 

You can have fecal exams done by your veterinarian periodically to protect your veiled chameleon.

Can My Veiled Chameleon Eat Nightcrawlers?

Many veiled chameleons will refuse to eat these worms. While technically, yes, a veiled chameleon can eat an earthworm, they may not want to. Also, there are safety concerns regarding the feeding of earthworms to a veiled chameleon.

Are Nightcrawlers Good for My Veiled Chameleon?

As a rule of thumb, nightcrawlers are not recommended as food for veiled chameleons. These worms eat dirt and decomposing matter and carry large amounts of parasites.

When purchasing earthworms from bait shops be careful as some will give worms chemicals to help them live longer, so your chameleon will be ingesting the chemicals as well. 

Some veiled chameleon owners have experienced a bit of success with feeding their reptiles nightcrawlers, but many chameleons refused to eat these worms while other chameleons attempted to eat a nightcrawler only to spit it out.

The principal concern, however, is if the worms you are feeding are safe for your veiled chameleon.

See also: Can Veiled Chameleons Eat Grapes?

Are Earthworms Safe for My Veiled Chameleon to Eat?

Earthworms, per se, do not contain toxins, so theoretically they are safe for chameleons to eat. However, earthworms caught in the wild will most likely contain parasites. Among probable parasites are gape worms. The earthworms may contain these. 

A Gape worm is a parasite that will continue to live inside an earthworm until the earthworm is eaten by another animal. If your veiled chameleon eats an earthworm with gapeworms, your chameleon will become infected, and the gape worms will attach themselves to your veiled chameleon’s throat.

As gape worms continue to reproduce, airflow will be restricted and reduced creating breathing difficulties for your chameleon. If the problem is not treated, your veiled chameleon can die of suffocation.

Earthworms can also be nutritious for your veiled chameleon, as they offer a high protein content of approximately 60% to 70%, along with iron and carbohydrates, manganese, copper, and zinc.

They are also a good source of calcium which is vital to preventing MBD or Metabolic Bone Disease. Earthworms also have a high moisture content contributing to your reptile’s hydration.

What Do Nightcrawlers Eat?

Nightcrawlers normally eat dirt or decomposing matter. For nightcrawlers to eat, the matter must be soggy and very finely ground. If you cultivate nightcrawlers as food for your reptile, feed them healthy food, to avoid them sickening or poisoning your pet.

Which Reptiles Can Eat Nightcrawlers?

Nightcrawlers can be fed to salamanders, newts, box turtles, aquatic turtles, and Pacman frogs. Nightcrawlers can also be fed in small amounts to bearded dragons but should be done so sparingly, due to high-fat content.

What Are the Best Quality Worms to Use as Food for My Veiled Chameleon?

The best worms for your veiled chameleon will be silkworms and mealworms. Silkworms are excellent for veiled chameleons when included in a varied diet because they are easily gut-loaded. They should only be used at 20% to 40% of your veiled chameleon’s diet.

How Many Worms Should I Feed My Chameleon Daily?

Daily, you can feed as many as three to four mealworms to your chameleon. If your chameleon does not eat all the worms, and some are remaining in the food dish the next day, only add enough so that the total number remains at four.

Susan R Elliston
I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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