“Gutloading” is the process of feeding prey insects in a way that provides the nutrition that a Panther Chameleon needs to maintain good health. The process of Gutloading insect prey is more successful in some feeder insect species than others (see What to feed Panther Chameleons).
Commercial insect gutloads are widely available. Many Panther Chameleon keepers have had good success using commercially available gutloads, but it is important to bare in mind that they are not sufficient alone. Ideally feeder insects should be fed a diet of fresh plant material, fruit, and veg in addition to commercially available (or home made) dry gutload. When choosing a dry gutload remember that the food should be higher in calcium than phosphorus, as high levels of phosphorus impairs calcium absorption. Inadequate calcium levels causes metabolic bone disease. Below are lists of good and bad gutloading ingredients, as tried and tested by Panther Chameleon keepers over the years.
- Wet Gutload Ingredients: Dandelion leaves, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, escarole lettuce, butternut squash, carrots, mango.
- Dry Gutload Ingredients: Bee pollen, alfalfa (powdered), kelp (powdered), brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, uncooked sunflower seeds, uncooked pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, small amounts of whole grain cereals, spirulina algae, tortoise pellets.
- Bad Gutloading Ingredients: Avoid incorporating Broccoli, spinach, beets, and parsley, lettuce, cabbage, dog food, cat food, and fish food flakes in to the diet of Panther Chameleon feeder insects.
Fresh gutload ingredients should always be available for feeder insects to feed on. Please remember though that gutloading feeder insects is usually not sufficient on its own to provide necessary nutrition for captive Panther Chameleons. Panther Chameleon keepers also have to consider using powder supplements. More information on using supplements can be found on the Panther Chameleon Supplements – Calcium, Vitamins, and Minerals page.