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Stick Insects

Ep 15: Exotic Feeders – Stick Insects with Nick Barta

Summary:Stick insects are one of the most fascinating of the insects chameleon keepers use as feeders.  Whether you use them as feeders or, like the rest of us, find that we'd rather keep them as pets, you'll find out here how to take care of them.  From the bizarre Australian Stick Insect to the huge Green Bean Insect to the cryptic leaf insect, you'll find no end to the wonder of stick insects!

You can listen here:

Show Notes:

Stick Insect Podcast

Nick mentioned a walking stick "ova" exchange group, though there are many other insects represented here!

Ovogram Website

Leaf Insect

Phyllium philippinicum Leaf Insect. Male, Female, and Juvenile.

Diapherodes gigantea, Green Bean Insect, juvenile

Diapherodes gigantea, Green Bean Insect, juvenile

Extatosoma tiaratum

Extatosoma tiaratum, Australian stick insect

The first thing you’ll want to do is check out Nick’s feeder list!  The Facebook page can be found at Full Throttle Feeders.

Full Throttle Feeders Logo

Click here for Nick Barta’s Full Throttle Feeders Facebook page!

You can also find them here on the Chameleon Forums

If you would like to contact Nick directly then you can email him at .

Nick Barta - the man behind the bugs!

Nick Barta - the man behind the bugs!

Season 1 Archive
Carpet Chameleons

Ep 14: Carpet Chameleons with Kevin Stanford

Summary: Carpet Chameleons are a small species from Madagascar that are named for the intricately beautiful patterns they show. This species has the characteristic of being one of the few where the female is more colorful than the male. Breeding these jewels was, at one time, problematic and there were only brief pockets of success in the community. Kevin Stanford has spearheaded the effort for breeding success and is now working with 6th Captive Generation specimens.

You can listen here:

Show Notes:

While forward movement is always built on the backs of those who have gone before us and is fanned by those who work with us, there is often one person whose efforts become a catalyst for the community. In carpet chameleons, that has been Kevin Stanford.  In this episode we talk with Kevin about his methods for successfully breeding carpet chameleons and his journey to get to this point.

Carpet Chameleons

Below is a selection of photos from Kevin's collection (all photos used with permission from Kevin Stanford)

colorful lat eatingshot Carpet Chameleon

Carpet Chameleon Gravid Carpet Chameleon Baby Carpet Chameleon male

Carpet Chameleon Cage Rack Carpet Chameleon Vivarium Carpet Chameleon Naturalistic Vivarium

If you are interested in keeping up with Kevin and his Carpet Chameleon availability, follow him on his Facebook page at Kevin Standford Chameleons on Facebook

He also has an Instagram account with the user name @macandcheese2

Season 1 Archive
Exotic Feeders

Ep 13: Exotic Feeders with Nick Barta- Beetles and Mantids

Summary: Explore beetles that act as cleaner crews and food for baby chameleons. Mantises and flies are also covered as we continue our journey into the fascinating world of feeder insects. They aren’t just meals for our chameleons, they are a completely amazing world unto themselves!

You can listen here:

Show Notes:

The first thing you'll want to do is check out Nick's feeder list!  The Facebook page can be found at Full Throttle Feeders.

Full Throttle Feeders Logo

Click here for Nick Barta's Full Throttle Feeders Facebook page!

You can also find them here on the Chameleon Forums

I tried out Nick's two feeder cups and was pleased with the results. I like the high back cup mainly because that is what I have been used to using for a long time.  Nick's version is a classy and professional version which looks good in a chameleon cage.

Pole Feeder

His second version is a design completely new to me!  It took a little getting used to, but after seeing a cricket scamper up the middle pole I was pleasantly surprised.

Cup Feeder

Both of these come with a magnet that holds the feeder to the screen.  It is a powerful magnet so you actually have to slide the magnets apart because the super glue may not be strong enough to break the magnetic seal.  They are that powerful!  Both feeders also have a hole that allows them tobe hung from a hook or branch in the cage.  They have mesh bottoms to ensure no water will pool in the cup portion.

In today's episode we went over using Buffalo and Peanut Beetles for cleaner crews.  These are crews of small 1/4" beetles that eat waste and dead bodies in the roach bins.  They can also be used as crunchy feeders for your juvenile chameleons.

Nick barta part 2 post image

Taking a step down in size we have bean beetles and rice flour beetles which have the great advantage of being able to used as feeders for baby chameleons.

Mini Beetles

Mantis ootheca (egg cases) are also available which hatch out into great feeders and very interesting pets!

Care sheets are available for the asking.  Just email Nick!

If you would like to contact Nick directly then you can email him at .

Nick Barta - the man behind the bugs!

Giant Green Banana Roach vs. Green Banana Roach

Green Banana Roach Comparison
Season 1 Archive
branching a chameleon cage

Ep 146: Branching Your Chameleon Cage with Alec O’Brien

Listen Here!

Chameleons perch on branches. They spend their lives on branches. So it is actually pretty important for us to give them the right branches. Today I go over branch functions, how to select the right branch for the right purpose, what woods to use and how to mount them in the chameleon cage. Alec O'Brien then joins me and discusses how he sterilizes his branches.



If you would like to learn more about Alec and Reptibranch then head on over to Instagram and watch him build this up.

Panther Chameleons

Ep 145: The Panther Chameleon Species With Dr. Mark Scherz

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Dr. Mark Scherz joins me to discuss the different colors of Furcifer pardalis. Are they species? morphs? locales? The answers may not be ours yet, but Mark gives us discussion points to think about.

The Official Paper-Under-Discussion of the Episode

article on panther chameleon species

We don't dive too deeply into the paper in the first part of the two part series but here is a sneak peak.

Mark Scherz Blog and Website hub

Mark Scherz website

Do you see all those link icons? Go to the website and click on these to find his Instagram, Tumbler, Facebook, and other digital outreaches!

Awesome Madagascar Wildlife Posters

uroplatus poster

Mark has a poster for the frogs he encountered in Madagascar and the Uroplatus he encountered. Click. above to check them out!

Squamates Podcast

squamates podcast

You know I love podcasts! Well, Mark does too and he has his own. Check it out!


Ep 144: Draco Flying Dragon with Charles Mcallister

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The Draco flying dragon is an incredible species that has the ability to shoot through the air from tree to tree. But it has been exceptionally hard to establish in captivity. Today I talk with breeder Charles Mcallister about the start of the captive breeding community.

Charles Mcallister

Charles Mcallister is a reptile breeder that guides us through his experiences as he dedicated his efforts solely towards unlocking the mysteries of the enigmatic Draco flying dragon. The images that follow are from Charles' private breeding collection. Charles currently works with Draco maculatus, sometimes known as the Spotted Flying Dragon. This species is widespread through southeast Asia. Though Dracos have always been highly valued in captive collections they have failed to establish a foothold due to the poor condition imported adults come in. The death rate, added to the common thought that they needed ants or termites to survive, kept any captive establishment at bay. Charles has produced a substantial first generation and is working on the second captive generation. Where wild caught adults are flighty, the captive hatch specimens, while active, are calm and do not show the same fear of humans. It is efforts like this that are encouraging and show that we still are in an era of advancement in our breeding efforts.

The Draco community is still forming. We are at the beginning stages and we have the pleasure of watching it as it grows. On this podcast I will continue to share advancements and achievements in this exciting effort.

Eggs of the Dragon

Draco egg
Draco hatching
Draco hatching

Welcome to the World, Baby Dracos!

Draco hatchling
Draco babies

Growing Up

Draco juvenile
Draco juvenile
Draco juvenile

Coming of Age

Draco side view
Draco adult

Those Incredible Wings!

Draco wings
Draco wings
Draco wings

The Mating Dance and the Next Generation

Draco dewlap
Draco dewlap
Draco laying eggs

Creating Your Chameleon’s Sanctuary Live Class


When we bring a chameleon into our home we are starting on an incredible journey of discovery. And to understand how to properly care for this miniature tree dragon we need to get into a different mind set than we are used to.

In this online course I will introduce you to using the cage to create a sanctuary for your chameleon. We will do away with the idea that the cage is for containing a creature and replace it with the perspective that the cage is the borders of a floating garden that nourishes the chameleon inside. For this we need to understand a day in the life of a chameleon and what we need to provide for our chameleon’s physical and emotional well being.

Chameleon husbandry is a huge topic and so we must take it one step at a time. This course is a high level look at chameleon husbandry and the mindset we need to have. We will focus mainly on the “Forest Edge 4+4” checklist which we can use to gauge the effectiveness of the cage interior. We will run through what a forest edge is and review the 4 Gradients (heat, UVB, humidity, exposure) and the 4 branches (perching, drinking, eating, sleeping). Using this checklist you can start evaluating cage designs with respect to the needs of the chameleon.

Sections include:

  • Understanding a day in the life of a chameleon
  • What is important about the cage itself
  • Introduction to the Forest Edge 4+4 components
  • How to plan and arrange the cage interior
  • Monitoring success
  • Using plants
  • Introduction to light and hydration

This class will benefit people wanting to come at their chameleon husbandry with the chameleon’s needs in mind.

Learn about the daily needs of your chameleon. Before we can set up the cage we need to understand what the chameleon needs from the cage. It is easy to set up the cage based on what we want, but this is often the opposite of what your chameleon needs.

Learn how to set up your cage to meet you chameleon's needs. I will go over basic methods for actually putting the interior together.  From branch uses and plant types to placement strategies.

Develop the "Sanctuary" mindset.  When we focus on our desire to see the chameleon we create a holding cell. But when we focus on providing our chameleon with what it needs we take a holistic view of creating an environment. By creating and maintaining a living environment, our chameleon has a sanctuary in which it feels safe and is nourished. This class is your first step in developing the Sanctuary mindset.

What is a Live Class?

A Live Class is a webinar where you register for a class and are able to attend on your computer or even smart phone. I will be presenting the subject live and will answer questions after the presentation. You will be able to select from three possible times to attend.

Each class is presented live on the designated dates. Once registered, you will be emailed a link that will allow you access to the live classroom. There is no software needing to be downloaded. The class is compatible with the major internet browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Internet Explorer) . There will be a live chat and you will be able to type in questions to interact

The class will run between 60 - 90 minutes with a question and answer section afterwards.


This is a chance to get more familiar with chameleon husbandry in a new format that is uniquely suited towards education.

How Do I Attend?

Join me one one of the three dates by clicking the registration bar at the bottom of this page. You only need to give your name and an email address to receive the classroom link.

Currently scheduled dates are:

May 5, 2020 Tuesday 10AM PDT

May 7, 2020 Thursday 6PM PDT

May 9, 2020 Saturday 10AM PDT

I hope to see you there!

webinar screen shot

Sweet Pea

Ep 142: Sweet Pea, MBD, and the Will to Live

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Sweet Pea is a Veiled Chameleon with severe MBD. Through the dedication of Marianna Bolin, she was given a second chance for life. Today's message is for anyone who is caring for a chameleon with MBD. There are no sure things, but there is hope.

Beastmode Silks

Follow Sweet Pea & Marianna at the following links

Sweet Pea Facebook
Sweet Pea Instagram
ARAV logo

Through the ARAV you can find a vet that would like to see reptiles.

chameleon sanctuary

Creating Your Chameleon Sanctuary

Listen Here!

Today I touch on a couple topics. I talk about the difficulty in beginners getting the right information, I revisit the Plants Alive! challenge, and I encourage us to see our cage as a sanctuary. I also announce that this will be the last daily episode of a chameleon keeper in self-imposed isolation. It has been a thrilling run of over one month of daily episodes! I will be going back to the week format where an episode is released every Friday.