Grasshoppers as Chameleon Feeders

Grasshoppers as Chameleon Food

Grasshoppers are a more natural diet for chameleons. They come out during the day and chameleons love them. Most of the food types we have in captivity are nocturnal simply because they are easier to mass produce. Chameleons have done well on this diet, but, in the quest to get closer and closer to their natural condition, we continue to refine the diet we provide them. To that end, Dean Missimer has dug into the research on the contents of wild chameleons’ stomachs and is developing a feeder business around the insect types found. Today he talks about grasshoppers.

Embedded Video Player

Abridged Snippets from Dean Missimer Interview

Dean Missimer

Q:Why Grasshoppers?

They are very much the native natural food of chameleons. You can look through any of the chameleon diet studies of the wild and grasshoppers will be a significant portion of them. There are some cases where it’s not – like especially during the winter season when you know they’re all dead, but for the most part they are a very natural feeder and you’re going to keep them a similar way (as a chameleon) unlike, let’s say, roaches or super worms, which we are nocturnal burrowing insects that a chameleon will never encounter in its entire life.

Dean Missimer

Q. How to set grasshoppers up

They need light, it’s a diurnal type of insect… And they need to be able to climb… Branches will work.

…They will climb up and down the walls of a screen cage. You don’t have to add anything on the sides. We’re talking about sort of filling up the middle space. Something like a chicken wire, any sort of fencing, the gutter guard things, just anything like that will be good. it’ll give them somewhere to hang from, something that won’t lock in humidity.

Dean Missimer

Q: How do you get grasshoppers out of the cage?

Good question!…Back in the day when my numbers were a little lower, I stocked the cages a little less. I never really went over 200 grasshoppers per cage. The screen cages – they’re front opening. So if you have a heating light toward the back of the cage,…when they jump, generally they’re just going to jump to the light.

So even if you open the cage to take some out and they start jumping around, generally they’re not jumping out of the cage. Unless you have a light behind you, then they’ll jump right at you.

Dean Missimer

Q: How can we get started with Grasshoppers?

My website is called This is a website that specializes in chameleon feeders…You can order it as if you would on any other website. I spent a lot of time over the past year or so researching chameleon diets, going through the scientific literature. I’m in the processing of making a lot of charts, sort of graphs out of the data in those studies. I have a few of them ready and then but the focus of the feeders on the website will be on the six orders of insects.

Chameleon Stomach Contents

Be sure to catch Dean’s article about researching the stomach contents of wild chameleons in the Oct/Nov issue of the Chameleon Academy Journal. Go to the Journal page and click the Oct/Nov issue to read it.

Article on chameleon natural diet

And then you can check out Dean’s website!