Chameleons are a fascinating type of reptile and are famously known for their ability to change the color of their skin. Their preferred food source is a variety of insects, plants, and fruits. But, what if you decided to feed your pet chameleon bananas? Is it ok?
Well, it’s very unusual for chameleons to eat bananas. However, the short answer is “YES” chameleons can eat bananas! However, it wouldn’t be recommended as it doesn’t supply the proper nutrition they need to survive.
The chameleon’s main diet is insects, which they catch by shooting out their tongue that can extend more than twice the length of their body, capturing their prey within 0.07 seconds. Being highly adapted to catching insect prey, it should be obvious that most chameleons should be fed a varied diet of different types of insects and some plant matter, rather than things like bananas.
Can Chameleons Eat Bananas?
Although it’s not recommended that chameleons eat bananas, they still can do so, and if you have a chameleon as a pet you should only feed them bananas in very small amounts and make sure the banana is fresh.
You should also feed them live food on top of this to balance their diet. What’s typically good for us humans is not necessarily good for them.
Although there are some reports of bananas and other fruits being completely fine for chameleons, fruits, and vegetables that have gone past their expiration date and are starting to rot can actually be toxic to chameleons: especially expired cabbage, iceberg lettuce, spinach, or apricots.
Chameleons will eat anything you give them and feeding them too many bananas and do more harm than good. So you should only feed bananas to your reptile as a snack, not as their main diet.
Of course, when you feed your small amounts of fresh banana they can get some nutrition from this. However, it doesn’t compare to the nutrition chameleons get from eating a big fat grub or cricket.
How Many Bananas Can Chameleons Eat?
Chameleons will eat anything you give them, and the same goes for bananas, and because your chameleons look like they are really enjoying eating the banana you may feel compelled to feed them more.
However, you should only give them a very small amount and not feed this as their main meal, as it doesn’t supply the proper nutrition that they need.
Depending on the size of the chameleon the amount of banana should be no bigger than the size of a thumbnail, especially if the chameleon is still very small. The bigger the chameleon, the more banana they can eat. That being said, because bananas are high in sugar it can be very dangerous for a chameleon of any size to eat excessive amounts. This can lead to things like weight gain or even high blood pressure.
How To Prepare Bananas For Chameleons
Now, there have been reports where people feed chameleon whole bananas, but as mentioned above, this is not recommended. It’s better just to break off a small piece of banana and attach it to a tree arm or a place where the chameleons prefer to rest.
If you find the chameleon is having trouble eating the banana piece you can cut it up into slices. This will depend on the size of the chameleon.
You can either put the banana on the branch of the tree, or you can even hand feed them. Whichever way your chameleon responds to the best is the method you should use.
Benefits Of Feeding Chameleons Bananas
Although it’s not good to feed chameleons too much banana they can still get some nutritional value from eating small amounts. Bananas are packed with all sorts of goodness, not to mention being rich with all kinds of vitamins which are also fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free.
Health Benefits From Bananas
|Vitamin B6||Bananas are packed vitamin B6|
|Vitamin C||Vitamin C helps keep cells healthy|
|Potassium||Potassium is good for the blood|
|Magnesium||Magnesium is great for the skin|
|Protein||Protein can repair body tissues|
|Carbs||Carbs are the main source of energy|
|Fiber||Helps with any constipation issues|
So bananas do have their health benefits, but again be sure to feed them in small amounts as a snack. The main diet for chameleons should consist primarily of live insects.
What Types Of Bananas Can Chameleons Eat?
Yellow bananas may be the most popular, but there are other types of bananas that most people don’t even know about, which are just as nutritious and as healthy.
For example, Red Bananas are very much like yellow bananas that are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium, and contain a fair amount of fiber.
Red bananas have a high content of anthocyanin which acts as an antioxidant and is a great alternative to feeding chameleons yellow bananas.
The problem is trying to find a place that sells this type of bananas.
Red bananas are exported from countries like East Africa, Asia, South America, and the United Arab Emirates and can be eaten the same manner as yellow bananas.
Candy Apple Bananas
Apple bananas (Manzano) are known for being quite sweet, earning them the name “Candy Apple Banana” and usually grow in tropical rain forests.
Manzano bananas are a very good source of potassium and fiber and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Feeding a chameleon small amounts of this type of banana as a snack is beneficial.
These bananas are native to southeast Asia and South America and are grown in places like the Hawaiian Islands, Honduras, Malaysia, and Mexico.
The Apple Banana is more of a short, fat banana and the skin blackens more than the traditional type bananas.
Lady Finger Bananas
The Lady Finger banana is slightly thinner than the more common Cavendish banana, which has bright yellow skins which develop dark flecks when fully ripe.
This fruit has an almost creamy consistency, making it easier to feed your chameleon, and has a sweeter flavor than most common bananas.
Lady Finger bananas are popular in the South Pacific and are actually the second most popular bananas in places like Australia. They are high in potassium, and full of good pre-biotic bacteria which is great for gut health.
They are also packed with vitamins C and B5, and trace amounts of vitamins A, E, and K and are high in minerals such as manganese, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.
The Cavendish banana is very popular and the majority of them are sold in western countries. This Cavendish banana is packed with potassium and fiber, and also has a high amount of magnesium and vitamins C and B6.
They contain less sugar than other varieties, and because they are loaded with potassium, this makes a great healthy snack for your chameleon.
Cavendish bananas are very easy to find and are sold in most shops and supermarkets around the world.
These bananas taste very similar to the traditional type of bananas which are sweet and can be eaten in the same way or cooked, it really comes down to preference.
Do Chameleons Eat Bananas In The Wild?
There have been cases where chameleons will eat bananas in the wild, as well as eating berries and other fruit. However, chameleons still prefer to eat live insects.
Because chameleons live in a habitat where bananas and other types of fresh fruit are growing they will occasionally be seen eating a banana or berry, but only as a supplement or if they are unable to find their main food source.
Live Insects will always be the chameleon’s preferred choice of food, especially in the wild as they provide all the nutrition they need to survive.
So will chameleons eat bananas in the wild? Yes, but they will usually do this as a last resort.
When Should You Feed Bananas To Chameleons?
When feeding your chameleon bananas they should eat them once or twice a week, however, with that said, it really comes down to the size of the chameleon you have.
When you place the banana in the cage and find that it’s still there the next day then this is a good sign that your chameleon doesn’t like it and you should throw it away.
When you do feed the chameleon banana you should throw in some live insects as well. Naturally, they will go after the insect first, then shortly after they will start eating the banana.
So bananas can be a great source of protein and other nutrition for your pet chameleon. However, if they eat too much then this can have the opposite effect, so be careful with how much banana you feed them.
What Other Fruits They Can Eat?
So apart from bananas, what other fruits can chameleons eat? Well, as before, chameleons in the wild are known to eat other fruits that are growing in their habitat.
In addition to the usual fare of fresh fruit and vegetables, they also enjoy a wide variety of berries. The most popular include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries.
If there is a shortage of insects then this is where chameleons will turn to fruit, and like bananas, these fruits are packed with many nutrients.
If you have a pet chameleon and you want to feed them some fruit below is a list of fruits they can eat. However, before you feed them any fruit make sure you peel the skins first. Try not to feed them any citrus fruits as they will be too acidic or bitter for your pet chameleon.
Other Fruits Chameleons Can Eat Are:
So you’re probably wondering what the dangers are of eating certain fruits for chameleons. Well, there are a few. For example, avocado can be poisonous to them because it contains persin, which is a toxin.
Also, not preparing the fruit or feeding it incorrectly can actually be harmful to your chameleon.
For example, feeding them leftover fruit that is old or hasn’t been washed properly can be toxic to chameleons.
You should always peel the skins off the fruit and feed them only the flesh inside.
Fruits that are high in sugar should be avoided as they can be dangerous for the chameleon which can eventually lead to the chameleon gaining weight.
Chameleons are able to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, but the most common foods include bananas, apples, pears, grapes, persimmons, and figs.
One study showed that while chameleons will eat other types of fruit, bananas were one of their favorites because it provides them with an abundance of nutrients needed for good health.
So if you are wondering whether chameleons can eat bananas, the answer is yes, they can! However, it’s very important to feed them very small amounts of bananas with insects.
Feeding bananas no more than once or twice a week is probably best.
Remember, you can feed chameleons other fruits in small portions, and make sure that they are not citrus fruits.
Although they can eat bananas and other fruits, these cannot replace a chameleon’s appetite for a live cricket or a big juicy grub!
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