Eye issues in chameleon keeping is an ever-present threat to your animal’s health and well-being. When eye issues develop, it can lead to other problems such as difficulty finding prey, lethargy, and dehydration. Often times eyes issues can be traced back to a lack of vitamin A. In addition to the eye issues, the underlying vitamin A deficiency can be causing a host of other issues including loss of appetite, skin issues, upper respiratory infections, and other problems. Vitamin A is a critical micronutrient in a chameleon’s diet that they get readily in the wild with a natural and diverse prey selection.
In recent months I have begun shredding carrots into my bug bins every morning prior to feeding my chameleons. Carrots have high amounts of beta carotene which is a precursor to vitamin A. The shredded carrots also hydrate the insects. Shredding of the carrots is important because it spreads the carrots out and increases the surface area and edges for the small cricket mouths to consume faster. The grater also breaks some of the cell walls of the carrots releasing more water which hydrates the insect faster. Typically, I will only shred an amount of carrot that will be consumed in a day. For me this is about half of a larger carrot per bin. Carrots at my local big box store can be found for less than $1 per pound when bought in bulk, so this is an inexpensive gutloading staple. Carrots also last ages in the refrigerator!
If you take away one thing from this post, let it be this...get yourself a dedicated carrot grater for your gutloading needs and start buying loads of carrots.