Parasite Myth Unleashed...


There is repeatedly a myth presented by chameleon breeders I would like to address...

Myth: Feeding native US (or European) field plankton (bugs) is risky because they are full of parasites and they can infest my chameleons
Response: NO RISK.

Chameleon parasites are extremely specific and in most of cases they have complex live cycles need also other specific hosts for their development US and EU based insects (even reptiles) are not vectors/hosts of any chameleon parasites, so from this perspective, feeding wild insects is Safe. They can transmit diseases and parasites, however, they will not infest chameleons.

Basically, offsprings are Parasite-free once they hatch. They can just get contaminated by the contact of unclean environment in captivity, where before, parasite infested chameleons were housed and the space has not been properly cleaned.

Caution is only recommended in the case of obtaining chameleons from unreliable sources, as

1. They can claim being CB and instead, they are WC
2. They can be animal dealers not taking care of hygiene and quarantine measures, thus parasites can be transmitted by their improper practice
3. Some of big breeders obtaining shipments of wild caught animals do not take proper care for he above as well

Caution is to be taken when interpreting fecal samples, as some parasites can be present as pseudoparasites (parasites of the eaten food items) and have no significance for the health state of the chameleon.

Author: Petr Nečas