On the Specific Care of Females


Whether you would like a female chameleon as part of a breeding project, as a pet, or both, how you take care of them will vary a little from how you would care for a male. This is because females vary from males in their size, lifespan, and ability to lay eggs that alter how we need to meet their needs. I outlined a few of these differences in my previous blog ( Comparing Males and Females) but will go over their more specific care (especially as it relates to egg-laying) here. 

Many new keepers are often shocked to discover that females will lay eggs regardless of being mated. Surprise! Like chickens, female chameleons of egg-laying, or oviparous, species will start producing clutches of infertile eggs regularly throughout their lives, whether or not there is a male in the picture. Usually this is accompanied by panic, worry, and fear because there is just so much hysteria online around something known as egg-binding, a condition in which a female is unable to lay the eggs by herself. As you can imagine this is a serious medical condition that requires veterinary intervention.


The good news is that the online hype is mostly that, just hype. Of course sometimes things out of our control happen and the female experiences issues, as with human birth, it’s not always a smooth thing. But by and large chameleon females know what they are doing better than we do, and as long as they are healthy and have a suitable place to lay there should be nothing to panic about regarding egg-laying. 

37 infertile eggs from a young female Veiled chameleon. The yellowish
color is typical of infertile eggs. 

FEMALES AND EGG LAYING


As I’ve said previously, a female will lay infertile clutches even without the presence of a male, so dealing with eggs will be part of a female's husbandry even if she is a single pet. As part of their cycle they will first become receptive, which is when they have egg follicles ready to be fertilized and would be ready and willing to mate with a male. Then whether or not she has mated, the follicles will become eggs and she will have to lay them about 3-5 weeks later. After a rest period of several weeks the cycle begins again, so a female can lay quite a few clutches in a single year!

Additionally, if the female is bred to a male, females have the ability to store sperm for a subsequent clutch. So out of a single mating she may produce 2-3 clutches of fertile eggs in quick sequence! So females chameleons can be quite prolific. 

A young female veiled showing mature coloration. At 6 months she is
already old enough to breed. 
When getting ready to lay eggs a female will gain a lot of weight, even if food intake hasn't changed and they will start to look very rounded, and they usually begin to get restless. Here is when having a gram scale is very useful! Weighing a female regularly will let you spot this big uptick in weight, and will be much more accurate than “eye-balling” the difference.

They may or may not abandon food for a few days prior to laying, in this regard all females may react differently to needing to lay. But they will become more restless, roaming the bottom of the cage particularly as they look for a place to lay. If a laying bin is provided (it is recommended that one be provided at all times, in case gravid signs aren't very obvious), she may start to scratch at the medium and dig test tunnels. Once she is satisfied, she will set on one tunnel and work for hours or days until she is ready to deposit the eggs, then fill in the tunnel, trample the dig site to make it inconspicuous, and go back to her basking site looking thinner, dirtier, and tired.

A HEALTHY FEMALE


The biggest risk factor in having problems laying eggs is, quite obviously, an unhealthy female. Preventing issues starts long before your little girlie has eggs – it starts the day you bring her home. It starts with your husbandry. A female that has access to strong, high-quality UVB bulbs and solid nutrition (including supplementation with calcium and other vitamins and minerals) will not only grow strong and healthy, but she will be more physically able to produce and lay eggs in a safe, normal way.

I have written here about supplements and the importance of calcium, but essentially, calcium is vital not just for strong bones and egg shells, but for muscle movement as well. A female that has not been receiving calcium supplements or which has not had a UVB bulb to her absorb that calcium (ie. Females with metabolic bone disease) will have a really hard time physically laying eggs because she lacks the ability to contract the uterus appropriately. That is why it’s so important that a female has a good UVB bulb and that she gets supplements regularly along with a good, varied insect diet that is properly gut-loaded as well

So at the risk of sounding redundant - good husbandry leads to healthy females which lay eggs without issues. And subsequently, if you're breeding, will give you hatchlings that are healthy and robust. I cannot understate the importance of this. Strive to master all these aspects of husbandry and egg-laying should not be a scary prospect!

HOUSING & LAYING BINS

Female panther chameleon gravid coloration.
This signals she is carrying eggs and is not looking to
breed with any males. 
Because females are smaller than males, the minimum required cage size for a female is about 12 inches shorter than it would be for a male, bringing the cage size to about 36"H x 24"D x 24"W or 36"H x 18"D x 18"W. However, I have noticed that my females are just as, if not more, active than my males so I give them a cage just as large so that they have the adequate space to roam and explore. Additionally, providing a larger cage will allow you to have more room for a Laying bin. A laying bin can be any opaque container that can be filled at least 12" deep with moistened fine play sand or organic soil (available cheaply at home improvement stores) or a mix of these two media, where the female can lay her eggs. It should be no less than 8-9" wide, to give them enough room to dig a tunnel, and the soil or sand should be moist enough to hold a tunnel but not be soaking wet. A female will often dig a tunnel all the way to the bottom of the container, so they will use all 12" of soil/sand. 

Some females will not feel comfortable laying in a container that only contains soil. By planting a small plant in the soil a female will feel it is a more comfortable play to lay and lay her eggs around and under the roots of the plant. I've used just a small pothos with success. In rare cases the female will be reluctant to use the laying bin, for reasons that are not obvious. If you are sure that your medium is suitable and that it is not too dry or too moist, your female may just be a picky one. In this case, if she begins to show signs of needing to lay but will not use her laying bin, she may need to be trapped in a different container. For picky females that I worry have been "ready" to lay for too long, I will use a kitchen trashcan with 12" of 70:30 soil to sand mix with a few small branches, and just leave her in there. I do not worry about providing a heat light if it is above 70F in the room. Since females lay closer to evening, I will put the female in the trashcan during mid afternoon and walk away, giving her plenty of privacy. I may rig a webcam to spy on her so that she doesn't see me watching. She may scratch against the sides for a few minutes to a couple hours, but if she is ready to lay she will eventually start digging and work on laying the eggs. This is a resort I try not to use often, but it's my last step before considering going to a vet for assistance and it usually does the trick. 

A laying bin can be a container like this, but opaque (dark). This is an example of the medium I use,
a 70:30 organic top soil and washed play sand mixture. 
If she does not begin to dig a tunnel she may not be ready yet. Try again the following day or two and see if she will dig. Do not check on her continuously or move her back and forth continuously, the stress of being watched or being moved too often will make females too uncomfortable to lay - which can lead to issues. So respect her space and do not bother her too often. A sheet covering the cage during this time can help make females more comfortable and ease the process.

Following these steps should make owning a female a relatively stress-free experience. Females can make the best pet chameleons, but the prospect of egg-laying usually scares new keepers away from owning a female at all. By following the usual good husbandry practices and providing an appropriate, private place to lay, owning a female should be no more difficult than owning a male.

Updated on October 12, 2016 to refresh the content, add new tips, and clarify certain aspects of the article. 

70 comments:

  1. Our female veiled chameleon was within her first successful infertile egg laying cycle. She had laid about 8-10 eggs within a five day period. Once she stopped laying eggs, she had about a week during which she had significant energy loss and she was not eating or drinking like she usually did. (Compared to her behavior during her cycle - she was drinking directly out of the spray bottle she was so thirsty...) Last night, she was extremely lethargic and within a two hour timeframe, quickly passed away. What should we have done differently and what could have been the cause? We were relieved when she began to have a cycle, as we saw that she was healthy enough to do so. Could it have been been the strain on her body, or a different cause?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Jennie, I'm sorry to hear about your veiled. Without knowing any more info, it sounds like perhaps she became egg-bound for some reason and couldn't continue to lay her eggs. It may have been a physical issue (like a lack of calcium, eggs were too large, internal damage etc.) or something environmental, like not being comfortable in her laying bin. All my females may dig for a few days but once they start laying eggs they will lay them all within one day and then be done with it.

      If they don't bother digging a tunnel for the eggs (for example, they start dropping them on the floor of the cage) or they are not laying all of them, I take them to the vet. If it's not too late a vet should be able to take X-rays, see how many eggs are left and if there is a complication, and then give her a shot of calcium and oxytocin, both of which induce contractions. At that point she should lay all the eggs within a few hours and if not they may need to be opened up and surgically spayed.

      Again, I'm sorry you lost your girl. Females can be tough sometimes. But if you decide to try again remember to provide a large laying bin, give her lots of calcium, provide lots of privacy when she lays, and to take her to the vet if you notice any change in activity level.

      Delete
  2. My female veil does the same thing, even tho i drip and she has a fountain, she still tongues the spray bottle and is not scared to ever... i continually offer her water like that now, but last month, she laid her first clutch of 67 infertile eggs in a matter of two days. I have seen her eye swell up real bad because of spraying a drop got in her eye, that worried me a lot. She almost didn't lay her eggs at all, she needed a black sheet over her cage and complete silence for three days before she actually started digging...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great blog, I read it last year while doing a lot of research about female veiled chameleons. I am now the proud owner of a beautiful female veiled who is approximately 2 months old. (Along with my 6 month old male veiled) She just got settled in 2 days ago and is doing quite well. Thanks for posting the information, as there is a lot of false information on the web currently. Before visiting your blog I ran across a site that claimed female veileds MUST be bred during their first cycle or they will die eggbound, but as you stated above, they do not need to be bred to lay the eggs. What would you say is the optimal time for a young female to be bred? Is it better to wait and allow the female to be a little older before her first breeding? It will be at least 4 months before my girl gets to be at the 6 month-mark. (I've heard a lot of differing opinions on this topic.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Olive! Breeding them young will usually shorten a female's life, so the answer to your question depends on who is answering it - a professional breeder who needs to make a profit or a pet owner. Breeders will usually start breeding females as soon as they are sexually mature and large enough, so maybe between 6-10 months old, but if you can wait until she's done growing herself (at about a year old) then that will be safer for her. Fertile eggs are bigger and take much more calcium to make, so if she's nice and big it'll be an easier process for her.

      Delete
  4. My son has a female transluscent cham who has been bred twice. The most recent of the two she laid the eggs last week, now 4 days later she has dropped three in her cage. When she was in her laying bin she was not disturbed and filled the hole then climbed back into her cage. We're a little concerned now as to why she is dropping these eggs. Should we try putting her back in the bin...is this normal? Any help is great. I've tried to do a bit of research, but came up unsuccessful so far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is unusual! I'm not sure why she would not have just laid all of them at once. If you have a very tall laying bin (like a trash can, for example) I would leave her in it today and see if she is inspired to lay any more. If she doesn't I would consider taking her to a vet to get evaluated (maybe even get an X-ray) because if any eggs get left behind they can cause a lot of damage (infection, etc.). Hopefully that's not the case, but just in case I think getting her seen by a professional in the next day or two if she doesn't lay all her remaining eggs would be a good idea.

      Delete
    2. Hi, i have a vieled chameleon and I just want to ask if an unfertilized egg hatches just as healthy as a fertilized chameleon egg, I never understood the difference of which chameleon would end up more healthy when hatching.

      Delete
  5. OK! That's pretty much what we were leaning towards also, but we just weren't really sure about skipping the bin (it actually is a large garbage bin :D) and going directly to the vets or if there was a way to really check to see how many (if any) more she was carrying ourselves. Thank you very much for the help AND quick response! Sarah.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, Arnold is a female veiled chameleon, she is my first lizard pet. She laid her first clutch last September when sh was around 7 months. Her first clutch was 60 eggs, the second in April this year she laid 99 eggs, she is now nesting again, Lord knows how many eggs she will produce this time. I am a biologist second year at uni, and I have been researching egg laying etc as she is a pet I find it fascinating and want to help her as much I can and knowledge is power, but there is conflicting papers etc on the laying times and clutch sizes. This is confusing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anna. With chameleons it seems as if conditions of plenty (nice warm temps, lots of access to food) stimulates them to produce as many eggs as possible. So by using that technique of lowering their maximum basking temperature to the low 80's and restricting their diet to a more moderate amount it tricks their bodies into thinking that it's not a time of unlimited plenty, so they will typically reduce the number of eggs they produce (or even halt egg-laying completely). When Arnold lays this batch of eggs I would let her eat what she wants for 3-5 days to recover and then cut everything back, so she doesn't have time to start ovulating and make an outrageous amount of follicles. Hopefully that does the trick, because 100 eggs is a huge ordeal!

      Delete
    2. her temperature is at 75. I feed her live food every other day as well as spinach and peppers and grapes which she loves. I have checked her viv and she has already laid about 5 eggs....she just wants to be out of the viv and knocks on the doors, we take her out on her tree, but since i noticed her burrowing i have stopped taking her out, just now worried that she has already had 5 eggs and now wants to leave the viiv

      Delete
    3. I'm so sorry for the delay, I had family fly in from different countries every day this week. So I hope your female is doing well! Does she have a good laying bin in her cage? If she's trying to escape perhaps she doesn't quite like what she has to work with. A bin should be about 8-12 inches deep with soil/sand/soil-sand mixture and opaque, so she feels safe and private.

      Delete
    4. @Anna Barnes, feeding spinach to chameleons is not good at all for them. It is a natural binder to the calcium and draws it right out of the body. Try replacing with kale, endive, dandilion, swiss chard, collard greens or mustard greens. All these are more healthier for your cham. Again, spinach is on the "no feed " list for chams. Goodluck

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Olimpia
    I have just rescued a female veiled chameleon, she is my first lizard in years had them in the 80s and 90s a large selection but bit out of touch now. I got it from a friend of a friend of a friends son he was going to dump it. The thing I am not too sure about is he had it for two years and its 12cm it should be bigger than that? As it is so small to me that is, will I be able to get it up to size it should be, well what I think it should be 22cm ish?
    Thank you for your time
    Trevor

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Trevor. Yes, that does sound like a small chameleon, you're right that she should be almost twice as big without counting the tail. With improper care (like improper lighting, poor supplementation, poor diet, etc.) their growth can definitely be stunted. The good thing is that since reptiles don't need to maintain body temperature, nearly everything they eat goes into growth, and since reptiles never quite stop growing if you turned everything around now there is a chance (although perhaps small) that she could go on to grow a bit more. It depends on how healthy her bones are, as something like metabolic bone disease can make things difficult.

      Let me know how she does, or email me if you need any additional help. It's never a bother to answer chameleon questions (especially to help rescues) so feel free to contact me. My email is Olimpia515@gmail.com.

      Delete
    2. Thank you very much for your help, as far as metabolic bone disease the lags on her look ok. Time will tell, the set up that it came in is not that great it is that Exo-Terra made by hagen. and the heating not up to much, that all fixed now and she is putting the food away now.we need some more of your sun send some more to the UK please. lol

      Thanks again

      Delete
    3. just to let you know my small chameleon is doing well was 24 grams now 55 grams :0}

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just purchased a panther and breed her to my male and since she has been less active and her appetite is down. Prior to breeding her I witnessed her eating. Not sure if she is stressed because the change in environment and her new home or if she is sick. Appears very healthy, eyes are not sunk in, and she is drinking.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you so much for this! I am thinking about purchasing a veiled chameleon for my 12 year old daughter. This is very useful information because she has been asking for one for the past two years, and now I know that they are not as difficult to take care of as I thought. There are lots of websites to look at, but this one is wonderful. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,
    I bought my female cham two months ago from a local petstore and she was being housed with a male of the same litter. When i asked someone who worked at the store how old she was, the informed me she was 6 months and that shes lived with the other male cham her whole life. Now that she is 8 months shes nearing the time when shes supposed to lay her first clutch. All the research ive done says a female can hold onto a males sperm inside her for up to two clutches. Do you this its possible my chams eggs may be fertile when the time comes? shes shown no signs of swelling or pre-egg laying but i just want to know if i should incubate them when she does.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My veiled chameleon just laid her first clutch yesterday! It was amazing! I'm so proud of her. She laid 46 eggs. This site has been a great help to know what she needs. Today she has pretty much stayed in one spot and only eats if food crawls to her. She has been closing her eyes a lot today as well. Im just wondering if this is a normal thing for a chameleon that has just laid eggs. I have never seen her close her eyes so much during her awake time however I'm sure she is exhausted after such a laborious task. Any info would be great! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello!
    I've recently been given a female veiled. She's one year and three months and apparently has never laid - her last owner didn't know that they lay with or without a male present. I've put a big pot of sand in her tank but I can't persuade her to go in it - she keeps walking about on the floor instead. I don't know if she's getting ready to lay, but she does look a lot fatter recently and has been eating a lot more than usual. The last couple of days she's also turned a bit of a funny colour - more greyish than usual. I'd really appreciate any advice, she's my first lizard and I'm a bit worried about her. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  15. My female veiled is extremely stubborn! I took her to vet appx 7 weeks ago. She had eggs visible on the X-ray. I have provided her a laying bin in her cage and covered with a blanket for privacy. NOTHING. then tried the trash can method like you suggested. I left her in there for two days, NOTHING. I don't know what else to do. Now I am noticing her raising her head and it looks like she is making a "swallowing" action. I don't know what else to do other than have a c-section and a spay. HELP

    ReplyDelete
  16. My female is over two years, and she has been bred three times. The first two clutches she had 80eggs and the second one 60. Everything went well with the process, eggs, and recovery. Her 3rd clutch she was digging and I didn't realize as I was in my frog room. I left as soon as I saw her digging. Later, two eggs were on the cage floor, and one was on the top of her sand/soil bucket. I made sure the mixture in the bucket was moistened and she laid 43 eggs a couple days later. She is having a hard time bouncing back, tomorrow will be a week since she laid her eggs. Her eyes are sunken a little but her coloring is beautiful. She is very tired but has a strong grip. I have had a dripper on her the last few days, the humidifier going, and for the last couple days have taken her in for a slightly warm shower. She seems to be improving - do you have any insights? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  17. My veiled jist laid fertile eggs without the presence of a male. I did some reading and partheneogenesis has been documented in female veileds, she laid 18 fertile eggs roughly 4 days ago. I woke up this morning and she was dead.. She wouldn't eat anything anymore and had food available her cage specs were all bang on but idk what happened. Is it common for them to be so weary especially after asexual reproduction that they just die out? Or there something j could've done..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear about your poor female! It's a bit rare but it does happen in chameleons like it does in women that things just go wrong somehow, that don't necessarily have anything to do with your care or her health. Sometimes their reproductive tract can tear or an egg can rupture and lead to internal infection. The fact that she wasn't hungry tells me that something was probably wrong internally. A vet may or may not have been able to do anything, in a lot of these cases probably not, unfortunately.

      I'm sorry again, it's just one of those things! Sometimes something minor goes wrong and it's catastrophic to their over-all health.

      Delete
  18. My female panther chameleon is just starting to lay her eggs. She has a lay bin in her cage but she is not using it. She keeps dropping them around the bottom of her plant. I keep trying to put her back in the bin but will not stay. What should I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is her laying bin? Sometimes if they really don't like the laying bin they will not use it. At this point, however, I would leave her alone because the stress of being handled during this process is probably not helping her relax and lay all the eggs. Give her a bit of privacy and when she seems like she's done I would (after feeding and watering her generously) give her belly a feel. If you can still feel any eggs I would go to a vet, as that can be a dangerous situation.

      Delete
  19. Replies
    1. I haven't personally seen this happen but I think it's possible. A lot of other female reptiles will eat their eggs if they know they are infertile anyway. I haven't heard of any cases in chameleons but I imagine that they might.

      Delete
  20. I have a veiled that is definitely with eggs. I took her to the vet two weeks ago and had it confirmed. I have a laying bin set up for her in her cage, large enough for her to have plenty of room to find a spot to dig, filled with moist sand and yet she has no interest in it. She's acting normal otherwise, eating and drinking, but she is gaining weight. When I brought her to the vet for the xray, she was 96g, now she is up to 103g. I don't know what to do. I am out of my mind with worry that she'll become eggbound if this doesn't happen soon. The vet even gave mea bottle of Neo-Calglucon Syrup that I've been giving her and there are still no signs of digging at all. I am at my wits end here. Please help.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Kristin,

    Female veiled gestation can last about 45 days, so it's possible you still have a little time left to go. It depends how far along she was when you took her in for her check-up.

    Is she pacing the cage at all, acting restless, or just doing her normal every day chameleon things? My females always got restless as they were getting ready to make a nest, they would start exploring the cage for a suitable place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Olimpia!

      She's not acting restless or roaming around at all. She's just acting like her usual self, has a good appetite, drinks enough, and uses the bathroom daily. Other than being puffy and knowing for a fact that she has eggs, she's really acting no different. There was a very brief period where she wasn't eating much and was restless, so I put the bin in the cage and all she did was eat the sand (I had a camera on her so I could check on her instead of disturbing her when she was possibly getting ready to dig and I caught her eating sand on several occasions).

      I first noticed her receptive coloring on September 1st, so it's been about 34 days or so since then. If that's even when the eggs first started to develop. She wasn't bred, so the eggs are infertile. So that makes it a little more difficult to get a clear timeline.

      Delete
  22. My 1 year old veiled just finished laying her second batch of eggs and it took her 3 weeks to lay all of them (I feel like that is WAY longer than it should take?!) and it ended up totaling to 95 eggs (last time it was 89). She has spend about the last week near the bottom of her cage and seems very weak. I've made sure she is hydrated and even hand-watered her. She is eating her gut-loaded crickets that have been dusted with calcium as well. Do you have any tips to help improve her strength? I haven't changed her cage environment at all and she used to hang in the foliage. now she just lays on the ground and occasionally crawls up to bask. She has fallen a few times though, as if she doesn't have the strength. Any advice you have would be very much appreciated, as she is my first veiled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Savannah,

      Unfortunately, that sounds like an emergency and I would take her to a vet as soon as you have a chance. In a case like this, with what you’ve told me about her behavior, I worry that there might be a problem that needs medical attention. Whether it’s an issue where she wasn’t able to lay ALL the eggs for some reason and maybe there is one stuck inside causing an infection or maybe there is an issue with her uterus, I don’t know. But it might be something along those lines. So I don’t want to scare you but I don’t think there’s anything you can do at home, if she were mine I’d go to a vet. Good luck!

      Delete
  23. My son's veiled chameleon is having trouble laying eggs she has lost alot of weigh and her color is different what can we do to help her she seems very weak not acting like she used too. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do it's his first time with chameleons

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ana,

      If she's acting very weakly I would take her to a vet, I worry that if she's losing her strength that there's nothing you can do at home that is guaranteed to help her. Usually they will give them a shot of calcium and a shot of oxytocin (like in women) to induce labor and she may lay the eggs right there in the office. But the vet will know what she needs. If she were mine I would make an appointment asap today, if possible. Good luck!

      Delete
  24. I have just got a female 5 days ago who looks like she has eggs ready to lay but I am yet to see her go anywhere near her lay box any suggestions she's nice and round and doesn't look or act weak or under weight

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, sorry for the couple days of delay in replying. What can you tell me about this female, what species is she, how old, how do you know she has eggs, etc.? It’ll help me get a little bit of context. Females may not go towards their bin if they are not quite ready (is she starting to pace the cage at all?) or because they don’t like the bin. I have had females that will lay in their plant pots despite having a great bin in the cage, at that point I will let them do that if they want to. I have had other females that will not lay anywhere, and I’ve had to leave them in a tall container (like a kitchen trashbin) with 12” of soil/sand with no way out and then at that point they will lay. But that’s a more extreme measure, you don’t want to try that unless she is digging holes everywhere in her cage and she still refuses to pick a place.

      If you do see her get anxious around the cage and start to dig test holes in plants/the bin, make sure to give her lots of privacy. You could drape a sheet around the cage for example, but you don’t want her to feel watched. I usually will with a webcam or through a little hole in the sheet, but I definitely don’t want them to feel like I’m there all the time watching over her. That will make them nervous and hold in the eggs.

      Delete
  25. I have purchased 2 chameleons for my son several months ago. One always seem to get bigger and shed more but to my ignorance, I thought maybe it was a male a would be bigger. Long story short, woke up this morning to turn on their day light and noticed one of them had dug out a lot of the soil from the potted plant onto the bottom of the cage. And in the dirt on the bottom are very little round things that almost look like tiny rocks. After checking on both the chameleons, the bigger one had the dirt on her (I'm assuming now) and was on top of the plant, far away from the dirt. Are these eggs? Should I move them to their own incubator? I have no clue with these reptiles and I've goggled everything under the sun on this topic and it seems most people knew right before. I didn't. What should I do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, if you can please send me photos to Olimpia515@gmail.com and I'll take a look. It's hard for me to say for certain without being able to see these eggs/rocks.

      Delete
  26. Hello Olimpia, thanks so much for making this blog. A lot of this information is so helpful. My fiance bought my boys a male veiled chameleon for their birthday almost a month ago, he appears to be a 2 months old or so and today surprised me with a female cham that's a little larger than my male. I wanted to know is their any info or concerns I should know on having them together in the same cage? When we put her in there he (Rango) immediately ran away but started to check her out once we backed off. I can't stop stalking them because I want to see how they behave with each other.

    ReplyDelete
  27. So I just checked on my chams to see how they're interacting with each other and my male cham is black! I've never ever seen him this color and it looks the my new female which appears to be about 4 maybe months old is stalking him. I opened the cage and he turned green again. What's going on? Is hethat afraid of her? Is she intimidating him? It's making me nervous!! Now I'm hearing VA male and female shouldn't be in the same housing unless they're in mating session. I believe my chams are too young to mate anyway but my boyfriend told me the man at the pet store said they should be fine and just to separate them if she's pregnant because she may become aggressive to the male! I'm so lost what do I do. Even though it was a surprise I really wish my fiance would have told me he was doing this now

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alesia,

      Thank you for the kind words about the blog! Veileds, as you may have read online, can be very territorial. It's tentatively ok to raise up a few siblings in the same cage for a few months because they've been together since they hatched, so they haven't formed any territorial issues with each other but once you have one guy alone in a cage he has established that cage as HIS. So when you introduce a second one, even if it's a female, now she is going to want to make it HER cage, and since she's bigger she may intimidate or fight the little male.

      I would definitely separate them, I wouldn't want either of them to be stressed or worse, get injured because they start biting. If they are both little you can rig up a big plastic tote for right now while you order a second cage for him. Pet stores are notorious for offering up bad advice because their employees usually don't know any better and at the end of the day their mission is just to sell you anything! I would look online for a cheap cage, somewhere like on LLLReptile.com or Petmountain.com and have it shipped to you. You'll probably pay much, much less than at the store. In the meantime I would come up with an easy solution for separating them, like keeping one in a big Rubbermaid container with sticks and a basking light over one corner or something like that (almost like you keep chameleon hatchlings.) It will be stressful to move but I would rather that the chameleon be stressed 3-4 days until a new cage can be set up than to have you end up having to rush one to the vet for a bitten, broken tail or something like that!

      Let me know if you need anything else. You can always email me at Olimpia515@gmail.com and I can give you more tips if you need them. Where to buy stuff more cheaply, for example. It'll be ok! It would have been better if he had brought her home in a second set up but they'll be ok once they are both in their own cages.

      Delete
  28. OK thank u so much. I finally have them separated. I noticed eventually she was starting to bully him, hissing, and chasing him, most definitely trying to takeover and he started to turn brown. She loves the new enclosure we built and is growing and doing well. We put him in his old enclosure and sometimes is still brown but today looks a pale green almost grey. I was really hoping he was going to turn green again, should I be worried? He's been in his original enclosure for about 2 days now so I'm hoping he just needs a little more time to relax as the last couple weeks may have been traumatic for him. He is eating and drinking normally so I hope he looks better soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's probably the stress of moving into a "new" enclosure, if it's only two days it sounds like he probably just needs a few more days to feel safe and comfortable again. I'm glad you were able to separate them! They'll both be much happier for it.

      Delete
  29. I know this is an old blog, but if anyone has any experiences, it would be greatly appreciated. My female veiled is definitely gravid. I have a lay bin in her cage, but she just eats the sand. I don't want her to become impacted, but I also don't want her to become egg bound. I'm at a loss.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No worries, I answer all the comments, on old or new posts. That actually sounds very normal, so don’t worry. It’s extremely typical for females to taste the medium in the laying bin to make sure it’s a suitable place for her eggs. They would do this in the wild as well, to check the moisture and make-up of the soil/sand before they put in all that effort to lay eggs if the soil is unsuitable. As long as she is well hydrated the sand won’t harm her.


      The tricky part during egg-laying is to give her privacy, which as pet owners can be difficult for us. I may drape a sheet across the front of the cage with just a peep hole for me to check in on her or I’ve been known to set up a cheap webcam in the cage, connected to an old laptop. If she’s investigating her laying bin then she must be close to laying so it should happen any day now.

      Delete
    2. I have a sheet covering all 4 sides of her habitat with a small peephole that she hasn't seen. I am concerned becuase I have caught her just sitting on the edge of the bin sticking her tongue in the sand continuously. It feels as if she is doing more than just tasting it. Other than the eating of the sand, she has had no other interest in the bin. I have a larger bin (a trash can) ready for her if need be, but I don't want to move her if she hasn't started digging. She hasn't eaten for 4 days other than the sand. She turns from crickets and her greens are no longer being touched.

      I am, of course, a worried mother that is probably overreacting. She has shown gravid colors and is quite rounded. I just don't know when it is an okay time to actually start being more concerned and if to get the vet involved.

      Delete
    3. It definitely sounds like she’s close! If she’s not eating then that’s a good sign she’s probably about ready to lay. As long as she is alert and active everything is under control, is what I like to tell people. If she seems to slow down, sleep during the day, or stop moving around the cage, at that point I would go to a veterinarian.

      It’s hard for me to give specifics on when you might want to move a female to a laying trash can just because there are no rules, most of the time it comes down to intuition. Without seeing her I can’t really say, if it’s necessary or not. I’m a bit late to answer this message so if she already laid over the weekend please let me know!

      Delete
    4. I hope so! When she on her basking branch, she has quite the belly on her. She doesn't like being touched, but when I feel her stomach, I don't feel any individual eggs... But that could surely just be me not knowing what to look for. She hasn't laid yet. But she did eat some greens this morning and was very eager for more when I got home. Still find her eating sand. But it seems to be coming out in her feces, so hopefully all is good. I am looking to get my hands on a bit of liquid calcium, since she isn't eating crickets at the moment. Thank you for the help, nonetheless.

      Delete
    5. She has FINALLY just started digging in her bin, like 15 mins ago. I know the sand is not wet enough. Is it okay to add water once she takes a break? She just went back up to her branch. (I'm assuming the wetness was not sufficient.) I'm afraid if I get in there and make the sand wet again, that she'll abandon the bin.

      Delete
    6. Yes, I think I would – as quickly as possible and with the least amount of disturbance possible I would swoop out the laying bin, wet it, mix it up again, pack it down a bit, and then add it to the cage again. It shouldn’t bother her too much. Good luck!

      Delete
  30. oh dear, now I feel a bit of what a worried parent may feel. I have a 10 month old panther cham, n a reptibreeaze viv, humidifier going at regular intervals and spray daily, correct lights and temps. She's always very active, and when I open the door, she practically jumps onto my hand for walkabouts. I haven't bred her, but have had a laying bin in her viv since she was 6 months old. However this morning she was laying on top of the laying medium (a mix of organic soil and washed play sand), the soil had been disturbed but not tunnelled deep. she was on her side, eyes sunken and listless. yes I did pick her up, feed her water, and she rallied a little. Tonight, she was hanging by her tail upside down behind the bin. she is alive obviously, but I've just covered the viv and am leaving her to it. I've read various blogs that advise others with similar circumstances to get her to the vet. But equally I don't want to disturb nature at work as it were. Do I err on the side of caution and take her to the vet? any help much appreciated. please??

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi, thank you for reaching out! In a scenario like this where you describe her as listless and weak, I would take her to a vet and see what might be happening. My personal rule is to leave a female mostly alone if she seems like herself (is still active, alert, mobile, etc.) but if I start to see signs that she's "off" I will go to a vet to get another opinion and see if anything else needs to be done.

    An x-ray might reveal that one egg might be too large for her to pass on her own, so all the others are stuck regardless of how hard she pushes! Or maybe one egg has cracked inside the uterus, and that's causing an infection to set in. Etcetera. Not to scare you of course, but that's why I recommend going to a vet if she starts to act unlike normal self. Somethings we just can't deal with at home!

    Best of luck! Let me know if you need anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  32. hi Olimpia, thank you for that, it confirms what I think I was going to do in the morning. I will let you know what happens to my baby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi Olimpia, sadly my little lady had to be put to sleep today. She was egg bound with MBD. I am totally devastated. My vet is very experiences with herps and we went over every single aspect of Freya's care, feeding, gut loading the insects, supplements, lighting, misting, the works and she said she couldn't see anything problematic. However, my purchase history with her wasn't great, having bought her as a "him" originally (I wanted a male to start as I know females can be more of a challenge for a newbie) and I worked hard at getting everything perfect. Also the pet shop owner got quite cagey when I complained. From the xrays and history the vet reckons it might have been a kidney exacerbated by her producing her first clutch of eggs. Even with the oxy she had trouble passing her eggs, but the couple of days I went in, with the vet beside me, I lifted her up gently and she held on and two days in a row she passed eggs on my hand. The vet was surprised. I don't know, I am gutted. Thank you for your help tho.

      Delete
    2. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that! Poor Freya. Unfortunately I know how you feel – I’ve lost chameleons before after a lot of effort and worry to get them healthy and it’s terrible. Thankfully the vet confirms that you did everything you possibly could have done for her! Perhaps it was mediocre care she received while living at the pet store, depending on how old she was when you got her, that led to weakened kidneys or bone density issues.

      Again, I’m sorry to hear this. If you need anything else or have any questions if you ever feel like trying chameleons again, let me know.

      Delete
  33. My baby Mina (and she's still a baby, no larger than a parakeet) stopped eating and started staying at the bottom of her cage. She's 5-6 mos old. I was horribly worried. I'd read about blockage issues with sand, and substrates and I was afraid to buy just any dirt. I decided to try the fine coconut substrate that I use for my corn snake, as it's supposed to be easier to digest and has the texture of a sandy soil. It also holds moisture fairly decent. It'd been a couple of days since she'd eaten so I gave her a hornworm which she can never resist because I knew she'd need her strength. I found a deep dish pan that fit in the bottom of her cage and was around 9" deep. I filled it with the moistened coconut substrate but the first day she seemed to just dig around aimlessly. That night I dug a hole at the edge all the way to the bottom hoping to assist her in figuring out what to do. The next day and night she spent in that hole and had tunneled a bit further. Once I peeked in to make sure she wasn't having issues and I saw one of her eggs which looked enormous for her tiny body. After she was done, she spent hours leveling off the dish pan. She came up looking exhausted and thin. I offered her another hornworm hoping it would help build her strength back to hunt her crickets. She ate the hornworm, and drank from her dripper. A few hours later she was nailing crickets like a champ. I'm so relieved. I'm amazed that this little girl was able to do all of that. I didn't count the eggs, I just dumped the whole thing. Should I be counting? I'm not planning to breed her with my male.

    ReplyDelete
  34. My veiled chameleon is 7 no the old and just laid her first eggs there are 28 eggs. I knew she could lay eggs without bredding but what do I do with the infertile eggs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura, I love the name Mina, I had a dog for many years whose name was Mina! Good, that all sounds pretty normal, the second time she will probably be much more efficient at it. You don’t have to count the eggs but I think it can’t hurt to track the number of eggs she’s laying. She’s little now so it doesn’t matter much but once she’s fully grown knowing how many eggs she lays can let you know if you’re overfeeding too much – if she lays about 40-60 eggs that’s in the normal range but if she’s laying 90 then you know she’s probably eating a bit too much and producing more eggs as a result.

      Anonymous - You can discard the eggs however you want to. You can just throw them away, dig them into plant pots as fertilizer, or feed them to other pets that may eat small eggs, like monitor lizards, tegus, or even chickens.

      Delete
  35. Not sure what's going on. My chameleon is only about 6-1 year. She all of a sudden began to bite and turn black just at the sight of my mom. She bit my mom once tearing a whole through the sleeve of a quite thick jacket and hisses at her constantly. She's recently started snapping at me too. Any advice?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi, i never understood the difference of an unfertile egg and a fertile egg, is one going to hatch healthier than the other or are they the same?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Travis, an unfertile egg will not hatch. Only fertile eggs produce babies.

    ReplyDelete

Back to Top