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Care Guide for Pregnant Chameleons

Amazing Chameleons

Pregnancy is common for all types of living organisms, and obviously the mother’s lifestyle changes when she is pregnant. It doesn’t matter whether you are a human or a chameleon, a different approach and care should be followed throughout the pregnancy period.

What are pregnant female chameleons called?

When female chameleons carry eggs, then they are called gravid chameleons.

Table of Contents

How do you know when your female chameleon is pregnant?

When the female chameleon scratches the ground or tries to dig the floor, she is ready to lay eggs. Female chameleons will change their color and maintain that color for more than 3-4 months.

In that case, your female chameleon is probably pregnant. Veiled chameleons usually change their color to dark green color with yellow and blue lines or patches during the gestation period.

Your chameleon will gain weight all of a sudden. After the breeding season, repeatedly weigh her to notice the increase in weight so that you can confirm whether she is pregnant or not.

During the gestation period, your chameleon will take in as much food as it can, and during the period of laying eggs, she won’t eat at all.

Most of the time you will see your chameleon at the basking spot, which happens only if they are pregnant and they become aggressive toward other male chameleons. She might turn black in color and begin hissing, gasping, and rocking back and forth.

How should you take care of your chameleon during the gestation period?

In this period, you have to worry more about the floor of the cage than the trees and plants because, at this time, the female chameleon will come down and search for a proper place to lay her eggs. It is recommended to remove your chameleon from the cage and to place her in a short cage or bucket which is filled with soil. The soil should be up to 1-foot-deep and 9 inches wide.

You can place the chameleon in a separate bucket, or else you can keep a bowl in the cage itself filled with soil. Place some plants and branches in the bucket/laying box.

During the gestation period, your chameleon will look thin and dehydrated, so maintain proper temperature in her cage and don’t handle her throughout the gestation period.

How to identify whether the chameleon has laid eggs

You will find your female chameleon sitting in one place where she has dug and buried her eggs. After confirming you have to transfer your female chameleon to the cage.

The number of eggs depends on the species of the chameleon. The number of eggs a female veiled chameleon can lay will be between 20 to 200, whereas a female panther chameleon will only lay between 10 to 40 eggs.  

How long do chameleons carry eggs?

Female chameleons carry the egg for 4 to 12 months. This can differ according to species.

How many days after mating does a female chameleon become pregnant?

Usually, all types of chameleons become pregnant and lay eggs within 20 to 30 days after mating.

Does every chameleon lay eggs?

Jackson chameleon doesn’t lay eggs. Instead, they give live birth. The female chameleon carries 8-30 babies and gives birth after 6 months.

How to take care of the eggs

Cover the laying box with a screen mesh and keep it in a dark, warm part of your house, out of the reach of kids and pets. Depending on the species, the eggs may hatch within few weeks or within a year.

Can female chameleons lay eggs without mating?

No, female chameleons cannot lay fertilized eggs without mating. But they will save the sperm and lay the second set of eggs using the saved sperm. The fertilized eggs which are laid using the saved sperm are weaker compared to other eggs.

Food during pregnancy

You will need to keep your pregnant chameleon as healthy as you can. Give her a variety of foods and expect that she will eat more than usual in this period of time. Along with crickets, give her cockroaches, super worms, silkworms, hornworms, houseflies, and stick bugs.

Always dust the vitamin supplements before you feed your chameleon during this period, and make sure that the insects are pesticide-free. The most recommended supplements are Rep-Cal Calcium without Vitamin D3, Rep-Cal calcium with vitamin D3, and Rep-Cal Herptivite during pregnancy to make your chameleon’s bones stronger.

You have to control the diet of the chameleon, which will slow/stop the egg production and therefore, help your female chameleon to live longer.

Once the female chameleon has mated, her diet can be increased and the temperature of the cage slightly increased, too. Once she starts to produce eggs, the number of eggs is set and the clutch size will be small. The increased feeding is helping to improve the health of the eggs she is working on.

Once your chameleon has laid eggs, feed her well for a few days and then put her back on the regular diet, so that she won’t produce eggs again. You need to know what you are doing.

The diet has to be controlled appropriately depending on the state or point of reproduction that the female is in so that you can prevent large clutches and egg production, which might stress your chameleon.

Usually, there is another clutch laid with some fertile eggs after the first one, so the diet/temperature process is repeated.

Diseases and pregnancy

Your chameleon will be very stressed and vulnerable during the pregnancy period. At this stage, chameleons are susceptible to disease because their immune system is weak.

Make sure to provide them with proper food, supplements, and maintain the cage appropriately. By following these guidelines, you can prevent most diseases from affecting your chameleon.

Egg Retention/Egg binding

Egg retention is a condition where the female chameleons cannot produce mature eggs during reproduction.

The common causes of egg retention are

  • Anatomical defects
  • Dehydration
  • Large/malformed eggs
  • Improper temperature
  • Illness
  • Lack of a good nesting site

Symptoms of egg retention are:

  • The female chameleon is pregnant but depressed
  • Inactive
  • Lethargic
  • Raises its hind limbs and strains without producing any eggs for a long period

Prevention:

It is always better to avoid this kind of disease by providing better comfort to the pregnant female chameleon, or else this condition may lead to death.

Check the cage conditions regularly, especially the temperature and humidity levels. Give proper supplements to the chameleon. Providing proper and healthy food avoids most of the risk of infection and disease in chameleons.

When the female chameleon is pregnant, prepare the cage with a good substrate so that she can lay the eggs in a comfortable place.

Treatment for this disease:

These types of complicated diseases need the intervention of a vet to cure the disease so that both the mother and the eggs will be safe.

Most vets will provide a shot of oxytocin along with calcium to strengthen the bones and to induce contractions so that the chameleon can lay the eggs.

Chameleon Skin

Dehydration during pregnancy

During the pregnancy period, the food intake may rapidly increase—as well as decrease—for your chameleon. When chameleons don’t eat and drink properly, there is a large risk of dehydration. Dehydration is dangerous for all chameleons, but especially for pregnant chameleons.

Dehydration is also one of the major causes of egg binding. One of the significant reasons why chameleons die is dehydration. When your chameleon shows the following symptoms, then they are dying because of severe dehydration.

  • Sagging skin
  • Sunken eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Less active

Proper showering mostly solves the dehydration issue. When you are misting the cage closely monitor your pregnant chameleon to see whether she is drinking water or not. It is best to take her to the vet when you confirm she is pregnant and you see that she is not eating or drinking.

Bodily injuries

During pregnancy, the female chameleon will be stressed and weak. Objects in the enclosure could easily injure her. Injuries during pregnancy could lead to health issues for both her and the baby chameleons inside her.

In the enclosure, make sure all the light fixtures, plants, and any other movable objects are firmly in place. Heating lamps should be located at a distance so that she does not sustain lamp burns.

Breeding

Don’t breed the chameleons too often. It is not good for your female chameleons, since they become weak during every pregnancy and it also reduces their life span. Breed your chameleons after 3 to 4 years. Pregnancy is one of the reasons why female chameleons have a shorter life span than male chameleons.

Pregnancy is an important phase for female chameleons where they become protective and stressed a lot. If you are attentive and take care of her properly, your chameleon and the babies will live a healthy life.

How long does it take for a chameleon egg to hatch?

The chameleons take 6 to 9 months to hatch. The chameleon’s baby needs to wait for a long time to be hatched.

How long does it take for a chameleon to get pregnant after mating?

The chameleon takes around 20 to 30 days to get pregnant after mating.

What is egg bound or egg retained?

Chameleons reproduce by laying eggs. Sometimes, the chameleons may have the problem of being egg bound or egg retained. This is a situation where the egg is stuck inside the female chameleon. It can also occur when the chameleon lays a clutch of eggs but not all of them are released. This is a rare and dangerous situation. This may lead to death for your chameleon pet.

If you suspect your female chameleon is egg bound, take her to your vet immediately.

What are the signs of egg binding in chameleons?

Egg bound is an inability to lay eggs. When the chameleons are egg bound, they will have the following symptoms:

  • Serious illness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Refusing to eat
  • Inability to climb
  • Sunken or closed eyes

What do the retained eggs do?

Retained eggs absorb the nutrients that the female needs to survive and may even compress her lungs until she suffocates. This condition is also called egg retention.

Why does egg binding occur in chameleons?

The condition of being egg-bound is rare in chameleons. They occur because of:

  • Incorrect husbandry and living conditions
  • Not providing laying bins
Chameleon Money

How many eggs do chameleons lay?

The number of eggs that a chameleon will lay depends upon the species of chameleon. If your chameleon pet is a smaller species, it may lay only two to four eggs at a time.

If your chameleon pet is a larger species, it may lay between 80 to 200 eggs at a time. Usually, female chameleons lay eggs one to three times in a year, on average.

Female chameleons do not need mating to lay eggs. When they lay eggs without mating, they will be unfertilized eggs. They will lay unfertilized eggs regularly, usually every three to six months.

Do fertilized eggs and unfertilized eggs make any difference while laying eggs?

Chameleons lay what is called a clutch. It may contain both fertile and infertile eggs. Whether it may be unfertilized eggs or fertilized eggs, that does not make any difference in the trouble of laying eggs for your chameleon.

Do chameleons have any particular season when they lay their eggs?

No! Laying eggs does not depend on the season. Chameleon will lay eggs during any season.

What should I do when my chameleon lays eggs?

Provide a lot of calcium and water after she lay eggs. Remember to maintain her diet in order to keep her healthy.

Why is my chameleon digging a hole?

When a chameleon digs a hole, it is often a sign of making some space to lay eggs. The chameleons also dig a test hole for the best location.

Why does a chameleon lay eggs in a hole?

Chameleons lay their eggs and then bury them safely so that they can let their eggs be incubated and hatch later.

What kind of places do chameleons like to lay eggs?

Chameleons will search for a place where the surroundings will be cool and the ground will be moist. This helps baby chameleons to crawl easily after they hatch from the eggs.

Can you eat chameleon eggs?

Yes! You can certainly eat unfertilized eggs. But be sure to boil it before eating.

How do you know if your chameleon is pregnant?

A pregnant chameleon will start to change her eating habits. It may be less or more. You might also see a little bulge in the abdomen area. She will change into a stunning color which indicates that she is pregnant.

How big is a chameleon egg?

The chameleon eggs weigh around 1 to 1.5 grams. The length of a chameleon egg is around 2 centimeters.

How can you tell if a chameleon egg is fertilized?

Chameleons lay a clutch, and inside of those are some fertilized eggs and some unfertilized eggs. The unfertilized eggs are yellowish in their shell color, whereas fertilized eggs are whitish. The unfertilized eggs do not have regular growth and start to get moldy.

At what age does a female chameleon start to lay eggs?

Some chameleons lay eggs starting at their 6th month. It is better not to breed your chameleon until she reaches one or one and a half years of age. Chameleons are mature enough to lay eggs and maintain their health then.

What happens if the pregnant chameleon is suffering from MBD?

Your female chameleon might not be getting proper calcium supplements and UVB light. This could lead your pet to undergo MBD, which causes her to lose strength. It also makes it physically hard for her to lay eggs.

Why are my chameleon eggs not hatching?

A high temperature for chameleon eggs is not good. The eggs may take more time to hatch when they are kept at a high temperature. Or sometimes they may fail to hatch completely if they are too warm. It is best to leave your chameleon eggs where they are placed.

What is the color of chameleon eggs?

The fertile ones are more opaque-looking and whiter than the infertile eggs. Infertile eggs will mold and go bad within a couple of weeks after being laid.

Does the clutch of eggs hatch at the same time?

No, the clutch of eggs does not hatch at the same time. But they will normally hatch within a week of each other. Panther chameleons may take nearly two months to hatch from a single clutch of eggs. So don’t throw the eggs till they get moldy!

Difference between fertilized and unfertilized eggs

Fertilized egg Unfertilized egg
Whitish grey in color Yellowish in color
Growth is constant Growth is not constant
Bigger size when compared to an unfertilized Smaller size when compared to fertilized
They hatch They do not hatch
It will be seen only after the mating It will be seen with or without mating