Breeding concerns, dehydrated Chameleon


Established Member
I have made my first attempt at breeding veild chameleons. I keep them in separate cages 24"x24"x36" screened. Both with zoomed lighting basking lamp and UVB bulbs. UVB bulbs where replaced last week and no signs of MBD in either one (bulbs are replace every 6 months sense I have failed at this before). I figured after reading an artical about them laying eggs 20-30 days after, I would go ahead and replace the females bottom completely with a natural sand/soil mix for her to lay in about 10" deep. Normally I just keep a potted hibiscus or pothos in with her (I change them out regularly). I do this to give he a place to lay infertile eggs. 4 days ago she stopped eating and drinking. Eating fine, I read that that is common, but water scared me. keep in mind I have had these for 2 years now and the male is still his normal self. I actually have 3 vields and a panther. None of the others are exhibiting any untypical behavior.

So here is what I noticed over those four days.
Day one she looked normal and still ate, but when the monsoon mister kicked on, she just sat in it and did not even try to drink. I did not put to much weight into it being she just might have drank earlier, and may not be thirsty. I do have drips systems set up as well, but usually she drinks from the branches when the mister goes off. So this is not normal behavior for her.

2nd day I noticed her eyes where a little sunk in from dehydration and she started pooping white. This concerned me a lot. Now I know for sure she is not drinking but I also know dehydration can funnel out of control very fast, and want to take action as fast a I can without overreacting. I watched and started increasing the misting. I usually have the monsoon set to 3 to 4 times a day at 45 sec. I increased to 5 times a day for 60 sec. This might be overdoing it, Idk!

Day 3, She looked ready bad so I gave he a 30 min shower (she did not drink) and started to force feed her the water. I did however take note of the first hole she dug for her eggs (empty). I continued to do forced drinking sessions through out the day and even today ( she does look better but still wont drink on her own).

Today we called a local vet but we have no reptile vets within a 3 hour drive from us (we live in no mans land or if you prefer B.F.E.). The vet said what I did was good, but there is nothing they can do for us. They did recommend increasing misting and continue forcing the water in her. They also recommended putting something around the enclosure (like a tarp) to reduce escaped humidity and said she needs it even more because of the egg laying process, I am skeptical with this since it reduces air flow.

I know dehydration is a common killer for them but its usually not the root of the problem something else caused it to start weather it be stress, illness, disease, or not enough of a water source. sense I do not think the amount of water is the problem, heck it might even be too much now. Anyway, I am wondering if it could be stress due to breeding, changing he cage media, or something else altogether. I tried to give as much info as I can think of. if anyone else has had a similar situation or know what might be the cause. I need help!

P.S. She has not laid the eggs yet. And I am starting to get concerns about possibly being egg bound soon. I could just be nervous. I have killed one in the past this way, but she has plenty of area to lay and does not seam overly boated yet! Her belly is fat and if you feel her you can feel the eggs but they are not exactly visible. I also took note that only about a 12"x12" area is moist from misting. The rest is somewhat dry. Maybe has something to do with he not liking her egg laying options? well, That is before I increased the misting.
Last edited:


Avid Member
If she dug a hole and abandoned it, that is not a good sign. She either got spooked or the substrate is not deep enough or the right consistancy. I also would not have been forcing her water the past few days this is just going to cause unwanted stress. It is normal for females to stop eating, drinking and become lethargic looking the days before egg laying. It is your job as a keeper to notice these signs and meet your chameleons needs. If this is her first time laying eggs whether that be fertile or infertile in your care thats where this can become tricky because you dont exactly know her needs. Some females are easy layers some are more difficult. Your female is ready to lay right now and needs those eggs out. If shes not using the substrate in the bottom of her enclosure i recommend filling a full sized garbage can with well over a foot of washed moist play sand with abit of natural soil mixxed in say 14-16 inches and 6 parts sand to 1 part soil. Place her uvb light over top (not the heat lamp as it will overheat quickly). Place her in there with nothing else, no plants no sticks or she will just sit there and do nothing. Ovbiously test the sand make sure its moist enough to dig a tunnel. Id leave her in there all day and if this doesnt work you need to goto a proper vet because she will become egg bound.


Established Member
I can but wont be tell tomorrow. Today I am going home and readjust according to the vet. I can take before and/or after pics. I can set up for What your saying as well, and will. I was not sure about the sand to soil consistency. I have a lot more soil than sand I would dare to say 10-1 soil to sand was not sure how to set that up. I read that people use either sand or soil or a mix of both so I did not think that made a difference. I have plenty of addition sand and soil for for a 6-1 sand to soil mix like you stated (keeping it moist). This is her first time laying eggs and my first time dealing with it other than the time I killed one. At that point I knew nothing and gave it no place at all, and did not breed it. It was my only one and first time owner, so stupidity won. I am much more involved and experienced now, but still ignorant to breeding and laying of eggs, So I appreciate all the help. I am glade I did notice signs I just was not sure what they meant. I was thinking the worst and wanted to take action fast. I clearly misread. I do not want to stress her out any further than I already have. I will update in the morning.


Established Member
Also when you say a full side trash can, are we talking kitchen (5-10gal) or like curb side 30-40gal? I have both.


Established Member
Yes I usually have at least a potted plant in a planter about that size. Recently changed it for the female. I am at home now and i think for the most part done. I am going to add some picks of her enclosure as well as what I got and set up for her to lay. Per what i gathered from your info. Let me know what your thoughts are.


Established Member


Established Member
Apologies for the order
They are kinda mixed up. Last three are her enclosure. The rest are the egg laying area. Hopefully that looks about right to you. I will state that when I came home today she eagerly ate and drank.


Established Member
Also I rest my mister to my normal settings. I wanted you to see it. Do you think that's about right for them?


Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi there @CHIMP! So, from your pictures I can see some potential husbandry issues that need to be addressed, though I wouldn't make many changes until your girl has laid her clutch to avoid stressing her out. If you copy/paste and fill out the following form, we can take a look and help you give your chams the best captive life possible!

Chameleon Info:
  • Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?
  • Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?
  • Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?
  • Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?
  • Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?
  • Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?
  • History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.

Cage Info:
  • Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?
  • Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?
  • Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?
  • Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?
  • Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?
  • Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?
  • Location - Where are you geographically located?

Current Problem - The current problem you are concerned about.


Please Note:
  1. The more details you provide the better and more accurate help you will receive.
  2. Photos can be very helpful.


Established Member
Well I can tell you your set up is not a 30 gal trash can. Nore is that 6:1 sand to soil, nore is it empty. None the less I tried to replicate it to the best of my ability based on what I have around the house. I know the other person said to not make any changes. But I do not think what I have now is working and I didn't like the idea of leaving her in a trash can all night and day so I took a chance.


Established Member
I dont know if I wanna mess with it to much more. Do you think this will work for now?


Established Member
Good karma I will get back to you after work. It's been two years sense I initially set up. I do not remember the brands of everything I have. I have listed most of what I know and have previously just not in that format. I know there is some stuff I didn't touch on. Once I get home I will look at it all and give the info in the format your requesting. Do you want just her or all 4?


Chameleon Enthusiast
Well I can tell you your set up is not a 30 gal trash can. Nore is that 6:1 sand to soil, nore is it empty. None the less I tried to replicate it to the best of my ability based on what I have around the house. I know the other person said to not make any changes. But I do not think what I have now is working and I didn't like the idea of leaving her in a trash can all night and day so I took a chance.
I was about to do the trash can method on my female but also didn’t like the idea of putting her in a trash can and stressing her out. The cage over the bucket was the best idea I could think to do without over stressing her and making her the laying bin she needed after 24 hour she went down and started to lay her eggs. I hope it works out for you
Top Bottom