Do freshly hatched chameleons need underground caves?

starter

Member
So, after 7 months waiting, I have spent my first day with my very first chameleon baby! It is my first attempt breeding Yemen Veiled Chameleons and, all together, I have more than 200 eggs in the incubators and my female's belly is big and round again...

My first baby will be joined by three more tomorrow, and about five more the day after - those are already in the process of hatching and I leave them in the incubator until the next morning and only take them out once they look strong and are walking around. Now the first baby who hatched yesterday and moved to his new home this morning is getting ready for his first night (it is after 5 pm here in the UK) - and keeps digging in the sand at the bottom of the vivarium. That's why I wonder whether newborn babies actually want to or need to sleep underground, which would be a logical conclusion, as in nature they are born underground. The current bedding is a mix of sand, shredded grains (meant as food for the feeder animals) and tree bark (to hold the moisture up), but it is not suitable for digging tunnels. But the baby keeps trying and is digging with great dedication. Do I need to give him some soil or alike where he can build a tunnel?

Second question: I have given him a few tiny hatchling locusts and crickets, but haven't seen him eating yet. I also have flightless fruit flies and small calciworms ready. Do the cham babies need any help with starting to eat? I will appreciate some advice!

I have added pictures of the digging baby and of my setup.

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starter

Member
Salty, the temperature right under the 40V basking lamp is 32C = 89F and at the bottom on the other side 25C = 77F at day time. At night, the lights go off and the temperature in the room is between 25C = 77F and 20C = 68F. I have one of those pointer thermometres with which I can measure the exact temperature at any particular spot in the enclosure and I do so several times a day. My incubator where the babies spend the first 1-2 days is throughout on 27-28C = 80-82F. According to the lots of reading that I have done over the last two years and all the information that I have gathered in this forum, these are good temperatures for Veiled chameleons. Aren't they?
 

AnamCara

Chameleon Enthusiast
Salty, the temperature right under the 40V basking lamp is 32C = 89F and at the bottom on the other side 25C = 77F at day time. At night, the lights go off and the temperature in the room is between 25C = 77F and 20C = 68F. I have one of those pointer thermometres with which I can measure the exact temperature at any particular spot in the enclosure and I do so several times a day. My incubator where the babies spend the first 1-2 days is throughout on 27-28C = 80-82F. According to the lots of reading that I have done over the last two years and all the information that I have gathered in this forum, these are good temperatures for Veiled chameleons. Aren't they?
I believe babies need lower temps than adults
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Room temp for the first few day, maybe a week. They cook ridiculously fast.

I have one of those pointer thermometres with which I can measure the exact temperature at any particular spot in the enclosure and I do so several times a day
You mean a laser thermometer? That is only good for measuring surface temps. If that’s what your using the actual temp is a good bit higher than what your reading.
 

starter

Member
Oh, I didn't know that - that's really important information, thank you. So the baby may have been indeed too hot. I won't leave the basking lamp on too long or lift it a bit higher. It is off now and the baby stopped digging. I have an excellent food supplier (Northampton Reptile Centre, England) and so I have an unlimited amount of food at hand and I am expecting about 50 babies. I have several vivariums set up. However, I think one of the freshly hatched babies is dying; it was fully hatched already hours ago and is just lying there without moving. Is there anything I can do?
 

salty dog

Chameleon Enthusiast
Research info on this site, there is all the info you need, all you have to do is read, if you care about your hatchling.. here is a picture of my nursery with 4 day old hatchlings 16 x 16 x 18 screen cage with lights held above on blocks162A1639-2F06-4B67-81B9-F227B7E40FB0.jpegACDB7C5F-4A82-42CC-8780-449CBB058555.jpegB252E393-8C00-4B7F-B9D4-0552BDA1F6FF.jpeg
 
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kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
Was he baby you're saying might be dying active at all? Many of them just lay there for the first few hours or even longer absorbing the rest of the yolk.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Oh, I didn't know that - that's really important information, thank you. So the baby may have been indeed too hot. I won't leave the basking lamp on too long or lift it a bit higher. It is off now and the baby stopped digging. I have an excellent food supplier (Northampton Reptile Centre, England) and so I have an unlimited amount of food at hand and I am expecting about 50 babies. I have several vivariums set up. However, I think one of the freshly hatched babies is dying; it was fully hatched already hours ago and is just lying there without moving. Is there anything I can do?
So the baby may have been indeed too hot. I won't leave the basking lamp on too long or lift it a bit higher. I
Unless it’s freezing in your house a basking lamp really isn’t needed. But if it’s cold enough that you actually do need it pull it back as far as you can until no part of the viv is over 80f.

Invest in a good digital thermometer.
Hatching is hard work, it’s normal for them to take a break.
 

starter

Member
No worries about the setup. This one is only for the first few days of up to five hatchlings, so I can watch them (it fits on my work desk). I have also already changed the formation of the "jungle gym" sticks for easier climbing. Once I have more than five they will move to the enclosures pictured below, and I also have plastic tubs ready to create something similar to the last picture if I witness any fighting.

But to get back to the original question: I have meanwhile transferred two more babies and they were digging for a while, too (although all lamps are switched off), so I think it must be a natural instinct.

About the weak baby: It was opening and closing the eyes and moving a tiny bit, when I gently touched it, but I will be surprised if it is not dead by tomorrow morning. That's the sad part of breeding which must be expected to a certain percentage I guess.
 

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Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
No worries about the setup. This one is only for the first few days of up to five hatchlings, so I can watch them (it fits on my work desk). I have also already changed the formation of the "jungle gym" sticks for easier climbing. Once I have more than five they will move to the enclosures pictured below, and I also have plastic tubs ready to create something similar to the last picture if I witness any fighting.

But to get back to the original question: I have meanwhile transferred two more babies and they were digging for a while, too (although all lamps are switched off), so I think it must be a natural instinct.

About the weak baby: It was opening and closing the eyes and moving a tiny bit, when I gently touched it, but I will be surprised if it is not dead by tomorrow morning. That's the sad part of breeding which must be expected to a certain percentage I guess.
Respectfully, I’m seeing a lot of red flags in the pics you posted. If interested we can help you get everything straight, just fill out the help form linked in my signature.
 
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