Extremely fertile Yemen female - ever had a Caesarian in a cham before?

starter

Member
My Lizzie laid 84 eggs in January and now, end of April, she has laid and/or is still pregnant with a total of 85 eggs and this is causing serious problems.

The first time, she managed well. She was well over a year old, was strong an healthy and bigger than average (240g weight pregnant, 180g after laying). She dug a deep hole and did everything the way it should be, and also recovered quickly after laying. The eggs were not fertilised - so, sorry, there won't be any babies!

The second time it was very different. Last Tuesday (more than a week ago now) she laid 71 eggs. She had been very tired and exhausted two or three days before that and she did not dig a hole, but laid the eggs in a corner on top of the earth/soil mix provided for her in her very large, covered laying box. It was the same one which she had happily dug her hole in the first time. After that, she seemed extremely weak and tired, so I gave her especially nutritious food and good care. However, three days later she laid one more egg on the floor of her viv, and the day after another one, and her condition kept deteriorating. So I took her to the vet yesterday, paid £180 (about $235) for an ultrasound examination and some medicines, and learned that she still has 12 eggs in her belly. This time I'd expect that the eggs are fertilised as Lizzie has been with a healthy male (see Sherlock in my avatar), and I have invested in incubators and additional vivariums, as I would like to start breeding.

At the vet's: The specialised and highly recommended reptile lady vet from France did NOT induce labour to expel the remaining eggs, because my Lizzie seemed too weak to her; she suggested to get her back to strength first with 3x daily syringe feeding and water insertion, and to come back again in a few days if she does not pass naturally by then. That will be 10 or more days after her original laying date. The vet also said that if she injects a labour-inducing medicine then (I think she mentioned the name oxytoxin) and it does not help, she will have to perform a Caeserian (C-section) to get the eggs out. She recommended if I choose to do that we could have Lizzie spayed at the same time. I did not ask her about the cost for such a surgery, but I expect it to be very high.

Now my questions: Has anyone of you experienced such a case before? What did you do? Also, if anyone of you had such big clutches before - were subsequent clutches of the same female that big again or were they normal?

In the first case - if Lizzie has some disposition that makes her produce far too many eggs at once every three months - I would opt for spaying to save her life.
In the latter case - if the two huge clutches in a row were just bad luck - I would keep Lizzie for future breeding. But who can tell?

Last question: If I don't get her spayed - is there any way to prevent her from producing eggs within the next six months or so? Some sort of contraceptive for chameleons? I would like to give her plenty of time to recover before another pregnancy.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm pretty much dead on my feet at the moment, and don't feel like I have much to add to the subject (too tired to think!), but I thought I'd swing by and tag a couple people before I pass out. :)

@jannb @Brodybreaux25
It’s not that she is extra fertile. As mentioned above, it’s likely she is being over fed. Temp has a lot to do with it too. You should scale both back to the minimum required rates.
 

starter

Member
Oh, thank you so much for this information - I had no idea that I might have been overfeeding her!
Indeed, Lizzie has always had almost unrestricted access to food, mainly dusted locusts and crickets and a bowl full of green leaves and herbs, fruit & veggie pieces and worms (mainly calciworms and Morio worms, only occasionally some mealworms and wax worms).
I used to breed mammals in former years and know from those times that gravid females have strongly increased nutritional intake needs compared to non-pregnant ones, and therefore I thought the more Lizzie eats the better for her, and that she would naturally know when she has got enough. So, in future I will measure her food intake. That's good advice, thank you!

If someone can give me an indication how much food is right for a non-pregnant versus a pregnant female of about 180g body weight per day, I would be really grateful.
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
My Lizzie laid 84 eggs in January and now, end of April, she has laid and/or is still pregnant with a total of 85 eggs and this is causing serious problems.

The first time, she managed well. She was well over a year old, was strong an healthy and bigger than average (240g weight pregnant, 180g after laying). She dug a deep hole and did everything the way it should be, and also recovered quickly after laying. The eggs were not fertilised - so, sorry, there won't be any babies!

The second time it was very different. Last Tuesday (more than a week ago now) she laid 71 eggs. She had been very tired and exhausted two or three days before that and she did not dig a hole, but laid the eggs in a corner on top of the earth/soil mix provided for her in her very large, covered laying box. It was the same one which she had happily dug her hole in the first time. After that, she seemed extremely weak and tired, so I gave her especially nutritious food and good care. However, three days later she laid one more egg on the floor of her viv, and the day after another one, and her condition kept deteriorating. So I took her to the vet yesterday, paid £180 (about $235) for an ultrasound examination and some medicines, and learned that she still has 12 eggs in her belly. This time I'd expect that the eggs are fertilised as Lizzie has been with a healthy male (see Sherlock in my avatar), and I have invested in incubators and additional vivariums, as I would like to start breeding.

At the vet's: The specialised and highly recommended reptile lady vet from France did NOT induce labour to expel the remaining eggs, because my Lizzie seemed too weak to her; she suggested to get her back to strength first with 3x daily syringe feeding and water insertion, and to come back again in a few days if she does not pass naturally by then. That will be 10 or more days after her original laying date. The vet also said that if she injects a labour-inducing medicine then (I think she mentioned the name oxytoxin) and it does not help, she will have to perform a Caeserian (C-section) to get the eggs out. She recommended if I choose to do that we could have Lizzie spayed at the same time. I did not ask her about the cost for such a surgery, but I expect it to be very high.

Now my questions: Has anyone of you experienced such a case before? What did you do? Also, if anyone of you had such big clutches before - were subsequent clutches of the same female that big again or were they normal?

In the first case - if Lizzie has some disposition that makes her produce far too many eggs at once every three months - I would opt for spaying to save her life.
In the latter case - if the two huge clutches in a row were just bad luck - I would keep Lizzie for future breeding. But who can tell?

Last question: If I don't get her spayed - is there any way to prevent her from producing eggs within the next six months or so? Some sort of contraceptive for chameleons? I would like to give her plenty of time to recover before another pregnancy.
My new vet talked to me about this yesterday actually. According to him he doesn’t think we are at the point to be spaying female chameleons on a regular basis. He only recommends surgery if the female is having reproductive problems

What I do with my female is feed her smaller feeders and feed ever other day. She’s been able to hold a steady weight of 146g for a month now.
 

starter

Member
Wow, I find it really impressive when pet owners invest into surgeries and high vet costs for little and cheap-to-obtain pets like these. I used to run an animal shelter in rural Australia many years ago and recall from those times that many pet owners would give up their pets at the first sight of a health problem, and left them to the shelter to deal with the costs - and often got a new pet of the same kind straight away, because this was cheaper than going to the vet! I never want to belong to this type of people, although vet costs sometimes do scare me. Thank you very much for sharing your experience. Yes, this particular reptile vet (in Brighton, UK) was recommended to me by the local RSPCA reptile rescue centre and during my visit there yesterday, the RSPCA people brought or picked up three sick reptiles in themselves (an amazing huge Albino python with eye problems and two chameleons after surgery), so I think this is a good place for my Lizzie. Just for reasons of comparison: Do you remember how much you paid for this surgery?

It looks like we will have to have this surgery done, as Lizzie has not laid any further eggs by now.
 
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Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
My Lizzie laid 84 eggs in January and now, end of April, she has laid and/or is still pregnant with a total of 85 eggs and this is causing serious problems.

The first time, she managed well. She was well over a year old, was strong an healthy and bigger than average (240g weight pregnant, 180g after laying). She dug a deep hole and did everything the way it should be, and also recovered quickly after laying. The eggs were not fertilised - so, sorry, there won't be any babies!

The second time it was very different. Last Tuesday (more than a week ago now) she laid 71 eggs. She had been very tired and exhausted two or three days before that and she did not dig a hole, but laid the eggs in a corner on top of the earth/soil mix provided for her in her very large, covered laying box. It was the same one which she had happily dug her hole in the first time. After that, she seemed extremely weak and tired, so I gave her especially nutritious food and good care. However, three days later she laid one more egg on the floor of her viv, and the day after another one, and her condition kept deteriorating. So I took her to the vet yesterday, paid £180 (about $235) for an ultrasound examination and some medicines, and learned that she still has 12 eggs in her belly. This time I'd expect that the eggs are fertilised as Lizzie has been with a healthy male (see Sherlock in my avatar), and I have invested in incubators and additional vivariums, as I would like to start breeding.

At the vet's: The specialised and highly recommended reptile lady vet from France did NOT induce labour to expel the remaining eggs, because my Lizzie seemed too weak to her; she suggested to get her back to strength first with 3x daily syringe feeding and water insertion, and to come back again in a few days if she does not pass naturally by then. That will be 10 or more days after her original laying date. The vet also said that if she injects a labour-inducing medicine then (I think she mentioned the name oxytoxin) and it does not help, she will have to perform a Caeserian (C-section) to get the eggs out. She recommended if I choose to do that we could have Lizzie spayed at the same time. I did not ask her about the cost for such a surgery, but I expect it to be very high.

Now my questions: Has anyone of you experienced such a case before? What did you do? Also, if anyone of you had such big clutches before - were subsequent clutches of the same female that big again or were they normal?

In the first case - if Lizzie has some disposition that makes her produce far too many eggs at once every three months - I would opt for spaying to save her life.
In the latter case - if the two huge clutches in a row were just bad luck - I would keep Lizzie for future breeding. But who can tell?

Last question: If I don't get her spayed - is there any way to prevent her from producing eggs within the next six months or so? Some sort of contraceptive for chameleons? I would like to give her plenty of time to recover before another pregnancy.
Good day I’m sorry to hear your girl is having difficulty’s laying . That’s a huge load for her . She is indeed being over fed . Also what are her temps ? That also has to do with big clutches . Best of luck !.
 

starter

Member
Her basking spot has a temperature between 26 to 32 °C which is between 78 and 89 F, depending on the outside room temperature (her enclosure is next to a window, so sunlight leads to temperature changes during the day. In summer I close the curtain to hold off sunlight. Is that okay?
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Her basking spot has a temperature between 26 to 32 °C which is between 78 and 89 F, depending on the outside room temperature (her enclosure is next to a window, so sunlight leads to temperature changes during the day. In summer I close the curtain to hold off sunlight. Is that okay?
You have a thermostat? If not you should get one to control the heat. I turn my light off sometimes if it’s getting to hot
 

Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
Her basking spot has a temperature between 26 to 32 °C which is between 78 and 89 F, depending on the outside room temperature (her enclosure is next to a window, so sunlight leads to temperature changes during the day. In summer I close the curtain to hold off sunlight. Is that okay?
The 89 is much to warm . I know it’s the recommendation high end . Temps like that with over feeding cause big clutches . Along with many complications .
 

starter

Member
You have a thermostat? If not you should get one to control the heat. I turn my light off sometimes if it’s getting to hot
Yes, I have a thermostat. A simple one fixly attached near the basking lamp, and a second, pointer type one which measures the temperature wherever I point it to. Further, her vivarium is really large (150cm high x 60x60) and she can move between warmer and cooler places. But okay, I will make sure her basking spot does not get too hot in future, to prevent such large clutches.
 

starter

Member
Thank you all for your very helpful replies. It seems there is no end to learning as far as it comes to chameleon husbandry! I have reserved a spot for surgery at the vet's for next Tuesday (that was the earliest one I could get). If she lays in the meantime I can still cancel it, but if not she will be provided for.
 

Kristen Wilkins

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, I have a thermostat. A simple one fixly attached near the basking lamp, and a second, pointer type one which measures the temperature wherever I point it to. Further, her vivarium is really large (150cm high x 60x60) and she can move between warmer and cooler places. But okay, I will make sure her basking spot does not get too hot in future, to prevent such large clutches.
As long as she can go to a temp that’s cooler it’s good . Though basking definitely should be no more then 84 with eggs . Often they just hang out up there . Please keep us posted on how she is .
 

ldarmo

Established Member
Oh, thank you so much for this information - I had no idea that I might have been overfeeding her!
Indeed, Lizzie has always had almost unrestricted access to food, mainly dusted locusts and crickets and a bowl full of green leaves and herbs, fruit & veggie pieces and worms (mainly calciworms and Morio worms, only occasionally some mealworms and wax worms).
I used to breed mammals in former years and know from those times that gravid females have strongly increased nutritional intake needs compared to non-pregnant ones, and therefore I thought the more Lizzie eats the better for her, and that she would naturally know when she has got enough. So, in future I will measure her food intake. That's good advice, thank you!

If someone can give me an indication how much food is right for a non-pregnant versus a pregnant female of about 180g body weight per day, I would be really grateful.
I lost my first panther chameleon to egg binding (according to necropsy). I thought I had the egg husbandry issue under control because her enclosure was over a deep substrate. Basking area 85, with a gradient to lower temperatures. She was apparently healthy, active and thriving for several months. When she died, she was under a year old, unmated. and retained a clutch of over 40 eggs. She had been eating well, never developed stress colors, then suddenly slowed down/stopped eating and died over just a couple days. She had always been ravenous, and I have a pretty much endless supply of feeders. I asked the breeder, more than once, if it was possible to overfeed while she was still under a year old, and he told me no. :( I have only recently seen in the forums that females given limited food/lower temperature range may live longer and be less stressed by large clutches of eggs.) I will carefully research this, and follow along on this thread, before getting another female. FWIW, I do have a male that I received as a 3 month old late last year; he is about 8 months old now, and doing great.
 
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