Female Veiled Strange Health Problems


New Member
I'll try to fill out the info about her first as best as I can remember it...

Enclosure: 18x18x36 screen.
Watering/Humidity: Drip and Mist, we mist frequently. Especially knowing that the humidity levels drop during the summer months with the AC units in the house.
Heat and Light: We have classic heat lamp one side/UVA bulb other side combo and a red heat light for night. Temps are consistently in the mid 80's.
Calcium: We gut load and dust with reptocal (that has D3 in it as well)
Food: Crickets, occasional leafy vegetation (romaine and spinach) (I'd love it if she'd eat roaches but, unlike my male, won't touch them.)
Droppings: consistent and normal (not orange)
History... this would be the long part. As far as I have read, she is not your norm for a female veiled.
Here are all the problems... I'll start back, LOL.
At about 9 months on we tried to give her every means to lay unfertilized eggs short of putting her in a bin and closing the lid for a few days. She was obviously getting to a point we were concerned that she was egg-bound. We even built up a "scaffolding" around the bucket rim thinking maybe she wouldn't because the dirt in the bucket wasn't technically the "bottom" of her enclosure where she just kept going. (see other post) So we went against most advice about a first clutch and we bred her with our male thinking that maybe she just wasn't going to lay those eggs unless they were fertilized.
We were spot on. She went right to business with our male and a little over two weeks later went straight to digging and laying. (We've read it takes about 30 days after copulation... again, not the norm). When she layed, she layed a clutch of 33 eggs. (!) (All of which appear to be fertile to this day).

After that she seemed the happiest little cham she'd been in a long time. We went straight to plumping her back up and getting her calcium levels back into par, after the calcium drain of laying.
I'm not sure if we simply hadn't noticed immediately, or if it happened gradually in the couple weeks after laying; but we noticed that several of her claws went missing. Some look very dark, like maybe they broke while digging and now there is some residual "soil" in where they once were. (?) I looked through the forums and found this to be somewhat normal. And got the tip to line the enclosure with a plastic fencing mesh (which works quite well for her when she wants to grasp the enclosure sides).
Here's the up to speed issues though... because of the missing claws she has more trouble climbing. She's taken a couple falls we think as we found her asleep at the bottom of the enclosure. It's been about a week now since then.
I've noticed (as I work VERY early in the morning) that she is sometimes awake in the middle of the night. (And often she sleeps for periods during the day now). I'm wondering if a fall may have occurred during one of the times she was awake at night... not climbing well AND not able to see what she's doing. I've not seen her fall during the day but my wife said she did once.
Now we have towels at the bottom of her enclosure to "cushion" any possible falls, and we leave a light on at night in the corner of the room... so that while it's still dim, it isn't totally dark. Since then we have not observed bottom of cage behavior.
Now things are progressing in other ways, however. She's stopped eating since yesterday (she's typically a very good eater), and I saw her tonight leaning very low on a branch gaping as if in pain for nearly a solid minute. She had crickets in her cup adjacent to where she was at (is her tongue stuck maybe? NO idea what the gaping signifies); and she was head bobbing soon after that (like my male in his mating behavior).
She layed eggs about 4 weeks ago. She's plump again, and it does appear to be bumpy protrusions. They look the same as when she was ready to lay. But it seems WAY to soon for that. Right???? When she saw our male during cleaning last week from across the room, she turned the black-yellow-turquoise gravid colors again. Is all this adding up to her needing to lay -AGAIN?
Please, any and all thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


Chameleon Queen
Sounds like she may be getting ready to lay eggs again. If she does the mouth opening thing more it might not be a good thing especially if she is putting her nose in the air at the same time.

Does she have access to an egglaying Site? I'm hoping she's not heading towards eggbinding. How much do you feed her in a week?

It doesn't surprise me that she laid eggs sooner than usual after mating with the male...it can happen due to where she was at in her cycle when she mated.
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New Member
I took out the dirt bucket because I figured she probably has a few months before she needs to lay again (?) (How soon could she need to lay since her last clutch was only just 4 weeks ago????!!!)

I feed her about 6 crickets a night, occasionally just a couple if she isn't as enthusiastic about eating. I calcium dust and gut load every time.

What might the gaping mouth thing be about? And the head bobbing?

Lazy Boy

I wouldn't be feeding at night. I like to feed mid-late morning so he can digest his food before bed.


New Member
Do you hear popping noises when she breathes with her mouth gaped open? If so you might have the beginning signs of a respiratory infection. And I agree with Lazy Boy, I feed all my chams mid morning so their food has time to digest.


Chameleon Queen
If she's gaping and has her nose in the air at the same time it can mean she's having some difficulty breathing. There could be a number of reasons for it. I'm not a vet so I can't be sure.

IMHO its important to always provide a place for them to dig to lay eggs. There's no set time IMHO between fertile clutches or clutches that contain fertile eggs with veileds. Generally infertile clutches are 120 to 130 days apart.

I also don't like that she's sleeping during the day sometimes. I would make sure she has a place to dig and keep an eye on her for signs of eggbinding so you can get her to the vet if need be.
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New Member
So I've observed her over the last couple days and examined her carefully. I haven't seen the gaping behavior other than the once. She hasn't fallen either. She is still sleeping on and off and lethargic. There is a "bump" protrusion on her back hip at the base of her tail. My bulb is about 6 months old but never felt it was as bright as the other one (on my male). I think I've had a bad bulb and am having issues with MBD.
Upon some research, I've found that with Veiled Chams it's recommended to use the desert bulbs rather than tropical. Go figure. So I'm upgrading and hoping things will get better and can reverse. My male is doing just fine, but don't want anything to go awry with him too. I'm thinking the calcium depletion from laying eggs is what spurred the MBD in the female and not the male.
As for feeding at night vs. morning... I hadn't really thought much about it. Often I feed during early evening hours, and that may have to be the rule from now on. Morning just isn't an option as I start work when they are still sleeping and get back late afternoon. (What do the bulk of you guys do?!) Also night is convenient on the days (er, nights, lol) that I go to feed my geckos crickets... get them all at the same time. My wife is cool with getting their lights on, misting, etc... but the crickets is a no go. LOL!
I put in the dirt bucket just in case, but we'll see. I'll update in a week or so. Thank you all for your feed back!


Chameleon Enthusiast
Why do you think she has MBD??? The protrusion you speak of could be the outline of an egg possibly.


Chameleon Queen
Please post photos of the female so I can see her arms and legs.

If she does have MBD then you need to correct it first and them keep her care proper so it won't come back.

To do this she will need some liquid calcium sandoz or gluconate every day until the bones are strong growth again and the other systems requiring calcium too.

To keep it from returning you need to dust the insects at most feedings with a phosphorous - free calcium powder to help make up for the poor ratio of calcium to phosphorous found in most feeder insects.

You also should dust twice a month with a phosphorous - free calcium D3 powder to ensure it gets some D3 and allowing it to produce the rest from its exposure to the UVB. D3 from supplements can build up in the system and lead to overdoses but D3 produced from exposure to UVB won't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of the UVB when it wants to.

You also want to dust twice a month with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A. Vitamin A from prEformed sources can build up in the system but beta carotene sources are converted as needed. This leaves it up to you to give prEformed vitamin A when needed.

Appropriate temperatures are also important since they play a part in digestion and thus indirectly in nutrient absorption.

Of course you need a proper UVB light and need to be sure the light doesn't pass through glass or plastic.


New Member
Well. We got the lights (one for my male too), got home and she was digging... She didn't go deeper than 4 or 5 inches this time around and she's laying eggs as I write this, lol.
Her limbs are all fine. It's just the one bump and the loss of some of her claws. We'll see about the bump after she's done and I'll post pics Tomorrow. I took some last night but nothing is going to change between tonight and tomorrow (tired, and tmrw is my day off :eek:) We'll go again from there. Thanks again guys!


Chameleon Queen
Please don't let her see you watching her while she is digging. It may make her stop and if it happens too often she could become eggbound.


Established Member
I would turn the light in the corner off. It could be keeping her up and could be one of the reasons she is sleeping during the day.

I would also try and figure something out so they can feed in the morning instead of the evening/night. Maybe try cup feeding. Just throw the crickets in a cup when you leave. Then they can enjoy them when they wake.


New Member
She didn't lay eggs, as she was too weak to do so. We took her to the vet and the vet agreed that it is MBD, especially with the quantity of eggs she laid (and has to lay again); and gave us liquid calcium. We've had to force the water (dropper along with liquid calcium). Her stools have gone runny in the last 3 days, an orange liquid. When we try to force feed her she regurgitates it. Tonight she regurgitated some mucous.

I'm convinced we have a parasite now. Coccidia? Trichomonas? I can't find anything on what these look like; nor how she could have possibly gotten them from. From the crickets? The soil seems the only thing possible and would make since from her laying eggs last month. Everything has been totally normal and then BAM in just less than one week! Makes me scared for my other cham and my geckos!

We are trying now to get an emergency vet appointment for her as our vet is closed until tuesday. Grrr. At the very least check her out for parasites, but at the progression of this whole thing and weak as she is, I don't think she's going to make it.

I will try to figure out how to get pics from my wife's phone to post. At the very least to have more visual info about this for the next person.


Chameleon Queen
Why you think she is too weak to lay the eggs?
Did you disturb her while she was digging?

She needs privacy and to be undisturbed to lay the eggs....however if she is really too weak to lay the eggs she needs to get them out somehow (surgery, oxytocin) or she will die. If she can possibly lay the eggs then disturbing her to take her to the vet's will almost certainly put her into eggbinding.

Why do you think she has parasites?


New Member
You should turn that red heat lamp off at night, it shouldn't be used at night or during the day, it can hurt their eyes and the temp should be going down 10-15 degrees at night, I'm not sure why no one has mentioned it yet but I know everyone on here would agree with me. She could be having trouble sleeping at night because of the red heat lamp which could be why she's taking naps during the day. Like I said they require a 10-15 degree drop in temp at night and pure darkness. I hope your little girl gets better, poor thing, I know it's gotta be really stressful seeing her like that.


New Member
Ok Guys. She passed away Sunday morning/ Saturday night. I've waited for the Vet Necropsy to communicate what took her. First, she never laid any eggs (other than the first 33), and we know not to disturb her. When laying we have her in the master bathroom (that never gets used). When laying, we do keep the lights on all the time as instructed from this forum.
Red heat bulb on at night... supposedly they aren't supposed to see the red spectrum. It gets chill in my home at night, so I thought the heat would be good. I guess I was wrong about that... =(
Nevertheless, the necropsy results... She had deformed ovaries, and an ovarian infection. No parasites, no respiratory infection. The infection filled her up (took up so much space (?)) apparently to where she didn't have enough room to eat or keep down fluids. This is why she was regurgitating food and water when force fed.
It's so awful to me that she went through all that because we kept trying to treat one thing or another.
I don't know if she had laid 33 eggs due to the ovarian deformities, or if the 33 eggs deformed her ovaries. I don't know if the stress from laying the 33 eggs is what caused her to get the infection.
Necropsy revealed she didn't have any eggs in her. So laying behavior and digging from the sensation of pressure that felt like she needed to lay?
I don't know, I'm still a bit confused from the whirlwind of it all.
Sometimes this forum also has conflicting information... "I dust my crickets every time" vs. "Dusting every time can lead to problems..."
I'd like to know how I could've helped her.
I'm concerned that her daughters will have the same issues... Is this kind of thing genetic? We feel like we've got the reptile version of Charlotte's Web going on here.
As great as our usual vet is, we've made contact with a zoo vet that specializes in herps and travels to clients homes, and charges by trip and time, rather than per animal. This is great for us, as I believe the environment is half the battle. (and we have plenty of other critters!)
So relieved though that it wasn't a parasite. That would have been a lot of fecal exams!
Thanks for your help guys.
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