Help needed: Review info to be included in egg laying video

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi Chameleon Forums crew! @MissSkittles @kinyonga @AmandaS @Beman @JoXie411

I'm finally taking on the daunting task of making a video all about egg laying and chameleons. I've gotten lots of requests to make this video and have been hesitant because 1. I don't have any direct experience with egg laying and 2. I want to do right by this video. I want a keeper to watch this video and know what they need to know to feel ready for their female to lay eggs. Even though I don't have direct experience with egg laying, I have read hundreds of threads, articles, podcast episodes, videos etc. and have compiled all of this info to be included in the video. I'm looking for feedback to ensure I'm including what should be included and also get your advice from your own experiences (what has worked for you? What do you use for a bin? etc.). I also know there is conflicting info on what size bin to use -- can anyone provide some clarity on that?

These are my notes for the video. I will go into detail and show example pics/videos when appropriate.

How to know you have a female
  • Veileds: No tarsal spurs, female colors, smaller casque, etc.
  • Panthers: Peachy color
But she has never been with a male?
  • Will lay infertile eggs just like chickens
  • Veileds and panthers are oviparous
What does "egg bound" mean?
  • A chameleon is unable to lay her eggs and the eggs stay inside of her until they end up rotting and killing her
  • This is the most common and preventable cause of death for a female chameleon
How to know she is going to lay
  • 5-6 months old -- if you're not sure how old your cham is, I'd put a laying bin in there just to be safe
  • Gravid colors
  • Decreased appetite
  • Larger belly -- may look lumpy
  • Climbing around more and down to the bottom
What to do before she lays
  • Set up a laying bin
  • Make sure she is getting the right supplements
  • Make sure she has the correct UVB bulb
How to set up a laying bin
  • Plastic container that is around 10x10x10" and at least 6" deep, 8+" would be ideal
  • Can drill holes in the bottom to help with drainage
  • What would work: Plastic bin the size of shoe box, big circular planters, steralite tub, 5 gallon paint bucket, plastic tote
  • What would not work: Cottage cheese container,
  • Fill it up with washed play sand (some people used 50/50 washed play sand and soil)
  • Make sure the sand can hold its shape/tunnel -- chams dig diagonally so make sure it can hold its shape that way
  • Put in a stick/plant/some way to get into the laying bin
  • Place bin in the enclosure
  • Leave the bin in the enclosure permanently and when you can tell your cham is gravid make sure the sand is the correct mixture
What to do/expect while she lays
  • Give her privacy
  • If you disturb her, she could stop laying eggs part way through and get egg bound
  • Cover up the enclosure with a sheet -- can cut peek holes if you want to keep an eye on her
  • Should take anywhere from a few hours to a few days -- every cham is different. 6-12 hours is normal
  • She may make some test holes
  • Climb down, dig a hole, turn around with her butt towards the hole, lay the eggs, cover up the eggs, and climb back up.
  • No need to feed them while they dig
  • If you usually mist by hand, you can use a dripper or put some ice cubes on top of the enclosure if you don’t have a dripper
How to know she laid her eggs
  • She will no longer be at the bottom
  • Will look skinnier
  • Have sand/dirt on her nose
What to do after she lays
  • Offer calcium supplemented, gutloaded bugs then continue to feed like normal
  • Offer lots of water then continue to mist/fog the enclosure like normal
  • Retrieve the eggs and throw them out if they are infertile
  • If the eggs are fertile set them up in an incubator -- this video is not a breeding video and will not offer any guidance on incubating/breeding
Things that can go wrong
  • Chameleon has MBD and can't lay her eggs -- See a vet
  • Laying bin is offered too late and the chameleon is egg bound -- See a vet
  • Chameleon only lays some of her eggs but not all of them -- See a vet
How to prevent large clutch sizes
  • Laying lots of eggs takes a toll on the cham, can shorten their life span, and put them at high risk for health issues
  • 20-30 eggs is in the normal range, 30-50 is a lot, 50+ is A LOT
  • Lower temps -- basking temp of low 80s
  • Offer less food -- 2-4 medium sized bugs every 2-3 days
  • Don't let her see any male chameleons
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hmmm I didn’t get that notification for that tag. @Brad you shadow banning me??

I’ll red over the thread in a little I need coffee for my old lady eyes
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Not my real area of knowledge hun. I have no hands on experience here. Just what I have read and learned from other keepers with females. But here is what I see from your thorough list.

So low 80's would still be considered warm if your trying to reduce a clutch size some run temps of 78-81 max.

You could add with a female charting their weights using a kitchen gram scale can help identify when she is holding eggs and getting close to laying.

With the cover the cage... Make sure they know to just cover the front and to leave the bottom few inches uncovered if the other panels are solid. Need air flow while still providing privacy. And we don't want to make the enclosure a hot box.
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hmmm I didn’t get that notification for that tag. @Brad you shadow banning me??

I’ll red over the thread in a little I need coffee for my old lady eyes
I tagged ya after I already posted it :p

Beman -- I figured you could help since you see all the questions keepers ask and can help make sure I'm covering the popular ones. Plus I know you've read just as many threads and articles as me ;) Thanks for the suggestions!

Thanks kinyonga!!
 

JoXie411

Chameleon Enthusiast
I tagged ya after I already posted it :p

Beman -- I figured you could help since you see all the questions keepers ask and can help make sure I'm covering the popular ones. Plus I know you've read just as many threads and articles as me ;) Thanks for the suggestions!

Thanks kinyonga!!
Technology..... might be a millennial but I still don’t understand it lol

I agree with beman about lowering heat to low 75. In my experience they like to lay eggs against some thing. It may take a few weeks for them to finally lay eggs from the time they start showing they are gravid.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
How to know you have a female
Veileds: No tarsal spurs, female colors, smaller casque, etc.
Panthers: Peachy color
I assume you might include photos?

But she has never been with a male?
Will lay infertile eggs just like chickens
Veileds and panthers are oviparous
include likely frequency of clutches?

What does "egg bound" mean?
A chameleon is unable to lay her eggs and the eggs stay inside of her until they end up rotting and killing her
This is the most common and preventable cause of death for a female chameleon
Perhaps include follicular stasis (preovulatory) and dystocia (postovulatory) egg binding.

How to know she is going to lay
5-6 months old -- if you're not sure how old your cham is, I'd put a laying bin in there just to be safe
Gravid colors
Decreased appetite
Larger belly -- may look lumpy
Climbing around more and down to the bottom
May drink more and bask more.

What to do before she lays
Set up a laying bin
Make sure she is getting the right supplements
Make sure she has the correct UVB bulb


How to set up a laying bin
Plastic container that is around 10x10x10" and at least 6" deep, 8+" would be ideal
Can drill holes in the bottom to help with drainage
What would work: Plastic bin the size of shoe box, big circular planters, steralite tub, 5 gallon paint bucket, plastic tote
What would not work: Cottage cheese container,
Fill it up with washed play sand (some people used 50/50 washed play sand and soil)
Make sure the sand can hold its shape/tunnel -- chams dig diagonally so make sure it can hold its shape that way
Put in a stick/plant/some way to get into the laying bin
Place bin in the enclosure
Leave the bin in the enclosure permanently and when you can tell your cham is gravid make sure the sand is the correct mixture
opaque container is best.

What to do/expect while she lays
Give her privacy
If you disturb/let her see you watching her while she's digging, she could abandon the hole Ned if it happens often enough it could lead to not laying the eggs, she could stop laying eggs part way through and get egg bound
Cover up the enclosure with a sheet -- can cut peek holes if you want to keep an eye on her
Should take anywhere from a few hours to a few days -- every cham is different. 6-12 hours is normal
She may make some test holes but should select one and continue to dig it until she's holy with it
Climb down, dig a hole, turn around with her butt towards the hole, lay the eggs, cover up the eggs, and climb back up.
No need to feed them while they dig
If you usually mist by hand, you can use a dripper or put some ice cubes on top of the enclosure if you don’t have a dripper I've misted the cage if the female is not in the hole but up in the branches.

How to know she laid her eggs
She will no longer be at the bottom
Will look skinnier
Have sand/dirt on her nose

What to do after she lays
Offer calcium supplemented, gutloaded bugs then continue to feed like normal If you want to cut the size of the clutches down then only feed her well for a couple of days then cut the amount of food down
Offer lots of water then continue to mist/fog the enclosure like normal
Retrieve the eggs and throw them out if they are infertile count the eggs so you know if the clutch I too big to not.
If the eggs are fertile set them up in an incubator -- this video is not a breeding video and will not offer any guidance on incubating/breeding

Things that can go wrong
Chameleon has MBD and can't lay her eggs -- See a vet
Laying bin is offered too late and the chameleon is egg bound -- See a vet
Chameleon only lays some of her eggs but not all of them -- See a vet
If she phantom lays see a vet. (Digs a hole and backs into it acting like she's laying the eggs but doesn't lay and then fills the hole in)

How to prevent large clutch sizes
Laying lots of eggs takes a toll on the cham, can shorten their life span, and put them at high risk for health issues
20-30 eggs is in the normal range, 30-50 is a lot, 50+ is A LOT
Lower temps -- basking temp of low 80s
Offer less food -- 2-4 medium sized bugs every 2-3 days but don't do this for a couple of days after she lays the clutch. IMHO you also have to be careful if they are already well into producing a clutch...you want her to have enough nutrients to produce the eggs (follicles that have ovulated) but not at a time when the follicles are just about to grow so that she may grow too many follicles (thus produce a large clutch). (I don't know how anyone will do this if they're a newbie...so I don't know what to tell you to do about this.)

Don't let her see any male chameleons

Hope I didn't miss anything...and don't include anything you're not comfortable with. I won't be offended at all! I'm not an authority on it all by my means! I'm just giving you food for thought!

Also, I agree with @MissSkittles about the receptive period!
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi Chameleon Forums crew! @MissSkittles @kinyonga @AmandaS @Beman @JoXie411

I'm finally taking on the daunting task of making a video all about egg laying and chameleons. I've gotten lots of requests to make this video and have been hesitant because 1. I don't have any direct experience with egg laying and 2. I want to do right by this video. I want a keeper to watch this video and know what they need to know to feel ready for their female to lay eggs. Even though I don't have direct experience with egg laying, I have read hundreds of threads, articles, podcast episodes, videos etc. and have compiled all of this info to be included in the video. I'm looking for feedback to ensure I'm including what should be included and also get your advice from your own experiences (what has worked for you? What do you use for a bin? etc.). I also know there is conflicting info on what size bin to use -- can anyone provide some clarity on that?

These are my notes for the video. I will go into detail and show example pics/videos when appropriate.

How to know you have a female
  • Veileds: No tarsal spurs, female colors, smaller casque, etc.
  • Panthers: Peachy color
But she has never been with a male?
  • Will lay infertile eggs just like chickens
  • Veileds and panthers are oviparous
What does "egg bound" mean?
  • A chameleon is unable to lay her eggs and the eggs stay inside of her until they end up rotting and killing her As I understand it, there is more than one phenomenon that we commonly call “egg bindin”. 1) Is when the follicles don’t move from the ovaries, 2) When the eggs end up in the right place but the female is either unable or unwilling to lay them. The former can be for reasons such as obesity, the former because of an inappropriate laying site. @kinyonga and @ferretinmyshoes would be better equipped to cut this distinction.
  • This is the most common and preventable cause of death for a female chameleon
How to know she is going to lay
  • 5-6 months old -- if you're not sure how old your cham is, I'd put a laying bin in there just to be safe
  • Gravid colors
  • Decreased appetite
  • Larger belly -- may look lumpy
  • Climbing around more and down to the bottom
What to do before she lays
  • Set up a laying bin
  • Make sure she is getting the right supplements
  • Make sure she has the correct UVB bulb
How to set up a laying bin
  • Plastic container that is around 10x10x10" and at least 6" deep, 8+" would be idealThere is some recent dissenting opinions on depth. Some keepers have noticed that their females will dig to the bottom—no matter the depth. So providing depths beyond 6” might just be making unnecessary work for the gravid femalE.
  • Can drill holes in the bottom to help with drainage
  • What would work: Plastic bin the size of shoe box, big circular planters, steralite tub, 5 gallon paint bucket, plastic tote
  • What would not work: Cottage cheese container,
  • Fill it up with washed play sand (some people used 50/50 washed play sand and soil)Again, this is an area of controversy, since it’s unclear why we would use anything other than something that mimics the native soil they are used to laying in. For instance, I’ve read anecdotal accounts that suggest 1” of hard packed sand at the bottom, and 4” loose soil on top, and the chameleon digs down to the sand, then lays.
  • Make sure the sand can hold its shape/tunnel -- chams dig diagonally so make sure it can hold its shape that way
  • Put in a stick/plant/some way to get into the laying bin
  • Place bin in the enclosure
  • Leave the bin in the enclosure permanently and when you can tell your cham is gravid make sure the sand is the correct mixture Dint know whether a “tricks” section is appropriate, but if you layer the medium such that it is obvious where the hole is dug, it makes collections easier.
What to do/expect while she lays
  • Give her privacy
  • If you disturb her, she could stop laying eggs part way through and get egg bound
  • Cover up the enclosure with a sheet -- can cut peek holes if you want to keep an eye on her
  • Should take anywhere from a few hours to a few days -- every cham is different. 6-12 hours is normal
  • She may make some test holes
  • Climb down, dig a hole, turn around with her butt towards the hole, lay the eggs, cover up the eggs, and climb back up.
  • No need to feed them while they dig
  • If you usually mist by hand, you can use a dripper or put some ice cubes on top of the enclosure if you don’t have a dripper
How to know she laid her eggs
  • She will no longer be at the bottom
  • Will look skinnier
  • Have sand/dirt on her nose
What to do after she lays
  • Offer calcium supplemented, gutloaded bugs then continue to feed like normal
  • Offer lots of water then continue to mist/fog the enclosure like normal
  • Retrieve the eggs and throw them out if they are infertile
  • If the eggs are fertile set them up in an incubator -- this video is not a breeding video and will not offer any guidance on incubating/breeding
Things that can go wrong
  • Chameleon has MBD and can't lay her eggs -- See a vet
  • Laying bin is offered too late and the chameleon is egg bound -- See a vet
  • Chameleon only lays some of her eggs but not all of them -- See a vet
How to prevent large clutch sizes
  • Laying lots of eggs takes a toll on the cham, can shorten their life span, and put them at high risk for health issues
  • 20-30 eggs is in the normal range, 30-50 is a lot, 50+ is A LOT
  • Lower temps -- basking temp of low 80s
  • Offer less food -- 2-4 medium sized bugs every 2-3 days
  • Don't let her see any male chameleons
 

Gingero

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you everybody!!
  • I included the receptive period under the section of "How to know she is going to lay" -- I'll be sure to call out there are different stages of it and it can take a couple of weeks before she actually lays.
Few more questions for you guys:
  • What's the average frequency of a female laying eggs? Every couple of months??
  • Is it wise to try and get into the details of follicular stasis (preovulatory) and dystocia (postovulatory) egg binding when the target audience is new keepers? I included a section on what "egg bound" means because it is a common term thrown around in the hobby and reptile keeping.
  • @Kaizen -- how can someone laying the soil to know if it has been disturbed?
  • Will they dig through the night or sleep in their holes?
  • Added in the other comments to my notes :)
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
These are good considerations! The distinction between pre and post ovulatory is probably something to fudge. As for the soil being disturbed: use whatever favourite lay-bin substrate you want, then add a very thin layer of pure sand, peat or whatever has a pronounced color variation from the main laying substrate. Figuring out where she dug the hole becomes super easy then.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
  • What's the average frequency of a female laying eggs? Every couple of months? for veiled chmeleon's..."The mean length of reproductive cycles between two sequential ovulatory complexes (oviposition to oviposition) was 132.5 days (range 112-156 days)"...https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20603125/
  • Is it wise to try and get into the details of follicular stasis (preovulatory) and dystocia (postovulatory) egg binding when the target audience is new keepers? I included a section on what "egg bound" means because it is a common term thrown around in the hobby and reptile keeping.
  • @Kaizen -- how can someone laying the soil to know if it has been disturbed?
  • Will they dig through the night or sleep in their holes? They will dig through the night and will often sleep in the hole overnight.
  • Added in the other comments to my notes :)
 

cham girl

Avid Member
On your lay bin I would not do 8+ inches you don’t want them to dig unnecessarily they usually go to the bottom of the bin and to dig so deep Wastes so much valuable energy some people put a couple feet of soil and the thing is so exhausted Unnecessarily I say 6 inches is fine
 

Flick boy

Avid Member
Mines 8 inches deep. I would believe that it depends on the size of the female as when she has dug to the bottom of her bin and turned round to lay there is only a small portion of her above the soil line which is also 2 inches below the top of the bin making her feel safe to lay as in the wild she would be at risk to predators. Only my thoughts
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree about the 6”. We used to be told 8-12, but then a lot of people noticed the females would dig to the bottom no matter how deep the substrate was. So rather than having a chameleon that’s exhausted from digging 12 inches, why not have her dig 6 and safe some juice for the actual laying.
 
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