How long does egg laying take?

starter

Member
My female is finally laying her eggs. At least I think that's what she is doing. She has dug a deep hole (about 30cm diagonally into an earth-sand mix) yesterday morning, then turned round and has been sitting there for a whole day and a whole night, motionlessly. Her eyes are alert and she has taken on the dark colour of the earth. I wonder whether I shall be concerned about her sitting there for so long? I hope there is nothing bad happening to her. Stray cats, for example, are known for hiding under a bush when they are sick and they wait there motionlessly to die, which can take several days. I hope she is not slowly dying in her earth hole? It is her first time. How much time have your females spent in the earth hole for egg laying?
 

Redman

Avid Member
Is your breeding box/setup/whatever out in the open or veiled by some plant leaves or branches? I have personally found that while each cam is an individual, each with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies, the females do tend to like to dig where and when they feel most secure. As frustrating as it may be to stay away while they are laying, I find they do best without an audience. My panthers get the actual dig and clutch delivery done in about an hour, providing the female is happy with the setup. As for knowing if they have laid or not, I like to use clear plastic brood boxes (really large critter keepers) so I can see the eggs from the side and know where to dig them out. I am sure some will advise against this, but it's what works best for me.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
I think if privacy were the issue she would have abandoned the hole completely. My female veiled has spent up to 18 hrs actually backed into the hole laying the eggs, then another 24 covering it. I don’t see a need to panic at this point. Also keep in mind that she is in the coldest part of her viv and receiving no heat from her lights, on top of that she is digging in cold and wet dirt so that’s also leaching heat from her. All this factors added up will make her more sluggish than normal.
 

starter

Member
We have 84 eggs! I find it incredible that so many could fit in my Lizzie's little belly. She weighed 240g before delivery and 160g after, so the eggs took up a third of her bodyweight! It was her first time (she is 16 months old and I have got her a male three months ago). She indeed spent about 24 hours in her hole and then a full day covering her eggs up. I had her in a 100l container filled with earth and sand and I had planted some plants into it (strawberries and a little olive tree. She dug her hole underneath the olive tree. Today we have put her in another vivarium and undug the eggs and put them into our new, egg-shaped Lucky Reptile incubator. I would have never expected SO MANY eggs - they hardly fit into the three boxes which are filling up the incubator completely. So, now we have to wait 5 to 6 months, right?

Thank you so much for your advice - and more is welcome! For example, I wonder whether my breeding substrate is moist enough. I bought a product called HatchRite and on the package it said that it is ready to go and has the right moisture content. When I opened it up, however, it felt rather dry to me. I used to breed snakes (Australian pythons) previously and mixed verticulite with a bit of perlite and with the recommended amount of water, and it felt significantly more moist than this HatchRite and it also felt warm which HatchRite does not. It was in a sealed pack but I wonder whether it may have dried out nevertheless. How moist should the substrate feel?
 

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starter

Member
Yes, it is. I wonder whether she may have retained some eggs for several months. I have read that female veilded chameleons start producing eggs from 4 months of age. I have always thought that she was round, well-fed, healthy and happy and never even thought she might be gravid, until I decided to breed her and got the male. As I wrote she is well in her adulthood. Could it be that some of the eggs are older and not fertilised?
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes, it is. I wonder whether she may have retained some eggs for several months. I have read that female veilded chameleons start producing eggs from 4 months of age. I have always thought that she was round, well-fed, healthy and happy and never even thought she might be gravid, until I decided to breed her and got the male. As I wrote she is well in her adulthood. Could it be that some of the eggs are older and not fertilised?
Congrats! That’s the largest clutch I’ve ever heard of that didn’t kill the mother. I’ve also never heard of a female retaining eggs from one cycle to another.

So what is she doing now? Is she drinking and eating again yet?
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
She’s very lucky to have survived a clutch that large. After a good week or two for recovery I think you should start looking into restricting her food intake and dropping her basking temps to reduce the number of eggs she produces every cycle. Reproducing is hell on females, that’s why they die so young. Most breeders I know shoot for a clutch size of 40-50 eggs.
 

starter

Member
Thank you, Brody, yes, I have read the same advice on some other websites. I will definitely give her a good break. She was very thirsty today and drank a lot, but didn't eat. I had added ReptiBoost to her drinking water, an energy booster which also contains electrolytes and probiotics. Tomorrow I will start giving her high-energy intensive care food by syringe if she won't take a big meal by herself. She basked and slept a lot today. In another thread I have reported that she actually went missing more than a week ago, must have fallen down from our balkony in the first floor and stayed 4 nights outside in the cold, and then she must have climbed up the vertical house-wall up to the first floor to get back home again. I found her ice-cold on the balkony on Monday morning. Considering this, Lizzie is indeed an amazing survivor. I was with her at the vets the day she came back and we saw the eggs on an x-ray, but it did not look like that many. The vet said she was due and gave me four days to wait, then we would have induced labour by injection if she had held on to her eggs one day longer. That's why I got really nervous when she spent so much time in her hole, without a visible result. The vet confirmed that despite the nights spend outdoors she was in good health. By the way, my avatar shows Lizzie just a few days ago. Indeed a strong girl!
 

Redman

Avid Member
Just a suggestion for you, but looking at your pics, it looks like several eggs are touching in the containers. Personally, I would spread them out evenly with some good space between, especially if any of them end up going to fungus. Hate to lose good eggs due to contact. Congrats, regardless.
 

starter

Member
Hi Redman, unfortunately I bought only a small incubator and the three tubs is all that fits in. We placed each egg in there individually but two eggs were kind of glued together (maybe identical twins?) and in that case we left them as they were. I actually had only my daughter pick up the eggs, as she has fine and sensitive fingers (she is 15 yo and a musician and artist), whereas I have fat and clumsy ones. I will check every few days and remove eggs which look bad - change colour or develop a smell or show mould. I used to breed snakes previously and with their eggs it was much harder, as - if you did not take the eggs away right during the laying - the mother would pee on her clutch and all the eggs would stick together in a football-size pyramid shape and they could not be separated any more. If mould develeoped or an insect got in and laid eggs on the clutch we lost the whole lot. The chameleon eggs were, on the contrary, only slightly moist but not sticky, and they are also harder than the leathery snake eggs, but not as hard as chicken eggs. Interesting. I am really excited!
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you, Brody, yes, I have read the same advice on some other websites. I will definitely give her a good break. She was very thirsty today and drank a lot, but didn't eat. I had added ReptiBoost to her drinking water, an energy booster which also contains electrolytes and probiotics. Tomorrow I will start giving her high-energy intensive care food by syringe if she won't take a big meal by herself. She basked and slept a lot today. In another thread I have reported that she actually went missing more than a week ago, must have fallen down from our balkony in the first floor and stayed 4 nights outside in the cold, and then she must have climbed up the vertical house-wall up to the first floor to get back home again. I found her ice-cold on the balkony on Monday morning. Considering this, Lizzie is indeed an amazing survivor. I was with her at the vets the day she came back and we saw the eggs on an x-ray, but it did not look like that many. The vet said she was due and gave me four days to wait, then we would have induced labour by injection if she had held on to her eggs one day longer. That's why I got really nervous when she spent so much time in her hole, without a visible result. The vet confirmed that despite the nights spend outdoors she was in good health. By the way, my avatar shows Lizzie just a few days ago. Indeed a strong girl!
I remember, you’ve raised a fighter! How much is she sleeping during the day?
 
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