How long should a Cham be in their laying tunnel?

Rwbjj

New Member
Update on Gravid female post and question on how long they should be in their tunnel.

As advised, I took her to an exotic vet earlier in the week.

She weighed in at 41g and an X-ray confirmed she was gravid. However, due to her being very active, it was hard to get decent xrays but she definitely has eggs.

The vet checked her over and we discussed options. As she was healthy, still eating well and very active, the vet thought it early to start oxytocin and certainly too early for surgery.

I asked him about surgery as I was concerned that she was only 41g and he says that it’s a last resort and he has successfully done surgery on an even smaller Cham that weighed in at only 30g!

We discussed her enclosure and the lay bin and moving it up and under the lamp to warm it as it could be too cold for her as it’s a tall enclosure.

If there was no change or that she looked distressed, I was to bring her back in over the weekend and they would keep her in and administer oxytocin. (The same vet is on all weekend)

On Friday, she started digging and has been going in and out for the last 24hours.

Her enclosure is covered on all sides but there is a small gap at the top where I can look in.

Friday night, she was up in her branches after digging and I offered her some crickets, which she ate. The hole is deep (based on the amount of sand excavated) but she hasn’t covered it up. I left it like that to ensure that she has laid her eggs rather than just taking a break from digging. Saturday morning she was back in the hole doing more digging. I’ve kept an eye out for her this afternoon and she is in the hole but no signs of more digging and I haven’t seen her for several hours.
My questions are:

How long should I leave her in there?

Is there a risk that she’s got stuck in there and needs my help?
Thanks in advance,
Ben





◦ Your Chameleon - The species, sex, and age of your chameleon. How long has it been in your care?



Female Veiled Cham

Age: 8 months

Owned: 2 months



◦ Handling - How often do you handle your chameleon?



Handled a couple of times/week. I encourage her to climb onto my hand with a cricket, handle her for a few minutes and pop her back in.



◦ Feeding - What are you feeding your cham? What amount? What is the schedule? How are you gut-loading your feeders?



Generally a couple of small crickets or similar (roaches/hoppers etc) daily. dusted in calcium and vitamin supplement containing. Feeders are fed on carrot, greens (spinach etc), cucumber, bug food etc.



◦ Supplements - What brand and type of calcium and vitamin products are you dusting your feeders with and what is the schedule?



Per g

200mg calcium

150OIU D3

+ vitamins A E K B1 B2 B6 C Folic Nictonic & panthotgeric acids biotin choline niacin and minerals Na Fe Co I Mn Zn Se Cu



I dunk the feeder in the supplement before offering it to her.



◦ Watering - What kind of watering technique do you use? How often and how long to you mist? Do you see your chameleon drinking?



Long (1-2mins) misting 2-3 times a day.



Occasionally see her drinking. Eyes are not sunken and Urates are white.



In the process of adding a dripper.



◦ Fecal Description - Briefly note colors and consistency from recent droppings. Has this chameleon ever been tested for parasites?



Dark brown/black. Firm/soft non runny.

White Urates.



◦ History - Any previous information about your cham that might be useful to others when trying to help you.



None.





Cage Info:



◦ Cage Type - Describe your cage (Glass, Screen, Combo?) What are the dimensions?



Exo terra tall, 45x60x90cm. Glass sided, mesh top.



Pic attached.



◦ Lighting - What brand, model, and types of lighting are you using? What is your daily lighting schedule?



UVB

22” Reptisun 10.0 UVB

F24T5 Rept

12 hours on. 7am-7pm.



Lifetime usage to date approx: 720hrs (2 months @12hrs/day)



◦ Temperature - What temp range have you created (cage floor to basking spot)? Lowest overnight temp? How do you measure these temps?

Heating set at:



Minimum 20 deg C (naturally falls to around 22 deg C overnight)

Maximum: 35 degrees C. Measured at the top 20cm under the heat source.

Accurite at the bottom of the enclosure, 21-25 degrees C



◦ Humidity - What are your humidity levels? How are you creating and maintaining these levels? What do you use to measure humidity?



Electronic measure towards the top of the enclosure reads around 60%



Digital stand alone temp/humidity accurite at the bottom reads 75-90%

Misting 2-3 times/day.



◦ Plants - Are you using live plants? If so, what kind?



Nope.



◦ Placement - Where is your cage located? Is it near any fans, air vents, or high traffic areas? At what height is the top of the cage relative to your room floor?



Laying Bin:

Big bucket.

Swapped from topsoil/peat to washed plays sand. Damp enough to easily form tunnels.

Depth 12”

Diameter 12”

Easy to get in and out of.



Corner of the “dining” room. Located on a unit 1.3m above the ground. We don’t use that room for eating. Other animals in that area (not visible to her): ball python, corn snake, leopard gecko, Asian forest scorpion and an axolotl.

No fans/vents.

Limited traffic area.



◦ Location - Where are you geographically located?



Uk
 

Rwbjj

New Member
Many thanks.
Just worried about tunnel collapse on the one hand vs digging her out to find she’s mid lay!
I’ve read many posts about timescales for digging taking days but it’s the fact I’ve not seen her or any sign of her that’s worrying.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Many thanks.
Just worried about tunnel collapse on the one hand vs digging her out to find she’s mid lay!
I’ve read many posts about timescales for digging taking days but it’s the fact I’ve not seen her or any sign of her that’s worrying.
Lay bin is way too big, next time go 8 deep.

Leave her in the tunnel, no disturbances. Is the viv wrapped for privacy?
 

Rwbjj

New Member
Lay bin is way too big, next time go 8 deep.

Leave her in the tunnel, no disturbances. Is the viv wrapped for privacy?

Ok. Thanks Brody.

Yes, the viv is covered on all sides. There is a small gap at the top where I can see in and I’ve opened it to mist. I also opened it to offer food last night as she had stopped digging and returned to her branches overnight.

I’ll get a smaller lay bin next time.

At what point would you recommend intervention? Is it common for tunnels to collapse and how good are they at getting out if they do? Or am I just needlessly worrying?
If there is no sign of her after 24hrs? 48? Etc.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok. Thanks Brody.

Yes, the viv is covered on all sides. There is a small gap at the top where I can see in and I’ve opened it to mist. I also opened it to offer food last night as she had stopped digging and returned to her branches overnight.

I’ll get a smaller lay bin next time.

At what point would you recommend intervention? Is it common for tunnels to collapse and how good are they at getting out if they do? Or am I just needlessly worrying?
If there is no sign of her after 24hrs? 48? Etc.
If your water/sand ratio is correct, collapses are rare. Surviving a collapse depends on several things but mostly depth and moisture. Since your bin is so deep survival is unlikely. But if it did collapse it would be pretty noticeable.

When did you see her last?
 

Rwbjj

New Member
Last saw her around lunchtime, so 10 hours ago. Which is what was worrying me. It’s 23:00 here now, so the light has been off for 4 hours as has the heating. The heat would come back on if the temp got less than 20 deg c but as it’s summer here, the temp wont drop below 22-23.

The slightly better news is that I’d got measurements wrong on the bucket. It’s actually 9” deep (and not full quite full) and 12” diameter at the top (diameter is slightly less at the bottom)
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
O I thought you were talking about 24 hours or something crazy like that! 10 hours doesn’t worry me at all, not uncommon for them to sleep in the hole.
 

Rwbjj

New Member
O I thought you were talking about 24 hours or something crazy like that! 10 hours doesn’t worry me at all, not uncommon for them to sleep in the hole.

She started Friday lunchtime. Dug for several hours and then was up in the branches. She resumed digging this morning, and was last seen around lunchtime ~ so, 11 or 12 hours ago.

Ok, I’ll leave her to it and hopefully she will reappear sometime tomorrow.

Thanks for reassuring me. First chameleon and first lay, so it’s all new and it’s difficult not knowing what “normal” behaviour is.

Once this is over, I need to pick your brains about a couple of comments you made on my previous post re husbandry and too much D3 and 10.0 vs 5.0 UV lighting but that can wait until she’s laid.

Thx again.
 

Brodybreaux25

Chameleon Enthusiast
She started Friday lunchtime. Dug for several hours and then was up in the branches. She resumed digging this morning, and was last seen around lunchtime ~ so, 11 or 12 hours ago.

Ok, I’ll leave her to it and hopefully she will reappear sometime tomorrow.

Thanks for reassuring me. First chameleon and first lay, so it’s all new and it’s difficult not knowing what “normal” behaviour is.

Once this is over, I need to pick your brains about a couple of comments you made on my previous post re husbandry and too much D3 and 10.0 vs 5.0 UV lighting but that can wait until she’s laid.

Thx again.
Why not now, got time to kill...
 
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