My female Jacksons just had a slug...will she deliver babies soon?

kenya

Avid Member
I found this slug in my females enclosure and it is only an hour old at most (I just cleaned the cages) but it is almost 1am here. I read that they only really deliver a clutch in the morning but could she be about to birth?

Some background: she is a big green bubble that we got about 10 months ago- she has never bred for us so must have been gravid before we got her.

The last 36 hours or so, she has been grumpy, constantly gaping no matter what the situation and wouldn't go for food this afternoon (she is usually voracious but I was watching and I thought that is why she was being finicky but I guess I could be wrong)

Should I be expecting babies now? Should I turn the lights off and go to bed or leave them on and stay up? She seems restless but is usually settled down by now.

I took these photos mere minutes ago so please tell me what you see.

Thank you!!



 

skeeta

Established Member
Hi Kenya.

Jacksons will drop slugs (you have a lot more coming i believe) without being fertilized (sort of like a chicken) :D

Keep an eye on the cage, but don't disturb the little grump. When our Skeeta dropped slugs (around 9 in total over a 2 day period) she "blew out her butt". We thought it was a bit of a prolapse, but the vet said it was only swollen from the exertion and gave us some moisturizing cream.

It's hard work for them sometimes, so be extra nice to her.

Sorry, no little 3 horners quite yet in all likelihood.
 

opihiman

New Member
I would have to agree. It is just a sit watch and palative care. My female dropped 4 slugs about 3 mos ago and has recently had dec appetite for the last 2 weeks.

try to keep her hydration up as high as possible to help with passing the slugs. If you have silkworms or flies available, that may help to entice her to eat.

Good luck

OPI
 

kenya

Avid Member
Thanks guys! She hasn't had any more slugs or even a poo yet today but she is still really grumpy and keeps gaping. I will try to feed her again- I have offered her three kinds of roaches, phoenix worms and small hornworms so far but no luck. She is usually a voracious hunter who will gorge herself if she is able but she only seems mildly interested for a bit but will then turn her back on the food.

I will also try to hydrate her as much as I can...should I go ahead and start some fruit flies or do you think that I have time to wait yet?

Like I said, she has been gravid since we got her and it has been 10 months so it is a really long gestation- should I expect any babies at all? Or is she just going to have slugs? Will she have slugs over a few days and then deliver a live clutch? I can't find much info on time lines or what to expect when so any speculation would be appreciated.

Thank you for the replies! I love this forum.
 

skeeta

Established Member
Wish I had an answer for you, and I wish the answer was GET THOSE FRUIT-FLIES, but I don't know for sure. From what I've read it is possible to drop slugs while giving live birth, but you are better off asking an expert. A few forum members have recently had Jackson babies, I'm sure the voice of experience is near. As a matter of fact, you could PM Trace, a senior member who specializes on live bearing chams. She would know the answer for sure. Good luck!
 

kenya

Avid Member
Wish I had an answer for you, and I wish the answer was GET THOSE FRUIT-FLIES, but I don't know for sure. From what I've read it is possible to drop slugs while giving live birth, but you are better off asking an expert. A few forum members have recently had Jackson babies, I'm sure the voice of experience is near. As a matter of fact, you could PM Trace, a senior member who specializes on live bearing chams. She would know the answer for sure. Good luck!
Thank you! I will send her a message.
 

kenya

Avid Member
Does anyone have any speculation at all? I am guessing this means that she is very close to birth...I have been checking on her every hour or so (but from afar as to not stress her)

What is a good cheap place to order fly culture if I need to? I figured I would run out and buy a couple of the containers of them at Petsmart or Petco (only place nearby I know of to get fruit flies) and some pinheads from my local herp shop and then order culture online. Sound like a good approach?
 

Trace

Captain Awesome
Hello Nikki!

First of all, my apologies for taking so long to reply here. I got your PM and I had every intention of getting back to you much earlier this evening about your jacksonii but things just out of hand here.

Here's a few things I've noticed that will hopefully help you and your girl.

The time: Let her have a "normal" day. You are in Oregon so I assume the sun comes up about 8am and goes down about 8pm. Do the same thing with her. Turn her lights on in the morning and off when the sum goes down. Chameleons are VERY in tune with the rise and set of the sun and keeping her awake for longer periods does add psychological stress to her life. If that conflicts with your schedule, then buy a timer at the local hardware store. Timers are a must in reptile keeping.

Yes, most live bearers give birth in the mid to late morning but that isn't a hard and fast rule. Keeping her up to the wee hours will throw her off a normal schedule.

Gaping is an indicator that she is too hot. What are her temperatures like? Unlike the ubiquitous Panthers and Veileds, Jackson's chameleons are intolerant of warm or high temperatures. In fact, too hot a basking spot/ambient temperatures can be lethal to them. Decreased appetite is an indicator if pending birth. Is she pacing at all? Or sitting still?

In my experience, if the females start with giving birth to slugs, then the whole litter tends to be slugs. I have talked to other ovoviviparous keepers and sometimes the girls will expel the slugs to make room for the "good" babies. By looking at your pics, I can't tell if her ova are fertile or not. Would I order FF's? Probably not. 10 months is also a long time for gestation - although not necessarily out of the ordinary. You mention that she has a good appetite (Show me a female chameleon that doesn't! HAHA!) but perhaps part of her large size may be attributed to over eating. Once she gets through the birthing process, consider putting her on a diet. She does not need to have unlimited insects daily for her to be healthy. If you do cut back, do it slowly too.

And leave her alone! She knows what to do. Having an unwelcome audience may cause her to retain the slugs/babies and that will create even bigger problems for you. The entire birthing process will only last a few hours. If your girl is laying the odd slug(s) here and there over the course of a few days, I probably wouldn't worry too much. If she looks like she is having a hard time with the birthing process (heavy breathing, gaping, drab colours, prolapsed rectum, sunken eyes) then a trip to a proper veterinarian is warranted and should be done quickly.

Good luck! Keep us posted and please don't be shy about asking questions.
Cheers,
t

Skeeta: Thank you for the props. This isn't the first time you've mentioned me. Even though I've given poor Skeeta a complex...
 
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kenya

Avid Member
Hello Nikki!

First of all, my apologies for taking so long to reply here. I got your PM and I had every intention of getting back to you much earlier this evening about your jacksonii but things just out of hand here.

Here's a few things I've noticed that will hopefully help you and your girl.

The time: Let her have a "normal" day. You are in Oregon so I assume the sun comes up about 8am and goes down about 8pm. Do the same thing with her. Turn her lights on in the morning and off when the sum goes down. Chameleons are VERY in tune with the rise and set of the sun and keeping her awake for longer periods does add psychological stress to her life. If that conflicts with your schedule, then buy a timer at the local hardware store. Timers are a must in reptile keeping.

Yes, most live bearers give birth in the mid to late morning but that isn't a hard and fast rule. Keeping her up to the wee hours will throw her off a normal schedule.

Gaping is an indicator that she is too hot. What are her temperatures like? Unlike the ubiquitous Panthers and Veileds, Jackson's chameleons are intolerant of warm or high temperatures. In fact, too hot a basking spot/ambient temperatures can be lethal to them. Decreased appetite is an indicator if pending birth. Is she pacing at all? Or sitting still?

In my experience, if the females start with giving birth to slugs, then the whole litter tends to be slugs. I have talked to other ovoviviparous keepers and sometimes the girls will expel the slugs to make room for the "good" babies. By looking at your pics, I can't tell if her ova are fertile or not. Would I order FF's? Probably not. 10 months is also a long time for gestation - although not necessarily out of the ordinary. You mention that she has a good appetite (Show me a female chameleon that doesn't! HAHA!) but perhaps part of her large size may be attributed to over eating. Once she gets through the birthing process, consider putting her on a diet. She does not need to have unlimited insects daily for her to be healthy. If you do cut back, do it slowly too.

And leave her alone! She knows what to do. Having an unwelcome audience may cause her to retain the slugs/babies and that will create even bigger problems for you. The entire birthing process will only last a few hours. If your girl is laying the odd slug(s) here and there over the course of a few days, I probably wouldn't worry too much. If she looks like she is having a hard time with the birthing process (heavy breathing, gaping, drab colours, prolapsed rectum, sunken eyes) then a trip to a proper veterinarian is warranted and should be done quickly.

Good luck! Keep us posted and please don't be shy about asking questions.
Cheers,
t

Skeeta: Thank you for the props. This isn't the first time you've mentioned me. Even though I've given poor Skeeta a complex...
Thanks so much for the reply! Here is what I can tell you about the situation-

all of my reptiles are on timers set currently for twelve hour days- about 9-9 and I try not to keep a lot of lights on at night. She is pretty used to the routine but I noticed her being awake and restless the night I started this thread and after she had the slug. I don't get up in her face at all; just a quick peek from across the room to see where she is and if there is anything on the bottom of her cage- nothing yet.

She has been gaping nonstop no matter what. I tried turning her basking off, still gaped. I tried moving her somewhere more quiet and secluded than her normal spot, still gaped. She got to go outside for a bit (part of the routine though) and still gaped. I have just left her alone like she normally is and she still gapes. It is odd because she never gapes. Her basking temp is about 83 and I realize that Jacksons are montane.

She is totally hydrated- pure white urates but isn't eating- she is usually a little piggy but has only been mildly interested and then will snub at my offerings (she has a glass feeding cup that I toss prey into for her to shoot at) She has never had a hunger strike and I do plan on limiting her food intake once she delivers but I have given her whatever she will take since she appeared to be gravid. Prey right now is a mix of lobster roaches, turkish roaches, phoenix worms, super worms and hornworms as treats.

She isn't any more sluggish than usual and she isn't pacing that I have noticed. Her colors are bright and she is alert.

Would you like me to take more photos so that you could speculate if she is fertile? What angles would be best?

I should also mention that when she goes outside, I keep her partially shaded, I monitor temperatures constantly (I have a digital thermometer with and inside display but an outside sensor) and I mist her every half hour but have a dripper on slow the whole time. She always seems to enjoy it. I also move her whole enclosure out when she gets to go and she never seems stressed by it.

Is there anything that I am missing? Please let me know what I can do to help you figure anything out! Her belly used to feel rather hard if touched- now it gives and is kind of squishy. Does that mean anything?
 

Trace

Captain Awesome
Hello again Nikki! :D

How is everything going with your gal today? Any more slugs? Babies?

Your lighting schedule is great. Your basking temperature is perfect. You are feeding her a nice variety of insects. She sounds nice and hydrated. It's obvious you've done your homework about your chameleon and she's certainly a healthy specimen. Good job!

The gaping I'm a little concerned by... particularly if she isn't overheated... but it may just be her telling you to back off a bit. The gaping may coincide with contractions as well. As long as there is no heavy breathing, gasping for air, icky colours or pain, I wouldn't worry too much, but obviously keep your eye on her.

There's nothing else that's jumping out at me that you are doing wrong. I think it's a matter of patience on your part at this point - she knows what to do otherwise.

Good luck! Keep us posted. Hopefully you will wake up to a posse of babies very soon.
Cheers,
t
 

skeeta

Established Member
Hey Nikki!

Congrats on the panther girl (I read your other thread) and the boy that's on the way!

You sound a little antsy about the possible Jackson babies (and so you should, what with their cute little horn nubbins and all);)

If it makes you feel better to do something proactive (yeah, I hate that word too) go on out and get some pinheads. At worst you have future feeders, and if you have surprise babies you are all set.

Breathe easy, you have Trace in your corner and she's the best! (Us Canuks are good nurturers) :rolleyes:

Got my fingers crossed for you.
 

kenya

Avid Member
Hello again Nikki! :D

How is everything going with your gal today? Any more slugs? Babies?

Your lighting schedule is great. Your basking temperature is perfect. You are feeding her a nice variety of insects. She sounds nice and hydrated. It's obvious you've done your homework about your chameleon and she's certainly a healthy specimen. Good job!

The gaping I'm a little concerned by... particularly if she isn't overheated... but it may just be her telling you to back off a bit. The gaping may coincide with contractions as well. As long as there is no heavy breathing, gasping for air, icky colours or pain, I wouldn't worry too much, but obviously keep your eye on her.

There's nothing else that's jumping out at me that you are doing wrong. I think it's a matter of patience on your part at this point - she knows what to do otherwise.

Good luck! Keep us posted. Hopefully you will wake up to a posse of babies very soon.
Cheers,
t
Okay, no slugs or anything today- not even poop that I can find! All I found was a little urate but it may have dropped off one of her plants because it seemed rather dry and shrivelled.

She is still great looking but gaping...it is really odd because I have never experienced this. Temps are fine, lighting is fine, nothing in her environment has really changed for the last six months at least. I let her out for "tree time" today (I have a large tree shaped schefflera that the chams get to lumber around on sometimes) and she loved it as usual- I didn't notice her gaping while on it and she was bright green the whole time.

She is still pretty much perched in the same spot- no pacing, not restless today but not really basking or anything either. She didn't drink for me at her mistings so I put a dripper on for her.

I have been leaving her alone and secluded but every time I see her she is gaping.

Well, as you said, it is up to her now. I am just really antsy about it because I don't want her to get hurt or have a complication and I would prefer a healthy clutch of babies, too.

For the record, she came to me gravid and would never have anything to do with my male and I would probably have chosen not to breed her anyway. :\
 

kenya

Avid Member
Hey Nikki!

Congrats on the panther girl (I read your other thread) and the boy that's on the way!

You sound a little antsy about the possible Jackson babies (and so you should, what with their cute little horn nubbins and all);)

If it makes you feel better to do something proactive (yeah, I hate that word too) go on out and get some pinheads. At worst you have future feeders, and if you have surprise babies you are all set.

Breathe easy, you have Trace in your corner and she's the best! (Us Canuks are good nurturers) :rolleyes:

Got my fingers crossed for you.
Thanks for the encouragement, Skeeta. I am antsy and for good reason :)

We will see what happens. I am happy so long as my female is healthy through it all.

Side note: I actually like the word proactive....so much in fact that I already have a big tank set up for the babies with fake plants, real plants and a light over it. I have some baby roaches that are the size of pinheads but I would rather not get any crickets right now- I am trying not to depend on them or have any more around than neccesary. I kind of despise the smell and noise and die off rate etc that goes along with crickets.

Also, thanks for the comments about my panthers! I am super excited and in the process of setting up a cage for my male who should arrive on the 3rd or 4th.
 

kenya

Avid Member
Hey guys! An update:

Meru is doing great- she delivered 14 slugs last night and I think she is done. She has stopped gaping and has been eating fine. I am going to let her rest for a few months but am thinking about breeding her to my male later on ( have all of the equipment now, anyway....)

On a side note, I have started culturing my own fruit flies. I put some chunks of apple in the bottom of a glass bottle and caught some fruit flies that were buzzing about my kitchen and they have quadrupled in number. You can see their tiny (and awkwardly cute) larva crawling on the glass. At least I know how easy it is to get them and get them to propagate! I may keep them around until later, just to assure I have some food for babies in the future.

Thanks for all of the help, especially you, Trace!!
 

Tokoloshe

Avid Member
Hey Kenya, Trace and the others gave you good advice.
Water her and leave her alone, but ensure that the temps aren't too high.

My female dropped 21 babies on tues.
Similar to your situation: She went off food the day before birthing, was also gaping(although high heat here that day so ?) and dropped slugs as well (I don't know if she dropped them before, during or after the babies) also defecated a largely undigested stoll during the process.

I think a combination of the ideas put forth by the other members is likely. She is gravid, getting too full to eat, and possibly putting pressure on her lungs(gaping) and getting rid of any possible wasted space(slugs) or you disturbed her right at the start of the process.

Good luck!
T.
PS order some fruit flies ;)
 
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