My project with Calumma Malthe, Emerald Eared Chameleon

Jikkermanccini

Established Member
Hello there! I recently dove back into chameleon keeping with a pair of Calumma Malthe, or the emerald ear chameleon. The pair is wild caught, assumed to be about 1 year old, and they have been treated for major parasites. The female is currently gravid and has dug 1 practice hole so far, 2 days ago. I'm hoping that she will dig the final hole today so I can get some meat on her bones!
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Here's the male, not the greatest pic but his cage was a little dim when I took it.
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And here's the female, eating a cricket! I'm impressed by the size of her teeth!
So yeah, I will keep this thread updated as new things occur and hopefully we'll get eggs in the next couple of days. Wish me luck!
 
Mr. Man living the life! His cage is still a bit low on plant matter, but he seems to have no problem climbing out in the open. The female seems to be a bit more active too, however I've only looked at her once today. I'm going to leave her be until she has 100% laid her eggs, I don't want her to retain anything down the road.
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I want to get a nice big palm or fern for both of their cages, in-situ pictures that I've seen suggest that the underbrush is largely made up of big ferns in their native range. For now, they seem happy so I'm noy gonna mess with it. I've had both of them eat from tongs and move in front of me, so I'm happy.
 
Any update on the female laying?
I think she MAY have laid, but I'm not 100% sure. I noticed that she had some wrinkles along her abdomen when she stretched out, and she does look a little thinner. But she doesn't look skinny either, just a very healthy weight now. I'm really hoping she isn't retaining any eggs, but she may have just had a small clutch. I'll take her out to feed her tomorrow, and I guess I'll go exploring then.
I do, however, know that I have not been watering them enough! I gave each of them an ultra-long misting this morning, and they each sat drinking for several minutes. I need to stay on top of it until I get my DIY fogger and misters set up, these guys like a long drink.
On another note, they are both growing far more comfortable with me. I try to keep my meddlings at a minimum with the female, however she actually seems to care the last about me. They both take food from tongs and the male especially has colored up really well. I'll get some pics tomorrow.
 
What's the substrate where the eggswould be laid?
40% sand, 40% organic soil, 10% orchid bark, 20% sphagnum moss. It's a bioactive floor, about 3.5" at the lowest and 6" at the highest. Holds a tunnel reasonably well when wet. This is what her last attempt at digging was made in.
 
Wow, I think I may have solved the females' lethargy. I mist a couple of times per day, but never for particularly long (about until the leaves start dripping). Well today, I misted for long enough that water was dripping for over two minutes, and after an initial dislike, my female made a beeline towards the closest dripping water. Something tells me that she wasn't getting enough to drink! That would explain her slight loss of girth and the small wrinkles. She appears to still have eggs, however her appetite has been diminishing so I expect a clutch soon. Pics incoming.
 
40% sand, 40% organic soil, 10% orchid bark, 20% sphagnum moss. It's a bioactive floor, about 3.5" at the lowest and 6" at the highest. Holds a tunnel reasonably well when wet. This is what her last attempt at digging was made in.
I was asking because leaving eggs where they were laid, depending partly on the substrate they were laid in, can dry them out...so I wouldn't wait too long to dig them up and incubate them properly.
 
Okay, just took a round of pics.
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I'm relatively sure that she hasn't laid yet. I took her out & dug around for a bit right after I got these pics, and I didn't find anything.
I think she's ready, as her appetite has diminished a bit (where just a few days ago she was ravenous) and she has been wandering around the cage a bit more than before. @Action Jackson how does she look girth wise? The sudden wrinkles are a bit weird, but again she isn't very hungry right now so who knows. I've got my fingers crossed.
 
They’re both so beautiful!! I hope egg laying goes well! I’m concerned about the tong feeding though. Won’t they catch the feeders themselves? I’ve just seen Too many posts on here about people tong feeding and their chams getting tongue injuries and having to have their tongues amputated!
 
They’re both so beautiful!! I hope egg laying goes well! I’m concerned about the tong feeding though. Won’t they catch the feeders themselves? I’ve just seen Too many posts on here about people tong feeding and their chams getting tongue injuries and having to have their tongues amputated!
Thanks! I totally get that concern, the main reason I've been tong feeding is that they don't like the feeder cup (yet) and the dubias don't move enough on their own to incite a feeding response. I want to make a 'shooting gallery' for each cage so the chams can hunt without risks of the bugs getting out into the enclosure, but one step at a time. I make sure to hold the bugs by the legs so that the tension will be minimal, and the legs just break off if I don't let go fast enough.
In reference to the laying, I think she might have laid. She doesn't look dirty or anything, but she doesn't bulge over the sides of her perch anymore and today was the first time she's eaten in 3 days! She also has her lovely blue turrets again. I guess we'll see, I'm going to move her somewhere with a bunch of bugs and start digging around in the soil. Fingers crossed!
 
Okay, an update. She is totally ready to go, hasn't shown interest in food and she's incredibly active. The past two days, I've moved her to a bucket with about 3 inches of damp sand on one side and 5-6" of sand on the other, with a small branch and fake plants stick in the sand.
My dilemma is that both days, she has dug really big, deep tunnels in the sand, but she hasn't laid in any of them. She doesn't look unhealthy, so that's not a big concern, but I do wonder if there's something I should do to help her out. Should I maybe add more sand? or should I just keep trying. The room she's in hovers at 68 degrees throughout the day, so could that maybe be too cold for her? Whatever the case, she is definitely ready to go.
 
So do you move her to a bucket and then move her back to her cage every day?

Can you post some photos of the lay in please?
Yes, I have been moving her. I want to just leave her in tonight, so I guess we'll see how that goes.
I'll see if I can get one, but I think she is digging a hole right now so I want to give her some privacy until either she's done, or until tonight.
 
Here's the lady after a vigorous day of digging, still no eggs so I think I need to change my strategy. This time I sloped the sand to be about 1.5" on one side and 7" on the other, which she took advantage of. She definitely wants to dig a little deeper, so I think I'll add some more sand tomorrow when I try again. I would leave her overnight, but it just gets too cold overnight & there's no way for me to mount a basking light over the bucket for the daytime. She's vigorously searching her cage for a place, so I know that she is ready. If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them! This girl needs a break from carrying these eggs around.
@Action Jackson did you notice any defined preferences in where your females laid? Did they prefer a deeper substrate?
 

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Usually, if I had to move a chameleon to a separate lay bin, I would use a 65 litre Rubbermaid type container that was opaque. I would sit away most of the lid and screen over the hole I cut. I would fill the bin about 10" deep with washed play sand, moist enough to to hold a tunnel....add a branch and a plant. I would put the chameleon inside...put the lid on...lay a UVB light over the screen on the top of the lid and leave her there for several days until she laid. She can be watered in there and even fed if necessary...just don't leave uneaten insects in there.
 
Usually, if I had to move a chameleon to a separate lay bin, I would use a 65 litre Rubbermaid type container that was opaque. I would sit away most of the lid and screen over the hole I cut. I would fill the bin about 10" deep with washed play sand, moist enough to to hold a tunnel....add a branch and a plant. I would put the chameleon inside...put the lid on...lay a UVB light over the screen on the top of the lid and leave her there for several days until she laid. She can be watered in there and even fed if necessary...just don't leave uneaten insects in there.
ok, thanks for the input. The bucket is opaque, and has a lid that I forgot to photograph. The lid has a medium rectangular hole cut in the middle, and I have a piece of screen to cover it up too. She seems to be pretty comfortable in there, so I guess I'll add more and and see how she does. Thanks for the tips!
 
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