Veilied Cham Post-Laying Digging Behavior


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Chameleon Info:
* Veiled, Female, 2.5 years old, raising since very young.,
* Handling - Not often, but no trouble with necessary handling for cage maintenance, ect.
* Feeding - Cricket with veggie gut load and/or B. Dubia cat food / veggie gut load. Lots of calcium (phosphorus free Rep Cal + vitamin D). 3-4 times / week, equivalent of 4-5 roaches.
* Watering - Mistking 4 times / day, 30-60 seconds, supplemented by dripper and manual misting when necessary. She drinks often.
* Fecal Description - Bird poo looking, no anomalies. Not tested for parasites.
* History - First unfertilized clutch in November 2010, first fertilized clutch on 4/2/2011. 75 good looking eggs!

Cage Info:

* Cage Type - Zoomed Reptibreeze Screen, size: large.
* Lighting - Zoo Med Bulb Powersun Uv - 100 Watt, 10hr day cycle & IR 60watt 10 hr night cylce
* Temperature - Estimate highs 80's lows of 60's; variable ranges within environment. Measurements based on cheap thermometers from pet store.
* Humidity - Not measured; use mistking to keep humidity variable but never too low.
* Plants - Live ficus
* Placement - Heigh is at 8ft, kept in "Critter room", spare bed room back of house, plenty of privacy.
* Location - San Jose CA

Current Problem:

1) Ginger (female veiled) laid an impressive clutch of 75 fertilized, good looking eggs on 4/2/2011 in a trash can laying chamber built based on information gained from forum.

2) I returned her to her screen cage and 3 days later she unexpectedly dug out the ficus as if she had more eggs to lay. The next day she had returned to her perch without filling the hole and there were no eggs.

3) The following day she continued to show digging or laying behaviors; black, pacing bottom of cage restlessly. I returned her to her laying chamber in response (in laying chamber I also have mistking setup with same schedule.)

4) She digs several holes in different locations and fills some up as if she has laid another clutch. We dig and search, find nothing.

5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 with longer duration of time, more patience, now basing judgments on her mass. She starts at 134g, stable for 2 days. Today (5 days from originally recording mass) she drops to 124g. I dig but find no eggs. Immediately present with food in screen cage, eats.

6) She is eating and drinking; less eating than usual, but still responds quickly when presented a calcium covered roach. She does look dehydrated and skinnier than usual. She does not look gravid despite digging behavior.

****** I tried getting help via the breeding forum and I had 1... 1 person respond. I'm seriously hoping this forum is more than a place for owners to post pretty pictures. Thanks for the help in advance.
Thank you! The best info I've received from the forum yet.

1) I will go with plain calcium, I have been using with D3. What are the potential problems (or I could search)?

2) Thank you for the blog, I will dig into it deeply.

3) X-rays sound expensive. Do you have an estimated cost for reference for visit + x-rays?

Thank you!

I would recommend taking Ginger to a chameleon vet for x-rays to see if she has more eggs or any other problems caused from laying a large clutch of 75 eggs.

After she recovers I would reduce her heat and food. A 100 watt bulb sounds hot for a female. Also are you using plain calcium without d3?

I've attached my blog about egg laying below.
Do you have an Oxytocin dosage concentration and number/duration of injections? Can you use oxytocin intended for humans?
1) I will go with plain calcium, I have been using with D3. What are the potential problems (or I could search)?
D3 builds up in their bodies, and they make their own from the basking light. However, the amount of UV they get indoors even with the light isn't quite enough, so people do suppliment with d3, but not everyday. I lightly dust all my feeders with calcium without d3, and use d3 twice monthly and a multivitamin twice monthly.
I can't anwer the other questions. I think it's the same oxytocin. A vet who is experienced in caring for small animals and reptiles should be able to answer those questions. Vet prices vary a lot depending on the vet.
Regarding oxytocin...I wouldn't use it without a vet seeing her first. It can cause problems if used under certain circumstances.

Here is some information that I hope will help....

Appropriate cage temperatures aid in digestion and thus play a part indirectly in nutrient absorption. Temperatures needed can vary with the species and age. For hatchling panthers I keep the temperature in the warmest area in the low 80's. For older panthers I keep it in the mid to high 80's for the most part.

Exposure to UVB from either direct sunlight or a proper UVB light allows the chameleon to produce D3 so that it can use the calcium in its system to make/keep the bones strong and be used in other systems in the chameleon as well. The UVB should not pass through glass or plastic no matter whether its from the sun or the UVB light. The most often recommended UVB light is the long linear fluorescent Repti-sun 5.0 tube light. Some of the compacts, spirals and tube lights have caused health issues, but so far there have been no bad reports against this one.

Since many of the feeder insects have a poor ratio of calcium to phosphorus in them, its important to dust the insects just before you feed them to the chameleon at most feedings with a phos.-free calcium powder to help make up for it. (I use Rep-cal phosphorus-free calcium).

If you also dust twice a month with a phos.-free calcium/D3 powder it will ensure that your chameleon gets some D3 without overdoing it. It leaves the chameleon to produce the rest of what it needs through its exposure to the UVB light. D3 from supplements can build up in the system but D3 produced from exposure to UVB shouldn't as long as the chameleon can move in and out of it. (I use Rep-cal phos.-free calcium/D3).

Dusting twice a month as well with a vitamin powder that contains a beta carotene (prOformed) source of vitamin A will ensure that the chameleon gets some vitamins without the danger of overdosing the vitamin A. PrEformed sources of vitamin A can build up in the system and may prevent the D3 from doing its job and push the chameleon towards MBD. However, there is controversy as to whether all/any chameleons can convert the beta carotene and so some people give some prEformed vitamin A once in a while. (I use herptivite which has beta carotene.)

Gutloading/feeding the insects well helps to provide what the chameleon needs. I gutload crickets, roaches, locusts, superworms, etc. with an assortment of greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, mustard greens, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, sweet potato, sweet red pepper, zucchini, etc.)

Calcium, phos., D3 and vitamin A are important players in bone health and other systems in the chameleon (muscles, etc.) and they need to be in balance. When trying to balance them, you need to look at the supplements, what you feed the insects and what you feed the chameleon.

Here are some good sites for you to read...
If you can't access the sites above that have the word "archive" in you can do it through the WayBackMachine.
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