What effect does not leaving eggs buried have?

Ekaj13

New Member
I'm curious about this. It is standard practice to incubate eggs un-buried. I've read a bit about how some chameleons have a very high hatchling mortality rate after they hatch. I'm curious if some percentage of hatchlings are never meant to dig out of the hole their mom lays them in. Or if this is the first cull nature would normally take. I'm sure some scientist has already written a paper on this...
 

jdog1027

Established Member
Good question, and one I have also pondered. A chameleon hatchling is so tiny and frail, that it amazes me that they are able to excavate themselves from many inches of soil in the wild with out assistance. The first eggs I ever incubated were some kingsnake eggs, and all I did was set them on damp paper towels. Only 4 out of 20 hatched, but I'm sure had they been at least partialy buried, I would have had a better hatch rate.
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Queen
I have hatched a lot of veiled eggs and I do not bury them. I place them in rows about 1" apart in dents that I make with my thumb. I have close to 100% hatch rate of fertile eggs and at 3 months of age the survival rate is usually close to 95%...with the veileds. I have hatched other species of chameleons as well as several species of geckos, snapping turtles, 3 toed turtles, water dragons, etc. using this method and they all have had a good hatch rate.

The problem with burying the eggs is controlling the humidity level...its hard to get it right in most cases.

I place the eggs an inch apart because then the eggs will hatch more individually and I feel it helps with the survival rate. In the wild they would all hatch at once and some might not be quite ready (if you know what I mean)...but they have to do this to be able to dig out of the ground. The weaker ones would either get eaten by something or just die and the strong/quick would survive...as is nature's way.

There is at least one video on you tube of the whole process as it happens in the wild..but I don't have time to look for it right now. If you search on here you should find it...I know I posted it at least once!
 

jojackson

New Member
I place the eggs an inch apart because then the eggs will hatch more individually and I feel it helps with the survival rate. In the wild they would all hatch at once and some might not be quite ready (if you know what I mean)...but they have to do this to be able to dig out of the ground. The weaker ones would either get eaten by something or just die and the strong/quick would survive...as is nature's way.

Indeed. raises the question of weather saving all of them in captivity weakens the gene pool in the long term, also raises the question of culling. Ive read it brought up here before and folk were all horrified at the idea. Does any non commercial breeder cull weak hatchlings? Will they dare admit to it here?
Is it just an emotional thing, or a dollar thing? (humane euthanasia being $$$)
Is it kinder to cull or let nature take its course and allow weaker ones to die?

I make sure any animal I allow to breed is in the best possible condition, and I dont allow
continued clutches (some multi clutch anyway and here I allow two clutches and freeze any further eggs), this ensures young are robust and not effected by nutritional/calcium depletion of the mother, which I make a big effort to prevent.
I give all young equal quality of care, but make no extra effort to save any weak ones,
if they dont make it, so be it, as in nature.
note: this does not mean I allow any kind of suffering, just that I dont 'cotton wool'
them. Its not only the health of the mother that concerns me, I want to be atleast reasonably sure any young have the best chance of survival.
They go out into the world alone (to other keepers) as In nature, and I dont 'vet' buyers beyond a few questions about basic care and setup.
Ive been known to provide free equipment to those who it turned out, didnt have the basics at point of sale, that done, my conscience is clear, you cant do much once they've gone, though I do always provide advice post sale.
 

ChameleonRave

Avid Member
I watched that episode on tv. Pretty cool. He mentioned them hatching a year later. Wow, must be because the temps aren't controlled like they are in captivity. They look like flapnecks?

Yeah, I wish I had seen it on tv haha, I seen in on youtube last summer. I noticed that they hatched a year later also, it is probably because the climate. In the video the narrator said its a flapneck chameleons and it says it below the video.
 
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