Chameleons are colorful, little pets. There are over 150 species of chameleons found all over the world. Most of these lay eggs, but there are exceptions like Jackson’s chameleon who gives live birth. A Jackson chameleon also has eggs but carries them inside herself until it hatches and then gives birth to the live baby.
Most of the chameleons lay eggs except a few like the Jackson chameleon (they give birth to live babies). The Eggs are laid every 3-6 months. The number of eggs varies from 2-4 in smaller chameleons and 80-200 in larger chameleons. Those who directly lay eggs are called Oviparous and those who lay eggs inside their bodies that later hatch inside them are called ovoviviparous.
Do chameleons lay unfertilized eggs?
Yes, chameleons lay both unfertilized and fertilized eggs. This process is known as Parthenogenesis. The fertilization of eggs will depend on if they have been kept with a male chameleon during their egg cycle or not. In simple terms, whether mating has occurred or not.
Chameleons have a cycle of egg development. Each species of chameleon has its schedule. If the female chameleon finds a suitable male chameleon during this time, then eggs will be fertilized, and if not then eggs are laid anyway. But those eggs would be unfertilized, so no baby chameleons will come out. This is similar to Chickens.
There is a very short period for fertilization. If not mated during this period, then eggs will not be fertilized at all. Most chameleons who are kept in captivity lay unfertilized eggs. Unless you breed them purposely.
For these reasons, you should expect your female chameleon to lay eggs, even if there is no male with them. This process requires a lot from their bodies. You need to provide them with proper care, a healthy diet, and a good environment during these times to ensure their well-being.
At what age do chameleons start laying eggs?
Chameleons start laying eggs when they reach sexual maturity. Some chameleons reach sexual maturity faster than others. However, this differs from species to species. It is usually between 5-10 months in most of the chameleons.
Some species are ready to lay eggs when they are as young as 6 months, and some species take almost 2 years to develop eggs.
Veiled chameleons can start developing eggs as early as 4-6 months of age.
Some breeders try to change the feeding schedule and make adjustments in the enclosure to discourage laying eggs, but this is highly dependent on the variety of chameleon. This is not always successful with all the variety of chameleons. Depends largely on their species.
Well, it is essential to provide a suitable laying site for the chameleon in the closure during these times. Also, spend some time monitoring her behavior this time.
How often do chameleons lay eggs?
Understanding a chameleon’s reproduction cycle is a little bit difficult. Many factors go into consideration when a chameleon lays eggs.
The frequency of their reproductive cycle depends on their species, age, overall health, and the conditions of their environment. For example, female chameleons are less likely to lay eggs during the cooler or rainy weather. Temperature also plays a huge role in this.
Many chameleons need proper hydration and a nutritional diet to lay eggs. On average, a chameleon lays eggs after every 3-6 months. It is quite heavy on female chameleons, their body suffers a lot.
While they are in the wild, it is in their best interests to lay as many offspring as possible. However, in captivity, it is of no use and unnecessary. If you are not breeding your chameleons, it is best to space out the female’s egg-laying periods as much as possible.
You do not have control over this completely, but you can try lowering the temperature of the enclosure to avoid this from happening. Feed them a little less, as this may discourage egg-laying. Although, do not completely deprive your chameleon. They need a proper diet to grow healthy and live happily.
Female chameleons change their body colors to indicate symptoms such as cold, pressed, stressed, or sick.
How long does it take for a chameleon to lay eggs?
Well, the period varies from species to species. In general, it all starts with the Heat period, wherein the male chameleon starts showing signs that they are in heat. The color of their throat might change to red. Then, the female chameleon changes its color to light orange to give consent.
After they mate, it takes around 3-6 weeks for the female chameleon to get pregnant. During this period, the female chameleon again changes the color of their body which shall be indicative of you her pregnancy. Her tummy also starts getting bigger. The position of their backbone also changes slightly. This is to protect the eggs from breaking.
When the time gets near, the mama chameleon will start digging a hole in the land. This process is called nesting.
If you have a pet chameleon who is about to lay eggs, you will have to add more land into the enclosure for the digging process. Use loose soil as the base.
Chameleons use land-like loose soil to incubate their eggs naturally. Add some plants, food, and drink water inside it. Install a UV light lamp in the cage to provide enough heat and warmth. This process takes around 3-7 days. It is important to give her privacy during this time. She might get annoyed and leave the process in between. So, be careful. Well, it is different for shorter and longer chameleons. Just be patient.
This whole process might take several months, but once she starts digging her burrow then you should know it’s going to take only a few days to complete.
How many eggs does a chameleon lay at one time?
While some species of chameleons give birth to live babies, most of them lay eggs. The number of eggs a chameleon lays differs on species and the size of the chameleon. Smaller species of chameleons lay about 2 – 4 eggs at a time. Whereas, larger chameleons lay about 80 – 200 eggs at a time.
The larger the chameleon, the larger number of eggs she will lay. The veiled chameleons are known for laying lots of eggs.
The large veiled chameleons are known to lay up to 200 eggs at a time and as few as 20 in a clutch. The clutch sizes even vary in the members of the same species.
On the other hand, Jackson’s Chameleon has live babies. Depending on the size of the mother, they may have babies between 8-50 at once. The average is about 20 per clutch. Other factors also include the age of the chameleon. Younger chameleons who just have reached maturity are expected to lay fewer eggs the first time.
The number of eggs also depends on how the female chameleon is fed and her hydration levels.
How To Tell That a Chameleon Is About to Lay Eggs?
If you have a female chameleon, you should be ready to handle the reproduction phase anytime. It is hard to say the exact time. Some chameleons reach sexual maturity sooner and some later. What you can do best is to observe your chameleon, for any body change or behavior change. Some chameleons also slightly change the color of their bodies when they are pregnant.
Veiled chameleons show vibrant coloration when they are carrying eggs.
When the female chameleon is about to lay eggs, she might spend more time on the floor. You can also witness the loss of appetite in her. You can also notice her stretching on the sides of the enclosure. Her tummy shall also start looking bigger.
She will start digging into the floor to create a burrow. A female chameleon lays eggs in the burrow. This shall be your final sign that she is about to lay eggs in a few days.
Chameleons need to have a healthy diet during this period, as this whole process takes a huge toll on the body of the female chameleon. Feed her well. Hydrate her well!
After you have had a female chameleon for a few months, you will start noticing everything by yourself. With each cycle, it will become easy for you to understand the phases of her reproduction.
How Can I Help My Chameleon Lay Eggs?
As soon as you notice any signs of pregnancy in your chameleon, start preparing her enclosure. When they live in the wild, they take care of these things by themselves, however in captivity, you need to take care of them.
The female will search for a spot of damp soil and start digging into it. They use this hole to lay eggs and then rebury it. Eventually, after the eggs hatch, the hatchlings crawl out of the moist soil. In captivity, these conditions are not always available. You will have to create this, to encourage your female chameleon to lay her eggs.
You can even test the soil by digging a hole using a spoon. If it collapses then maybe the soil is too dry or too moist. Chameleons are often choosy about the moisture level of the soil. You need to carefully adjust the moisture of the soil and prepare it for her digging.
If you don’t create favorable conditions for her, She might become egg-bound, which will require veterinary attention.
Well, setting up the right enclosure is not as difficult as it might sound. After having some experience in handling chameleons, you will become trained and these things won’t bother you then.
Where Does A Chameleon Lay Her Eggs?
A chameleon lays her eggs in the burrows made by her in the soil. When chameleons are in the wild, they carefully dig holes in the soil and make nests for them. The female chameleon finds a damp soil spot for this purpose.
The female chameleon lays eggs into the hole and then fills the hole again, leaving no trace of the nest. While in captivity, you will have to take care of it. You need to provide a spot of moist soil for the female chameleon to lay her eggs carefully.
Sometimes, they get very picky on the moisture of the soil. You need to create a balanced environment to encourage the female chameleon to lay her eggs. You can also keep a laying bin in the enclosure.
What To Do After a Chameleon Lays Eggs?
Laying eggs is a very hectic and toll-taking task for the female chameleon. She gets really weak and dehydrated after laying eggs. You need to take proper care of your chameleon after this whole process is done. Feed her the right amount of nutrients and calcium-rich food. Keep her hydrated properly.
Observe her body and behavior for any changes or problems. Do not give her any type of stress for at least one or two weeks.
While the eggs will be encased in a thin, white membrane that protects the eggs until they are ready to hatch. You just need to provide constant temperature and warmth to the eggs for them to hatch, if they are fertilized. If you decide to incubate the eggs by yourself, you need to maintain the temperature between 82 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Well, if they are unfertilized eggs, you can use them to feed other reptile pets or supplement them with cat or dog food.
What is Chameleon Egg Binding?
Egg-binding is a very serious condition in pregnant chameleons. It can be life-threatening if attention is not given. It is also called Dystocia and is a common problem in female chameleons. There are many causes of this problem. The most common one is calcium deficiency. It leads to a metabolic bone disease which weakens the muscle used for laying eggs. Other causes also include obesity, dehydration, and stress.
If your chameleon is egg-bound, she is likely to show the following symptoms:
- Swollen abdomen
- Straining to lay eggs
- Loss of appetite
It is very important to show your chameleon to a veterinarian in this situation. Proper treatment is required depending on the cause of Dystocia.
What To Do With The Unfertilized Eggs Of The Chameleon?
The unfertilized eggs of the chameleon can be used to feed other reptile pets. It can also be used as a supplement in dog or cat food. You can also cook and eat them.
What To Do To Stop Making Your Chameleon Lay Eggs?
Laying eggs is a natural process in chameleons irrespective of mating with a male chameleon. Even if you do not breed your female chameleon with some male chameleon, she is going to lay eggs at intervals of time.
However, you can try making it less frequent by keeping it in cooler weather, by not providing many nutrients, and by keeping her dehydrated. All this depends from species to species. You might not succeed in doing so. You can only try!
The chameleons reproduce differently based on their different species. There are two groups of chameleons, oviparous and ovoviviparous. The first one lays eggs and the second one gives birth to live babies. Some chameleons lay eggs up to 20, whereas some lay about 200. The multiple symptoms will allow you to notice pregnancy in your female chameleon. It is a troublesome task to take care of your pet during her reproductive days. The chameleons require a lot of attention and care. They are very moody and picky animals.