Do you have questions about your female chameleon giving birth?
Are you a first-time chameleon breeder?
Whether you are breeding chameleons or just interested in this animal, you might have asked:
How do chameleons give birth?
Female chameleons give birth one of two ways, either by laying eggs or through live birth. The type of birth will depend on the species of chameleon.
Keep reading this article to learn even more about how chameleons give birth to their young.
How Do Chameleons Give Birth?
Depending on the species, chameleons will either give birth by laying eggs, or oviparous, or by having live birth, called ovoviviparous.
Oviparous- Egg Laying Birth
Chameleons who give birth to their young by laying eggs are the most common.
Following a mating ritual, between a male and female chameleon, a female will lay between 20 and 200 eggs.
The typical period between mating and egg-laying is as short as three weeks and as long as six weeks, but varies between species.
With panther chameleons, the female will stop eating 10 to 15 days after mating, which will tell you she is getting ready to lay her eggs.
Once she is ready to lay her eggs, the female will naturally look to dig a tunnel to bury her eggs.
In captivity, owners will need to set up a laying bin to give her a place to lay her eggs.
If the female does not feel comfortable or cannot lay the eggs, she could die retaining them.
A laying bin is easy to set up, using a five-gallon bucket or rubber tub filled with moist soil.
The soil must be moist enough to maintain a tunnel as your chameleon digs.
Once she digs her tunnel and deposits her eggs, she can be returned to her cage.
Chameleons can lay multiple broods throughout the year, and will even lay unfertilized eggs when she has not mated with a male.
Ovoviviparous- Live Birth
Most chameleons do give birth via laying eggs, but there are some species, like Jackson’s chameleon, who will have a live birth.
This is called ovoviviparous reproduction and means the female will incubate eggs inside of herself.
These eggs do not have a shell, but the embryos develop and get their nutrients by being attached to a yolk sac inside their mother.
With Jackson’s chameleon, the female has a gestational period of approximately four to six months, after which she will give birth to the babies.
When they are born, the young are covered in a sticky membrane.
The mother will press the babies onto a branch where it will stick, and the newly born chameleons emerge from that membrane.
Breeding Age For Chameleons
Breeding age is slightly different between species, but overall chameleons reach sexual maturity after one year.
If you are breeding chameleons, you will find some species, like the veiled chameleon, will reach sexual maturity by the time they are four months old.
For the safety and health of your chameleon, it is best to wait until she is at least a year old before you breed her.
Younger chameleons have had difficulties laying eggs, which can result in early death.
Research to find specific information on your animal if you intend to breed your chameleon.
How Many Babies Do Chameleons Typically Have At One Time
For egg-laying chameleons, the female can lay as many as 200 eggs, but there are several factors.
Some species will lay a smaller amount of eggs, while others will have an increased number with each brood.
Another factor is the size of the chameleon species.
Members of large chameleon species can lay 80 to 100 eggs at one time, while small chameleon species may lay two to four.
The size of your chameleon will be a good indicator of how many eggs she might lay.
For the chameleons who have live births, they might have between eight to 30 young at one time.
Again, this will vary between species and the size of the chameleon.
Caring For A Chameleon During Birthing
When any animal gets pregnant, their diet tends to change, and chameleons are no different.
Your pregnant chameleon will require extra care as this is a time when her immune system will be weakened, she will become thinner, and she will be more vulnerable to diseases.
As we already discussed, it is important to have a proper place for her to lay her eggs.
Keep feeding her crickets and other insects as part of her diet, but it is important to dust them with supplements to add vitamins and calcium she might not be getting with a reduced appetite.
Female chameleons have a shorter lifespan than their male counterparts, and researchers believe this is because laying eggs affects the health of the female.
During this time, your chameleon will reduce not only its food intake but also its water intake.
This can result in dehydration and is a major cause of egg binding.
To help prevent dehydration, mist her cage properly.
Egg binding is a major cause of death in female chameleons and happens when she is unable or not willing to lay her eggs.
There are a few causes for this condition, including anatomical defects, malformed eggs, she is in poor health, or her enclosure has a high temperature, and she is dehydrated.
The eggs will absorb all of the nutrients the mother is taking in, and they will begin to press down on her lungs, meaning she will not be able to breathe properly.
If you provide her with a laying bin and have given her the proper diet and regular misting, you will reduce the chances of this happening to your female.
A female chameleon’s main objective is to reproduce, and depending on the species, they will either do so by laying eggs or having a live birth.
Egg laying is the most common way chameleons give birth to their young, but some species will incubate the eggs inside of themselves for live birth.
After reading this article, we hope you have a better idea of how female chameleons give birth to their young.