Do Chameleon Lay Eggs? Or Do They Give Live Birth?

If you’re planning to keep a female chameleon as a pet, you will probably wonder about their reproduction process. There are a lot of questions to whether she lay eggs, how often she lays them, or if she gives live birth to their young.

Do chameleon lay eggs or give live birth?  All species of chameleons lay eggs. However, not all species will lay eggs the same way. Those that lay eggs in the ground are oviparous. The baby chameleon emerges from the eggs in the ground. Species that lay eggs inside themselves are ovoviviparous. The eggs actually hatch inside the mother’s bodies and she will give live birth.

This article is focused on caring for chameleons egg laying and not pregnancy.  If you would like to read more in-depth on caring for a pregnant chameleon, go here:  Chameleon Pregnancy

Do Chameleon Lay Eggs Or Give Live Birth?

The short simple answer to that is yes, every single chameleon species will lay eggs. However, not all chameleon species will lay eggs the same way. This is in terms of reproduction.

When it comes to reproduction, there are two types: oviparous and ovoviviparous. Both lay eggs, but one will lay normally like other reptiles and the other will lay in a unique way.

Oviparous chameleons are species that lay eggs in the ground. This is how most other reptiles lay their eggs as well. These chameleons will lay eggs every three to six months with or without the presence of a male.

However, if the female chameleons find a suitable male, the eggs will get fertilized. She will then find an ideal location to deposit her eggs. After she’s done digging a hole, she will lay eggs.

Depending on the species, she can lay anywhere from a couple of eggs to a hundred or even more. After all the eggs are laid, she will cover the hole with soil and retreat back up the trees and plants. After a couple of months, the egg will hatch and the baby chameleons will emerge from the ground.

Ovoviviparous species, on the other hand, lay eggs in a very unique way that’s different from other species. Instead of laying eggs in the ground, they keep the eggs inside their bodies until the embryos are about to hatch.

When the baby chameleon is about to hatch from the egg inside their mother, she will press the egg against a tree branch to help them hatch.

Jackson’s Chameleon is the only species of chameleons that are ovoviviparous. They have a 5 to 7 months gestation periods.

How To Tell A Chameleon Is About To Lay Eggs

A female chameleon that is ready to lay eggs will exhibit some signs. These signs are important to look for as you’ll need to prepare the area for her to lay eggs.

One of the signs to look for is she will spend more time on the floor than on the trees or plants. When she’s on the floor of the cage, she is looking for a place to lay her eggs. She will walk back and forth on the floor to find a suitable place. If she does, she will scratch the ground or even dig to see if she can lay her eggs in there. If not she will continue searching for another location. If you have live plants in pots, she may dig that as well.

Another sign to tell when she’s ready to lay eggs is when she has a loss of appetite. She will eat less food or may stop eating altogether. Even if it’s her favorite food, she will ignore it.

However, as for water, she will continue to drink it as normal. Therefore, it’s a good idea to mist the cage often to keep her hydrated.

The last thing to look for is her weight. If the female chameleon is eating, as usual, eating less, or not eating at all, but she seems to get fatter, it’s a good sign that she’s carrying eggs.

Above are the common signs the female chameleon is carrying eggs and in a short period of time, she will start to lay eggs. Therefore, you should prepare the cage or move her to a more suitable chameleon cage for her to lay her eggs.

Gravid Chameleon

Where Does A Chameleon Lay Eggs

In the wild, the female chameleon will find a secluded place to lay her eggs. The ideal spot she is looking for is where a predator will have a hard time finding the eggs. Places like under dead leaves, fallen trees, and low hanging plants. In addition, the location will be damp so it’ll be easy for the baby chameleons to crawl out when they hatch.

Therefore, chameleons kept in captivity, you should recreate the same environment. If you’re planning to keep her in her cage, get a large container that is at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep. In the container, put soil or mix it with some sand and fill it to the top. Additionally, plant some live plants so it will mimic her natural environment. Some female chameleons are really picky and if they don’t feel right about the place, they won’t lay eggs at all.

Some people prefer to take the female chameleon out from their cage and put them in another cage which is specifically made for egg-laying chameleons. Generally, the cage will have a container filled with soil with plants and trees in it. This is all they need to lay their eggs. Once she lay her eggs, the female chameleons will be taken back to her main cage.

How Often Do Chameleons Lay Eggs

For an average chameleon, she will lay a clutch of eggs every three to six months. However, how often she lay eggs will depend on a couple of factors.

One of the factors will be environmental conditions. If it’s during the rainy seasons in which the weather is usually cool, she will probably not lay any eggs until it gets warm. Therefore, it could be five to six months before she starts laying eggs.

On the other hand, when the weather is dry and warm, she will lay eggs more often. Usually every three months to four months. The eggs need to be warm in order for the baby chameleons to develop inside the egg.

Another factor is how well hydrated and how well fed the female chameleon is. If they get plenty of water and a well-balanced diet, she’ll lay eggs more often. A female chameleon that doesn’t drink enough water and eat enough will lay fewer eggs each year.

If you have a pet female chameleon, it’s best to have her lay eggs every five to six months. A female chameleon that carries eggs and laying can put a lot of stress on the chameleon. This is one of the reasons why female chameleons do not live longer than male chameleons.

To prevent her from laying eggs often, you can help her by lowering the temperature in the enclosure by a couple of degrees. Make sure the temperature doesn’t get too cold or you could cause health problems for the chameleon.

Another thing you can do is fed her less food. Instead of feeding her every day, you can feed her every two to three days. Three days is usually the maximum number of days a chameleon can go without food. Any longer with food could cause health issues for her.

Related Articles: How Often Do Chameleons Eat

Do Chameleons Lay Unfertilized Eggs?

Yes, chameleons can lay unfertilized eggs and it happens often. Like most species of reptiles, chameleons go through a cycle of developing eggs every three to six months.

If the female chameleons find a suitable mate within the time period, she will lay eggs that are fertilized, which are capable of hatching baby chameleons. If no mate is found within the time period, she will still lay eggs, but since they are unfertilized, the egg will just rot.

Chameleons that are kept in captivity will often lay unfertilized eggs. This is due to most pet owners keeping only one chameleon as a pet. Therefore, if you own a female chameleon, you’ll probably end up with unfertilized eggs every time three to six months.

What Is Chameleon Egg Binding?

Egg binding is when the female chameleon isn’t able to lay eggs and it stays inside her. The result of egg binding is usually when a laying bin isn’t provided for her, which she has nowhere to lay her eggs. Also, it could be due to incorrect husbandry conditions.

Another reason could be not being able to lay all of her eggs. A couple of the eggs may get stuck in her and becomes egg bound.

Egg binding is nothing to worry about because it’s a rare occurrence. However, if it does happen, it could be very serious. Therefore, when she’s about to lay eggs, keep an eye on it.

When she becomes egg bound, there are signs of illness to look out for. If you see her eyes sunken into its socket, eating a little amount of food or not eating at all for a long time, or opening their mouth for an extended period of time, your chameleon could have a problem.

If you noticed any of the above signs after she laid eggs, you can check for egg binding at home. Simply feel the sides of her stomach and see if you can feel any eggs.

If you suspect that the chameleon has become egg bound, you’ll need to take her to the vet to get her examined. If egg binding is found, the vet will inject her with oxytocin. This medicine will help her induce laying eggs. The medicine may be needed to be given every day until all the eggs are released from her body.

If injecting her with oxytocin doesn’t help lay the rest of her eggs, the vet will need to perform surgery on her. This option will usually cost a lot of money and the vet will discuss this with you before performing the surgery.

Related Questions

Can Chameleons Lay Eggs Without Mating?

Yes, female chameleons don’t need a mate to lay eggs. With or without a mate, the female chameleon will lay eggs every 3 to 6 months.

How Many Eggs Can Chameleons Lay?

It depends on the chameleon species. Usually, the larger the chameleon is, the more eggs they can lay. For a large species like the veiled chameleon, she can lay anywhere from thirty to eighty eggs.  For smaller species like the panther chameleon, she can lay ten to forty eggs.

What Age Do Chameleons Lay Eggs

When it comes to the age to start laying eggs, it depends on many factors. The conditions of the enclosure have to be right, their feeding schedule, and the chameleon’s genetic.

Therefore, some chameleons will start laying eggs at the age of six months, while others may not lay eggs until they are 2 years old.

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