Egg-binding in female chameleons

When a female chameleon is adult and sexually mature, it could start to produce eggs. She could also do this without being in contact with any male. The eggs she will produce without having mated will never hatch. If she did mate before producing the eggs, you could try to hatch the eggs. But first she has to lay them! This can be a problem for some chameleons.

How a chameleon will lay eggs

Female veiled chameleon showing “ready to mate” colors

A veiled chameleon female that is ready to lay her eggs will start to dig a tunnel or hole to lay them in. It will try to make a nice place for the eggs, because she cannot take care of the eggs. She will choose a place just once, with the right temperature for the eggs, and then nature will do the rest. In captivity you have to make sure that the female has enough soil to dig in, for example an extra bucket or tray with a deep layer of soil. If she does not find a suitable place for her nest, she will keep her eggs inside which can be harmful for her.

In a few hours the female will lay 10 to 60 eggs. She will close the tunnel again and go back to her normal ways.

For healthy egg-laying, a female chameleon needs:

When a chameleon becomes egg-bound

Eggs inside pregnant chameleon
Eggs inside pregnant chameleon

When a female chameleon that has mature eggs inside her body is unable to lay them, she is egg-bound. Egg-binding is a serious problem for chameleons and could be deadly.

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The first thing to do is make sure that your female has a proper place to lay her eggs. This should be a bucket or tray with moist soil. The layer should be at least half a foot deep. Deeper is better. You can use non-fertilized potting soil or a mix of organic potting soil and sand. Most of the time an egg bound female just did not find a suitable place for her eggs. As soon as she finds it, she will start laying the eggs. Give her some privacy as the stress of you watching her can delay the laying process.

There could also be a medical reason for begin egg bound. Mostly lack of calcium. This causes the muscles to not be as strong, and muscles are needed to push the eggs out. If this is the case, you should take your chameleon to the vet. The vet can do an x-ray to see how much eggs she has inside of her. The vet can also give her a shot of calcium and oxytocin, both will induce egg laying.