Chameleons reproduce by laying eggs. Regardless of whether your female chameleon has actually mated with a male, expect her to produce several batches of eggs each year. The term egg bound is used to describe a female chameleon who is carrying eggs but is unwilling or unable to lay them. Egg bound chameleons can become seriously ill or die as a result of the inability to lay eggs. Retained eggs absorb the nutrients that the female needs to survive and may even compress her lungs until she suffocates. This condition is also called egg retention.
Observe your chameleon for signs that she needs to lay eggs. Pay attention to how much your female chameleon is eating and drinking; she will stop eating but continue drinking when she is preparing to deposit her eggs. Watch your chameleon to see if she is scratching at the walls and ground of the enclosure. Place your chameleon in a deep sandy enclosure and leave her alone. If she tries to lay eggs and is not successful, then she may be egg bound.
Look for physical symptoms of illness such as difficulty breathing, open mouth breathing, refusal to eat, inability or unwillingness to climb within her enclosure, lethargy and sunken or closed eyes. Feel your chameleon's sides and belly to see if you can feel eggs.
Take your chameleon to the veterinarian for formal diagnosis and treatment options if you believe she may be egg bound. Have your veterinarian give medication to start contractions, fluids and possibly even perform a C-section to remove the eggs if necessary.
- It will be easier to diagnose your chameleon as being egg bound if you know your chameleon and her habits relatively well.
- Take your chameleon to the veterinarian immediately if you believe she is egg bound. Egg retention can be fatal. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
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Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.