Female panther chameleons can make great pets. In fact, they can live long healthy lives, and be just as cool as the males! However, there is just one significant difference between males and females. Females can lay eggs!
Before we get started, it’s important to understand something about the female panther chameleon. Females can lay eggs even if they aren’t bred. Sometimes, they’ll lay them without any problems. Sometimes, they’ll have complications. This is called egg-binding. Below are 5 tips that can help you avoid egg-binding to keep your baby girl happy and healthy.
1. Don’t expose them to males
If you don’t intend to breed your female, don’t expose her to males. By this, I mean don’t even let her see a male. Visual stimulation may be enough to kick in ovulation in a female panther chameleon. By eliminating the sight of a male, you may be able to suppress ovulation, which reduces the chances of laying eggs. If you keep a male, just make sure you setup visual barriers so they can’t see each other.
2. Keep temperatures a bit cooler
In the wild, females produce eggs when the season is right. Warmer temperatures etc. are prime time for producing eggs in the wild. So the opposite can be said about the wrong season. If the conditions are not ideal for producing eggs, then females may not kick into ovulation mode. The idea is to trick them into thinking that it isn’t the right time to produce eggs. Obviously, you don’t want to simulate a full-blown winter season in captivity. A few degrees cooler should do the trick.
3. Do not overfeed
In the wild, warmer temps also means an abundance of food. Warmer temps and more food is Mother Nature’s way of saying it’s time to produce eggs. So overfeeding may also be a signal to the female that it’s time to ovulate. In addition, we’ve observed that the amount of food a female eats directly affects the size of the clutch. The more a female eats, the more eggs they’ll lay, the more stress their little body’s will go through.
While you don’t want to starve your female, you do want to keep them lean. For the first 6 months, you can feed a normal quantity of food. However, after the first six months we recommend reducing the food intake to about six 1/2″ crickets per day. The goal is to keep your female lean, so you may need to adjust the food intake as they get older if you see her gaining weight. Pay special attention to weight gain around her legs and neck. Feed fewer crickets per day as needed. Feeding every other day is also acceptable.
4. Keep females exercised
Females in the wild are always on the go and are well-exercised. Females in captivity don’t have to work for their food, and it’s very easy for them to become overweight. With less exercise also comes less muscle development. A colleague of ours also observed that that the increase in exercise may also help with the egg-laying process. It makes sense that a fit female is better developed to lay eggs.
We recommend free-range feeding your female. Do not cup-feed your females. By forcing them to hunt for their food, you are also forcing them to exercise. In the event that they do lay eggs, they’ll be better equipped to lay them without issues.
5. Provide a nest at all times
When a female is ready to lay eggs and there is nothing to lay them in, they will often retain them. This can be fatal! So the idea is to provide a nest at all times. A nest is simply a small potted plant placed in her cage. Even a small 6 “to 8” potted pothos plant will suffice. There is nothing worse than being caught off guard and coming home to see eggs all over the cage floor.
By keeping a small plant in the cage, you won’t have to worry about this. If and when she is ready to lay eggs, she’ll have a nest to do her thing.
The tips above still do not guarantee that your female will never lay eggs. They simply reduce the chances of it happening. In the event that she does lay eggs, these tips above will also help her lay her eggs without a hitch. As you can see, by following a few simple guidelines you can keep a happy and healthy female panther chameleon.