Caring for the female chameleon can be a little different. This is due to the fact that chameleons will lay eggs or slugs in live bearers, even without a male. That's right, just like a chicken female chameleons will lay eggs even with out a male present.
In the wild a females only goal is to reproduce. To do this she will eat as much as possible to build stores for egg laying. This works great in nature where food can be scarce or at least take some effort to get. In captivity however we need to be careful as they will eat all we feed them leading to very large and often clutches. These large clutches are not only taxing on the female, but in extreme cases can lead to egg binding and death.
This extra stress on the female and is what ultimately leads to a shorter life span than males. Because of this we want to manage egg laying as best we can. Our goal will be fewer clutches of eggs as well as smaller sized clutches. Though they are not necessarily bound to seasons, it has been documented through many keepers that a minimal diet and cooler temperatures can aid in achieving our goal.
How do we manage this and keep our clutches small and few?
The two keys here are temperature and food.
Temperature, again there is not a straight magic formula here but as a guideline a basking of 80f max, 1hr in the morning and 1hr evening as per standards. Ambient temperature is usually 72-73f . You may notice that this is cooler than we normally advise. I believe it is this turned around that started the idea of males needing it warmer. This is of course un true. In fact it is the female that we are keeping at the low end of the natural temperatures.
This is another area that may not be exact. Things like activity level and temps can affect the amount of food needed. However 2 to 3 medium/large 3 times a week is a good place to start. You will want to carefully watch her weight for a while, this is where a scale can be handy, we don't want her to be starving or losing weigh.
The idea is to create an area that is roughly 12in square. The soil should be about 8in deep and firm enough too hold a tunnel. Avoid going too deep so as not to pose a threat in case of collapse. This should be about 6- 8in deep and set toward the back of the enclosure to allow for privacy. The most common mixtures are soil/sand mixture of about 3 to 1 with some adding some peat or sphagnum moss. The soil should be just damp enough that it will hold a tunnel. The important part is to test for structure. There is no magic formula, so start with a base mix. From there add more sand, soil or peat depending on need. I like to add shredded sphagnum moss as it helps make tunnels more secure.
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