Once you have experience in chameleon keeping, chances are, you might be interested in breeding them.
It isn't as easy as it seems, as there is alot of work and money that needs to be put into this new venture.
Breeding chameleons for hobby or commercial purposes can be real enjoying. The way that you feel when your first
chameleon is born or hatches out of its shell is unexplainable. Breeding chameleons is a real achievment. This page
deals with tips on breeding and care of chameleons during breeding, etc.
The first thing that you must do to start breeding chameleons is to make sure that you have at least 1 male and 1 female. (1.1)
Most species of chameleons have differences between the males and females. Some males may have horns, rostral processes,
bright colors, or may just be larger. Some species, The Meller's chameleon for example, have little or no difference
between the two. Once you are sure that you have an unrelated pair, you can introduce the female into the male's cage.
This is because males are territorial and may feel odd about being in a new environment. This isn't always the case.
Most likely, the male will start to twitch his head, go through a rapid color change, and start heading towards the
female. Now, one of two things can happen. The female can be receptive by showing light colors and she can let
the male mount her and allow copulation to take place, or she can be non-receptive. Non-receptive females will show
darker colors, sway back and forth, and even attempt to bite the male. These females should be removed and placed back
into their own cages. You can attempt breeding these females within another 2 weeks. Receptive females will most likely
try to run away from the males, but the male will eventually catch up.
Receptive females can stay with the male until they show aggression to him. Chances are the female is now gravid.
Depending on what species of chameleon you have, the female may be Oviparous ( egg laying ) or Oviviparous
( live births ). You should give extra care to this female, including extra calcium supplements and more water and food.
The more food you feed her, chances are, the more babies or eggs she will have. When a female is ready to deliver,
she will pace around her cage and look for a place to lay them. Keep in mind, however, that the more eggs or babies
she has, the more exhausted she will be. Having alot of babies takes alot out of the female and increases the risks
of disease or death. Once the female has laid her eggs or has given birth, you should continue with the extra care
until she increases her health.
As for Oviparous species, you should provide an egg laying site for the gravid female. A trash can or large bucket
will do. You should provide about a foot of moist peat moss or a half peat moss/ half sand mixture in the container.
You can place a plant in the container to give the female something to climb on. Provide a UVB bulb on top and let the
female in the container for a few hours. If she is ready, she will dig a tunnel and she will deposit anywhere from
3-over 80 eggs in the soil depending on the species, size of the female, and her health. These eggs should be removed
immediately and placed in moist vermiculite and then put in an incubator set at the correct temperature for that
species. Take care not to tip the eggs from the position that they were found in as the baby may drown in the egg.
Incubation times range anywhere from 2-21 months with the average being 6 or 7 months. This all depends on what species
you have. Please refer to the
incubation portion of our website for more information regarding the incubation process. Please refer to
Newborn Care portion of our website for more information regarding the care of young chameleons.