Do Chameleons Lay Eggs or Give Live Birth

Most chameleons lay eggs to reproduce. However, there are a few expectations to this rule. Some species of chameleons lay eggs, and others give live birth.

These two can be categorized as oviparous and ovoviviparous; those species that lay eggs directly to the ground are oviparous. Others lay eggs inside their bodies that later hatch inside them and consequently take live birth.

Oviparous Chameleons: Egg-Laying Species

Oviparity, the most prevalent mode of reproduction among chameleons, involves the female laying fertilized eggs directly into the environment. The time between mating and laying can range from three to six weeks, depending on the species1.

Notably, the Panther Chameleon exhibits a unique behavior post-mating: the female ceases eating for about 10-15 days. This fasting period is an indication that she’s preparing to lay eggs. If in captivity, it’s advisable to offer a laying bin to create a suitable environment for egg deposition.

The medium for egg-laying should be slightly moist, enabling the female to comfortably dig a tunnel for her eggs. A female failing to find a suitable egg-laying site may experience egg retention, a fatal condition.

In a single year, an oviparous female can lay multiple broods and even produce unfertilized eggs if not mated with a male.

Ovoviviparous Chameleons: Live-Birth Species

Chameleons offer a remarkable exception in the reptile world: certain species, like the Jackson’s Chameleon, give live birth. This ovoviviparous reproduction entails the female retaining eggs internally without a shell, enabling embryos to develop within her body.

During this gestation period, which lasts approximately four to six months, the embryos receive nutrients by attaching to the yolk inside the female’s body. At birth, the babies are encased in a thick, sticky membrane, which the mother affixes to a branch. Subsequently, the young emerge from this protective covering.

When Do Chameleons Start Laying Eggs?


The breeding age for chameleons varies greatly among different species. However, most chameleons reach sexual maturity between 5 to 10 months of age. During this time, the males usually start to show more vibrant colors while females may start to demonstrate receptive behavior towards potential mates.

Despite their physical ability to breed at a young age, it’s important to make sure they are in prime health before considering breeding, as the process can place significant stress on their bodies.

How Often Do Chameleons Lay Eggs?

The frequency at which chameleons lay eggs can depend on a number of factors including their species, age, overall health, and the conditions of their environment. During cooler or rainy weather, for instance, female chameleons are less likely to lay eggs.

Generally speaking, some species of chameleons may lay eggs once or twice a year, while others may lay eggs more frequently. For example, Veiled Chameleons are known to lay clutches every 3-6 months.

How Many Eggs Does A Chameleon Lay At One Time?


The number of eggs a chameleon lays at a time can vary widely and is largely dependent on the species. Some smaller species may lay just a dozen or two eggs per clutch, while larger species can lay up to 100 eggs at a time. For example, Veiled Chameleons can lay between 30 to 80 eggs per clutch, while a Panther Chameleon might lay between 10 and 50.

Do Chameleons Lay Unfertiled Eggs?

Yes, chameleons do have the ability to lay unfertilized eggs, a process known as parthenogenesis. However, it’s important to note that these eggs will not hatch into offspring. Female chameleons do not require a male to produce eggs – similar to chickens in this regard. That being said, they will still go through the cycle of producing and laying eggs, and this process demands a lot from their bodies.

It’s crucial to provide proper care, nutrition, and environmental conditions for your female chameleon during these times to ensure their overall well-being.

At What Age Do Chameleons Start Laying Eggs?

Chameleons usually start laying eggs once they reach sexual maturity, which typically occurs between 5 to 10 months of age, depending on the species. From that point onward, a female chameleon may produce and lay eggs regularly, even if she has not mated with a male chameleon. It’s essential to provide a suitable laying site and monitor her behavior closely during this time.

How Can One Tell If A Chameleon Is Ready To Lay Eggs?


Some signs that a chameleon is ready to lay eggs include a noticeable gain in weight (often the abdomen will appear swollen due to the eggs), increased appetite as her body prepares for the energy-intensive process of egg-laying, and digging behavior as she looks for a suitable place to deposit her eggs.

Some chameleons might also become less active or show changes in coloration. If you notice these signs, it’s essential to provide her with a suitable place to lay her eggs, such as a laying bin with appropriate substrate.

Where Does A Chameleon Lay Her Eggs?

Chameleons in the wild lay their eggs in carefully dug burrows in the substrate. The female chameleon will painstakingly dig the burrow, lay her eggs, and then fill in the hole, leaving virtually no trace of her nest.

In captivity, it’s important to provide a laying bin for your female chameleon, filled with a moist, easily-dug substrate, like a mix of sand and organic soil, that she can burrow into to deposit her eggs.

How Long Does It Take For A Chameleon To Lay Eggs?

From the time a chameleon starts showing signs of being gravid (carrying eggs) to the time she lays the eggs can take several weeks.

Once she starts digging her burrow, it can take a few days to complete. It’s important to give her privacy and not disturb her during this time as it may stress her out and cause her to abandon the process.

How Should One Care For A Chameleon During Egg-Laying?

Caring for a chameleon during egg-laying involves providing a suitable laying bin, ensuring she has a nutrient-rich diet, and maintaining appropriate environmental conditions. The laying bin should contain a mix of sand and organic soil that she can easily burrow into.

High-calcium foods and supplements are also important during this time as laying eggs depletes a lot of her calcium reserves. Hydration is equally essential, and misting should be done regularly.

What Steps Should Be Taken After A Chameleon Lays Eggs?


After a chameleon lays eggs, remove the eggs carefully for incubation if they are fertilized. It’s important to keep the eggs at a consistent temperature and humidity for successful hatching.

As for the female, she may be dehydrated and tired after laying eggs. Provide her with plenty of water and a nutrient-rich diet to help her recover. Allow her to rest and limit handling during this period.

What is Egg Binding in Chameleons?

Egg binding, also known as dystocia, occurs when a female chameleon is unable to lay her eggs. This can be due to various reasons, such as poor health, inadequate diet, lack of a suitable egg-laying site, or the eggs being too large.

Egg binding is a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary attention as it can be life-threatening. Signs of egg binding can include prolonged gravidity without egg-laying, loss of appetite, lethargy, and visible discomfort.


The Chameleons reproduce differently based on their species, divided into two groups Oviparous-Egg laying and Ovoviviparus- live birth-giving Chameleons. Some only lay two eggs, while others lay as many as 200. Unusual symptoms and signs would inform you whether your Chameleon is ready to lay eggs and must be provided with special care and food to avoid inconvenience later.

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