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Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11508
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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My chameleon(female) cant move her rear legs now and she got

Customer Question

my chameleon(female) cant move her rear legs now and she got huge recently. we brought a male in two weeks ago. is she going to lay eggs??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Reptile
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hello i still have not received an answer. she seems to not be able to keep up her body cus she got so big ,is she going to lay eggs and needs them out of her? i will make a place for her if that's the case
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in reptiles. I'm sorry to hear your chameleon is having some problems. It's possible that she needs to lay eggs, but the fact that her back legs don't work and she is unable to move tells us she is in trouble. Some additional information will help me determine what steps you should take. I'll post what I need to know in just a moment - I just wanted to let you know I'm here..
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
What kind of chameleon is she - veiled, Jacksons, etc.?What brand and size of UVB light do you have? How old is the bulb?Does she get a calcium supplement?What substrate do you use on the cage floor?What is your zip code so I can find a vet for you?Thank you.
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

I'm attaching a picture of a veiled chameleon ready to lay eggs for you to compare. You can see the eggs just in front of her hind legs. Many times, they also develop little spots the color of robin's eggs on their skin. you can also see them in the photo.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
its a 60 watt UVB light, i dust her food with rept= vitamins
Vail crown chameleon and has been till we bought her a boy active and healthy. though one leg seemed to not be able to find a place to grab, like she couldn't see it or sense a place, so then because of her weight gain i thought she might have eggs to lay.. we use shredded coconut for substrate from petgo, everything has been from pet co by there experts??
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for getting back to me. Unfortunately, there are no experts at PetCo. They have mostly part time employees, paid minimum wage, and their qualification is that they 'like animals.' They sell people the wrong lighting, advise the wrong foods, and often don't know the correct temperatures for the various reptiles. After months of things not being quite right, the animal becomes ill. Even though people try so hard to keep their pets healthy, when they don't have correct information to begin with, things go wrong.

I suspect you don't have a UVB light at all, and that may be the reason her back legs don't work. she may also not receive enough calcium. Can you take out the bulb and look at the print on it to give me a brand? If the bulb is too hot to touch, it is not a UVB.

You can prepare her a place to lay eggs. You can use a bucket large enough to place 12 inches of substrate in it. Use sterile potting soil (with no added fertilizers in it). Make sure the soil is damp so it won't cave in on her. Place her in the pail. If she is ready to lay eggs, she should start digging.

Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

But do let me know on that light. Without sufficient UVB light, a female's body will take calcium out of her bones to develop the eggs. That is a life-threatening condition. The most common sign is loss of strength in the back legs.

I'll explain a bit more about the light. It's absolutely essential that she have a UVB light that puts out 10% UVB. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, daylight, UV, and UVA are NOT the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to a reptile’s health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because they won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death. UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out the UVB rays.

It's also important to dust crickets with plain calcium powder. The vitamins don't supply that. Egg producing takes a lot of calcium out of a female's body, so UVB light and calcium are extra important for them.

Proper temperatures are also important. Chameleons are adaptable to temperature extremes in their wild habitat, but there they can move around to find warmer or cooler spots. In a cage they have no choice. After months of being too cold, illness often develops. The coldest part of the cage should be 82.5*F. There should be a warm basking area that is kept at 89*F to 113*F. That sounds hot to us, but to a chameleon, it is just right. at night the temperature can be allowed to drop to 72*F to 79*F. Use a good digital probe thermometer to measure the temperature. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the fixture or by changing the bulb to one with higher or lower wattage. If you have to lower the fixture, don't put it so low that your chameleon can touch it and be burned. I suggest that you read the information on this site for more advice on care:

You didn't give me your zip code, but I believe Califa is going to need help from a vet. chameleons are among the most fragile of lizards, and once a health problem develops they seldom recover without veterinary help. The following link has a directory of reptile vets.

You can still give me your zip code if you want me to help.

If you have more questions, let me know. I hope Califa will be fine.


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Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hi Michael,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Califa. How is everything going?