What is the dependence of number of eggs, feeding and temperatures in Yemen Chameleons


What is the dependence of number of eggs, feeding and temperatures in Yemen Chameleons

If we increase the temperatures at which we keep chameleons, their metabolism speeds up, they start living quicker. They need to eat and drink more in same time period to maintain homeostasis (to stay at same weight, to maintain same metabolic ballance)…

Allow me to use a metaphore: their life is like a chewing gum. Either it will be stretched over longer period of time (lower temperatures) and they will eat less daily, or they will eat more daily (higher temperatures) and the chewing gum stretches over shorter period of time. But the total volume of the chewing gum representing the total sum of food will remain same. In the final and under ideal conditions not destructed by disease, predation or accident, in the entire life, they will eat approximately the same amount of food but live 3-5 or 16 years.

So far for males and partly for females. For females, one more mechanism comes as a superposition to the above.

In females, additional food above maintaining metabolism is needed to produce the eggs.

So, by increased temperatures, they will not only need to eat more but their hormonal system will be triggered to believe, the reproduction period is there and they will want to eat even more to saturate the coming clutch of eggs with energy and nutrients.

To be concrete, on average and as an example, to maintain same final metabolic ballance:

Female kept at 72/60F day/night will need 1 cricket pre day

Female kept at 85/72F day/night will need 3 crickets pre day

And if the same female starts producing eggs (the first one will not due to low temps), then she will need additional 5 crickets per day added to the previous 3, it means in total she will need 8 crickets per day

If you provide only 3 crickets, the clutch will be small (eg 15-25 eggs) and even the female can loose weight in gravidity if compared to the weigt before

If you provide 15-20 crickets per day, then the clutch may be as large as 60-70 eggs, as the female will invest the extra energy into increased size of the clutch

If you provide only 2 crickets per day, the female can either lose lots of its weight or can prolong the gravidity period by several weeks or can mummify the follicles or the developing eggs…

The female needs to be fed the given amounts even prior to the onset of gravidity and build fat reserves, as they define the number of eggs at once and they can not add more later on. They produce just one clutch from the combined effort of both ovaries and oviducts.

It means, if you provide before onset of gravidity just 2 crickets and after onset you increase to 20, the result will be low number of eggs and forming of fat body and increased weight even after egg deposition (there might be complications in the egg laying process, as the fat body (and full guts) can block the eggs to find their ways out.

To make it even more complicated, actually, the number of eggs is not in fact dependent on the food amount but on the reserves that the female builds in her body prior to the onset of gravidity (and very likely even before - in the number of follicles prepared for fertilization and further egg development) in the form of stored fat. It means, if a fat/overweight female is fed almost whatever amount she will have large clutch of eggs.

On contrary, if the female will be extremely skinny, she might not produce follicles and then eggs at all and utilize whatever amount of food just to survive herself, not risking the life in the demanding and risky process of gravidity and egg laying.

So, getting to the rule: "to prevent the unwanted clutches of eggs, do not overfeed and do not overheat",

The temperature is the ultimate trigger to start (or not) the follicle forming, ovulation and egg forming process

the amount of food (stored as a fat reserve in the fat body mainly) is the trigger of the same above (will not start if no reserves and no food and/or can stop the process for same reason) and triggers the number of follicles/eggs in this process.


The numbers are approximately correct, they however serve as an example and documentation of the tendencies discussed and quantify them. They are however not precise and can vary from animal to animal and can be influenced by many not discussed factors. Understand the numbers as "examples" only, not as an exact fixed number.

Author: Petr Nečas