Now, onto the eggs. Carefully start removing the soil from the location where she laid until the eggs are exposed
. At this stage, the eggs are relatively hardy and can be handled without having to be concerned about changing the
orientation of the eggs from its original position. My females have laid as few as 15 eggs to as much as 42 eggs with
average clutch size being approximately 30.
You can use a plastic shoe box as an incubator. Fill the shoe box with pre-moistened vermeculite. When you
pinch a bit of vermiculite with your fingers, you should be able to squeeze out a drop of water. For the anally retentive
among you (myself included), I measure out 300 grams (10 oz) of vermeculite to 210 grams (9.5 oz) of water for a ratio of
approximately 1 part vermeculite to 0.7 water by weight. I have made the mistake of having too much water for one clutch
which caused the eggs to saturate and swell prematurely, Once this was realized, moisture in the vermeculite was
reduced to proper levels but I was only able to save 2 eggs out of 21. Some breeders recommend sterilizing the incubation
medium by cooking it in the oven or microwave to kill any bacteria but I have not found this to be necessary. You must
understand that in the wild, they lay their eggs in natural soil which has millions of bacteria per cubic inch of soil.
The eggs are placed on top of the vermeculite, about one inch apart and I push then down slightly so that the eggs are
slightly cradled by the vermeculite to prevent the eggs from rolling when the eggs are checked periodically. The eggs
of most Chameleon species are laid at an early stage of development and are in a state called "diapause".
Diapause can be explained as a state of suspended animation where no development of the embryo occurs. This state
can last any where from 1 to 3 months or more and is the reason why the hatching time of Panther eggs can vary so much from
approximately 7 months to over a year. Temperature, moisture and probably many other factors yet unknown help to break
the egg out of it diapausal state so development can begin. It is thought that high temperatures prolong diapuse.
Once the eggs come out of diapause and begin development, they may be susceptible to being moved about and orientation
of the eggs probably should not be changed. I have had the misfortune of dropping the egg laying container during a
routine check and losing orientation of all the eggs it contained. Nevertheless, all eggs hatched successfully probably because
they were near full term. Had this accident occurred during the critical stages of development of the embryo, the outcome
may have been very different.
The eggs can be placed in a fancy, temperature controlled incubator or they may simply be placed in a relatively cool,
dark closet to incubate at room temperature.
Initially, check the eggs every 2 weeks or so. It is possible for some of the eggs to be infertile and you will
know this in about a weeks time as the infertile eggs will rot and become mouldy. Remove the bad eggs as soon as you
You may notice condensation on top of your shoe box lid. This is normal and is not a need to be concerned.
Check the moisture level of the vermeculite periodically and add water as necessary. As the eggs mature, they will double in size
and you may notice striations (like a watermelon) on them.
After 6 months or so, check the eggs weekly. When you notice that the eggs have begun to shrink, hatching is very near.
The eggs may "sweat" out extra moisture befor hatching. Once piping has occurred (slitting of the egg), it may
take 24 to 72 hours before they emerge out of the egg while they absorb the remainder of the yolk sack. Once the first
Panther hatches out
, it may take 10 to 14 days for the rest of the eggs to hatch out but it is possible to have stragglers that take many
weeks longer before they finally hatch so never discard any healthy looking eggs no matter how long it has been since being
Set the babies up as previously described. They may not begin feeding for several days but this is normal.
After a few days, start offering them fruit flies and one week old crickets. Even as hatchlings, it is possible to sex babty Panthers
although accuracy may not be 100%.