Do I have to breed my female?
No, you do not. If you choose not to breed your female, she may live a much longer life, as breeding is very taxing. Your female may develop infertile eggs now and then after she is one year old. She will lay these eggs, they will be smaller than normal and very easy to pass. Be sure to provide a laying site as with other gravid females. Producing infertile eggs may be tied to over feeding and being in view of a male. Keeping feedings limited and not allowing the animal to become fattened may decrease likelihood of developing eggs.
How do I know when the female is ready to lay her eggs?
As the eggs mature you will be able to see the egg shapes bulging on the veiled chameleons sides. Shortly before egg deposition (the laying of eggs), you chameleon will become very restless. She will roam around her cage as if looking for something, she is. She is looking for a laying site to dig a hole and lay her eggs in. When you see this, put a container filled about 16″ with moist potting soil ( avoid perlite ).It is best to place the container in her cage a few days before roaming begins, generally 4-6 weeks after mating depending on the species. This way you avoid stress of cage changes right at laying time. Make sure she gets enough to drink and do not bother her or repeatedly check on her. Disturbing her can cause her to stop laying and retain her eggs too long. Make sure she gets enough calcium she is gravid.
What do I do to incubate the eggs (container, substrate, temp, humidity)?
Veiled chameleon eggs can be incubated in rubber maid or tupperware type containers, with 1″ space in between eggs. The container should have in it about 2 inches of vermiculite mixed at a ratio of 4:6 with water (by weight). This will feel damp, but not dripping wet. Squeeze out all water you can or add more dry vermiculite. For most species, eggs should be incubated at around 72 to 75 degrees F. Montane species need cooler incubation temperatures, 70 degrees F works well for many species. As long as the lid to the container is on, you should not have to worry about humidity. A couple pin holes will allow some circulation. If the medium begins to dry, you can add a few drops of water.
How do I care for hatchlings?
This depends on the species. Live bearing chameleons need to have the young separated as soon as they are actively moving about the cage. Hatchlings from egg layers need to be removed from their incubation box after they have absorbed their yolk sack. I keep newborns in a screen cage at mild temperatures similar to incubation temps. I mist them frequently as they dehydrate rapidly. A small leaved potted plant, like Ficus benjamina will work well. Fruit flies are an excellent starter insect, as their movements are attractive to chameleons. They are also very easy to raise in large numbers. As they increase in size so may the size of insect prey offered. I dust all young veiled chameleons insects with a calcium supplement every other day. Any young lagging in growth need to be separated and reared alone. As they grow they will need to be separated, timing will depend on species. Watch closely for aggression or stress.