Thursday, June 17, 2010

Update from Veiled Chameleon Incubator

You may recall that we have two clutches of veiled chameleon eggs in our incubators. The first clutch of 51 eggs was laid near the end of February. The second clutch of 33 (larger) eggs was laid near the end of April.

You may also recall a discussion in our house where Mr. Summy and Child #2* expressed a desire to turn over all, or at least half, the eggs to the pet store for hatching. But I, a huge lover of challenges, wanted to try hatching the eggs at home, despite past failures.

Because it would've been my job to transport the eggs to the pet store, the eggs are still in incubators in my kitchen!

(*Child #2 is the SUPPOSED owner of the veileds. But, really he's gone all teenager and is leaving the care of the reptile to his lovely mother and even lovelier sister.)

At the risk of jinxing the entire operation, I'm here to report that ALL the eggs are still going strong! This is longest we've gone without losing any eggs. In the past, eggs have shriveled up or gone moldy! It's tough to keep the humidity just right in the incubator.

Here's the method I've come up with that seems to be working. (Knocking on wood!)

An egg is starting to shrivel, collapse in on itself.

Syringe + bottled water to the rescue! I dribble water from the syringe tip INTO THE SOIL AROUND the shrivelling egg, making sure to never get the egg itself wet.

Ah....all is right with the world. The egg all plumped up again. Sometimes it takes a couple of hours for the egg to absorb the water. Sometimes a couple of days.

Following are the variables I've changed with these two clutches:

1. the delivery of moisture to shrivelling eggs
We used to spray around the eggs in trouble. Now, I'm injecting the soil around the egg with water.

2. I'm draping a tea towel over the little window in each incubator. This keeps it darker in the incubator.

3. I'm "cooking" the eggs at a lower temperature--below 80.
Yes, yes, I'm obviously getting into this hatching business just a little too much! But I can't help myself!


Sarakastic said...

You are like wonder woman, seriously, I can't even take care of a plant.

Teresa said...

Very cool update, Barrie, and you probably need to add the word "brilliant" before lovely in your descriptions of Teenager #2's mother and sister!

Best wishes on a successful hatching of scores of baby veiled chameleons. I don't think you're too into it. It sounds like a great summer project for you and the lovely and talented Child #4.

Barbara Martin said...

Barrie, soon you will be a bona fide expert on chameleon hatching. I love these posts about your endeavour to bring more chameleons into the world. Perhaps some of this might become a plot point in a future book.

Barrie said...

Sarkastic: I am more like the opposite of Wonderful Woman. I can only grow plants in an Earth Box!

Barrie said...

Teresa: I do like the word "brilliant'!! I guess it is our summer project since the first clutch should hatch in the fall!

Barrie said...

Barbara: I'm sure you're right. Chameleons and their habits will no doubt crawl into my books at some point!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Soon you'll be giving classes on the care and feeding of veiled chameleons. Maybe even writing a series from the POV of the funny, pre-teen veiled chameleon.

Just saw your comment above. :)

Barrie said...

Alyssa: No doubt chameleons will show up in one of my books!!!

laughingwolf said...

grats barrie... may you continue as surrogate mama for years to come :)

Amy said...

you're a pro!!

Natasha Fondren said...

Wow, that's cool that you can save the egg! I can't wait until they hatch. Definitely keep the pics and updates coming, please!

Barrie said...

Natasha: I will! I will! I find this stuff fascinating!

Anonymous said...

What will you do one they are born?!?!!! I would love to know how you plan to handle the babies!!