How To Take Care of Bearded Dragon Eggs
Bearded dragon eggs take very specialized care. You will need to get everything right from the laying conditions to the hatching period.
You can choose to either keep the eggs in the laying box or remove them to an incubator. We will go through how to do both in this guide.
You will also find out how to set the perfect conditions for your bearded dragon to lay her eggs. Keep reading to find out more.
Knowing When a Bearded Dragon is Ready to Lay Eggs
If your bearded dragon has started to act a little lethargic and is spending more time basking, it could be because she’s ready to lay eggs.
She’ll start to develop the eggs inside her for around three weeks before she thinks about making a nest.
The Gravid Period
When you see her start to dig, you’ll also be able to see her getting visibly wider.
If you pick her up gently, the eggs will be slightly visible under the skin, looking like tiny marbles. This period between nesting and laying is called the ‘gravid period’.
Around this time, you’ll see her dig around in her vivarium in an attempt to find a suitable place to lay them. In the wild, bearded dragons would find a safe spot underground to lay their eggs to keep them away from predators.
Your bearded dragon will also start eating more, as she needs to pass along the vitamins to her offspring.
This should be encouraged by giving her slightly more food up until the point of laying, and for a short time after to recover her strength.
The best foods to provide at this point are live foods, as these provide more protein. You can also sprinkle these with calcium powder to strengthen the eggshells.
What To Do When a Bearded Dragon is Ready to Lay Eggs
When you’re sure that the change in your bearded dragon’s behavior is due to her needing to lay her eggs, you’ll need to mimic the dragon’s natural habitat.
Providing the most natural setting possible for the laying will make her feel more at ease and will help it to go smoothly.
Step 1: The Laying Box
The best way to do this is to provide a covered box within the vivarium which acts as a small cave.
The size of the box will be determined by the size of your bearded dragon. If she is large you will need a larger bin.
Just make sure there is enough room for your beardie to turn around.
Step 2: The Bedding
Your cave should be filled with moistened material that can be easily moved. This will allow your bearded dragon to dig the eggs into a nice little cradle and position them how she likes.
You can use top soil or children’s play sand for this. The sand is a good option as it is cleaner and won’t stain the eggs.
Quick Tip: Position all of the substrate to one side of the laying box, this will help your beardie when it comes to digging.
Step 3: Keeping Things Warm
You will want to use warm water to moisten the sand, this is because sand cools down very quickly so the warm water will help retain some heat.
You will then want to set up your light fixture. The best option for this is a clamp lamp which you can fix to the side of the laying box.
Using this lamp will make sure that your beardie is comfortable and that the temperature is ideal for the eggs once they are laid.
You will want to position the lamp so that it is directly over the mound of substrate at one end of the box.
And there you have it the laying box is all set up and ready for your beardie to lay her eggs.
What Are the Best Conditions?
Once your beardie has laid her eggs, she’s done her job. Normally, in the wild, the temperature and humidity would look after itself.
But domestically, your bearded dragon won’t think about these things and won’t sit on them to keep them warm like a bird. It’s all down to you to keep things ticking over.
You have two options available to you at this point:
If you use an incubator you will have more consistent conditions and therefore an increased hatch rate however, if you have the time to manually care for the eggs then this can be a very rewarding experience.
The key thing is that you maintain the optimum temperatures and humidity.
What is the Optimum Humidity?
The optimum humidity for bearded dragon eggs is 75% relative humidity.
Unless you are using an incubator, you will manually need to keep the humidity level correct.
This can be achieved by using a mister to lightly mist the nesting material a couple of times a day to ensure that it stays moist in the heat.
Warning! Avoid getting the eggs wet, as this can lead to mold.
Controlling the Temperature
Again, if you are not using an incubator then you must place the box under a heat lamp to ensure that the eggs retain the optimum temperature and don’t get too cold.
The optimum temperature for bearded dragon eggs is 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are using an incubator the temperature will be kept at the right level for you.
Should I Move the Eggs?
Avoid moving the eggs, the mother is a natural and has laid the eggs in the best positions to give them the best chance of hatching.
You can uncover them to monitor for mold but moving them regularly will disturb their development and potentially affect the hatch rate.
Do I Need an Incubator?
Bearded dragon eggs require very specific conditions and monitoring these yourself can be time-consuming.
This is where an incubator can be useful and can often increase the hatch rate of the eggs. You will want to purchase an incubator that can control both temperature and humidity.
The best thing about this incubator is that it has a viewing window so you can see how the eggs are doing without opening the lid. This is essential for maintaining the optimal temperatures and humidity.
How Long Do Bearded Dragon Eggs Take to Hatch?
The hatching time for bearded dragon eggs will depend on a number of different things. The humidity and heat are both very important.
It’s also very dependant on the health of the mother. If you have a healthy, strong mother, then it’s likely that the babies will develop a little faster due to the higher nutrient content in the egg.
Throughout this 2-month period, you’ll need to closely monitor all of the eggs, as some may develop faster than others. It’s also likely that some won’t develop at all.
Keeping track of them all is a tall order as a single bearded dragon can lay up to 20 eggs in one clutch.
Around 48 hours prior to the egg hatching, you might see it start to deflate. The egg’s sides start to collapse as the bearded dragon baby inside consumes the contents of the egg and gets ready to breakthrough.
What Problems Should I Look Out For?
There are a few common problems that can occur when breeding a bearded dragon. Some are easily resolvable, and some are a little more serious.
The most common problem that you’ll come across is unfertile eggs.
The eggs should be handled as little as possible and not at all in the first few weeks.
After this time, if the suspense is killing you, you could gently pick up an egg and hold it up to torchlight. If the egg is fertile, you’ll start to see a tiny pink embryo developing in there.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a clutch of infertile eggs but try not to get too obsessed with checking. Too much movement could detach the embryo inside.
If it turns out that they aren’t fertile, you could always try again later. Once you’re absolutely sure that nothing is growing inside them, you can dispose of them.
You’ll also need to watch closely for ‘egg binding’. This is the term for a reptile that can’t expel her eggs properly, so they get lodged inside her.
If you have a dragon that’s kept her eggs inside without laying for more than 40 days, she may be egg bound.
You’ll notice a change in behaviour too. She’ll seem more tired and will have a reduced appetite.
This condition can be life-threatening. If you suspect egg binding, see a vet immediately.
Hopefully, this comprehensive guide on how to look after bearded dragon eggs has given you enough information to successfully hatch some baby bearded dragons.
It is a very rewarding experience and if you do everything right you will be the proud owner of many baby beardies.
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