Bearded dragons are common pet reptiles for both beginner and experienced reptile enthusiasts. Some people opt to care for one bearded dragon while others decide to have two or more. But irrespective of how many bearded dragons you have, if one of them is a female, you may one day suddenly discover eggs in the enclosure.
Can a female bearded dragon get pregnant without a male? Yes, even if a female bearded dragon lives alone, they can lay eggs. This may be because it recently spent time with a male bearded dragon or simply because it is not uncommon for female bearded dragons. And other types of animals, to lay infertile eggs without being with a male. Chickens are however, a prime example of an animal that lays infertile eggs regularly.
The following information will be addressing female bearded dragons gravidity:
- bearded dragons nesting behaviour
- accidental mating of bearded dragons
- problems with bearded dragons laying eggs
- bearded dragons egg incubation and care
- signs of pregnancy
- carrying eggs
- laying eggs
Is She Pregnant?
Surprisingly, you may never see the male mount the female bearded dragon, but you may start to see signs that she is gravid. A pregnant bearded dragon will eat more; her appetite will suddenly increase and she will always want to eat. Around the second or third week, you will start to see her belly swelling. As the eggs grow, you ought to be able to see grape-like lumps in her abdomen. If you then pick up the female and gently press on her belly, you will be able to feel the eggs.
Bearded Dragon Nesting Behavior
When a female bearded dragon is getting ready to lay her eggs, she may seem more lethargic than usual. And spend more time sleeping or laying under the heat lamp. The bearded dragon’s belly will also appear larger than normal because of the eggs it carries
And once the eggs are almost visible from the outside. Then, they will appear like marbles inside your bearded dragon and you will be able to feel them.
A bearded dragon that has eggs yet to be laid is known to be gravid. Thus, after about three weeks, a gravid bearded dragon will begin to dig in her enclosure. This is the start of nesting behavior and indicates you’ll need to provide your bearded dragon with a proper nesting area.
Fill a small container to use as a nest box with clean, moistened bedding that you want to bury the eggs in. Many types of reptile dirt or vermiculite bedding options can be used for this. Place this container in your bearded dragon’s enclosure under the heat lights for her to dig in.
Bottom of Form
Some people also opt to use completely separate containers, such as a plastic storage bin. For their bearded dragons to lay its eggs in so that they can control the temperature of that enclosure more precisely.
Accidental Mating of Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons are notoriously difficult to sex properly, even as adults. If you found that your bearded dragons have mated, then just take a step back. And think of the cost and time involved in raising the hatchlings before rushing about to buy an incubator.
Thus, you may well find yourself looking after multiple clutches. This will involve daily cleaning of vivariums for about 3 months.
You cannot deny that it is a wonderful experience seeing eggs in the vivarium. And 2 months later seeing the hatchlings emerge. However, this is only the start of the hard work, and then you will need to find homes for them all.
A wise breeder will make sure they have a market for the young bearded dragons before allowing them to breed. Thus, with an accidental mating, there will not be time to do this.
If your bearded dragons have mated accidentally, then you have to consider freezing the eggs as soon as they are laid. This stops any development of the embryo. Likewise, do not throw the eggs out with the rubbish as there is a chance they might hatch on the rubbish heap, and then die.
Problems With Bearded Dragons Laying Eggs
Bearded dragons that retain eggs for more than 45 days may be egg bound. If it has been over a month since you first saw eggs inside your bearded dragon, she hasn’t laid any, and she’s lethargic and sleeping a lot. Then, you need to get her to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The eggs may need to be removed, sometimes surgically. And your bearded dragon may have low calcium levels that need to be addressed. Egg binding is life-threatening and you should not ignore it.
Bearded Dragon Egg Incubation and Care
Once the eggs are in the moistened, clean bedding. Be sure to keep the soil between 80 and 85 F using heat lights. Alternatively, you can use an under tank heater and at 75 percent humidity by misting the soil regularly.
The eggs will take between 40 and 90 days to hatch, provided they are fertile. If they are not fertile, they will never hatch and can be disposed of at any point. Therefore, if you are unsure whether or not they are fertile, you can hold a flashlight up to the egg and look for a pinkish embryo inside.
This practice of lighting up the egg temporarily to see if there is something inside it is referred to as candling. Thus, be sure not to handle a fertile egg too much while handling it, though, as it could damage the growing dragon inside. Wait at least a few days after an egg is laid before candling or rotating an egg. Otherwise, you may risk detachment of the embryo inside the egg.
Signs of Gravidity
The most obvious signs of pregnancy are:
Developing/carrying eggs (Gravid)
- Rapid weight gain
- Increase in appetite
- You can feel the eggs around the abdomen
- Maybe more skittish/ aggravated by your presence
- Constantly digging
- Decrease in appetite
Developing or Carrying Eggs
Rapid Weight Gain
Over 2 weeks after mating, she’ll start looking fatter. Therefore, when she’s lying down you can see them spread out more than usual. When she’s moving around you’ll see her belly area sagging, more noticeably near her hind legs.
Increase in appetite
This should be noticeable, she’ll be voracious. And will really throw herself into eating anything remotely edible you put in the tank. It’ll seem like no matter how much you feed, she won’t stop eating. She’ll be highly alert too and will spend more time basking. When this occurs, just remember to dust food with calcium powder. Also, eggs need calcium to develop, if there’s none it gets taken from the mother.
Feeling the eggs
To rule out whether your lizard is overweight, after a 2 – 3 weeks after breeding. You should be able to gently feel a series of bumps around her underbelly near the rear.
The bumps will be more noticeable nearer her sides. If it’s an infertile clutch you may not be able to feel very many eggs. Remember to not apply any pressure, be very careful. feeling-for-eggs-in-pregnant-bearded-dragon
This normally means they’ll wall surf a bit and be very keen on exploring outside their vivarium/terrarium. It will normally start with you being able to hear them constantly scraping at the wall. You’ll also be able to hear them moving around their view more frequently, don’t be surprised if they try to escape.
If she doesn’t start digging then try giving her a warm bath.
She just won’t stop digging and will do this in many different places. Though normally, this will be around the hot end of the tank. Remember that you want a good depth of substrate with some sort of cover (bark etc…) over the top to allow them to dig a shallow burrow. I recommend Sand, Soil and Vermiculite, in equal parts, kept moist to retain its shape.
After she’s been digging a while she’ll eventually settle on a place to lay the eggs, normally in a warm spot.
Decrease in appetite
After a few weeks of being gravid and just after all the digging starts. Her appetite will slow down, she’ll start to avoid food. You should leave vegetation in a bowl every day with a little bit of calcium dusting on it every other day.
As long as she’s still digging this lack of appetite is nothing to be worried about.
Remember all that digging and laying eggs takes energy.
Hence, she’ll be really hungry
Signs of Danger
If you notice your dragon acting lethargic and appears to be having troubles, these could be symptoms of egg binding. And she should be seen by a vet straight away. Other issues may affect her ability to lay eggs as well, such as an infection or swelling of the kidneys. Your vet should be able to tell you what to do.
If the Eggs are Fertile
If your dragon has been with a male, then more than likely your dragon will have fertile eggs and if you plan on letting the eggs develop you will need an incubator.