Bearded dragons are a type of pet lizards that are native to Australia. The name is derived from its ability to puff out the dark-colored skin beneath its throat when it feels threatened or in danger.
These cute pets are easy to care for, extremely friendly, eat crickets and earthworms, and have a life expectancy of 10 years.
Although most people buy bearded dragons for companionship, you should know that bearded dragons also reproduce just like every living thing.
Most individuals wonder how bearded dragons take care of their eggs, how soon they reproduce if they have to mate before laying eggs, and even how bearded dragons lay eggs.
Bearded dragons tend to reproduce like other reptiles in the sense that they lay eggs. It is therefore important to put the reproduction of bearded dragons into consideration before getting one. Here are some details you should know about bearded dragon eggs.
At What Age Can Bearded Dragons Lay Eggs?
Some female beardies begin to lay eggs when they are about 9-10 months old. At this time, they haven’t begun breeding or mating, and as such, they only lay unfertilized eggs.
Besides, a beardie laying eggs too early can lead to the absence of calcium, which in turn causes stunted growth and a shortened lifespan.
The average female bearded dragon reproduces when they are at a minimum of one year old, but most female beardies become gravid (can lay eggs) when they are between two and four years of age. On the other hand, male bearded dragons are prepared to mate from one to one and a half years.
How Many Eggs do Bearded Dragons Lay?
Bearded dragons differ from many animals when it comes to laying their eggs. They lay eggs in groups known as clutches.
A female bearded dragon can lay about 2-6 clutches after just one mating session because they can store the male sperm for about a year. Each clutch contains about 15-30 eggs.
However, the number of eggs produced per clutch differs from one bearded dragon to another. Some bearded dragon can lay up to 6 clutches—that’s about 120 eggs.
Not to worry—it’s not a common occurrence. However, it would help if you were prepared for the unexpected.
How Long it Takes for Bearded Dragon Eggs to Hatch?
The hatching of bearded dragon eggs usually takes about 60 days, when the temperature is kept stable at 84 °F (29 °C). It is important to have a stable temperature in order for the bearded dragon babies to develop. Fluctuating temperature can greatly affect the hatch rate of the eggs.
How often do Beardies Lay Eggs?
In a year, a female bearded dragon can lay 4-5 clutches of eggs. This could occur in three bursts, nine clutches, or more.
Some bearded dragons tend to lay eggs continuously for some months. However, nothing can be done to regulate the rate at which they reproduce.
Do Bearded Dragons Lay Eggs without Mating?
Although it might sound surprising, beardies can reproduce without mating—this usually happens in chickens as well. If a bearded dragon becomes gravid and lays eggs without mating, the eggs would be infertile.
That means these eggs would not produce bearded dragons. This happens from time to time, although not all bearded dragons experience this.
Do Beardies Eat their Eggs?
You must have probably heard of birds eating their eggs and mammals sometimes eating their young ones.
Bearded dragons are usually prone to eating whatever they can find. This often results in some of bearded dragons eating their own eggs.
It’s not totally bad for beardies eating their eggs ones as it serves as a means to regain all the nutrients they lost from laying eggs.
What to Do if Your Bearded Dragon Laid Eggs?
After your bearded dragon laid eggs, there are a few things you can and should do.
Feed the Bearded Dragon
You know how exhausted humans are after giving birth—it is the same when it comes to bearded dragons. These reptiles usually lose a lot of fluid and are quite exhausted after laying eggs.
Hence, it is essential to make sure your bearded dragon gets enough water, a diet filled with quality nutrients (like calcium and high-protein snacks), and stays in an extremely clean environment.
Incubate the Eggs
After your bearded dragon has laid its fertilized eggs, there are two options on what you can do with them:
- You can care for them right in the soil they’re laid
- Transfer them into an incubator
Either method will work, though the incubator will have an increased hatch rate. While this may be different from what you would expect from artificial environments, it offers better control over humidity and temperature.
Here’s a breakdown of the two methods:
– Natural Soil
After laying the eggs in the soil, you need to have the bedding cleaned to reduce bacteria and mold. You might also want to consider bringing out the bearded dragon—they don’t care for the eggs and may even attempt to eat their young ones after birth.
Use an overhead lamp or heater (under-the-tank) to keep temperatures between 80 and 85° Fahrenheit. Ensure to keep this temperature consistent throughout the incubation period. Also, to keep a perfect environment, the humidity level should be up to 75 percent.
The most effective way to achieve this in a tank involves spraying the soil down frequently. You can use a hygrometer for tracking. Avoid direct spraying of the eggs as it can encourage the growth of mold on egg surfaces, resulting in stillbirth or birth defects.
Watch out for molds and move the eggs as gently as possible if you need to. Then, wait for the eggs to hatch.
– Use an Incubation Box
While the eggs can be kept in a nesting box, they require constant monitoring to keep temperatures and humidity at safe levels—though it’s not a simple task.
The struggles with humidity, temperature, and mold are the reasons most individuals prefer to use incubators for hatching beardie eggs. The major risk involved here is when transferring the eggs to the incubator.
- Get an Incubation Box
Move the eggs gently to a different incubator box before placing them in the incubator—it can be a plastic container that has a snug lid. Avoid poking holes in the plastic container to allow a rise in the humidity levels.
Line the base of the box with one or two inches of a commercial incubation substrate. You can also use vermiculite or perlite. The incubation medium holds onto moisture and keeps the humidity levels.
The substrate should have a small divot to help the eggs rest without rolling over. Ensure the eggs are arranged about 2 to 3 centimeters apart to provide enough space for growth as they develop further.
- Put The Box In Your Incubator
Move your prepared incubator boxes to the incubator machine. Before doing this, ensure to set the machine properly.
Set the temperatures between 80 and 85°F (84°F is highly recommended). Slight fluctuations are okay as long as it sticks within the recommended range. The humidity levels should also be high (aim for about 75%). Check the humidity and temperature levels frequently to ensure a stable environment.
- Monitor The Eggs
All you have to do at this point is to monitor your bearded dragon’s eggs while they develop. The eggs usually take about 55 to 70 days to hatch.
Besides monitoring humidity and temperature, you’ll also need to watch out for mold. Too much moisture breeds molds. Wipe away every condensation on your incubation box lids; however, you need to avoid excess moisture falling on the eggs.
- Prepare For Hatching
Hatching is the fun part! After about 2 months of development, the small beardies in the eggs should be ready for hatching. You don’t have to do anything aside from the continuous maintenance of the incubation environment.
How Do You Know if Bearded Dragon Eggs Are Fertilized?
To ascertain the fertility of your bearded dragon’s eggs, you have to wait for some weeks. Any attempt to check this as an early stage will be pointless since the eggs haven’t developed enough.
Once the eggs have reached about two weeks, you can check their fertility by pointing a light at them. Lift each egg gently and hold it against a very strong flashlight. It will illuminate the egg interior, and you can tell whether there are veins inside or not.
This process is known as candling though you need to be extra careful while doing it; otherwise, you risk killing the embryo inside.
The presence of veins in the embryo implies fertility; otherwise, continue incubating them for some days. If there are no veins after three weeks, that’s a high chance of infertility!
What to Do With Unfertilized Bearded Dragon Eggs?
If your bearded dragon lays unfertilized eggs, you need to remove them from the midst of fertilized eggs and throw them away.
If you don’t remove the unfertilized eggs, it can happen that your bearded dragon will eat them.
If your beardie becomes gravid without a male bearded dragon, don’t fret. Ovulation is normal and is a sign that your female reptile is well cared for. Female bearded dragons only lay eggs in an environment they feel optimal enough for their needs.
While you might be inconvenienced by an infertile female beardie becoming gravid if you weren’t prepared to have eggs, with a little tender loving care, that female bearded dragon would go through the experience in good health and reasonable comfort.