Dealing with a gravid (pregnant) bearded dragon can be scary and daunting. Egg laying is a delicate process that requires close monitoring and a regiment for care.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- When do bearded dragons lay eggs?
- How many eggs do bearded dragons lay?
- How to prepare your beardie for egg laying
- Potential complication during egg laying
How Many Eggs Do Bearded Dragons Lay?
On average, bearded dragons lay between 10 and 20 eggs per clutch, although some female beardies may lay more or fewer than this. In some cases, younger or smaller females may lay smaller clutches of just a few eggs, while larger and more mature females may lay larger clutches of up to 30 or more eggs.
The number of eggs a bearded dragon will lay in a single clutch can vary depending on several factors, including the size and age of the female, her overall health, and the conditions in which she is kept.
When Do Bearded Dragons Start Laying Eggs?
Female bearded dragons typically start laying eggs when they reach sexual maturity, which is usually around 6-12 months of age.
However, some females may not start laying eggs until they are 18-24 months old. It’s important to note that the age at which a bearded dragon reaches sexual maturity can vary depending on a number of factors, such as diet and living conditions.
It’s also worth noting that bearded dragons can lay eggs without mating with a male, a process known as parthenogenesis.
Another factor that can influence when a female bearded dragon starts laying eggs is her overall health. If a dragon is unhealthy or not getting the proper nutrition, it may delay or prevent the onset of egg laying.
Additionally, stress can also impact a female bearded dragon’s ability to lay eggs. If you notice that your dragon is exhibiting signs of stress, such as decreased appetite or lethargy, it’s important to take steps to reduce stress levels in order to promote healthy egg laying.
Can Females Lay Eggs Without Mating?
Yes! Bearded dragons are known for their ability to lay lots of eggs, but not all of these eggs will result in offspring. In some cases, bearded dragons may lay infertile eggs for natural reasons such as not having mated with a male or the eggs not being fertilized.
However, there are instances where the production of infertile eggs may be an indication of underlying health issues such as a calcium deficiency or reproductive problems.
To ensure your pet is healthy and producing healthy eggs, it is important to maintain a balanced diet and appropriate supplements, monitor your pet’s behavior, and seek veterinary care if you have any particular concerns or notice any unusual symptoms!
Many reptiles can go through a process called partheogenesis, where the mother can produce fertile eggs that are essentially clones of her!
How To Tell If Your Bearded Dragon Is Gravid (Pregnant)
If you have a female bearded dragon, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs that she is about to lay eggs. This is known as “gravid“, which is the proper term for pregnancy.
This next section has a few main things to look out for, if you notice any of these signs in your beardie, it’s important to monitor her closely and provide a suitable nesting area.
By taking steps to reduce stress and promote a comfortable environment, you can help ensure a successful egg-laying process and promote your dragon’s overall health and well-being.
As the time for egg laying approaches, your beardie may become restless and start pacing around her enclosure. She may also dig around in the substrate or try to burrow under objects. This behavior is a natural instinct that helps prepare the nesting area for the eggs. Be sure to provide plenty of substrate, such as sand or soil, to allow your dragon to dig and create a suitable nest.
As the time for egg-laying approaches, your bearded dragon may become more active in digging and burrowing. This behavior is an instinctual response that helps create a suitable nesting area for the eggs. Be sure to provide plenty of substrate for your dragon to dig in, such as sand or soil.
Resting on the Bottom of the Enclosure
Your bearded dragon may also start to spend more time resting on the bottom of the enclosure, especially if you have provided a suitable nesting area. This behavior is a sign that she is preparing to lay eggs and is trying to find a comfortable position before doing so, even if the spot she’s laying on isn’t the spot she will lay eggs at.
As the eggs develop inside her, your beardie’s belly will become visibly swollen. You may notice that she is less active and spends more time basking in order to conserve energy. It’s important to monitor her closely during this time to ensure that she is comfortable and not experiencing any health issues.
Some female bearded dragons may become more aggressive as they prepare to lay eggs. This behavior is often a response to stress and can be a sign that your dragon is feeling uncomfortable or threatened. Be sure to provide a calm and quiet environment for your dragon during this time.
Changes in Colouration
Your bearded dragon’s coloration may also change as she prepares to lay eggs. Some dragons may become darker in color or develop dark spots on their bellies. This is a normal response to hormonal changes in the body.
Preparing A Bearded Dragon For Egg Laying
- Provide a suitable nesting area: Bearded dragons need a suitable area to lay their eggs. Provide a nesting box filled with moist substrate, such as sand or soil. Make sure the nesting box is large enough for your bearded dragon to comfortably fit in.
- Increase humidity: Bearded dragons need a humid environment to lay their eggs. You can increase humidity by misting the enclosure or providing a humid hide.
- Provide calcium supplementation: Bearded dragons require calcium to produce healthy eggs. Make sure to provide a calcium supplement to your bearded dragon, such as calcium powder dusted on her food to prevent low calcium levels.
- Provide a calm environment: Bearded dragons need a calm, stress-free environment to lay their eggs. Keep noise and disturbance to a minimum and avoid handling your bearded dragon during the egg-laying process.
- Provide proper lighting and temperature: Bearded dragons require specific lighting and temperature conditions to thrive. Make sure your bearded dragon’s enclosure is set up with the proper lighting and temperature gradients.
- Keep your bearded dragon well-fed and hydrated: Bearded dragons need plenty of food and water to produce healthy eggs. Make sure your bearded dragon has access to fresh food and water at all times.
- Monitor your bearded dragon: It’s important to monitor your bearded dragon closely during the egg-laying process. Watch for signs of discomfort or distress, and be ready to provide veterinary care if necessary. But most important while monitoring is… don’t bother her too much!
Potential Complications During Egg Laying
- Egg-binding: Sometimes a female bearded dragon may have difficulty laying eggs, a condition known as “egg-binding” or “dystocia”. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as the eggs being too large, the female being too weak, or an inadequate nesting site. Egg-binding can be life-threatening, causing internal infections, if you suspect your bearded dragon is egg-bound, you should seek veterinary assistance immediately!
- Calcium deficiency: Bearded dragons require adequate levels of calcium to produce strong eggshells. A calcium-deficient diet can result in soft or weak eggshells, which can lead to the eggs breaking or not developing properly. At the time of egg laying, there is unfortunately little you can do. Ensure the mother often gets calcium supplements on her food if you think this has happened!
- Dehydration: Laying eggs requires a lot of water, and if a bearded dragon is dehydrated, she may not have the necessary fluids to lay her eggs properly. Ensure she always has access to water, drip feeding to the front of her mouth from above can help!
- Stress: Stress can also impact the egg-laying process, causing the female to lay fewer eggs or not lay eggs at all. It is important to provide a calm and stress-free environment for your bearded dragon during the egg-laying process.
How Can You Tell If The Eggs Are Fertile?
If your female bearded dragon has laid eggs, you may be wondering if they are fertile or not. Here are a few ways to tell if your bearded dragon eggs are fertile:
Candling: Candling is a method used to check the fertility of eggs by shining a light through the shell. You can use a bright flashlight or a specialized egg candler to do this. Hold the egg up to the light and look for the presence of veins or a developing embryo. If you see veins or a dark spot, the egg is likely fertile.
Egg shape and texture: Fertile bearded dragon eggs are usually oval-shaped and have a leathery texture. They may also have a slightly yellowish color. If the eggs are misshapen or have a hard, brittle texture, they may be infertile.
Incubation: If you have an incubator and want to try hatching your bearded dragon eggs, you can monitor the incubation process to see if the eggs are fertile. Fertile eggs will start to develop within a few weeks of being laid, while infertile eggs will remain unchanged. You can candle the eggs periodically to check for signs of development.
How To Incubate Bearded Dragon Eggs
Incubating reptile eggs is the process of creating an environment that promotes the healthy development of reptile embryos inside their eggs. In the wild, reptiles will lay their eggs in areas with the appropriate temperature and humidity conditions to ensure the best chance of hatching. In captivity, reptile owners may incubate eggs themselves to increase the likelihood of successful hatching and ensure the health of the offspring.
- Choose an incubator: You will need an incubator to maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level for the eggs.
- Set up the incubator: Set up the incubator according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or if you’re making your own, place a heat source at one end of the container and a container of water at the other end to create a humidity gradient.
- Prepare the eggs: Make sure the eggs are clean and free of any debris.
- Place the eggs in the incubator: Place the eggs in the incubator in a similar position to how they were laid, they can be touching. Use a suitable substrate, such as vermiculite or perlite, to create a suitable nesting area.
- Monitor temperature and humidity: Use a thermometer and hygrometer to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in the incubator. The temperature should be kept between 80-85°F (27-29°C) and the humidity level should be around 80%.
- Incubation period: Bearded dragon eggs typically take around 55-75 days to hatch.
- Hatching: Once the eggs start to hatch, have an appropriate area ready for them!
Step 1 – Choose an Incubator
When selecting an incubator for bearded dragon eggs, it’s important to choose one that is specifically designed for reptiles. There are many different types of incubators available, including foam, styrofoam, and plastic models.
Look for an incubator that is large enough to accommodate the number of eggs you have, and that has a digital thermostat and hygrometer for accurate temperature and humidity control.
If making your own I would recommend adapting a styrofoam box, adding small air holes, a thermometer, hygrometer & appropriate heat source (not too powerful!) like a heat mat or heat wire.
Step 2 – Set up the Incubator
Before setting up the incubator, it’s important to clean and disinfect it thoroughly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Once the incubator is clean, add a layer of vermiculite or perlite to the bottom of the incubation container to provide a suitable substrate for the eggs.
You’ll also need to add water to the substrate to reach the desired humidity level of 80-85%, the substrate should not be dripping wet or flooded. Set the temperature to 84-86°F (29-30°C) and wait for it to stabilize before adding the eggs.
Step 3 – Place the Eggs in the Incubator
When handling bearded dragon eggs, it’s important to be gentle and avoid rotating them or tilting them too much. Use a soft cloth or gloves to handle the eggs, and position them in the incubator in as close to the same position they were laid as possible.
I’ve seen other reptile websites recommend that eggs should not be touching each other – this is not true! The eggs can be touching, and can even communicate with each other! Reptile Eggs Talk to Each Other?! – YouTube
Step 4 – Monitor Temperature and Humidity
During the incubation period, it’s important to monitor the temperature and humidity levels inside the incubator regularly. Use a digital thermometer and hygrometer to measure these variables and make adjustments as needed such as dripping water, & moving/changing the heat source.
Be sure to avoid opening the incubator frequently, as this can cause fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Instead, try to check on the eggs just once or twice a day max.
Step 5 – Incubation Period
The incubation period for bearded dragon eggs is typically around 60-80 days, depending on the temperature and humidity levels in the incubator.
During this time, it’s important to maintain a stable temperature and humidity and to avoid handling the eggs too much. The most important thing here, besides the above monitoring, is be patient!
Step 6 – Hatching!
As the end of the incubation period approaches, the eggs will start to hatch. This can be an exciting time, but it’s important not to disturb the process.
Once the first egg has hatched, it’s best to leave the remaining eggs in the incubator for another 24-48 hours to allow them to hatch on their own. Once the hatchlings have fully emerged, carefully remove them from the incubator and place them in a warm, humid enclosure to begin their new lives.
Be sure to provide them with plenty of food, water, UVB lighting & basking area to help them grow strong and healthy – an adult-style enclosure can be used!
Should I try to hatch my own bearded dragon eggs?
At ReptileKnowHow, we don’t recommend it. While it can be exciting to have fertile bearded dragon eggs, it’s important to consider the ethical implications of hatching and selling them in an industry that is already overpopulated with these animals. Bearded dragons are one of the most popular pet reptiles in the world, and as a result, there are many breeders and sellers producing large numbers of these animals every year.
One of the main concerns with overproduction in the bearded dragon industry is the welfare of the animals themselves. When too many animals are bred and sold, it can result in overcrowding, poor living conditions, and neglect. This can have serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of the animals, and can also contribute to the spread of diseases and parasites.
Can My Bearded Dragon Lay Eggs Without Mating?
Yes! Female bearded dragons may seasonally lay infertile eggs, so do not be surprised if this happens, and make sure to follow the same precautions to ensure she lays them properly!
How Long Are Bearded Dragons Pregnant?
Gravid is the proper word for a pregnant dragon. After mating, the female bearded dragon will typically lay a clutch of eggs within 4-6 weeks. The exact length of time between mating and egg-laying can vary based on several factors, including the age, health, and environmental conditions of the female, as well as the availability of a suitable nesting site.
How Long Does It Take For A Bearded Dragon To Lay Its Eggs?
The process of laying eggs in bearded dragons can take several hours, and in some cases, even a full day. Before laying eggs, female bearded dragons will typically spend some time digging a suitable nest in which to lay their eggs. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to several days, depending on factors such as the size and depth of the nest, and the materials available to the female.
Once the nest is ready, the female will begin to lay her eggs, which can take several hours to complete. During this time, she may exhibit signs of discomfort, such as pacing, digging, and straining. It is important to provide a calm and stress-free environment for the female during this process to help ensure that she can lay her eggs safely and without complications.
What To Do With Unfertilized Bearded Dragon Eggs?
Once you are sure they are infertile, the best thing you can do is to freeze them just in case, and throw them away appropriately. Ensure that your bearded dragon has definitely dropped all of her eggs & monitor her progress in recovering!
Signs Your Bearded Dragon Is Gravid
- Increased appetite (This can be hard to tell!)
- Restlessness and digging (This may show imminent laying!)
- Swollen belly (Early on this may be her body making space for the eggs/follicles!)
- Visible eggs (In some cases, the egg shape can show on the belly, you may also be able to feel them, but be very gentle!)
- Changes in behavior (Such as becoming more lethargic or seeking out a warm and quiet area to rest)