Breeding Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragon breeding normally takes place just after the Brumation period and is often a very quick event. Please be aware of this as the mating itself can be missed. If you do witness this act however, please note that this can appear a very violent act and you may think that the male is attacking the female.
After displays of dominance by the male, and often hand waves from the female, he will eventually bite the neck of the female and then tuck his tail under hers. Once this has happened it is fairly obvious they are mating and this can be completed in a matter of seconds.
Some dragons only mate during a change of scenery and will not mate in their vivarium. If you do decide to mate your dragons please ensure that the female is of correct age, size and health. It is recommended at least 18 months of age. We have experienced many shop keepers attempting to sell us young females for breeding but please do not always trust a shop keeper. Females that have a clutch young will often only have short lives and may run into complications such as egg binding.
When the female is pregnant or gravid, they will increase in size, and will look like their belly has a bag of marbles inside. Gravid females should be given calcium more frequently and should be bathed regularly to ensure they are hydrated.
She will begin to search for an appropriate place to lay her eggs and will start frantically digging. This is when you should provide her with a laying box. Place moist sand or peat moss in a one foot container and she will assess it to see if it is appropriate. Be gentle but persistant with your female as she may decide to lay her eggs somewhere else, so you may need to move her onto the laying box several times until she realises it is the best place to lay her eggs. I had to make a little hole in the sand for Amber to continue digging. She may lay straight away or dig for several days until she is ready, it is important to be patient. Once she has dug her tunnel she will poke her head out and begin to lay.
Once she has laid her eggs she will be very tired and it will be important to let her rest. Leave her some food and water as she will need to get her strength back.
Keep an eye on her and if you can, try and separate your male from your female when you suspect she is pregnant and during the laying of her eggs.
Please be aware that beardies can retain sperm and may become pregnant a number of times from one encounter with the male.
When your female is away from her eggs remove the laying box gently. We waited until she was asleep so as not to distress her too much. It may be difficult to find the eggs in the sand as the female will pack these in quite well. When you unearth them do not turn them. Pick them up gently and keep them in the same position as you found them. The eggs should be white in colour and should have a pink spot to show that these are fertile, as this is the embryo. The first clutch will often be infertile.
Place the eggs into a container of damp vermiculite (can be purchased at B&Q). This should be then placed into an incubator. If you do not wish to make and incubator, the recommended one to use is a "Hovabator". You should have this set up 24 hours before you need to use this. The temperature should be about 84 Fahrenheit and should not be lower than 80 Fahrenheit. The containers should be sprayed to maintain humidity and the moisture levels of the vermiculite. Eggs should be placed approximately an inch apart.
The eggs will hatch anywhere between 60 and 80 days after this incubation period.