Bearded dragons mate through sexual reproduction, with the male mounting the female from behind and clasping onto her back with his front legs. He then positions his tail under hers to guide his hemipenes (reproductive organs) into the female’s cloaca.
Mating can be a rough process for bearded dragons, especially for females. The male may bite or scratch the female, causing injury. Bearded dragons can also become stressed during mating, especially if they are unfamiliar with each other or the enclosure needs to be set up appropriately. Therefore, it is essential to supervise breeding to ensure the animals’ safety and prevent injuries.
How to Breed Your Bearded Dragons
Preparing to Breed Your Bearded Dragons
Breeding bearded dragons can be a complex process that requires careful preparation and planning. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your bearded dragon for breeding:
- Age and health: Make sure your bearded dragon is mature enough to breed and healthy. Bearded dragons should be at least 18 months old and weigh 350 grams before breeding. It is also essential to ensure they are free from illnesses or diseases.
- Housing: Create a suitable breeding environment for your bearded dragons. The enclosure should be large enough to accommodate male and female bearded dragons and have plenty of hiding places, basking areas, and a source of UVB light. The temperature in the enclosure should be between 77 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit,
- Nutrition: Provide your bearded dragons with a nutritious diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and insects. A calcium supplement is also essential to ensure proper bone growth and development.
Introducing Your Bearded Dragons
Introducing male and female bearded dragons for breeding can be a delicate process that requires careful attention to their behavior and body language. Keep the male and female bearded dragons in separate enclosures before introducing them. This allows them to establish their territories and reduces the risk of aggression when introduced.
Start by allowing the male and female to see each other through the enclosure without direct contact. This allows them to become familiar with each other’s presence and establish a sense of comfort before actual physical contact.
Once the dragons seem comfortable with each other’s presence, you can start the physical introduction. Place the male and female in the same enclosure and observe their behavior closely. If the dragons show signs of aggression or stress, separate them immediately and try again later.
Observe the behavior of the male and female bearded dragons closely. You can gradually increase their time together if they seem relaxed and comfortable with each other’s presence. Being patient and gradually allowing the dragons to become familiar with each other is essential.
Watch for signs of mating behavior, such as head bobbing, circling, and tail raising. These behaviors are signs that the dragons are ready to mate. If the behavior seems aggressive, separate the dragons and try again later.
Introducing male and female bearded dragons for breeding requires patience and careful observation of their behavior. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the dragons are comfortable with each other before attempting to mate them to minimize the risk of aggression or injury.
Letting Your Female Dragon Lay Her Eggs
Female bearded dragons typically lay eggs about 4-6 weeks after mating. A suitable egg-laying box should be large enough for the female bearded dragon to comfortably move around in and deep enough for her to dig a hole. A plastic container filled with moist soil or sand can be an egg-laying box. The soil or sand should be moist but not too wet to allow digging and prevent the eggs from drying.
Place the egg-laying box in the female’s enclosure and encourage her to enter it. You can do this by placing the female in the box or gently placing her front legs in the box and letting her climb in independently. Once the female is in the egg-laying box, monitor her behavior closely. She usually starts digging a hole in the soil or sand to lay her eggs. Be sure to provide her with privacy and minimal disturbance during this process.
After the female has laid her eggs, carefully remove them from the egg-laying box and place them in an incubator. Be sure to mark the eggs with a non-toxic marker to keep track of their orientation. Be sure to offer her plenty of water and food. She may be tired and hungry after the egg-laying process.
Patience and allowing the female to lay her eggs naturally are essential. Avoid interfering with the process unless there are signs of distress or difficulty laying the eggs. Providing a suitable egg-laying box and a stress-free environment can help facilitate the process of letting your female dragon lay eggs.
Incubating the Eggs
An incubator is a device that maintains a constant temperature and humidity level, essential for the development of bearded dragon eggs. Set up the incubator according to the manufacturer’s instructions, ensuring it is clean and debris-free.
A suitable incubation medium for bearded dragon eggs is a mixture of vermiculite and water. The ratio of vermiculite to water should be about 1:1 by weight. The incubation medium should be damp but not too wet to prevent mold growth and egg drowning.
Carefully place the eggs in the incubation medium, ensuring they do not touch each other. Please keep track of the egg orientation by marking them with a non-toxic marker. Bearded dragon eggs must be kept at a constant temperature of around 84°F throughout the incubation period. Adjust the temperature setting on the incubator as necessary to maintain a consistent temperature.
Monitor the humidity: Bearded dragon eggs require a humidity level of around 75% during incubation. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity level in the incubator and adjust it as necessary by adding or removing water from the incubation medium. Bearded dragon eggs typically take around 50-80 days to hatch. Monitor the incubator regularly for signs of hatching, such as cracking or movement of the eggs.
Incubating bearded dragon eggs requires careful attention to temperature and humidity levels. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a consistent environment to ensure successful hatching. In addition, you can successfully incubate bearded dragon eggs and raise healthy offspring with the proper care and attention.
Hatching and Caring for the Bearded Dragon Babies
A suitable enclosure for bearded dragon babies should be at least 20 gallons and equipped with a heat source, such as a heat lamp or under-tank heating pad. The enclosure should also have appropriate substrate, hiding places, and climbing structures. Bearded dragon babies require a temperature of around 95-110°F.
Bearded dragon babies require a diet of insects, such as crickets or mealworms, and fresh greens. Offer insects appropriately sized for the hatchling’s age and size, and dust them with a calcium supplement. Offer a variety of fresh greens, such as collard greens, kale, or dandelion greens.
Monitor the enclosure regularly to ensure that the temperature and humidity levels are appropriate and that the hatchlings can access fresh water and appropriate food. Clean the enclosure regularly to maintain a healthy environment. As the hatchlings grow, gradually increase the size of the enclosure to accommodate their increasing size and activity level.