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So, you’ve been planning to breed your bearded dragon. What should you know first? Well, in case you didn’t know, in the wild, bearded dragons have a breeding season: the spring. However, those who are in captivity can breed at any time of the year. Despite that, many breeders still choose to do it in the sprint to allow their pets to undergo a full brumation.
So, if you are seriously thinking about breeding, you need to plan to make sure that the eggs won’t hatch while you are on a holiday trip to avoid any inconvenience to you and your pet.
Moreover, breeding bearded dragons can be time-consuming and expensive. While these lizards make great pets and are easy to maintain, breeding them can be more challenging. Despite that, it is still certainly within the grasp of those who prepare themselves properly for the endeavor.
For today’s subject, we will give you the ultimate bearded dragon guide. From preparing your bearded dragons up to hatchling care, we have got you covered. Please stick with us until the finale to learn everything about bearded dragon breeding.
Bearded Dragon Breeding Guide
What Age Can Bearded Dragons Breed?
A breeding pair of bearded dragons should at least be 18 months old. The female should weigh at least 14.1 ounces or 400 grams, while the male should be large enough to mount her.
According to reptile experts, some reptiles, especially males, can display mating behaviors even before reaching full maturity. However, we still need to wait for our pets to mature before breeding since it is the best for their health and the viability of their eggs.
Step-By-Step Bearded Dragon Breeding Guide
Step 1. Prepare your bearded dragons for breeding
Make sure that you can determine the female and male. We have several ways to tell our male and female bearded dragons apart.
First, the male bearded dragon’s head is slightly bigger than a female’s. Also, he has larger pores in his anal region, and his abdominal circumference is smaller.
Another way to determine is by looking at the hemipenile bulges. All we have to do is hold our pet on his back and gently bend the tail toward his back. Please be careful not to damage the vertebrae in his tail. Two hemipenile bulges on either side of the tails mean a male, while one centered or no bulge means a female.
Step 2. Take your bearded dragons to the veterinarian for a check-up
We need to make sure that you have healthy male and female dragons before everything else. After preparing your bearded dragon, it is essential to bring them to the veterinarian. This way, they can undergo a physical exam and let you know whether they are in good health or need treatment.
During a physical assessment, your veterinarian will check your pets’ age, length, and weight. For optimal breeding, the male should be at least 18 months old, and the female should be 24 months old.
Step 3. Supplement your female bearded dragon’s diet
Before breeding, you need to care extra for your female bearded dragon to help ensure that all of her babies become healthy. According to reptile experts, female beardies should take a daily supplement of calcium powder with Vitamin D to guarantee that they will not suffer from a calcium deficiency after laying their eggs.
Your female should also receive a general multivitamin at least four to five weeks before breeding. If you want to incorporate the supplements into your female dragon’s diet, you can discuss it with your veterinarian.
Pro Tip: We highly recommend this multivitamin supplement.
Step 4. Prepare the breeding enclosure
Of course, preparing an enclosure with the correct size is crucial before breeding our bearded dragons. Usually, we go for glass aquariums, but some breeders also suggest melamine and PVC cages. Make sure to use a screen lid cover to prevent your bearded dragons from escaping and allow fresh air to circulate.
When it comes to the temperature, use a thermometer to maintain the overall temperature at least 77 to 88 Fahrenheit during the day and around 70 degrees at night.
If you want to give your pets entertainment, you can place branches and rocks in their enclosure. This way, they have something to climb on and hide from each other.
Step 5. Prepare the lay box
The lay box is where our female dragon will release her eggs. We highly recommend an eight to ten-gallon container with a secure lid to ensure the female dragon’s security. Also, you must fill the box with either potting soil or topsoil with sand.
Pro Tip: Place this basking lamp at the lay box to keep your female bearded dragon comfortable.
Step 6. Buy an egg incubator
Once the female bearded dragon lays her eggs, we need a good place to incubate. It would be best to buy a pre-made incubator from a trusted brand to reduce the risks of damages and malfunctions. You can visit your local pet stores and ask for a Hovabator, an incubator specifically designed for bearded dragon eggs.
Afterward, place all eggs in the incubator and cover the container with a screen lid to allow fresh air to circulate.
Step 7. Prepare your bearded dragon for brumation
Brumation is all bout decreasing the photoperiod (lighting schedule) and temperature for your bearded dragons. It is also when, or bearded dragons will enter a state of deep sleep and inactivity. It is essential among reptiles since they cannot raise their body temperature when the seasonal weather changes. During brumation, you will notice that your bearded dragon will stop eating, and their heart rate and digestion will slow significantly.
Step 8. Observe your bearded dragons’ courtship behavior
After brumation, you can place the female and male bearded dragons in the breeding enclosure. Of course, the two will not mate right away since they will need some time to adjust to their new environment. When the male is ready to breed, you will notice that his beard will darken or become black.
During the courtship behavior, both your female and male bearded dragons will start bobbing their heads, and the female will wave her arm to indicate her receptiveness to being bred. However, some male bearded dragons stomp their feet and chase the females around their enclosures.
Step 9. Observe the mating behavior
The male bearded dragon will climb on the female’s back and bite her neck during the mating stage. Biting will keep the female from running off before the process is complete. You’ll also notice the male pressing his cloacal region against the female. The entire mating process only takes a few minutes.
Pro Tip: Place this UV lamp to kill all bacteria within the breeding enclosure.
Step 10. Return your bearded dragons to their respective tanks after one week
After mating, we highly recommend leaving your dragons together for at least seven days. After that, you can place them in their separate cages. To ensure a successful mating, you need to put them again in the breeding enclosure for another mating session. Please continue to give supplements to the female dragon to make sure her body is strong enough to produce eggs. It would be best if you also would increase her exercise and her well hydrated after mating.
Step 11. Let your female dragon lay her eggs at the lay box
One ready, your female will know that the female is ready to lay her eggs when she is looking a little anxious and start pacing her cage. She will also frantically dig and eat less. Keep in mind that egg-laying usually occurs four to six weeks after mating.
Once the female dragon is ready to lay eggs, you have to put her in the lay box. You will know that she had laid eggs when the belly becomes deflated and flat. Usually, mothers lay their eggs in the afternoon until early evening. So, start watching her around this time of the day.
Step 12. Remove your female bearded dragon from the lay box
After laying her eggs, you need to place her back to her original enclosure since some female dragons are not very maternal.
Step 13. Incubate the eggs
In placing the eggs in the incubator, you need to use a spoon and be extremely gentle. Some breeders mark the top of the egg with a pencil to prevent them from turning it upside down. Once you place all the eggs, maintain the incubator temperature around 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 14. Monitor the eggs until they hatch
Pay close attention to the eggs every day. Make sure they are not too wet or dry since condensation can be deadly to embryos. Eggs should also be in chalk white and increase their size twice the original. The eggs will hatch after 60 to 70 days.
Step 15. Group the baby dragons according to size
Once the baby bearded dragons hatched, group them according to size and feed them real foods such as crickets and chopped greens. Place the larger babies in another enclosure so smaller ones can eat equally.
Bearded dragons have a very attractive appearance, easy-going personality, and a reasonable size, making them popular to keep as pets. However, ensuring successful breeding takes lots of time and preparation. Hence, make sure you fully understand the entire process before breeding your dragons.