Gravid Bearded Dragon Care
The pet trade is booming with bearded dragons and good homes are hard to find.
A female Bearded Dragon will lay eggs even if she had no contact with a male. This behaviour is usually triggered by time of year, how much light there is, warmer and longer days
If your female dragon did come in contact with a male she can lay eggs as often as once a month even twice a month and produce a clutch of up to 35 eggs at a time. Females store the sperm and therefore the egg laying can last up to six months even if she just mated once with the male. Having too many clutches too often will shorten her life and there is no control over this when the female is storing sperm.
After mating it takes between 3 to 6 weeks before the female will start laying her eggs.
Signs of a gravid female:
> The belly increases.
> The body shape changes from being round to a tear drop shape.
> Loose interest in her food, however I know of females that ate right through.
> Pacing inside the cage, wanting out and then pacing wanting back in, running back and forth. Extreme restlessness.
> Constant digging.
> Weight gain.
When you notice all the signs it is important to supply her with a laying box to prevent her from becoming egg-bound, which could be detrimental, even fatal. The female usually holds her eggs until she is given a laying box.
The Laying Box
You need a Rubbermaid storage container of about 18 gallon. Fill it with about 8 to 10 inches of new vermiculite that has been moistened with water. You can test the vermiculite by squeezing it between your hands into a ball, if it keeps its shape then it is perfect. You need to make sure that it is not dripping with water so add water little at a time. Partially cover or totally cover the container loosely with a lid or piece of cardboard. You can now place the female into the box and she should start digging. Sometimes she will only dig for a short period and then come out and run around frenetically looking for a better place to dig. You can put her back in the box but if she keeps on escaping it means she is not ready to lay yet.
They often dig for several hours on succeeding days. When the digging stops there will be a dugout hole and she will back into it and start laying her eggs. Don’t disturb her during this time, leave her until she is finished laying and completely covered the eggs.
The female will be very skinny and tired after laying her eggs. You can now pamper her with loads of fluids to drink and food dusted with calcium powder. You can let her have a nice warm bath to rinse off all the vermiculite.
Problems that may occur
It is very uncommon for dragons to become egg bound. Females can retain their eggs for a period of time while searching for an appropriate place to dig. However if she cant find a laying box and the eggs are retained too long it will become a problem and can be lethal.
Causes for egg binding:
> No place to lay the eggs
> The dragon is still too small and was breed
> Very emaciated or dehydrated
> Calcium deficient and not enough exposure to UVB
> Threatened by cage mates
The most common problem is calcium deficiency. You need to make sure that your dragon get highly nutritious food that are dusted with reptile calcium two to three times a week. The correct UVB exposure is also crucial.
Egg building is a huge drain on a female’s metabolism. All laying females, whether the eggs are fertile or not, need more supplemental calcium and nutrients. It is also best to replace the UVB light during Spring and you can even give your female 2 bulbs during this time.
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