To breed bearded dragons, you must create their natural seasons to bring the females into heat. This is called pre-condition. Before starting pre-condition, you should make sure that both your male, and female bearded dragons are well, healthy, and mature enough to be bred.
The first step is called the photoperiod, and is intended to simulate the winter season. Your UVB light will need a timer on it, and you should be set for 10 hours of light, and 14 hours of darkness, reduce the heat in the enclosure slightly. Ideally, the basking spot should be a maximum of 78 degrees, while the rest of the enclosure should be kept between 64 to 67 degrees. While you are simulating the photoperiod, you should decrease the food being given to the breeding pair. All together, the photoperiod should last around 6 weeks. After this period, you can change the lighting back to 12 hours of night, and 12 hours of light.
After the photoperiod has ended, you will need to provide more food than usual, and, where possible, offer fattier foods, such as wax worms. This is an important step that will help put weight, and condition onto your bearded dragons, getting them ready to breed.
After around 4 weeks after the photoperiod, you should make sure that the males and females are kept together. If there are more than one pair in the tank, you may notice that the males will become aggressive toward each other, and start to fight. The females will show obvious signs of submissiveness such as waving their arms, and bobbing their heads slowly. Once the female becomes fertile, she will begin looking for a place to lay her eggs. This is usually a soft, sandy place. Make sure that you provide such an area for her, by placing a mixture of play sand, and garden soil. The females are easily identifiable when they are pregnant, as they will appear much heavier than previously.
The Eggs, And Incubation
Once your female bearded dragon has laid her eggs, make note of the spot they have been placed. Then after she has finished, dig the eggs up with a spoon. It is vital that you are careful not to rotate the eggs when shifting them. It is possible to make your own incubator, although it is often easier, and the success rates are much higher with a bought incubator. The temperature must be kept at 85 degrees at all times, and must never go below 83 degrees. Eggs will need to be kept moist; you can do this by placing a small container of water at the bottom of the incubator, and misting the eggs with a fine spray regularly.
Hatching, And Caring For New Born Lizards
The eggs will usually hatch after 24 hours. Sometimes this may take a little longer. Just before the hatchlings emerge, you will notice that the eggs will begin to collapse. Once the hatchlings have emerged from their shells, it is time to place them in a rearing tank. The hatchlings will be very hungry, and need to be fed often to stop them from chewing at tails and toes, which do not grow back. Hatchlings must be fed very small wax worms, and crickets. Make sure that you don’t feed them food that is too large, or you may cause them damage. Hatchlings need to be fed 3 times a day until they are 4 months old. After this, you can reduce their meal times to once per day. Offer the hatchlings foods such as greens, and flowers as well as worms, and crickets.
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