Bearded dragons are a popular pet lizard known for their calm and friendly temperament. As with any animal breeder, those who keep and breed bearded dragons are keenly interested in bearded dragon eggs. Knowing what do bearded dragon eggs look like and understanding their incubation process is important for anyone looking to hatch healthy baby dragons. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at bearded dragon eggs – their appearance, incubation, and what to expect as they develop.
Appearance of Bearded Dragon Eggs
Bearded dragon eggs are oblong in shape and about the size of a grape, though they can range from 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. Their shells are leathery and pliable when newly laid, with a slightly shiny or pearly appearance. The eggs are off-white or tan in color when first deposited but will gradually darken over the incubation period. As the embryos inside develop, the eggs become speckled with darker tan, brown or grey spots. These speckles are blood vessels on the surface of the egg that allow gas exchange with the air.
As the eggs near hatching, the spots and veins become more pronounced and visible. The shells also become more rigid and brittle as calcium is absorbed from the shell into the growing embryo. By the time of hatching, bearded dragon eggs will be dark tan, brown or gray in color with prominent spotting across the entire surface. The leathery texture at laying will have hardened into a shell reminiscent of plaster of Paris.
Incubating Bearded Dragon Eggs
Proper incubation is vital for developing bearded dragon embryos. Bearded dragons are from arid regions of Australia and require a warm, dry incubation environment. Ideal temperatures for incubation range from 82-86°F and humidity should be kept low, around 30-40%. Fluctuations in temperature or humidity can negatively impact embryo development or cause deformation.
Many breeders use commercial reptile egg incubators which allow precise control over temperature and humidity. Still, natural incubation can also be used. Place eggs in a plastic container filled with a 1:1 mix of vermiculite and water. Vermiculite holds humidity while remaining loose and breathable. Place the container in a warm spot away from drafts. Monitor temperatures daily and add or remove water from the vermiculite as needed to maintain humidity.
Eggs should be rotated or shifted three times per day to prevent embryos from sticking to the shell interior. Candling the eggs every 7-10 days with a bright flashlight will allow visual inspection of embryo growth. Avoid candling more frequently as excessive light can harm the developing dragons.
Hatching Bearded Dragon Eggs
After optimal incubation of 55-75 days, the eggs will show pronounced spotting and veins over the entire surface, indicating they are ready to hatch. The embryos will use an “egg tooth” to pip or break through the shell. This process can take 12-48 hours as the hatchlings gradually rotate in the egg, poking and chipping away at the shell with their egg tooth until it splits open.
Bearded dragon breeders should not assist hatchlings emerging from their egg unless the process goes longer than 48 hours without progress. Assisting too early can injure the embryo. The entire hatching process from pipping to fully emerging can take up to 72 hours. Newly emerged hatchlings will absorb their yolk sac for nutrients before their first meal 5-10 days after hatching.
Signs of Healthy Bearded Dragon Eggs
- Gradual darkening and spotting of the egg surface over incubation
- Visible vein network across the shell near hatching time
- Robust embryos visible when candling the egg
- Strong movements and rotations inside the egg before hatching
- Hatchlings fully emerge from eggs within 48 hours after pipping
By understanding the appearance and development of bearded dragon eggs, breeders and owners can better monitor them for healthy growth. Proper incubation and hatching will start newborn dragons off right and help them thrive as pet reptiles. With the right care, those tiny, spotted eggs can produce happy and healthy additions to any bearded dragon household.
FAQs About What Do Bearded Dragon Eggs Look Like
How can I differentiate bearded dragon eggs from other objects in the enclosure?
Bearded dragon eggs are distinct due to their size, shape, and texture. They are typically buried in the substrate and have a leathery texture, setting them apart from other objects like rocks or debris.
Do bearded dragon eggs change in appearance as they develop?
Yes, bearded dragon eggs can change slightly in appearance as they develop. Over time, they may become less translucent and take on a slightly opaque, more solid appearance.
What are the signs that bearded dragon eggs are fertile?
Fertile bearded dragon eggs may develop a network of fine veins inside when candled. Candling involves shining a light through the egg to observe these veins, indicating embryo development. Infertile eggs usually remain clear.
Can you describe the size and shape of bearded dragon eggs?
Bearded dragon eggs are typically about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) in length and have an oblong shape. They are larger than most common reptile eggs and have a distinctive appearance.
Are there any common indicators of unhealthy or infertile bearded dragon eggs?
Unhealthy or infertile bearded dragon eggs may appear discolored, with dark spots or irregularities on the shell. They may also emit a foul odor or develop mold, indicating potential issues with the egg.
How should I care for bearded dragon eggs once I find them in the enclosure?
When you find bearded dragon eggs, mark their location and carefully remove them if necessary. Place them in an incubation container with a suitable substrate and maintain stable temperature and humidity levels to ensure successful hatching. Proper care during incubation is crucial for the health of the developing embryos.