Breeding

All the bearded dragons currently available have been bred in captivity. The successful breeding of these lizards has become popular and quite common.

Sexing
There are several ways to differentiate between male and female bearded dragons. Males have larger heads, smaller abdominal girth, and darker beards. Male lizards also have larger pores around their anal region.

For dragons that are older than six months you can check for the hemipenile bulges. You hold the bearded dragon in your hand ,stomach up, and bend the tail up toward the back at a 90* angle. Be vary careful that you do not bend the tail too far. You could break a vertebrae at the base of the tail.

If there are two bulges on either side of the tail base it is a male. If you see one centered bulge or no bulge it is female.

Mating
Frequent head bobbing, arm waving, nipping, and biting will occur before mating. If the biting is too aggressive the bearded dragons may need to be separated.

It is often better to place 2 or 3 females in a cage with one male. The fighting will still occur, but not to the same extent as a single male and female.

For 2 to 3 weeks before mating occurs, the females should be fed a calcium supplement daily.

Egg Laying
Bearded dragons dig a hole for their nest. They will not lay their eggs until a they have created a suitable burrow. An appropriate substrate for digging must be provided or the female may end up with egg binding.

The area with substrate for egg laying must be at least 8 inches deep. A mixture of potting soil and sand works well. It must be loose enough for the female dragon to dig, but not so loose that it caves in while she digs. If you make a pre-made hole in the substrate, the bearded dragon will often use it to complete her burrow.

Depending on age, condition, and previous breeding the lizard will lay a clutch of between 15 and 50 eggs.

Egg Storage
You should carefully uncover the bearded dragon eggs and place them in a plastic container that has a lid with air holes. Do not rotate or change the position of the eggs while moving them.

The bottom of the container should contain enough vermiculite to cover each egg 2/3 deep. The vermiculite should be mixed with water at a rate of 4 parts vermiculite to 1 part water.

Incubation
The best method for incubating bearded dragon eggs is to use a commercial incubator. Styrofoam incubators are inexpensive and work fairly well.

The temperature of the incubator should be between 83* and 86*. You should keep the incubator in a room that is cooler than the temperature of the incubator. They are designed to raise and maintain one temperature. If the room is warmer than the incubator, it will raise the temperature above the thermostat setting in the incubator and potentially kill the eggs.

To help maintain humidity levels, you can place a dish of water within the egg container and refill it as necessary. The eggs will hatch in about 60 to 70 days.

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