• Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

How To Tell If a Bearded Dragon Is Pregnant: 7 Signs to Look For

Bynewsmagzines

Apr 5, 2023
closeup of a bearded dragon

[ad_1]

closeup of a bearded dragon

Bearded Dragons make great pets, even for those that have never kept reptiles before. They are gentle, tolerate handling, and are intriguing little animals with some fun quirks. However, there are a lot of ways that they differ from pets like cats, dogs, hamsters, and rabbits.

For a start, they lay eggs. You may never see a male and female mate, because it is all over in a few seconds but also because females can lay infertile eggs without ever even seeing a male. Beardies can also store sperm, which means a single mating can lead to three or even four clutches of eggs months apart, from a single mating. Although rare, you could have as many as 80 hatchlings from a single mating.

divider-bearded dragon

How Can I Tell If My Bearded Dragon Is Pregnant?

Accidental mating is common if you keep a male and female Beardie together. Mating only usually lasts a few seconds, and it can get quite rough with the male biting the female and occasionally breaking the skin. Also, because females can lay infertile eggs without mating, it is likely that, if you have a female Bearded Dragon, she will be gravid at some point in her life. Below are the most common signs to look for, in the order they are likely to present.

pregnant bearded dragon
Image Credit: C. Nass, Shutterstock

The 7 Signs That Tell You a Bearded Dragon Is Pregnant

1. Weight Gain

Around 2 weeks after mating, the female will start to gain weight. While you won’t be able to make out egg shapes at this stage, the belly will hang lower, and your female will spread out wider when she lays down.


2. Increased Appetite

Her appetite will increase significantly at this stage and your female will likely attack any food you put in the vivarium. If your female is pregnant, you should dust food, especially feeder insects, with calcium powder. If the eggs don’t have enough calcium to develop properly, they will start to deplete the mother’s calcium store and she may suffer calcium deficiency.

Bearded Dragon eating
Image Credit: smilepoker, Shutterstock

3. Abdominal Swelling

Once the eggs have started to form, you will be able to feel them in the Beardie’s abdomen. Gently feel the area—don’t poke and prod at the eggs or the abdomen. Generally, there will be fewer eggs if they are infertile, but if you can only feel a few this isn’t a guarantee of an infertile clutch.


4. Mood Change

When pregnant, your Bearded Dragon may be less inclined to be held and she will become more nervous and agitated. You may find that, even though she readily accepts handling normally, your female will back away from you and potentially even hide when you put your hand in the vivarium.

bearded dragon close eyes
Image Credit: TeerasakPhotography, Shutterstock.

5. Restless Behavior

When it gets closer to time to lay eggs, a female Bearded Dragon will start to look for the perfect spot to lay the clutch. This means that she will wander her cage more and may start to climb the walls trying to get out of the vivarium. By this stage, you should have a laying area set up so that she has somewhere to dig.


6. Digging

Digging starts when the female is ready to lay. Essentially, she is preparing a nest at this point, and she may be trying to dig to protect herself. The digging will usually occur at the warmer end of the tank and your female may dig in a few different spots.

central bearded dragon on a tank
Image Credit: zoosnow, Pixabay

7. Decreased Appetite

By the time she is digging, your Beardie will likely have lost her appetite. You should still offer some food but don’t be surprised if she ignores it and you are left with bowls of mealworms and greenery at the end of feeding time. As long as the decreased appetite is linked to her being gravid and it doesn’t continue after she has laid, it is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

divider-bearded dragon

Signs Of Egg Binding in Bearded Dragons

A Bearded Dragon can become eggbound if she is unable or unwilling to lay her eggs. Unfortunately, egg binding is quite common, and most often occurs because the female hasn’t been able to find a suitable area to bury her eggs. It also tends to occur when a female is too small to be able to comfortably lay eggs. This is why most experts recommend waiting until a female is 18 months old before intentionally mating her.

Causes can include too low a temperature, poor UV levels, and poor nutrition.

Symptoms include:

  • Failed attempts at laying a full clutch—your female may lay one or two eggs and then try again a little later.
  • She will get stressed and may display signs of anxiety.
  • The belly can become so swollen that your female finds it difficult to breathe, too.
  • In extreme circumstances, the cloaca can collapse, and the female may even pass out.

If there is a risk of egg binding, ensure you provide a suitable laying area in an appropriately warm area. You can also give your eggbound female a warm bath. If these solutions don’t work, you should consult a vet as soon as possible because egg binding can be very serious.

bearded dragon
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

How Long Are Bearded Dragons Pregnant For?

After mating, a Bearded Dragon will lay her eggs approximately 4 to 6 weeks after a successful mating. The eggs will hatch a further 2 months later, although it can take up to 80 days. Just before the eggs hatch, they will start to deflate, which can sometimes be confused with signs of poor humidity.

How Do I Know When My Bearded Dragon Is Going to Lay Eggs?

A sure sign that your female Beardie is close to laying eggs is that she will start to dig. Initially, she may dig at a few different spots before eventually deciding on the ideal location for her clutch.

pregnant bearded dragon in a terrarium
Image Credit: Dudley Simpson, Shutterstock

How Do You Take Care of a Pregnant Bearded Dragon?

There are a few things you should do when your female is pregnant. Make sure temperature and humidity levels in the vivarium are ideal and in the warmer end of the vivarium, place a plastic container that is tall enough for your female to stand up in, and then fill it with wet sand or soil so that she can easily dig and has somewhere to lay her eggs. Ensure you maintain a good diet and start dusting food with a calcium supplement, which will help the eggs form and prevent the loss of calcium from the mother. Feed multivitamin supplements three times a week.

You should also handle the female a lot more delicately at this time and do give her some space and time to herself so that she can pick a spot and get herself ready.

divider-bearded dragon

Conclusion

Bearded Dragons may become sexually active when they are just 8 months old, although it is generally advised that females not be allowed to breed until they are 18 months old. This will ensure that she is an appropriate size to make laying the eggs easier. However, Bearded Dragons can lay infertile eggs without ever mating, which means that your female could be gravid even if you are sure she hasn’t mated. Typical signs include a swollen abdomen, increased appetite, and a change in her behavior.


Featured Image Credit: Miriam Fischer, Pexels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *