bearded dragon handbook

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Why Are My Bearded Dragon Eggs Collapsing?

Do your bearded dragon’s eggs look deflated, lumpy, or collapsed?

Perhaps your beardie’s eggs are not developing correctly.

What causes your dragon’s eggs to collapse, and what should you do to make sure your dragon’s fertile eggs are full and healthy?

Your bearded dragon will lay up to 20 or more eggs per clutch several times throughout her pregnancy. 

Let’s talk about what may happen if you’re eggs aren’t looking so good. 

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Why Are My Bearded Dragon Eggs Collapsing?

A few main reasons why your bearded dragon’s eggs are collapsing and failing to develop properly. The primary causes are incorrect incubator temperature or humidity and infertility.

It is also essential to note bearded dragon eggs will often appear to be slightly deflated or wrinkled a day or so before hatching. 

This is normal and to be expected at this stage in any typical dragon clutch.

However, your dragon’s eggs should not be collapsing or deflating earlier on in their growth cycle. 

A good way to tell if the eggs are fertile and growing correctly is by looking closely at them under a light source for a small circle of red or pink veins branching out from an embryo.

This process is referred to as “candling.” 

These traits will not be visible in infertile eggs, so if these features are easily seen but the eggs still appear somewhat collapsed, the egg is likely fertile and just about to hatch.

Bearded dragon eggs have soft, fragile shells which are easily compromised by changes in their environment, so monitor their development closely for any signs of collapse while they are in your incubator. 

You will be able to promptly address any issues to keep the tiny, fragile embryos inside safe.

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What Do Healthy, Fertile Bearded Dragon Eggs Look Like?

As we touched on earlier, bearded dragon eggs are small, or around 2-3″ inches (7.6 cm) in length and 1-2″ inches (2.5 cm) in diameter. 

They have soft, leathery shells. 

Fertile bearded dragon eggs should be full and more white-tinged than yellow. 

As mentioned earlier, if you hold them up to a bright light and “candle” them, you will notice a small circle of pink or reddish veins inside of them. 

This means the embryo has begun to form.

The eggs should never be lumpy or dented, and if their color has a yellowish tinge, there is a good chance they are infertile. 

Dispose of any infertile eggs promptly.

Keep in mind: you only have around 24 hours or so to transfer the eggs from your dragon’s lay box to your incubator

Assess the situation quickly, determine if the eggs are viable, and keep your incubator ready.

Signs of Infertile Eggs

Infertile bearded dragon eggs typically have dents and do not appear full and solid like fertile eggs. 

Instead of being bright white, the shells will have a dull yellow or orange tinge. 

If you candle the eggs, you will not see any veins or potential embryos inside them.

The shells will also be more fragile, thin, and easy to manipulate in your hands. 

It is pretty easy to tell the difference between infertile and fertile eggs at a glance if you check their color and shape and candle them.

Here is a separate guide we have for telling if a bearded dragon egg is fertile or not.

Bearded Dragon Egg Incubator Humidity and Temperature

Once you have determined which eggs out of your dragon’s clutch are fertile and have disposed of the infertile eggs, you will need to transfer the viable ones to an incubator promptly. 

You will still need to monitor them closely for collapse as the conditions required for healthy egg development are very specific. 

An improper incubator setup is the most common killer of dragon embryos.

Your dragon’s lay box in her enclosure should already be lined with moist vermiculite, a mineral used by reptile owners to keep eggs from drying out. 

When you transfer the fertile eggs to your incubator, you should also line the box you plan to put them in with the vermiculite as well. 

This will help prevent the eggs from collapsing and dying during the incubation time.

The most critical factors in healthy fertile egg development are the humidity and temperature of your incubator. 

Your incubator setup needs to have a temperature of 84° degrees Fahrenheit (29°C) and a humidity of approximately 85%. 

If the eggs are still collapsing after you have secured these conditions, they are likely infertile, or the incubator settings have shifted.

Proper Incubation Procedures

Once you have secured your incubator’s proper humidity and temperature, you need to maintain these settings carefully throughout the development process. 

Keep the bins under heat lamps inside the incubator and use a thermometer to track any changes.

Too much heat will bake the embryos inside, while too low of a temperature will drag out the process or even prevent the eggs from developing. 

You want plenty of moisture to keep the eggs from drying out, but too much moisture is also problematic.

You will occasionally notice water droplets forming on the incubation tray’s lid due to the humidity and heat required for proper development. 

Clean the lid often to keep the droplets of water from falling onto the eggs, as while they require lots of moisture, too much water will damage the baby dragons inside.

The eggs will expand slightly during the incubation period, so keep them evenly spaced out with at least a few inches between each egg to accommodate their growth. 

You will end up with collapsed eggs if you don’t keep the humidity and heat consistent, so monitor your incubator closely and check on the eggs frequently. 

Any sudden rise in temperature or humidity will damage the embryos.

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When Will My Bearded Dragon Eggs Hatch?

If you have properly maintained the moisture level and temperature while keeping your eggs moist and warm in their vermiculite, after around two months, or 60 days, you will start to see the baby dragons’ heads poking out of the eggs.

Remember, within 24 to 48 hours of hatching time, the eggs will appear to be slightly deflated or collapsed, so keep track of the incubation period, so you are able to predict when this will occur accurately. 

This is the only period when the eggs should look lumpy or deflated, so if this occurs earlier in development, the eggs are likely infertile or damaged.

Most healthy hatchlings take anywhere from a couple of hours up to a full day to fully absorb their yolk sacs and emerge from their eggs, so some of them may need a little extra time. 

Even though this is an exhausting time for the baby dragons, don’t disturb them while they hatch. 

Keep an eye out for any damaged or deformed hatchlings.

Final Thoughts

The primary causes of egg collapse in bearded dragons are improper humidity and temperature. 

If you secure these conditions properly and maintain them throughout the development process, you will end up with a healthy clutch of baby bearded dragons. 

However, once the eggs collapse, it is too late, and you will have to dispose of them.

Always closely monitor the fertile eggs in your incubator and the temperature and humidity of the incubator to prevent the eggs from collapsing.

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