If you have recently adopted a young female bearded dragon, you have probably wondered if they will lay eggs even without a mate.
What should you do if your beardie lays eggs, and what do you do with the eggs after they’ve laid them?
Female bearded dragons can lay eggs even without a mate, as many birds and reptiles lay infertile eggs regularly. A female dragon full of a clutch of eggs is known as a gravid female, and she will need a humid dig box to lay her eggs in. Caring for these females is critical to their long-term health.
To learn more about properly accommodating a gravid female, keep reading.
We’ll cover how to set up your dragon’s enclosure and care for them while they lay their clutch–or clutches–of eggs.
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Will Female Bearded Dragons Lay Eggs Without A Mate?
Yes, a female beardie can produce and lay bearded dragon eggs multiple times, particularly during mating season in the warmer months, even if she hasn’t been anywhere near a male of her species.
Amazingly, your lizard will be able to lay anywhere from 5 to 30 or more eggs per clutch, depending on her age, health, and size!
Without proper care or the extra nutrients she needs, she will end up retaining eggs and becoming what is known as “egg bound,” which in some cases is life-threatening if left untreated.
We have more details on egg bound bearded dragons, its causes, and ways to treat it in another post.
Many animals lay infertile eggs without a male present, and it is perfectly normal for a female bearded dragon to do so, too; just be sure to provide your female with plenty of extra calcium, a nutritious diet, and a properly maintained dig box.
When Do Female Bearded Dragons Start Laying Eggs?
Usually, females begin laying their first clutch upon reaching sexual maturity, which takes place anywhere from 10 to 18 months, with most beardies beginning to lay eggs at around 1 year of age.
This is a pretty wide window, but individual bearded dragons vary significantly in their development and growth.
And if you want to learn about caring for the eggs read our post on how to take care of bearded dragon eggs where we’ve dedicated a post to the topic.
Your beardie will show clear signs she is gravid or full of her first clutch of eggs, including:
Most gravid females display a lack of energy as they prepare to lay their clutch.
Growing a clutch of possibly dozens of eggs is exhausting, after all, and she needs plenty of rest to allow them to grow and develop correctly, even if the eggs are infertile.
Basking more often
Your female beardie will begin seeking out her heat lamp and UVB more often as her clutch develops.
She needs plenty of extra body heat to help the eggs along.
Like any other pregnant animal, a gravid beardie will eat more often and in larger amounts to help nourish her eggs.
She doesn’t know they’re infertile, after all, and she’s simply responding to her instincts.
Give her plenty of calcium or calcium powder and extra treats packed with protein to keep her energy levels up.
Along with eating more, your gravid female will also drink more water to keep her and her eggs hydrated.
Make sure she always has plenty of freshwater available.
This is possibly the most noticeable sign of a gravid female dragon.
If you gently hold up your beardie and look at her belly with a flashlight or other light source, you’ll be able to see the outline of the eggs protruding from her stomach.
She will also experience a sudden weight gain, which is normal.
Immediately before your beardie is ready to lay her eggs, she will appear a bit anxious and begin pacing around her tank.
You will notice her attempting to dig, as in the wild, bearded dragons bury their eggs in the sand to keep them warm.
Be sure to have a dig box ready for her in the enclosure beforehand.
We have a quick guide on the bearded dragon dig box for those seeking more information on eggs or breeding.
How Often Do Females Lay Eggs?
The frequency at which your pet lays bearded dragon eggs will vary significantly depending on their age, size, health, and diet.
Usually, your beardie will lay eggs during mating season, which occurs during the warmer months, depending on where you live.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, however, mating season occurs between May and September.
While females tend to lay more eggs during the warmer months, keep in mind they can lay eggs year-round, and it is not unusual for females to lay multiple clutches throughout the year.
Caring For A Gravid Bearded Dragon
Caring for a gravid female beardie is just like caring for any other pregnant or beardie about to lay a fertile clutch; she will need plenty of sleep, nutrients, and a comfortable place to lay her eggs.
It is a good idea to provide your female dragon with additional calcium as she grows her eggs, as she and the eggs’ shells will benefit from the increased intake of calcium.
Protein is also important, even for an infertile clutch, making sure her diet is packed with more nutrients and higher calcium levels than usual.
It is great to give her warm baths before and after she has finished laying, but be very gentle with her.
Additionally, make sure she always has plenty of freshwater to stay hydrated during this stressful process.
Finally, you will need to adjust her enclosure slightly and provide her with a dig box to bury her eggs in.
Gravid Bearded Dragon Enclosure Setup
The enclosure setup will need to change slightly for a gravid female while she prepares to lay her single clutch.
As she lays her clutches of eggs, she will need a shallow box full of a loose substrate such as soil, wet sand, or even coconut fiber.
It should be warm and slightly moist.
Be sure it gives her ample space to dig, move around, and comfortably lay her eggs.
It must be easy for her to climb in and out of.
In addition to the lay box, make sure the enclosure is heated to around 85° degrees Fahrenheit (29° C).
The humidity level will need to be a lot higher than usual while she lays her eggs; around 70% is best.
Many bearded dragon owners set up a smaller, separate enclosure for their gravid dragon to lay in and then place them back in their normal tank after they have finished the laying process, but this isn’t entirely necessary.
Just be sure to quickly readjust the temperature and humidity to their usual levels afterward and monitor them often with a thermometer and hygrometer if you set up her dig box in her usual enclosure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do infertile bearded dragon eggs look like?
Infertile bearded dragon eggs will appear yellowish in color and have a dented or deflated appearance. Plus, you won’t spot any blood vessels when candling them. Don’t discard these eggs right away, though. Sometimes, blood vessels take several weeks to develop.
How often do female bearded dragons lay unfertilized eggs?
Bearded dragons usually lay about 4-6 clutches of eggs each year. These can be fertile or infertile eggs. A bearded dragon can start laying unfertilized eggs at 10 months.
Can bearded dragons store sperm?
Yep! A female beardie can store sperm in her reproductive tract for up to 12 months. So, if she mates during the breeding season and doesn’t lay eggs right away, the eggs may still be fertile when she lays them later on.