Homemade Incubator for a Bearded Dragon

Written by brenton shields
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Homemade Incubator for a Bearded Dragon
A young bearded dragon hangs out on a log. (young bearded dragon image by Robert Percival from Fotolia.com)

Bearded dragons are among the most popular reptilian pets in the world. These lizards grow to a relatively small 2 feet long (most of which is tail), and are known for friendly dispositions, making them ideal children's lizards and very heavily bred. If you're thinking about breeding your own bearded dragons, having a reliable incubator is one of the most essential aspects of the job. Though you can buy commercial incubators from online retailers or feed stores, you also can make your own with a quick trip to the pet shop and the hardware store.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Styrofoam box with lid
  • Adjustable aquarium heater
  • Thermometer
  • 2 bricks
  • Plastic container with lid
  • Steak knife
  • Vermiculite

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  1. 1

    Place the two bricks parallel to each other at the bottom of the styrofoam box. These bricks will later serve as a "stand" for the plastic containing the eggs.

  2. 2

    Place the adjustable aquarium heater, which should be a glass rod, between the two bricks at the bottom of the styrofoam box. DO NOT plug the heater into a power outlet until it is submerged in water; wait until later.

  3. 3

    Fill the styrofoam box with water until it reaches the top of the bricks.

  4. 4

    Plug the aquarium heater into a power outlet and set it for around 29.4 degrees Celsius. The water should begin to warm up.

  5. 5

    Place a thermometer, preferably one with a digital display, on the side of the styrofoam box a few inches above the water line. This placement ensures that it records the air temperature, not the water temperature.

  6. 6

    Fill the plastic container with a mix of half vermiculite, half water. The resulting material should be damp but not wet. This will serve as your egg container.

  7. 7

    Poke air holes into the plastic container's lid with the steak knife.

  8. 8

    Close the lid on the styrofoam box and wait one hour, then check the temperature on the thermometer. Bearded dragons should be incubated at temperatures around the mid-80s, so calibrate the aquarium heater as necessary to achieve the desired temperature.

  9. 9

    Place the eggs into the vermiculite, but DO NOT turn them from the original positions in which they were laid. If you used a nesting box in the female bearded dragon's cage, make sure the eggs are never turned over when transferring them into the container of vermiculite, as this could kill the embryo.

  10. 10

    Place the egg container atop the bricks and close the styrofoam box. Your incubator is complete. Check the eggs daily; they should begin hatching at around 60 days.

Tips and warnings

  • Check eggs over a bright light, like a flashlight, and look for an embryo inside. Otherwise, you may be trying to incubate unfertilised eggs.

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