Oviparous reptiles, or reptiles that lay eggs, have become a popular commodity in the exotic pet trade. This has lead to the captive breeding of a number of egg-laying reptiles such as tortoises, turtles, iguanas, geckos and kingsnakes. Vermiculite is used to house reptile eggs for incubation. This lightweight mineral is expanded with heat prior to consumer use. Vermiculite is commonly used for construction insulation and soil amendments. Its insulating properties as well as its ability to absorb water make this an excellent substrate in egg incubators.
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Things you need
- Bottled water
- Egg incubator
Dampen the vermiculite with bottled or distilled water and allow the vermiculite to soak in the moisture. Use a ratio of 1 part water to 1 part vermiculite.
Fill the incubator with enough moistened vermiculite to enable you to bury the reptile eggs halfway into the mixture.
Set the temperature of the incubator specified for the type of reptile eggs you are working with. Humidity is important to the hatching of many types of reptile eggs.
Remove the fertilised eggs from the reptile's enclosure or breeding tank. Be very careful with the fragile eggs as you move them to the incubator you have prepared. Do not change the position of the egg. The side of the egg that was facing up when you discovered it in the cage should be placed facing up in the incubator. Place the eggs in the moist vermiculite.
Add water to the incubator as needed to maintain the recommended humidity level.
Tips and warnings
- Carefully research the reptile you are working with as each species has specific needs that must be addressed for successful breeding.
- Always use caution when reaching into a reptile enclosure to remove eggs.
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