NANFA-- Incubating Reptile Eggs

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Mon, 16 Jun 2003 23:45:53 -0400

> Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2003 14:40:15 -0700
> From: Kevin
> Subject: Re: NANFA-- OT: lizard ID request
> Since someone else started a topic on lizards, I will go ahead and ask this
> question.
> My daughter caught a Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) the
> other day and currently has it in a ten gallon tank. Well Saturday evening,
> she laid 18 eggs. What do I need to do to hatch these eggs?
> Also, the eggs looked kind of funny. They are wrinkled and look kind of
> skinny. Is this normal for lizard eggs or should they be perfectly ovoid?

Reptile eggs need a moist but not soggy substrate to incubate in.
The perfered medium for most breeders is vermiculite that is wet down
and wrung out so it is barely moist and placed in a plasric shoebox or
some kind of plastic container and kept in a warm place till they hatch.

I use a somewhat unorthodox approach- a mix of 1 part sand and 1 part
Canadian sphagnum peat which I embed the eggs and then cover with a
topping of long fibered sphagnum- which can be either rehydrated dry
moss from the local garden shop or live moss collected locally. Most of
the breeders that use vermiculite cover their eggs with moist paper
towels. One snake breeder I know of incubates his eggs in gallon jars
usiing only moist paper towels as bedding.

If you eggs are flaccid- that could mean that they are dehydrated.
Reptiles bury their eggs in places where they will get plenty of
mositure without being drowned- like in well drained sandy soil , leaf
mold or the pulpy interior of a rotten log. There may still be time to
salvage them if you act promptly and transfer them to an optimum

Viable reptile eggs will absorb moisture from the substrate and plump up
shortly after being laid. If they remain small and shrivled they are
probably damaged by dehydration or infertile.

You may want to do a little research on the species or similar species
to find out more about husbandry requirements.

Good luck.

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