Commonly Asked Questions about incubating reptiles
1. How long is the incubation period?
The incubation period will depend on a few things. The most obvious is what type of animal you have. The other is the temperature of the environment you are hatching in.
Snakes: 50-65 days, depending on the species
Lizards: 1-2 months, depending on the species
Turtles: Box turtles - 9 to 10 weeks, paitined turtles around 2-3 months. Generally, 45-90 days in warmer conditions. But can be even up to 120 days for colder temperatures.
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2. How do you know your female is pregnant (gravid)?
This is tricky because it is a little different for each type of reptile. One common sign to look for is a general change in behavior. Eating and sleeping patters that change, seeming a bit more iritable and/or aggressive. Sometimes they will even stop eating. Snakes may be the easiest to tell because their bellies will bulge. Lizards will also have bulging bellies.
Besides visual signs, feeling the eggs is an effective way to tell. In turtles, for example, you can feel eggs forming in the space where the back legs go into the shell (the part closest to the front of the turtle). For lizards and snakes, you may be able to feel the small eggs where their bellies bulge.
3. How to keep eggs from desiccating (drying out) too quickly?
The medium that you keep your eggs in should be kept moist by following the directions that will come with the medium. Vermiculate will retain water well and keep the eggs from drying out too quickly. Be sure to follow the directions that come with your kit.
4. What kind of medium should I use?
One of the most common forms of reptile medium that is used is vermiculite. This substrate retains water well and also retain air very well. Both are important for good reptile egg incubation.
5. What temperature should I hatch my eggs at?
The exact temperature you need will vary from species to species. But a general rule is to keep the incubator at around 80-85 degrees F (about 26-30 degrees C).
6. How long after mating will a female take to lay eggs?
7. Should I turn or move the eggs?
8. What if the neonate has pipped, but just won't leave the shell?
9. How long should it take for the neonate to leave the shell after pipping?
10. How do you candle reptile eggs?
11. What are the signs that the eggs are going bad?
12. The neonate has hatched...now what?
13. How is gender affected by incubation temperature?
14. Where to go for additional information?
There are many online forums dedicated to reptile enthusiasts. Here are a few examples:
More answers coming soon!