Have you ever realized the importance of procreation? Why do the animals lower on the food chain procreate in litters?
Reproduction is absolutely essential for the survival of any species. Let us rewind to the time before the 1960s.
Pogonas or bearded dragons are the natural inhabitants of Australia only. It was only in the 1960s that Australia began banning of import of Pogona lizards and the more common Pogona Vitticeps that is most often preferred as pets in the Western World.
In spite of this measure by the Australian government, Pogonas or the bearded dragons were continuously being smuggled for the US and the European pet market. But the Australian government’s measure to a large extent stopped the illegal trafficking of the Pogonas.
Most of the bearded dragons that we see in the pet shops across the world and in the western world, in particular, are the results and efforts of the breeders with Pogonas that were brought in before the ban came into effect.
What is intriguing is that the population of the bearded dragons in the wild has never been threatened in spite of the large-scale smuggling that once happened. This is major because these solitary creatures are avid procreators.
The female Pogona lays a cluster of a minimum of 20 to 30 eggs together!
What! Twenty-thirty, you say ah!
Not just twenty, the female may lay another and yet another cluster of some more eggs (on an average twenty) because she carries the male sperm within her.
There is a well-nigh possibility that the female for the reason that she is carrying the male sperm within her will not mate with any partners for the rest of the year or until the next mating season. She may not want to be sexually active. This is one of the main reasons why they are considered solitary creatures.
Separate confinements for them if you are breeding two or more:
Breeders from whom you will pick up your coochy coos will tell you to keep them separately in two different enclosures if you ever wish to have two of these together (they are so adorable that one is never enough by the way.
Pogonas are excessively territorial:
They guard their territories and are excessively touchy about their dominance in their own territory. They are ready to attack a challenger and make sure that it either drives it away or mauls it to teach it a lesson. Mating is the only time that these lizards are found to be in pairs, albeit even for a short time. The rest of the seasons, they keep to themselves either basking in the sunlight on high rocks or branches of trees or holing up in burrows that they dig to maintain their body temperature.
Are we saying that the female Pogona can keep laying eggs even without mating?
Yes, that is what we are precisely driving at!
Even though she Bearded Dragon can mate once and lay eggs up to three or four times in a year, there are also instances where she will lay eggs without mating even once.
This is fascinatingly true for a lot of reptile world-over. These unproductive eggs will lay unhatched. In the wild, they are eaten away by other animals, but in captivity and in domestic enclosures in your homes, it makes sense to let them stay untouched for a little longer time.
Ten to twelve weeks is a good time to determine if the hatchlings will come out of the eggs or if they are only a batch of unproductive eggs. If you have waited so long and nothing is coming out of them, sweeping them away and trashing them is a good idea only and only if you have examined them closely.
Here is how to examine them closely without damaging the egg material:
Use a q stick and roll over the eggs to see if there is any sign of life in them. Flashing a little light from the torch or your mobile’s flashlight on them may show blue color life material inside. If the eggs are not translucent but opaque and there is no blue color indication from within, then they are a batch of unproductive eggs. Trash them, please.
A word of caution: do not probe the egg too much with the stick because you can potentially damage the egg if it is a productive one. You must use a lot of discretion in probing.
You may be surprised that your pet bearded dragon that has stayed with you for a few months is laying eggs in spite of you being very sure that it has had no chances of mating at all.
The reason is that perhaps it has been carrying the male sperms in it even before you started to coexist with her, or in the rarest of rare cases, these are a batch of unproductive eggs that we just explained a little while ago.
Does the female bearded dragon care for her eggs?
In all probability, female bearded dragons will lay a cluster of her eggs and forget about it. Imagine, as humans, we had to give birth to twenty and then fuss over their birth and their bringing up!!
A very few of the hatchlings will have a chance at life:
Some of them will not hatch at all while other hatchlings are eaten away by other animals when they are very young. The main predators are bigger reptiles, cats, and dingos.
Once they hatch, they have to fend themselves against the harsh elements and also search for their own nourishment. All this can take a toll on the young life, and that is perhaps why only ten to twelve percent of the cluster of eggs has a real chance of growing into adults.
In captivity, however, more eggs survive:
Breeders around the world are continuously upping their techniques to make sure that the bearded dragon yield is much higher. With scientific techniques of taking care of their nourishment, we are able to extend their life cycle. There is also almost a zero risk to them from predators in their enclosures. The pet Pogona market today boasts of best inbreeding techniques that yield not just colorful bearded dragons but also hardier ones! And no one is complaining!!