Carrying and depositing 20 or more eggs is taxing on female bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps); once they have expelled them, your bearded may act slightly weird for a few hours as she begins to feel better and relaxes. She will look very thin, and be hungry, tired and slightly dehydrated -- but within a few hours to a day, she should be back to her normal self. On the other hand, if she exhibits signs of distress or panic, she may be egg-bound and require emergency veterinary attention.
It is not difficult to tell that a female bearded dragon is gravid, or carrying eggs: As they grow and swell, eggs become quite visible through the stomach of your pet. As egg deposition time approaches, your bearded dragon will exhibit digging behavior in various places throughout the cage. Female bearded dragons may cease feeding when egg deposition is imminent, but continue to offer them water regularly. Note that even virgin females can develop eggs. The eggs will not be fertile and won't hatch, but you should offer her a good place to deposit them anyway.
Egg Laying Procedure
If you know your bearded dragon is getting close to depositing eggs, supply her with an egg-laying site. A small plastic storage box filled with slightly damp sand or potting soil works well for an egg-laying site. She may dig several "practice" holes before she finds one she likes. Most bearded dragons don't seem to be bothered by human observers, so you can likely watch the process.
Hungry and Thirsty
After your bearded dragon has emerged from the egg laying site and is finished expelling her eggs, give her about an hour to adjust and relax. Once the new mother has had some time, give her some water and -- if necessary -- wash off her head, feet and belly to remove any soil. Let her relax and bask for another hour or so after ensuring she is rehydrated and clean. Then offer her a few insects and see how she reacts: Some postpartum females eat greedily, while others take several hours to regain their appetites. Feed her frequent, small meals for the first day or two, to avoid unnecessarily taxing her system.
Though it is not common, female bearded dragons can occasionally have difficulty expelling all of their eggs -- this is most likely to happen to females who are malnourished, stressed, dehydrated or are calcium deficient. When egg-bound, females often exhibit frantic, panicked behavior as they are unable to push one or more of the eggs out. At other times, beardeds become listless, depressed or even unresponsive. If you suspect that your bearded dragon is egg-bound, take her to your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will likely try to treat the problem conservatively at first, with medication; however, if that is not effective, surgery may be the only option.
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