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Chinese Water Dragons

Breeding

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Breeding Chinese Water Dragons

Now, I am not extremely familar with breeding as I have two females and of course, we all know, there can be no breeding with two females :)  I can tell the basics and direct you to another site for more detailed information as I want to give the best possible information I can.
 
Water dragons begin the mating season in late winter/early spring.   It really depends on the light cycle of your habitat.  The male will bite the female's crest when mating.  Sometimes, the female's crest can be quite damaged by this and sometimes they need to be seperated so the male will not continue to breed and hurt the female.  You can also cover the female's crest with that elastic bandaid material that hospitals use after they take blood.  It sticks to itself, so it won't stick to your dragon.  I have seen some homemade contraptions that people have made to protect their female's crest.  The female will lay her eggs a couple of months after mating.
 
Care of a Gravid Female
Now every female will lay eggs after they are sexually mature.  They can lay several clutches a year.  One of my female dragons, Rogue has laid three clutches of approx. 6-7 eggs each time, so far this year (2006).  I think she may lay another clutch here soon as she has been digging again. 
The gravid (gravid means carrying eggs) female will begin to look bigger and during the last couple weeks she may begin to even look a little lumpy.  Their appeittie may dwindle to where they may not be eating anything for weeks.  This is normal.  As the eggs begin to get bigger and shell, there is less room for their stomach, so they do not eat.  Some dragons will eat all the way up till laying, and some dragons will stop weeks before.  It just depends on the dragon.  Just keep trying to feed her.  You only need to be worried if your dragon becomes lethargic, dark or showing any other signs of illness.  Gravid females also need plenty of calcium and UVB as they will be shelling their eggs.  If they don't have enough calcium, they will begin to take it from their bones.  This makes their bones brittle and chances for Metabolic Bone Disease is greater. 
 
The Lay Box
This is very important for a female dragon to have.  If they don't have a lay box prepared for them, they might feel as if they don't have a proper place to lay, and they might become egg-boung.  You do not want this, as it is deadly. 
A lay box consists of a large tupperware, rubbermaid, or designated area in your viv for your dragon to lay her eggs.  It needs to be made out of material that your dragon can dig in without the hole filling back in.  A good material to use is sterile soil with some spaghum moss mixed in to keep up the moisture.  The dirt needs to be moist so she can make a nice hole or tunnel.  It also need to be at least 6 inches deep so she can dig a deep hole.  If the digging medium is not working for your dragon, you may see the stuff all over the viv as she is flinging it everywhere to make it better.  She might dig and dig.  You may have to make little changes for her at times to make sure it works for her. 
 
Laying of the eggs
When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will dig her hole or tunnel and put her bottom over the hole.  She may be there for quite some time before she lays all of them.  I have found Rogue to be very particular on how she lays her eggs.  She digs in the same corner every time and will spend hours laying and covering them up.  After they are done laying the eggs they will then cover them up.   If you don't know they are laying the eggs and where they are laying, it would almost be impossible to find them.  They bury them VERY well.  Rogue packs the dirt in tight around her eggs.  What a good little mom. :)  After all that, they are exhausted and might go for a good soak or bask. 
So when you dig to find them, be careful.  The eggs need to stay the same way they were buried.  You do not want to turn them.  You can mark them to show you what is the top so you can lay them the same way in the incubator.  (this is of course if you have a male with your female. If you do not, you do not have to do this.   Just throw them out, because they are infertile.) 
If you are pretty sure they are fertile, you will want to incubate them.  You just have to remember, after incubation, you will have babies.  If you don't have the time or money to take care of these little ones until you find homes for them, you may want to think ahead of what you are going to do.  If you are unable to care for fertile eggs, try to find someone who might be willing to do so.  And don't let your dragons mate again.  Sometimes it does happen on accident, but I would seperate the dragons to prevent more unwanted eggs.
 
If you want a little more detailed information on breeding and incubation, you can head on over to http://www.tricaswaterdragons.com for more detailed information. 

Please refer to the contact page if you have any comments or questions.