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 #2009869


StronglyKeeled
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 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

Guys. I need some help! I just captured a gravid female Eastern Collared Lizard in Jackson County, MO. I think she’s gravid anyway, the field guide says females develope orange/red spots on their side when they become pregnant, and she definatly has orange spots all over her sides.

Anyway, here’s what I need to ask. I know they lay their eggs under big rocks and in burrows, but what temperature do I need to keep them? Do I use sand, dirt, or a combination of the two? How deep does the substrate need to be? Does the substrate need to be moist or dry? What should I do with the babies when they hatch? I cannot find any good information using Google for this matter.

I greatly appreciate any answers you can provide me and I will get some pictures taken of this beautiful lizard probably today.

-Cameron



05/23/09  03:05pm

 #2009892


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2009869


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

you need to get some perlite or vermiculite from walmart moisten it so the humidity is at 85% then when she lays the eggs put them in there with a lid incubate them at 73-86 degrees F



05/23/09  03:55pm

 #2010113


JackAsp
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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2009892


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

Let her go. I’ve got two tame, well-adjusted, captive-bred females that both laid eggs this year, and even for them, it’s no picnic. Mine are back to normal in a week, because they have a comfortable home that they actually like and the big monster that comes and brings bugs to them isn’t something that they have any reason to be afraid of, but the physical process itself is still very obviously stressful. And, even starting out in great health, they go from looking like Goodyear blimps to looking like concentration camp victims until they regain their weight.
Adjusting to captivity is stressful. Laying eggs is stressful. Both at the same time is not a good combination.



05/24/09  12:25am

 #2010296


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2010113


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

JackAsp,

I appreciate your opinion, and you’re probably right, but I’m going to go ahead and give this a shot. If she looks like she isn’t eating well or recovering after she lays eggs I will take her back where I found her and release her.


Reptileruler1,

I have a couple of questions about that. I think I’m going to get a "Hovabator Incubator": Link

So here are my questions:
I can’t find anything that says this incubator has a hygrometer built in, will I need one?
Do you think I could just drill a hole in the side of the incubator to put a hygrometer probe in?
Should the hygrometer probe be under the vermiculite or just sitting on top of it?
Do I burry the eggs in the vermiculite or just sat them on top of it?

And here are some general Collard Lizard questions:
What kind of substrate do I put in the enclosure with the female? I can see most of you guys put just sand in the enclosure, but this specimen didn’t live anywhere near sand.
Would soil/peat be a better selection?
My field guide says the optimum temperature for an Eastern Collard Lizard is between 73 and 93F, but what about humidity? Is this a fairly "dry" lizard? Based on where I found it I would say it is.

I look forward to your response! Thanks so much for all of the help, I cannot thank you enough. I will post pictures of this beauty today!

- Cameron



05/24/09  11:29am

 #2010334


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2010296


 Here Are The Photos!!!

Here she is:











The field guide says these orange spots indicate pregnancy:





Below is a VERY temporary enclosure. I need to get to home depot and get some supplies to build an enclosure of appropriate size.









I put brown paper all round the cage and covered up the bottom half of the front to help reduce stress.






05/24/09  12:58pm

 #2010603


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2010296


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

I would put the hygrometer on top of the vermiculite. and bury eggs about half way in the vermiculite.
sand, crushed walnut shells and dirt will work but sand or dirt will work best. temperatures should be basking site of 97-106F warm side 90-95F and cool side 82-85F and just keep a small water dish in the cage. don’t keep humidity above 40% stay between 30% and 40%.



05/24/09  11:42pm

 #2010723


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2010603


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

Reptileruler1,

Awesome. Thanks so much for the help. I will put about an inch of vermiculite over the top of the eggs when they arrive, unless you think that’s too much.

BTW, do the orange spots really mean she is pregnant? I really hope so, because I’m pretty excited about all of this!

- Cameron



05/25/09  09:24am

 #2010795


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2010723


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

well orange spots mean they’re gravid (pregnant) or ready to breed.
as for eggs heres how you should put them.
copy & paste http://www.albeysreptiles.com/images/INC-14.jpg



05/25/09  12:10pm

 #2010843


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2010795


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

Or ready to breed? Lame. I hope she’s gravid.

That’s more like what I thought the eggs should be like. When you said half way I thought you meant to burry them halfway down, but now I can see you meant to bury the eggs only half way in. That makes more sense.

Thanks again for all of your help.

I am planning on putting her in an enclosure with all dry sand and I will put some kind of hide box with wet vermiculite in a corner. I don’t want her to burry the eggs just anywhere inside the enclosure. That should work, shouldn’t it?

I read somewhere that you should let the eggs cool down just a little bit at night to help ensure a mixture of males and females. Apparently if they stay at one constant temperature you may get a whole clutch of just one gender. Is there any truth in that?

I also read that it’s okay to inbreed most reptiles. If she does indeed lay eggs and I have a mixture of males and females would it be unhealthy to breed them together when they reach maturity?

- Cameron



05/25/09  02:26pm

 #2011001


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2010843


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

she should lay in a moist area but sometimes they don’t as for inbreeding probably wouldn’t want to do that.



05/25/09  08:32pm

 #2011392


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2011001


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

Ok, I have another question. I hear it’s important to keep the eggs in the same position as when they were laid, so before moving the eggs is it okay to put like a little dot with a permanent marker on the egg? This way I won’t accidentally put them in on their side or something.

- Cameron



05/26/09  04:35pm

 #2011455


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2011392


 Gravid Female. Pictures later.

that’s fine to do.



05/26/09  06:03pm

 #2015113


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2011455


 More photos.

Ok, here are some more pictures.

Don’t you think she must be pregnant? I mean, look how fat she is, they aren’t normally that fat are they?






This is a much larger temporary enclosure. I still need to add more sand/soil and rocks and stuff.





This is a hidebox I made with wet vermiculite in it. I hope she lays the eggs in this instead of somewhere else in the enclosure:




What do you guys think? Is she pregnant? If so, do you think the laybox is satisfactory, or should I do something different?

The cage is about 90 degrees on the warm side and 75 on the cool side. It’s like 110 degrees directly under the heat lamp.



06/02/09  10:56am

 #2015132


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2015113


 More photos.

she probably is gravid and everything else looks good.



06/02/09  12:08pm

 #2017749


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2015132


 Worried.

Ok, so I’m getting a little bit worried about Xena (that’s her name now, btw). For the past 4-5 days she has not moved from one spot. She found this rock on the cool side of her enclosure and she just lays under the edge of it not moving all day long. She is usually sleeping. Her colors have darkened greatly as well. She started doing this several days after shedding skin.

When I reach into the cage to pick her up and make sure she’s okay she is very responsive. She usually goes into full escape mode trying to get out of my hand and will sometimes even bite, so that at least makes me feel better knowing that she has the energy to do that.

Is this sort of behavior normal for a gravid female?

Please advise on what to do.

- Cameron



06/07/09  10:09am

 #2017772


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2017749


 Worried.

yes



06/07/09  11:02am

 #2017885


Tantanreptileman
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2017749


 Worried.

She is most likely felling slugish because she is getting redy to lay. Good luck!



06/07/09  02:41pm

 #2017910


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: Tantanreptileman   In reference to Message Id: 2017885


 Worried.

just keep doing everything you’re doing (feeding, watering etc.) and she should be fine. make sure she has a place to lay.



06/07/09  03:34pm

 #2018237


JackAsp
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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2017910


 Worried.

I’d raise the day temps. You can get away with a cool side of 75 if they aren’t in it a lot, but if they’re hiding a lot then the body temperature isn’t what it should be. During the day, a collared should feel like a gerbil or something. They’re so warm that if you didn’t know better, you’d just assume they were warm-blooded. My apartment is about 80 and after about an hour of running around loose they’re wavering, because while a collared that’s too cool can still move quickly for short bursts of activity, like when you disturb her, their endurance seems much better when they’re over a hundred, and egg-laying takes a LOT of endurance.

Try for a more vertical heat gradient. An elevated basking spot at one end that’s about 105, and an elevated basking spot at the other end that’s even warmer, like about 145. Yes, they can and do bask at temps that high in the wild, just not for as long as certain other lizards. They go through periods when they prefer the hotter spot though, depending on what’s up metabolically and activity-wise. Higher surface temps probably help them to control mites and things, too, including the microscopic types that you can’t really scan for but can still get itchy. The guy I got mine from swears by a main basking spot of 145, and in the 9 years he’s been breeding them he swears the only health problems he’s seen have been during brumation. Just be ready to scoop the cage a lot, because a nice hot collared lizard will eat constantly and poop constantly. Mine go off their feed for maybe half a week right before laying and then are bottomless pits for about a week afterwards.

Having two heat sources, will raise the floor temp a bit, but making the basking spots higher means you can balance that by using milder wattages, resulting in a surface floor temp of 92 or less all across, and the hide will be a little cooler than that, but still more than 75. Low temps when gravid do not make the process easier.

There’s no guarantee where she’ll lay her eggs. If only one spot is wet, then she’ll probably dig there, but sometimes they’ll be weird. I’ve even had one of mine fake me out by digging all day in one section and then making a big burrow some place else later that night. All I can say is that both of mine like BIG tunnels, both depthwise and floorspace-wise. I did get lucky once and have one of them make her chamber under the water dish, which was close enough to the glass that I could actually see one of the eggs right up against it when I came home that night.

Can’t really give any advice about hatching. This is my first year at the breeding game. I killed Chica’s first batch by accidently drying them out (if anybody tells you that Hatch-Rite doesn’t need water added, smack them,) her second batch were slugs, Lupe’s first batch were only laid last month, and she’s just these last couple of weeks scratching around getting ready for the second one. I can say that if they’re warm and well-fed a second batch about a month after the first one seems common, but I’m not gonna claim to have personally hatched any babies.



06/07/09  10:54pm

 #2018415


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2018237


 Worried.

Guys, thanks so much for the advice. Tantanreptileman, thanks for the good luck, I think I’m going to need it.

Reptileruler1, thanks so much for all of the advice so far, you’ve been a tremendous help to me.

JackAsp, thanks for that last post, it was very helpful! I can’t wait to see how this all turns out. I will go to the Home Depot today during lunch and pick up another heat lamp with a lower wattage bulb.

I have a couple more questions:

1. The laybox I gave her only has like 2-3 inches of wet vermiculite in it, that’s all I had to give her. Should I make it deeper?

2. Can I mix it with play sand from Home Depot?

3. Should I add a lot of sand to the whole enclosure so she can lay her eggs where she chooses?

4. I’m assuming it will be very easy to tell when she has laid her eggs, she should be a lot skinnier, right?


Thanks again guys,
- Cameron



06/08/09  09:40am

 #2018481


Reptileruler1
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2018415


 Worried.

That’s a fine as long amount to use as you keep the humidity at 90% Don’t mix the vermiculite with anything. Adding more sand to the enclosure would be a good idea. she will be very skinny after laying.



06/08/09  11:56am

 #2018657


JackAsp
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  Message To: Reptileruler1   In reference to Message Id: 2018481


 Worried.

Mine like it deeper. I have to keep about a square foot of floor space moist during the digging-like-crazy phase. It’s not just moisture issue, although the eggs do dry out easily, it’s also that it holds burrow shape if it’s not dry. Chica will literally tunnel around under there like a badger, lying individual eggs all over the place. Lupe’s system, I’m not so sure on yet. The one time she’s laid so far it was only a few hour’s aftert Chica’s second clutch, so she stole Chica’s idea of digging down under the water dish, whre a lot of the laying chamber was still clear. I’ve heard of them laying in dry sand, laying right on top of the substrate, clearing a section of tank floor and laying right there, etc, but from what I’ve hard of their wild habits, Chica’s system seems the most natural. Your girl might hae already made a few tunnels for other eggs, over the last year or two or whatever, and might be a little confused by what to do with a 2" deep laying box. Or, she might not. But if you have room and willingness to go bigger, I say do it. Certainly can’t hurt.
Also, if cage size makes loss of gradient a concern, you might want to go for a nice tight-beam spotlight instead of a more widely radiant flood-style. You can find bulbs that zap almost all of their enrgy right onto the hot spot, so you get less heat creep into the overall air temperature.
Heat and exercise seem to do them a lot of good, but exercise without heat is just stressful. Funny thing about Lupe: the day before she finally laid, it had been so long that I’d finally just given up and assumed she was just fat, since her red was phasing and despitehow big she was she hadn’t really been digging all that much. So I let her out for some exercise, and she had a great time running around the apartment jumping on things; it was the only time I’ve seen one of mine run on their hind legs, actually. usually they just scurry and hop. Then, right after that, she laid eggs. I don’t know if the movement helped or if it was just the fact that the next day her sistergave her a pre-dug nest area to steal, though.
Oh, and about that earlier inbreeding question: don’t. Yes, my females are sisters, but my male is from different stock entirely. We’ve all, reptiles included, got a lot of glitches in our DNA, but most of them are recessive so they don’t actually manifest unless they get hooked up with a match. Neural and immune problems are common. Also skeletal problems, such as deformed tails and toes, which is why nobody wants blue tegus anymore. I also used to have a couple of pine snakes from a breeder who was okay with linebreeding. Both developed cataracts, one dies from a rare form of hereditary cancer, and the other dies from a series of organ failures that the vet who did the biopsy believed to be congenital rather than environmental. If you want to keep breeding, I’d say trade some of the babies for adults and sell/ tade/ adopt out the others. The thing about people who assume it’s fine: they aren’t really keeping track of the offspring after they sell it. Who can tell, looking at a seemingly healthy hatchling, whether its life is going to run out at ten years or at two years?



06/08/09  04:09pm

 #2018687


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2018657


 Worried.

JackAsp,

You have some very valid points on the inbreeding. I most certainly will not inbreed these lizards. Thanks for that.

I also have a question. If she digs tunnels and lays eggs all over the enclosure how in the world will I go about getting them all out?? Will I just have to remove everything from the enclosure and slowly scrape away sand into a bucket one layer at a time? I would sure hate to miss an egg and have it dry out or die in the enclosure.

Do you think I should keep all of the sand in the enclosure wet? I was planning on letting it all dry out to encourage her to lay her eggs in the provided hidebox full of vermiculite.

- Cameron



06/08/09  04:51pm

 #2018745


JackAsp
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2018687


 Worried.

I only keep one corner moist. It’s a big corner, that’s all. Making the whole tank damp does more for fungus and bacteria than for egg-laying.
When she lays, you’ll know. They’re suddenly skinny and hungry and that means its time to dig for eggs. If you’re using a removeable laying box, you can take it out and look right away. otherwise, lock her in the bathroom or soemthing while you dig. I get mine out at night when everybody in there is asleep, carefully digging around in there while using a red light for illumination. Actually, I do a LOT of my cage-stuff at night under red lighting, because it’s easier to leave the cage open without getting a faceful of bouncing lizards that all think it’s play-time. Digging up the nest when it’s still new can stress them, but taking out a nesting box should be pretty much instantaneous.
After she lays, go heavy on the calcium supplements and don’t worry about fat warnings for about a week. If she wants dusted superworms every day, don’t argue with her about it. Once her weight’s back, try to get back to a cricket, roach, silkworms, or grasshopper staple, though.



06/08/09  06:37pm

 #2019038


StronglyKeeled
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  Message To: JackAsp   In reference to Message Id: 2018745


 Worried.

Good to know, thanks much, JackAsp.

- Cameron



06/09/09  09:14am

 #2023690


JackAsp
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  Message To: StronglyKeeled   In reference to Message Id: 2019038


 Worried.

Another thing to mention: one good feeding a day might not do it. Chica laid eight more eggs last week. They were terrible squishy ones, but they did nonetheless take a lot out of her. Look at your collared lizard and substract eight jellybeans from her.
She’s been eating really well each day and I was giving her as much as she wanted, but today after I’d already given her three superworms for breakfast I came home during split-shift break with a bag of crickets and she was acting like I hadn’t fed her in a week! She even flew up into the air and nipped my finger once while I was dropping them in. She’s never done that before, although the other two have given me accidental feeding nips. Usually Chica’s the good one.
It might be that this was the third time she’s laid (grand total this year: 11 bad eggs and 7 possibly good ones.. which I ruined with insufficient moisture) but it might also just be that summer is here, and with warmer nights they burn calories faster. Yours is under more stress than a CB one, AND may have already laid eggs earlier, AND you’re in a warmer part of the country than I am, so have that whelbarrow full of bugs ready.



06/17/09  12:22am


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