Breeding Reptiles in captivity
There is nothing quite like the warm glowing feeling you get
from the first time you are successful in breeding reptiles.
Often it can be a long process from hatchling to procreation
especially for those who breed tortoises.
Here are a few considerations that may help prospective breeders
are the way.
• Have animals of opposite sexes. Sex determination can be quite
difficult in some animals. Depending on reptile, look for
differences in build, head width, tail length colouration, femoral pores, spurs.
• Choice of partner. Some animals just will not mate with another
of the same species for what ever reason. Others prefer communal
groups, some require more that two males to be present and
• Hibernation. This provides a stimuli for hormone
production for the forth coming breeding season. Not all
read up carefully on your species.
• Climate and photoperiod. These alone can be a stimulus for
breeding. Many tropical species are not subjected to a significant
temperature drop but instead are stimulated by day length
or a wet/dry period.
• Mating. This can last for a few days to months. Always check
on the well being of your animals in this period. Males will
often combat in groups and can inflict deep wounds that will
need attention. Male lizards may leave several lesions on
a females neck that may require Tama/peva/beta dine solutions.
Male tortoises will also nip at the legs of females. Female
tortoises and terrapins depending on species may also shut
their plastron onto a males hemipenes (ouch!).
• Egg laying or birth of neonates. It will be noticed that the
belly area will swell. There will be an increase in weight.
A tendency to dig or become restless. Poor or no appetite.
Skin shedding. Ensure there is somewhere for the female to
lay or give birth. Failure to provide this can lead to the
possibility of egg retention. Which can mean the animals
will not breed again or die. Sometimes egg retention can be aided
by injection of Oxytocin.
• Incubation of eggs. Many pythons in the wild will
curl around their eggs and twitch to produce and maintain the
correct temperature. Often in captivity the eggs are removed