Do iguanas lay eggs? And if they do, how many do they lay, and how long does it take for them to hatch? As you can see, there are plenty of questions regarding iguana eggs.
If you’re the owner of a pet female iguana it’s very important to know everything there is to know about this subject. If you do not, you might face some unwanted surprises.
Just like most reptiles, iguanas do indeed lay eggs. They lay eggs even without mating, though these eggs are infertile and will not hatch babies. The amount of eggs they lay depends on the kind of iguana. The green iguana, which is most commonly kept as a pet, lays the most eggs at 20-71 while the marine iguana lays the fewest at 1 to 6. The eggs usually hatch in 90 to 120 days, but in an ideal environment, they can hatch faster.
In the remainder of this post, I’m going to go over everything you need to know regarding the egg-laying process of female iguanas. Every question you’ve ever had will be answered, so keep reading!
Do iguanas lay eggs without mating?
Female iguanas can lay eggs without ever having contact with a male. However, similarly to chicken eggs, these eggs are not fertile. The only way the eggs can be fertile is if the female iguana has mated with a male.
If you own a female pet iguana it’s inevitable that she will eventually lay eggs once she reaches maturity (at around 2 years old). This will happen to all female iguanas, regardless of whether they’ve been in contact with a male. However, if they’ve not been in contact with a male they will of course not be fertile.
Signs to look for
Since all female iguanas will eventually lay eggs, it’s good to know the signs to look for.
Early signs that she’s becoming gravid (meaning she’ll produce eggs) are a decreased appetite and more restless behavior. Also, she might start pacing and digging in her cage. When this happens, you should take her to the vet for a checkup. Since the eggshells are made up of calcium, it’s quite likely that your vet will prescribe some calcium supplements.
Later signs of her being gravid are a swollen abdomen. In some cases, you can even see and feel the outlines of the eggs!
How often do iguanas lay eggs?
As the owner of a female pet iguana, you should expect her to lay eggs every single year. You should make sure to keep her away from male iguanas because if you do not the eggs will become fertilized.
Since green iguanas are the most common pets and lay a large number of eggs, you do NOT want this to happen. If you let a male fertilize the female’s eggs you will end up with dozens of hatchlings.
There’s already an abundance of iguanas in the United States, so please be responsible and do not breed your iguana yourself. If you do decide to breed your iguana, you have to be a hundred percent sure that you can find a suitable home for at least 20 (usually more) newborn iguanas. This is an incredibly difficult task because these animals are quite expensive and hard to care for, which is why I strongly recommend against breeding iguanas.
Something to take into consideration is that female iguanas can save sperm for several years and use it to fertilize their eggs. For that reason, it’s essential to keep your female away from males at all times.
How many eggs do iguanas lay?
The number of eggs that iguanas lay depends on the kind of iguana you’re talking about. The green iguana is most commonly kept as a pet and lays the largest number of eggs. They lay between 20 to 71 eggs. Other iguanas such as the blue iguana lay fewer, only around 1 to 21. The marine iguana only lays 1 to 6 eggs.
As you can see, there’s a huge difference in clutch size between the different kinds of iguanas. The reason why there’s such a large difference between clutch sizes is not entirely clear. Usually, animals that give birth to more offspring do so because their offspring have a lower individual chance of survival. As a result, they give birth to more hatchlings to compensate for that and ensure that at least some of the young make it to adulthood.
How long does it take for an iguana egg to hatch
In the wild, an iguana’s egg hatches in about 90 to 120 days. However, in an incubator, they can hatch faster. Of course, the eggs will only hatch if they’re fertilized. Unfertilized eggs will never hatch because there’s nothing growing inside them.
What to do with infertile eggs
In the wild, iguanas do not tend to their eggs or to their young. They lay the eggs in a burrow in a warm and sunny area and forget about them. From then on, the eggs and hatchlings are left to fend for themselves.
Because of this, you can usually remove the infertile eggs from their burrows without the female being upset about it. However, if you do notice some distress from your iguana, you can simply take her out of her enclosure and remove the eggs while she’s out of sight. She will not check on her eggs when she comes back, so there’s no harm in doing this.
Can you eat iguana eggs?
This might seem like a strange question, but when you think about it, it’s not all that weird. After all, we eat unfertilized chicken eggs all the time.
In some countries where the iguana is a native species, such as Nicaragua, people call iguanas “the chicken of the trees”. As this name implies, in those countries they do eat iguana eggs quite frequently and they’re often considered a delicacy. According to them, the eggs taste like a rich cheese.
However, I would definitely not recommend eating the unfertilized eggs of your pet iguana. Iguanas are known to have salmonella on their skin, which you can easily ingest if you eat their eggs.
Iguanas reproduce by laying eggs, however, females can also lay unfertilized eggs. These unfertilized eggs will not produce babies, and in some cultures, the eggs are even considered a delicacy because they are indeed edible.
If you have a pet iguana it’s important that you do not accidentally let the eggs get fertilized. Females can lay up to 71 eggs, which will result in lots of baby iguanas that grow into huge lizards that you might not be able to find suitable homes for.
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