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Delylah and Spike
Delylah and Spike  
I have a 4 year old female bearded dragon and my friend has an almost 1 year old male and they rely like each other they have even started to mate. We think they would make beautiful babies. What is the safest way to breed them? Also she shares a cage with her sister and a boy Russian tortoise.

Answer
Hi Jessie,

I would strongly encourage you to house her separately or at very least only with the other female bearded. Mixing such vastly different species from entirely different parts of the world is risky. Tortoises carry a number of single celled parasites called  protozoa that are normal for them  but could easily be pathogenic for your beardeds.

You were not asking about your Russian but I should mention that these protozoa can even be a problem for your tortoise if there are too many of them. That is why you need to limit the amount of fruit in a Russian's diet. Fruit can causes the population of protozoa to greatly increase.

The tortoise could also easily trample and destroy the eggs if you don't find them in time.

Keeping your female bearded healthy through the breeding cycle starts with a good diet and plenty of calcium. She will be using a lot of her calcium stores to form the egg shells. Calcium is also needed for the muscle contractions that will safely expel the eggs and avoid egg binding. Supplement and feed her well after she has produced the eggs as well.

Make sure she has a suitable egg laying chamber with several inches of damp sandy soil. That will encourage her to lay the eggs rather then holding onto them.

Your dragon is a good age and appears to be a good size for safe breeding. Breeding complications are not overly common with bearded. You may need to remove the male if you notice him constantly trying to breed with her. That can be a source of stress for breeding females.

I apologize for the long delay in answering. I somehow missed the original e-mail containing your question

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Expertise

I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.

Experience

I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

Publications
A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Education/Credentials
Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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