Many of us have probably heard of lizard eggs and the intriguing way they hatch from those eggs. We know they are related to the chameleon but what’s so interesting about them? What’s so fascinating about the way lizards, both reptile and invertebrate, lay their eggs? (Not surprisingly, it has something to do with their amazing ability to regenerate.) And what makes lizard eggs so interesting is that they are so similar to those of birds and even some other reptiles.
The first thing you need to understand about lizard eggs is that they hatch relatively quickly, within a day or two. Their hatching can be hastened by environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, light and air quality. It is not uncommon for a lizard to take just a few days to develop fully. In fact, incubation periods of several weeks have been recorded for some species.
In many cases, lizard eggs can be found within a month or two after the mother has laid her clutch. In a few cases, a female will return to her nest and lay several more eggs. Those that aren’t fertilized may still hatch but will probably be smaller than the one originally laid. The process of hatching and laying can often be sped up even more by incubating at an elevated temperature. This can be accomplished by placing a damp paper towel or a heating pad on the eggs.
What does all this mean for us? Well, let’s look at some common lizards, in particular the Campbell’s Possum. Like most Australian lizards, the Campbell’s Possum is small, about two to three feet long. They are generally nocturnal and are rarely seen during the daylight hours. Their diet consists largely of worms and other small insects.
Most Australian lizards and most of those from the southwestern part of Australia are carnivorous. They also prey upon birds and snakes, although there are several species of lizards that have been known to prey upon small mammals, including humans. However, it’s not their main food source; rather they usually eat insects, spiders, worms and other small creatures. So what does all this mean to us?
Insects provide them with nourishment, so by feeding on them the young will be born with proper nutrition. However, if the mother lizards don’t get to feed because of predators, the babies will be born too weak to survive. Lizards and snakes also live in moist environments, so the presence of these animals will help the eggs hatch. It is doubtful that warm-blooded reptiles such as us will benefit from eating them!
For the newly hatched lizards and snakes, we will need to study their size and weight. Their size will help determine the amount of food they receive during the time they are born. Furthermore, this will help us determine how long they will take to grow to adulthood, and once they reach adulthood, will they be able to reproduce. Taking these details into consideration, we can then decide whether or not to release them back into the wild or hand raise them so that they can have a better chance of survival.
When it comes to baby lizards and geckos, we should pay close attention to their characteristics such as coloration, patterning, scales, the number of limbs and glands and the way they interact with other reptiles. Their appearance may not be representative of their species, but their behavior can. For example, baby lizards and geckos that are immature and unable to produce or reproduce may not be displaying any symptoms at all, and it is their body language which will tell us when they are either unwell or sick. Paying close attention to your pet lizards and geckos, especially towards their gait, can help us detect if they are either sick or not feeling well – signs which will allow us to properly care for them and release them back into the wild where they belong.