As Dan Warner mentioned in a recent post, moisture availability is extremely important to the development and survival of anole embryos. Throughout our time breeding anoles in the lab, we have experimented with different methods of incubating eggs, including different substrates (potting soil, a mixture of soil and vermiculite, and just vermiculite), differing proportions of water and vermiculite, and supplementing substrate with water throughout incubation. We have now settled on a recipe that seems to minimize death, mould, and desiccation in our Anolis distichus eggs.
We currently start by mixing a recipe that combines 220g of vermiculite with 380g of water. According to a water potential curve for vermiculite, this mixture has a water potential of -150kPa. We then put 130g of the mix into clear small deli cups which have pre-punched holes on the side for ventilation. The clear cups make it easy to quickly monitor eggs and to spot new hatchlings. We store these cups in our lizard room at a temperature of about 29C. As eggs get older they are gradually rotated closer to a small fan that is set on a timer to run 10 mins twice daily to increase airflow. We’ve found that the recipe we’re using does not require addition of more water during incubation.
I’ve heard and read about many different ways that people are treating anole eggs and would love if AA readers shared how they take care of their anole eggs!