Suspension Incubation Container
How To Build A Suspension Incubation Container
Suspension Incubation Container
A Suspension Incubation Container is designed to keep your precious reptile eggs off of the substrate and away from direct contact with a water source. By removing contact with an over-saturated, or under-saturated incubation medium, we are removing mold and denting issues.
Suspension incubation is relatively new and is something I will be trying for the first time this season. Others have had great success and claims of faster incubation times have also been reported. It will be interesting for me to see how this goes as I will be comparing my normal incubation methods against the new suspended incubation.
Some of the immediate advantages to suspension incubation is that the eggs receive much more oxygen and gas exchange than when they are buried completely or partially. Keeping the egg off the substrate also removes accidental drowning of the egg and mold issues with eggs that have become oversaturated. Since the crate/mesh isn't sitting on the substrate at all, the need to measure the amount of substrate and water is also taken away. You can have substrate that is slightly more wet than you could if the eggs were resting directly on top of it.
This "how to build a suspension incubation container" article will explain how I tossed together my first suspension incubation container. The total cost for me was $1.69 and this supplied me with enough "crating" to create several containers of varying sizes. I already had all of the other materials.
As this was my first attempt at building this, it took me roughly 35 minutes. Keep in mind that I didn't have a design I was going for, so I was thinking on my feet.
With some refining I could easily toss a few of these together in under 15 minutes.
Hot Glue Gun
Embroidery Mesh - Crating
Razor Knife - Scissors
I began by placing the chosen container on the mesh and outlined it using the sharpie. This was how I began sizing the mesh for insertion. In retrospect I should have used a piece of paper or cardboard to create the outline for the mesh. This would have made the process MUCH faster as I would have only had to cut the mesh
I followed the outline I had drawn and ended up with a piece of mesh that was larger than I needed, but held the shape of the container. Had I used cardboard for this step I could have quickly trimmed it to make it fit and then traced that onto the mesh. That will be my approach for future suspension incubation containers.
Since the mesh was traced on the outside of the container, it requires trimming to fit inside. Using the sharpie and looking through the mesh into the container I made a new pattern and cut that. It did require additional fine tuning with a little trim here and a little trim there, but I eventually got it to fit snuggly. Again, that cardboard would have easily shaved 10 minutes off of trimming this thing.
The plastic embroidery mesh I purchased for this project is only semi-rigid, so I opted to glue supports as "strong backs". I used the scrap material left over from the initial pattern and cut that into equal width strips. I then cut the strips to the proper lengths and glued them in place. These added the needed rigidity I was looking for and only took a few minutes. The image below will offer a much better explanation.
Guards - Rails
As eggs begin to hatch or as the unit gets moved, the eggs inside could shift. If they overturn the developing embryos inside could drown. As a result, you may want to take some of the scrap material and cut additional strips that can be used as guides to hold the eggs in place. Since these mesh units have predetermined holes that happen to be the same width as the plastic material surrounding them, they actually slide into one another. You can precut your lengths for the container and actually move the rails up beside the egg and push them into the existing holes. This will keep the eggs from accidentally shifting.
This was the final result, with the supports in place.
As I wrote this, the ideas for improving the initial design have flooded my mind. Since the embroidery mesh came with 6 sheets (for $1.69), I have several more attempts at refining the design.
The method I used for creating this container can be modified and adapted to much larger containers. I simply used a readily available container I had as my project piece.
Author: Richard Brooks
Images - © Richard Brooks