One of the most fun things in ARK is hatching eggs and raising baby dinos. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though! You have to get everything just right to make sure the eggs – and the babies that come from them – stay alive and thrive, even in an environment that doesn’t seem harsh.
Hatching Eggs in ARK
While you can find dinosaurs to tame all over the map, it’s not the same as having two of your tames mate to produce a baby dinosaur. However, hatching an egg is difficult. Each egg has different temperature tolerances that you must cater to if you want the egg to thrive and produce a baby dinosaur.
Hatch the Right Eggs
First off: don’t try to hatch unfertilized eggs. You might find eggs around the world, and most of them will not be fertilized. They work great for making kibble, but you aren’t going to get a baby dinosaur from them.
Most people who want to hatch eggs breed their tame to get fertilized eggs. Any two tames of the same species and opposite genders can mate and produce eggs.
To prepare your tame for mating, follow these steps.
- Prepare a space where the tames can be safe but also wander freely. Tames can’t mate if they’re not set to wander. However, tames set to wander can be eaten by aggressive dinosaurs or get lost on the extensive maps if they aren’t fenced in.
My friends and I often make an indoor breeding room and hatchery for smaller creatures and an outdoor pen for mating larger tames. You want to ensure that they can wander without getting too far away or encountering anything dangerous.
- Approach the creature and hold down the E key. This might be a different key on consoles, but it opens the radial menu where you can choose options.
- Enable wandering.
- Turn off following.
- Check to be sure the dinosaur isn’t neutered or spayed. This prevents them from mating even when they’re in wandering mode near a suitable mate.
- Repeat the process on the second dinosaur.
- Leave them to wander together in the safe, enclosed area. You want to keep them relatively close so sometimes a breeding pen is your best bet. You can let them out when they’re finished and even add a viewing platform on top to see whether they’ve dropped an egg.
If you’re having trouble getting your tames to mate, try reducing the size of their inventory or removing their saddles. You should never try to ride a tame while you’re attempting to breed them with another dinosaur.
When the dinosaurs are mated, you’ll see a little heart icon appear for both of them. Hover over them to see their infoboxes, and you should see a percentage that lets you know how long it will take to finish the mating session.
Some dinosaurs require particular circumstances to breed successfully:
- The Beezlebufo and Diplocaulus only mate if they’re in the water. Even though they can go on land, they won’t produce there. Megachelon is similar but more difficult because it requires being deep in the ocean before it will mate.
- Magmasaur only mates when the female of the pair is in the lava.
- Royal Griffins need a mate that has a surname close to their own.
Once it’s done, you’ll receive an egg as long as the creature lays eggs.
Caring for an Egg
Incubation is the process of actually getting the egg to hatch, and it can be tricky. It’s all about temperature management over a long period of time.
Each type of egg has a preferred temperature it must be at to incubate. If you go too far outside that temperature during the process, it can fail, and the egg can die.
Check the egg to see its status, and you’ll notice a health bar. This slowly goes down as time passes outside the healthy temperature zone. Once it’s gone, the egg isn’t viable anymore.
Hatching can take anywhere from one hour to several days, depending on which animal you’re trying to hatch. For example, a Velonasaur only takes one hour and eight minutes. The Giganotosaurus egg takes two days and almost two hours to hatch fully.
You don’t have to check on the dinosaur egg the entire time that incubation occurs, but it takes a lot of micromanagement. For this reason, friends or tribes will often work together on a schedule to hatch an egg as a group.
If you play on a modded server, you might find that it takes less time to hatch an egg. Increased mating, taming, and incubation rates are some of the most widely used mods.
How to Hatch Eggs in ARK
To hatch an egg, check the time it takes to hatch and its required temperatures. Once you know, you can create a space with the right temperature and be there when the dinosaur hatches to give it the care it needs.
For this example, we’ll focus on an Allosaurus egg that requires an hour and 39 minutes to hatch at a temperature between 79 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Decide how you want to manage the temperature. Many people use torches and campfires early in the game, but this is harder and takes more precise micromanagement. Waiting to do extensive egg hatching until you have access to air conditioners makes it much more manageable.
Egg incubators from Genesis 2 are more straightforward, but they are late-game items.
- Create a space for hatching the eggs. You want an area free from other animals, something small enough to keep warm and to have airflow from outside if needed to cool things down quickly.
Also, consider the environment you’re hatching in – it’s going to be much more challenging to keep things warm if you’re making your home on a snowy mountain.
In the case of the allosaurus egg, your best bet is to find a place to incubate it where the temperature stays hot or be prepared to use a lot of AC units. I tested it in an area with 29 ambient temperature and used 5 AC units to hatch it.
- Decide whether you want to use the air conditioner, the egg incubator, or other heat sources. The air conditioner is a good compromise between the ease of the egg incubator and the easy accessibility of torches and campfires.
- Preheat the space to see what temperatures you can achieve. Often, one air conditioner isn’t enough. Some people will two dozen, depending on where they’re located and what temperature the egg requires. To check the ambient temperature, hold down H and it appears on the upper left side of the screen.
- Set the egg in a safe place near the air conditioners. You do not want it more than one foundation away from a unit, and closer is better to get the most controlled temperature.
- Monitor the temperature and egg health. Be prepared for the end of incubation because the baby dinosaur will appear and need claiming and instant care, as well as imprinting.
Once the eggs are in the suitable space with the right temperature, all you have to do is wait.
If you plan to use other sources of temperature adjustment, here’s how to do it.
Torches and Other Sources of Heat
If you’re going to use torches, campfires, stoves, and other heat sources, plan to move them around a lot to get the right temperature. Stand where you want the egg to be placed to check whether the temperature is what it needs to be. Also, wait for the heat sources to kick into gear and affect the room.
You can always move torches and fireplaces. You can also wander the room to find a place that might be good for the eggs.
If you’ve reached level 89 on Genesis 2, you can use an egg incubator that can hatch up to ten eggs at one time. You get a 20 percent bonus to incubation speed, and it also maintains the temperature.
Remember that the baby dinosaur requires manual release, so be ready to do so when the incubation time is over.
Egg Hatching Tips in ARK
- Fertilized eggs lose health very slowly, no matter where they’re stored. If you start incubation and then have to walk away and can’t monitor, just pick up the egg and put it in a preserving bin or refrigerator to wait on when you have the free time to manage it.
- You must have electricity and fuel for the egg incubator and the air conditioner. If you don’t, the eggs will die because the temperature won’t be maintained – unless the ambient temperature happens to be correct.
- Always have fuel ready for generators, torches, fireplaces, and any other item adjusting the temperature.
- Some eggs can’t be moved once the dinosaur releases them. The Arthopluera, Manti, Moth, Bloodstalker, Pulmonoscorpius, and Araneo will lay eggs that stick to where they’re laid. Don’t breed these tames unless they’re in a temperature-controlled area.
- Be ready with food as soon as the baby is born. They lose health rapidly and can’t hold a lot of food in their small inventories. Be sure you know where the baby needs to be and any special care conditions before it arrives. For example, you cannot remove Beelzebufo from water until it’s an adult, or it will die.