Makeshift incubator?

Styrofoam cooler + thermostat + heat mat = functional idea?

I’ll end up with a proper incubator in the future, but this year I think the only animals I’m breeding are the Teratoscincus pair so it doesn’t make sense to get one for a handful of eggs. I have a spare Herpstat and heating elements, it seems better to make use of those instead of buying a cheap incubator from Amazon.

I think all I’m needing is the cooler, a good digital thermo/hygrometer, and something to elevate the egg containers away from the heating elements. I just want to make sure that this is a sound idea and not just something that works in my head! :rofl:


Absolutely a functional idea for a first time. Gets you the experience to see if you want to spend the big bucks later on.

My first incubator years ago was a 10 gallon aquarium with some water and aquarium heater in the bottom with a glass lid. lol

My second incubator was a cooler with heat tape and a thermostat. Worked like a charm.
What I did was wrapped the heat tape around the inside and then set the probe directly into my eggbox. I was only working with a single clutch of eggs on a little shelf for inside. With multiple egg cups, I would try to keep tabs on them with the fact that heat rises in mind.

If you leave some water bottles inside, they will help maintain the temp a bit as well when opening and closing the lid because they take longer to cool down.

This year… I’m expecting more clutches so I went with a custom incubator made by a somewhat local reptile shop. I wouldn’t trust most of the incubators on amazon as far as I could throw them. I’ve seen some bad reviews on the pages and some posts online with the issues people have had.


Yes very doable! I would listen to the advice of @armiyana and use a real cooler with a tight fitting lid(better insulation) and as many sealed water bottles around the sides for even more insulation and consistent temps. Just make sure you have it up and running to specs well before the eggs go in it, so you can change or fine tune it. Good luck!


Thank you both! I’ll make sure to get a proper cooler, and using water bottles to maintain heat is something I had not thought of before. This is my first foray into breeding, I’m both nervous and excited!