‘Ark: Survival Evolved’ Breeding Guide: Stats & Mutations Explained, How To Breed The Best Dinos

'Ark' Egg hatched
'Ark: Survival Evolved' has a complex breeding system, and eggs are at the center of it all. This guide details how to breed and how stats and mutation impact the process. 'Ark: Survival Evolved' is available now on PC, Xbox One, PS4, OS X and Linux. Studio Wildcard

Ark: Survival Evolved is largely focused on getting getting the best possible Dinos for yourself and your tribe. One of the most effective ways to do that is through breeding. Between stats and mutations the process gets a bit complicated, but we’re here to offer an introduction to the art of love.



The purpose of breeding Dinos is simple. Not only does it offer more tames for your collection, but it’s also the primary way players can micromanage the stats of their creatures.

As most Ark players will know, Dinos have eight basic stats for heath, oxygen, stamina, food, weight, base damage, movement speed and torpor. Breeding has no real impact on torpor or movement speed, but it still allows you the chance to essentially birth Dinos with the stats you covet most. If you’re very lucky and patient, you can breed something that’s maxed out in all six areas.

Breeding Dinos also allows you to have Dinos higher than a server’s level cap too.



You need a male and female of the same species that have strong stats. In breeding, the offspring gets either the male or female’s base stat, with a 70 percent chance of getting the higher one. Because torpor and movement aren’t impacted by taming, focus on the other attributes. For example, breed your high-health Rex if you want another high-heath Rex.

'Ark' Mating
When you see a red heart above the head of your Dinos, that means they're mating. Keep the two partners close together to fill the mating meter. Photo: Studio Wildcard/damp's YouTube/YouTube

The actual process can be done a few different ways. The idea is to get the male and female close to each other and setting them to wander. The issue with that, of course, is that once you hit wander, the pair will just ignore each other. Players have found a few ways to circumvent this.

  • You can spam U on your keyboard to manually disable wandering.
  • You can build a cage out of stone or metal and put both Dinos inside.
  • You can ride one Dino into another.

No matter which method you choose, you’ll know you’ve done something right when you see hearts spring up above their heads. This prompts a mating progress bar to fill up. Once it fills in the allotted time, an egg will pop out of the female unless it’s a mammal. Pick it up immediately.

Hatching The Egg/Pregnancy

The next step is to hatch the egg or birth the mammal. What you do in this particular stage is going to depend on what’s available to you. For eggs, the basic idea is to keep the egg health and egg temperature bars high until the egg can hatch. You’ll see those meters once you place the egg down in the environment. It’s best to keep the egg indoors away from players or predators.

'Ark' Egg Fire
Enclosing an egg in a small structure by a cold mountain is a great strategy. Just craft some fires if it needs a warmer atmosphere. Photo: Studio Wildcard/spumwack/YouTube
  • Low-Level Approach : Just place the egg down and find a place where the temperature is right. Keep returning there and guarding the egg while the progress bar fills. This is pretty dangerous, but it’ll work if you’re extra careful.
  • Mid-Level Approach : One approach we like is to go to a cold area like the base of a mountain and build a structure there. Inside that structure, craft some fires and torches around the perimeter to keep the egg warm. You can light as many or as little as you need to keep the incubation meter where it needs to be.
  • High-Level Approach : Many high-level players have also built elaborate metal houses specifically designed for breeding. These include air conditioners to regulate temperature and refrigerators to keep eggs fresh if you’re not ready to hatch it. You’ll need to be leveled high enough to craft all of that assuming you’re not using cheats.

For mammals you have to be ready to commit a little more. Just keep the mother in a safe place and feed her through a trough until the pregnancy meter fills. You have a 10 percent chance of twins and a 2 percent chance of triplets. 

Simply put, you need to be there as soon as the hatch or birth so you can approach the Dino, look at its inventory and imprint it. If you’re not around to imprint, other players can steal your baby. After imprinting just keep feeding the baby berries or raw meat depending on diet. Eventually it’ll graduate to the juvenile stage where it can eat from a trough.



Breeding is a simple procedure, but the results of it are fairly complex. We’ll recap some of the stuff we mentioned earlier.

'Ar' Mutation
Mutation is one of the coolest aspects of breeding in 'Ark.' By random chance, your new Dino might get a two-level stat boost and a cool color. Photo: Studio Wildcard
  • Breeding offers the base stat of either mother or father with a 70 percent chance of the highest value.
  • For wild Dinos the stats start out the same. This means every level 1 Rex is the same. However, as Dinos level, one of those eight base stats is randomly buffed. That means the higher you get from level 1, the more varied Dinos can be. A level 5 Dino might’ve gotten all of its boosts in speed, while another may be more balanced.
  • Good breeding targets are Dinos that are way skewed towards a any specific area besides speed or torpor. Some players like to limit themselves to certain base levels for breeding, but we think that limits the possibilities for what you might get.
  • Mutations : Mutations are random, and they currently only offer random stat buffs two levels higher than expected. They’re also usually paired with a color change. A Dino can inherit up to 20 mutations per parent. Ergo, Dinos with no mutations are technically of lesser breeding value.
  • To see which mutations a Dino has, access its inventory and hit Ancestor List. There, you’ll see how many mutations out of 20 exist on each side. Sometimes the counter will register as a mutation, but the stat won’t actually be inherited.
  • A bred Dino in its first generation acts as a perfect tame. That means it gets a melee stst boost.
  • Riding a dino you’ve bred gives it a boost of up to 30 percent in damage dealt and resistance to damage.



Yes, but only on PC. Navigate to steamapps/common/ARK/ShooterGame/Saved/Config/WindowsNo Editor.

Open Game.ini in Notepad and paste these scripts.





Increasing the multiplier value makes the above processes faster. That will help for single-player. Online, many servers have these multipliers active by default. It’s up to the individual to turn them on.

There are also special events on Valentine’s Day that often speed up breeding on all platforms.



  • Don’t breed Dinos for speed or torpor. It’s useless.Levels don’t necessarily matter if you have the best stats. 
  • Once you have a maxed-out male and female, protect them at all costs. Those parents, and maybe some of their offspring, can keep the bloodline going no matter how many ancestors you lose.
  • A male can breed with as many females as it wants. However, the more partners a male has, the longer it takes the female to be ready again after hatching an egg.
  • It might help to start naming your Dinos by featured stat so you can track them. That way, when you see “max health” and “max oxygen” for example, you know which stats you’re combining.
  • Some players also keep track of their Dinos through a mobile app called Dododex. It’s a free download for iOS and Android. It features tips, breeding stats, calculators and more.

Ark: Survival Evolved is available now on PC, Xbox One, PS4, OS X and Linux. Check out our Tek Tier guide and updated admin commands for even more help!

Which Dinos are you hoping to breed in Ark? Was this guide helpful? Tell us in the comments section!

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