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  • Writer's pictureIan Bromham

Treating Blocked Femoral Pores

Updated: Mar 31, 2023


Bearded dragons femoral pores are a scent producing gland used for marking territory, finding a breeding mate and detecting other bearded dragons in their area.
Bearded Dragon Impacted Femoral Pores

What are femoral pores?

If you look at the underside of your bearded dragon’s rear legs (preanal), above the cloacal vent. You will notice a series of pores stretching from the left knee to the right. Underneath the femoral pores are the epidermal glands.


The femoral pores become much more noticeable in maturity for male bearded dragons. While female beardies have femoral pores, they are considerably smaller compared to the male’s femoral pores.


Femoral pores are the ducts that penetrate through the skin to allow the glands to drain. The epidermal glands produce a waxy secretion and is part of the pheromonal (hormone scent) communication in bearded dragons, much like a cat spraying or a dog marking his territory.


The two most widely accepted thoughts for the purpose of the femoral pore secretions are that their chemical signature is:

1. Used by males to mark territory, and

2. Used to recognise their own species, sex and individuals.

The male bearded dragon rubs his secretions on the substrate and objects such as rocks, branches and vegetation within his territory. Pieces of the femoral plug fall off leaving his scent for other dragons to detect.


What to look out for.

Bearded dragon femoral pores can become clogged. Clogged femoral pores can be easily cleaned before they become impacted and painful.


When the secretion plug starts to show it will appear as little more than a little bump poking out of the bearded dragon’s femoral pore. This is perfectly normal.


Once the secretion plug gets larger it will start poking out of the pore like a large white head pimple. At this stage, it is recommended to start treating for clogged pores.


If it becomes very overgrown it may appear like a hard protrusion curling from some of the femoral pores. This level of blockage or impaction may require veterinary treatment. In the picture below, a vet has opened the size of the pore with a syringe to allow for extraction of the plug.


A Vet has surgically removed the blocked femoral pores on this bearded dragon
Bearded Dragons Femoral Pores

How to Clean Femoral Pores

If the secretion from the femoral pores is not unusually long, the pores aren’t impacted, red or painful; then cleaning is not likely required. The secretion is a normal discharge with a purpose and does not need to be removed.


It is important to clean femoral pores if they appear to be on their way to being clogged. Clean femoral pores by providing a warm bath and a gentle rub with a toothbrush. It may take several baths over a period of days if the femoral pores are clogged.


If the pores start to bleed, apply an antiseptic ointment such as Betadine, any bleeding that can’t be stopped will need medical attention.

Squeezing the secretion out could cause damage to the gland and likely to be uncomfortable or painful. It is recommended to leave this to a veterinarian. See picture below.


A Vet Squeezing Blocked Femoral Pores
Squeezing Blocked Femoral Pores

4 Ways to Prevent Femoral Pores Clogging

1. Provide a diet with a wide range of known safe foods,

2. Keep humidity at the right level between 30-40%,

3. Provide regular opportunities to bath or soak in shallow water,

4. Providing a large enclosure with rough surfaces including sand for digging in, rocks and branches will also allow the bearded dragon to maintain his own pores naturally.


Conclusion.

Just remember that the secretion plug from bearded dragon femoral pores is a normal part of communication in bearded dragons. The secretions tell a story to other lizards who can read them giving away details such as health, size, sex and more.


The pores can be kept in good condition by providing natural rough surfaces in the enclosure, correct humidity, a good broad diet and occasional baths or access to interact with water.

If the femoral pores have large secretion, appear swollen, impacted and/ or causing discomfort, speak with a vet.

Please feel free to leave us some feedback.


09/01/2020




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