It’s standard procedure that your breeder tells you everything about your beardie when you get it. What you should feed it, where he should live, and basically how to take care of him.
But one thing most breeders forget to mention is bearded dragons’ femoral pores. So after a while, you notice pimple-like things under your beardie’s hind legs. And you’re left wondering, do bearded dragons get pimples?
Other questions, like why and how they get pimples, follow. I bet that’s how you found yourself here, so let me get straight to answering your questions regarding bearded dragons’ femoral pores.
What are Femoral Pores?
What you call pimples are clogged femoral pores, openings of follicular glands found in reptiles like iguanas and bearded dragons. These pores are located on the inside of your bearded dragon’s thighs, forming a line under the hind legs.
Femoral means relating to the femur, and according to anatomy, the femur is “the bone of the thigh.” Going by this, you get a better understanding of where femoral pores are located in beardies.
Animals like rabbits mark their territory with urine. On the other hand, bearded dragons secrete pheromones through their femoral pores to mark their territories or attract mates. So they’re a part of a secretory gland that releases a chemical substance to trigger a social response.
Both male and female beardies have femoral pores, but male ones are more conspicuous than those of a female. They are larger and darker, while those of females are smaller and less visible.
Sometimes the pores may increase in size as your bearded dragon ages, especially in males. Seasonal changes like mating may also cause enlargement of femoral pores.
Do Bearded Dragons Get Pimples?
They do, but they are not really pimples. As I said, what appears as pimples on the underside of your bearded dragon’s hind legs are clogged femoral pores.
Femoral pores secrete a waxy chemical that attracts mates and marks territory. If neglected, this chemical may clog the pores, causing them to protrude and form what seem like pimples.
This may also occur if your beardie produces more secretion, especially during mating season. When too much is produced, some may not be released outside, causing clogging of the pores.
Why Do Bearded Dragons Get Pimples?
The reason bearded dragons get pimples narrows down to their living conditions. Actually, not all beardies get pimples. A good example is those in the wild. Beardies in the wild live in an environment they’ve evolved in, so living conditions are ideal.
On the other hand, domesticated beardies are expected to thrive in different environments. In most cases, conditions in a domestic environment allow secretion in femoral pores to harden prematurely, causing clogging.
Another thing is that most bearded dragon owners forget that beardies need rough surfaces to rub off the secreted substance. This substance is waxy, so it won’t flow like water. That’s why your beardie needs rough surfaces to rub it.
If it’s not rubbed off, the chemical builds up over time, clogging the pores. Sometimes this results in infection, causing severe health complications for your beardie.
Work on preventing clogged femoral pores by setting more rough surfaces to allow rub-off. Also, try to mimic wild beardies’ natural setting when setting up your beardie’s living space.
Causes of Clogged Femoral Pores
Femoral pores are naturally designed to release pheromones without any issues but they get clogged because of the following:
This occurs during periods of low temperatures, like winter. Your bearded dragon, like most reptiles, will be sluggish in such conditions. This state is known as brumation and occurs during winter.
However, beardies in captivity may experience more of this if they’re held in areas experiencing low temperatures. For example, some tiled houses, especially those on the ground floor, tend to be colder, creating a low-temperature environment.
Beardies kept in such houses may be inactive for extended periods, causing their pores to clog.
2. Less or no rough surfaces to rub off
Wild bearded dragons always move on rough surfaces like tree branches and rocks. This helps rub off femoral pore secretions to prevent clogging.
Domesticated beardies may have fewer rough surfaces to rub off these secretions and end up with clogged femoral pores.
3. Loose and smooth substrate
Loose surfaces will not provide enough friction to help get rid of femoral pore secretions. This is also the case with smooth substrates like vinyl tiles or newspapers.
4. Size of the enclosure
A small-sized enclosure restricts your beardie’s movements. Less movement translates to clogged pores, so ensure your bearded dragon has enough space to move around.
5. Less or zero baths
Bathing your bearded dragon helps with more than keeping him clean. It softens the secretions, causing them to rub off easily. Besides, bathing him clears any dirt that may clog femoral pores, allowing a clear path for secretion.
If you don’t bathe your beardie often, it may be the reason he has clogged pores.
6. Unfavorable humidity levels
Ideal humidity levels for your bearded dragon should range between 30 and 40%. Any level outside this range may compromise his natural state, leading to femoral blockage.
Signs of Clogged Femoral Pores Need Veterinary Attention
Mild blockage can be treated at home by soaking your beardie in water to allow the secreted substance to soften. However, sometimes the damage is too much and you need veterinary intervention.
One such instance is if the secretion has hardened completely, causing a firm substance. As a result, it blocks femoral pores such that no more can come out.
When the secretion can’t get out of the body, it builds up, causing large deposits and swelling. Your beardie is in pain at this point and can’t move around comfortably.
Some clogged pores get red, inflamed, and may bleed. This is serious, and your beardie’s health may be at risk.
You will need a vet’s help to clear the pores, as it’s too risky to clear them at home. Besides, trying to force the hard substance out now may cause pain to your scaly pet.
How to Care for Bearded Dragons’ Pimples
You can take care of mildly clogged pores at home by:
Step 1: Soaking your beardie in water
Before bathing him, soak your beardie in warm water for twenty to thirty minutes, three times a week. This helps soften any hardened secretion, making it easy to rub off.
Step 2: Use a soft brush to clear away any hard deposits.
Now that you’ve loosened hard deposits, use a soft brush to rub off and clear the pores. Do it gently and don’t scrub. The idea is to let it come out on its own, so soak for a few more minutes if it’s still hard.
Step 3: Dry the pores
After clearing the pores, grab a soft clean towel and use it to dry the cleaned area. Dry gently so you don’t irritate him.
Step 4: Allow him to move around
When you’re done, let him move around, as this will allow any stubborn secretion to come out. Remember, it’s still soft from the soaking, so it will come off easily with movement, especially on rough surfaces.
Keep in mind that this applies to mild clogs and may not work for extreme cases. If you notice any previous signs, it’s time to visit the vet, so don’t try any home remedies.
Bearded dragons’ femoral pores may clog over time, causing what appear to be pimples. To avoid this, check your beardie often and soak him in warm water three times a week.
Also, ensure he has enough space with rough surfaces to move around so he can rub off secretions to prevent blockage. If you follow this, you’ll rarely have to deal with clogged pores.
Visit a vet if you notice any extreme changes like swelling or redness.