Bearded dragons are one species of reptiles that have femoral pores. In the wild, the secretions of the femoral pores naturally rub off while walking or climbing a tree. Their main purpose is marking territory and, attracting mates with the pheromones they release.
These pores are on the underside of your bearded dragon, on each thigh. Male bearded dragons have larger, more pronounced femoral pores. While female femoral glands are hardly even noticeable in some cases. This is one of the ways used to tell the gender of a bearded dragon.
Also Read: How to Care For a Shedding Bearded Dragon
Cause Of Clogged Femoral Pores
The leading cause of clogged femoral pores is improper husbandry. Ideally the more natural the environment, the better it is for your bearded dragon. While In captivity, they need rocks, wood, and other abrasive surfaces scrape against in the enclosure. This will lead to wearing down of the femoral pores. With the lack of abrasive surfaces, there is the risk of the femoral pores building up and becoming impacted, leading to infection. Requiring a visit to a reptile vet.
Dangers Of Clogged Femoral Pores
The waxy substance in his pores can harden leading to swelling in his back legs. Often times this will cause him discomfort, or worst-case scenario leaving him paralyzed. Clogged pores can lead to Abscess or infection.
Cleaning Clogged Femoral Pores
To begin with, you will need to assess your dragon’s femoral pores. For mild cases, the recommended treatment is a warm bath. While your Beardie is soaking, gently scrub the area with a soft toothbrush. Don’t be overly aggressive. Keep up with the warm water soaks and brushing daily. As a result, the clogged will soften breaking free from the pores returning to normal.
In more serious cases infections can occur. The first sign of infection will be swelling of the legs. In some cases, there will be a puss like substance seeping out of the femoral pores. As a result, your dragon may in pain and have difficulty moving. Because of the swelling and high probability of an infection. He will need a visit to a reptile vet.
The pores are made up of a wax-like substance. The wax can harden, like stone, and need to be removed. You never want to squeeze or extract them yourself. Extracting the wax plugs should only be done by a veterinarian.
How To Prevent Further Buildup
In captivity, things don’t go as nature always intended. With proper husbandry, you can prevent clogged femoral pores. As mentioned previously you want to provide him with a home, that resembles his native environment. Rocks and logs are his friends.
First of all, start by offering rocky fixtures in his cage. Although you can find rocks in your back yard to add to his cage, I WOULD ADVISE AGAINST. In order for it to be safe to use in his home, it needs to be heated. When you heat rocks rapidly, any water will turn to steam and put pressure on the rock, forcing shards of it to break off or worse explode. I would recommend MagNaturals Rock Ledge, it has abrasive surfaces that are ideal for bearded dragons.
Secondly, add a Critter Cavern it will provide a good surface for him to rub against. Also, it will give him a place to hide. All dragons need to have hiding places.
Provide a branch for him to climb on. Exo Terra Forest Branch is a ready-made branch. Alternatively, you can learn how to sterilize wood for reptiles, and go the DIY.
Avoid using loose substrates. Besides, the risk of impaction they pose if eaten, they don’t let the femoral pores ware down the same as a solid substrate would. I recommend reading up on safe substrates for dragons.
Furthermore, I recommend giving your bearded dragon a bath at least once a week. If your dragon likes bath time every three days in ideal. During bath time add in the routine of gently brushing his femoral pores with a soft tooth brush.
When I got my first bearded dragon, I had no idea what I was doing. Let alone what femoral pores are. The pet store didn’t exactly explain these things. Dragon, Cage, Food, and off I went. We all start learning somewhere. And With the practice of good husbandry, your dragon will be with you a long time to come.