How To Clean Bearded Dragon Clogged Pores?

How To Clean Bearded Dragon Clogged Pores

Many bearded dragon owners often get worried about how to clean clogged pores in bearded dragons. Some of them do not even know the significance of cleaning clogged pores. But, if you do not want your bearded dragons to get impacted and pay an expensive vet visit, you should know how to clean the clogged pores of the bearded dragon.

To clean the clogged pores, you need to give your bearded dragon a warm bath for several minutes. It will make the pores soften and almost half-open. So, when you scrub the pores with a soft toothbrush, the clogs will smoothly come out.

In this article, I’ve described a detailed cleaning process of clogged pores in bearded dragons. Moreover, you’ll get to know the signs, reasons, home remedies, preventions, etc in this article. So, you must not miss the article if you want to know everything about bearded dragon clogged pores.

Before going into the details, let’s shed some light on what femoral pores are in bearded dragons.

bearded dragon looking like a real dragon with wings
Owner: Teresa Waltermeyer
Table of contents

What Are Femoral Pores In Bearded Dragons?

If you’re a beginner, you may not recognize the femoral pores in bearded dragons.

The word ‘femoral’ means something related to thighs. So, femoral pores refer to a series of pores in a line of the underside of the hind legs. In a word, the line of pores that is visible below the belly area or up to the thighs is femoral pores.

In the wild, the secretions of the pores naturally fall out. But, in captivity, sometimes the secretions remain stuck in the femoral pores.

So, when these femoral pores get blocked with the secretions, dirt, or oil of the skin, it is called clogged femoral pores.

You can compare it with your blackheads too. However, blackheads do not cause health issues whereas clogged pores can be lethal to bearded dragons.

Moreover, there are glands underneath each pore. Besides, these pores secrete a waxy substance from their juvenile period. In other words, these pores are the openings of follicular glands.

Femoral pores in bearded dragons play a vital role in helping them attract their mating partners by releasing pheromones. Besides, bearded dragons show signs of territory by these femoral pores.

How Do You Tell If Bearded Dragons Pores Are Clogged?

If you are not aware of the signs of clogged pores, your bearded dragon may get into serious trouble. Thus, I have summed up the signs by which you can easily tell whether your bearded dragon pores are clogged or not.

These are-

  • The pores look full
  • The substance of the pores seems coming out
  • The substance of the pores become hard
  • Besides, the hard substance of the pores turn into orange, black, or brown
  • Reddish skin color of the hind legs and around the pores
  • Also, the clogged pores might secrete a slightly yellowish waxy substance
  • Fluid discharge
  • Lethargy or lack of energy due to discomfort
  • The bearded dragon will be hissing or struggling when you touch their pores. It seems like they feel pain when you touch the clogged pores. Hence, your beardie will try to get away from your grasp.

So, clogged pores are super easy to spot. You need to check your bearded dragon regularly to detect the problem of clogged pores early. Only an early detection can prevent the femoral clogged pores from getting infected.

bearded dragon looking at mcdonalds fries bag
Owner: Alisa Fackelman

Danger of Clogged Pores In Bearded Dragons

Although you may compare bearded dragon clogged pores with human blackheads, clogged pores are more sensitive. Not to mention, clogged pores in bearded dragons leave a negative impact on health.

When the build-up of secretions fills the pores, it will get infected soon. Sometimes, bearded dragons develop abscesses in their legs because of clogged pores.

Besides, the hind legs of bearded dragons get swollen. Moreover, clogged pores cause immense pain to bearded dragons.

So, due to pain and swelling, bearded dragons find it too hard to move around. Such conditions make them lethargic, and they do not find any interest in eating.

As a result, the health of bearded dragons gets deteriorated. Moreover, if you do not give your bearded dragon an early treatment, these clogged pores will become fatal to your beardies.

What Causes Clogged Pores In Bearded Dragon?

When you have come to know about clogged pores and their dangers, you might be wondering the reasons behind this. No wonder if you know the reason for any health issue, you can remain alert and take its preventions.

I’ve already mentioned that the pores secrete a sticky substance composed of proteins, pheromones, and several chemical components. In the wild, there are minimal risks of clogged pores in bearded dragons.

Such is because wild bearded dragons naturally come in touch with rough substances like soil, tree, rocks, etc. That’s why their femoral pores do not get clogged.

Bearded dragons need to remove their regular build-up of secretions from time to time. On the other hand, bearded dragons do not get such conveniences in captivity.

To clear your confusion, let’s check out the following points to find out the reasons behind clogged pores.

  1. Lack Of Rough Surfaces
  2. Imperfect Size Of The Enclosure
  3. Smooth Substrate
  4. Irregular Baths
  5. Improper Humidity
  6. Brumation
  7. Vitamin A deficiency
  8. Lack Of Cleanliness

Let’s see how these reasons can cause the clogged pores in bearded dragons.

Lack Of Rough Surfaces

As explained before, your bearded dragon needs rough surfaces in captivity. For example- you can add rock, hammock, branches, etc.

These will help your beardies rub their pores to remove the secretions automatically.

Also, when your bearded dragon plays or climbs on those surfaces, their femoral pores will get clear while rubbing their legs. Besides, they can scratch their bodies to get rid of these secretions or shed skins.

However, there will be no way of femoral pores getting cleaned if you do not add any option of rough surfaces.

See also  Do Bearded Dragons Get Hurt While Breeding?

So, clogged pores are bound to happen in such conditions.

bearded dragon habitat
Owner: Bridget Christine Kitchen Murphy

Imperfect Size Of The Enclosure

Researchers have found out that small enclosure is another reason why bearded dragon’s pores are clogged.

If the enclosure is small for the bearded dragon, your pet beardie will not get sufficient space to move or roam around. As a result, the bearded dragon will not get chances to rub his legs if he can not play or move within the enclosure.

Hence, their secretion built-up gets stuck in the femoral pores. Then, these secretions harden and clog the pores.

Smooth Substrate

We often notice that the experienced bearded dragon owners suggest smooth surfaces for bearded dragons. Such as newspapers, paper towels, ceramic tiles, rubber shelf liner, vinyl towels, etc. These substrates are pretty smooth and loose for bearded dragons.

But, the owners often do not add any rough surfaces when they use a smooth substrate for their bearded dragon. That’s when the problem of clogged pores arises.

If you do not add any rough substance while using a smooth substrate, your bearded dragon will not find any opportunity to get enough friction. As a result, the femoral secretions do not get removed, and so the pores get clogged.

However, a smooth surface will be perfect for a baby bearded dragon even if you do not add any rough surfaces in the enclosure. Such is because femoral secretions start from the juvenile stage of a bearded dragon.

Irregular Baths

Irregular bath is another reason for clogged pores in bearded dragons. To ensure the good health of your bearded dragon, you need to give them a warm bath regularly.

As soaking for several minutes regularly softens the femoral pores, the secretions fall out automatically. Hence, if you do not give them a regular bath, the chances of falling out of the secretions will be less.

Improper Humidity

Keeping humidity in the ideal range is good for the health of breaded dragons. Generally, breaded dragons require 20%-40% humidity in captivity.

When the humidity gets higher than the ideal range, the femoral pores get enlarged. Besides, as the air of the tank has too much moisture, the pores of bearded dragons become susceptible to secrete more secretions.

These excess secretions lead to congestion of femoral pores. Also, the pores tend to gain dirt, oil, etc.

If the bearded dragon fails to remove their extra secretions properly, there will remain higher risks of clogged pores. Moreover, improper humidity causes blockage of femoral pores too. As a result, it causes clogged pores in bearded dragons.


Brumation of bearded dragons means the hibernation state of bearded dragons that slows down the movements at a drastic range. Although the secretions of femoral pores get less in the brumation period, this doesn’t prevent creating clogged pores.

As they do not get to rub their legs often, the stored secretions can not get removed. After all, fewer movements mean less friction. Because of less activity, the clogged pores become harden. When it becomes worse, the clogged pores get infected.

cute bearded dragon close up
Owner: Bridget Christine Kitchen Murphy

Vitamin A Deficiency

Generally, vitamin A helps improve the skin of animals by controlling oil production. In the case of bearded dragons, vitamin A controls the femoral secretions.

If you do not give the vitamin supplementation properly, your bearded dragon will suffer from clogged pores. Moreover, bearded dragons can not absorb vitamin A directly. You can provide vitamin A as a form of beta carotene.

Lack Of Cleanliness

Lack of cleanliness includes lacking cleanliness of both enclosure and a bearded dragon.

If you do not clean the components of the enclosure regularly, the roughness of several furnishings will get lost. Moreover, there are higher chances of their getting impacted when the clogged pores get worse.

Besides, if you do not clean your bearded dragon often, the femoral pores will get clogged. Also, you might not even know that your beardie is suffering because of clogged pores as you do not check him regularly.

What Should Bearded Dragon Femoral Pores Look Like?

You might be surprised to know that bearded dragons are one of the three reptiles which have femoral pores.

These pores should look like a series of small black dots or circles on each thigh of beardies. Also, these femoral pores appear within a row of scales underside of beardies close to the anal opening.

Generally, the femoral pores of males are bigger than the pores of female bearded dragons.

What Is The Purpose Of Femoral Pores In Bearded Dragon?

When you are worried about cleaning the clogged pores of your beardie, you might wonder about the purposes of femoral pores in bearded dragons.

There have been several kinds of research and experiments regarding this. Although the experts do not find any exact functions of femoral pores, the possible purposes can boil down into two sections.

Bearded dragons excrete a waxy secretion through their femoral pores to demark territory dominance. In addition, this waxy liquid plays a significant role in sending signals to their mates for breeding.

If you look at nature, you’ll find several animals marking their territory using their body fluid like urine. In the case of the bearded dragon, the secretions of femoral pores complete this job.

Although both male and female beardies have femoral pores, the male bearded dragons have more pronounced pores. Moreover, the male beardie secretes on a larger volume.

Hence, the researchers consider the purpose of femoral pores to attract the female bearded dragons as the scent of the secretions sends signals to the nearby potential mates. Also, these secretions help during their courtship.

baby bearded dragon roaming inside house
Owner: RaeAnn Spinner

Do All Bearded Dragons Have Femoral Pores?

Some people remain confused thinking about whether only bearded dragons of specific gender have femoral pores or not.

Though the prominence of femoral pores varies according to the age and gender of bearded dragons, all bearded dragons have femoral pores.

So, not only male bearded dragons but also female bearded dragons have femoral pores. But, the pores are more noticeable and bigger in male beardies.

Do Female Bearded Dragons Get Clogged Pores?

Both female and male bearded dragons have femoral pores, which are also their sex identification sign. Usually, male bearded dragons have larger pores than female bearded dragons.

When femoral pores get filled up with unremoved waxy secretions, these pores get clogged. It is because their pore secretions do not fall out of the pores. So, female bearded dragons can get clogged pores as well as male bearded dragons.

In the case of clogging femoral pores, it doesn’t matter whether the bearded dragon is male or female.

Do You Need To Clean Bearded Dragon Femoral Pores?

If you consider the femoral pores lining of your beardies as only a line of pores, that’ll not be enough.

Like other body parts, the femoral pores of bearded dragons should be cleaned regular basis. If you think of just wiping off the waxy secretions, you will be wrong. You need to take extra care to clean bearded dragon femoral pores.

For this, you have to give regular baths to your beardies. In addition, you should brush off the femoral pores softly.

In the wild, bearded dragons tend to rub their femoral pores on the rough ground, rocks, tree barks, and so on. So, their waxy secretions get naturally removed in this way.

On the other hand, the captived bearded dragons may not like to move much in the tank. Besides, having a loose substrate is another reason for not getting rid of these secretions.

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As a result, there remains a high risk of getting clogged pores of your pet beardies. Hence, you must take the issue into your hand so that the reason for clogged pores can not be your lack of cleanliness or maintenance.

bearded dragon close up
Owner: Eleni Arvanitis Vroulos

How Do You Unclog Bearded Dragon Pores?

When the owners notice the clogged pores of their bearded dragons, it becomes a great headache for them thinking about how to unclog the pores. After researching a while, I’ve found out that there are mainly three ways to unclog bearded dragon pores.

These are-

  1. Squeezing the clogged pores
  2. Brushing the clogged pores
  3. Taking a vet’s help

Let’s try to know the details of these processes.

How Do You Squeeze Bearded Dragon Femoral Pores?

The first option to unclog bearded dragon pores is by squeezing them. Before squeezing clogged pores, you should soak your bearded dragon in warm water for at least 15 minutes. This warm bath will make your beardie comfortable, and the pores will become softened.

When you start squeezing the clogged pores, you can see some hard substance come out. Yes! I know, this looks gross. But, you’ve to continue squeezing all of the clogged pores.

Make sure that you are not hurting your bearded dragon. Hence, you should not squeeze the pores too hard.

If you find it difficult or the substance is not coming out, you can follow the two following options. Besides, do not forget to disinfect the pores after clearing the clogged pores by squeezing them. It will help them keep away from infections.

How Do You Treat Femoral Pores On A Bearded Dragon?

If you can’t clean the femoral clogged pores by squeezing them, you should not try to remove them forcibly. As these femoral pores are surrounded by blood vessels and glands, forcible squeezing can hurt them badly.

There is another way to clean up the clogged pores in bearded dragons. That is to brush the clogged pores softly. Check out the following steps to know how to do this process.

Step 1: Giving Warm Bath

The very first step is to give your bearded dragon a warm bath. You have to make sure that the water is not too hot.

The warm water of 38 degrees Celsius or 100 degrees Fahrenheit will be comfortable for bearded dragons. You’ll see better results if you soak your bearded dragon 1-3 days for 15-30 minutes before cleaning them up.

Besides, you can bathe them twice a day to soften up blockages quickly.

To make the build-ups of secretions soften, you can also add Pedialyte to the bath. For this, you should maintain a 3:1 ratio of mixing Pedialyte with water.

By this ratio, it means you should mix one part Pedialyte with three portions of water.

bearded dragon with open mouth
Owner: Carrie Pado

Step 2: Choosing Brush

Before brushing the pores, you can rub the area around the pores with damp, warm cotton. In this way, the blockages may loosen up.

Now, it’s time to choose the brush first. You need to pick a soft bristle brush. In this case, you can choose any baby body brush. Otherwise, a stiff, bristle brush can hurt your bearded dragon.

Step 3: Clean Your Hands And Brush

As the pores are an open entrance, germs or bacteria can easily enter to bearded dragon’s body through these pores. Hence, you need to keep your hands and the brush clean before clearing the clogged pores.

Make sure that the chosen brush for removing clogged pores is not dirty. It will be better if you disinfect the brush and your hands before you start this cleaning process.

Step 4: Holding Bearded Dragon Properly

Sometimes, many owners hold their bearded dragons entirely upside down while cleaning their clogged pores. No doubt, it is a dehumanizing act because your bearded dragon will not be comfortable at all.

If you hold them at their back, they will not be able to breathe. So, do not hold your beardie in this position for too long.

Hence, you can keep him straight while brushing softly on its pores. Otherwise, you can half-flip your bearded dragon by his tail. But, make sure that his head remains straight.

Step 5: Rubbing The Pores

Now, gently rub the clogged pores with the brush softly. You should soak the brush with water repeatedly before brushing the pores. In this way, brush the pores for 5-10 minutes.

In this step, you’re only softening the clogged pores so that the hard secretions can come out easily by tweezer.

So, if you expect to remove the clogged substances by brushing the pores, you will be wrong.

Hence, do not make the mistake of brushing the pores hard. If you see blood coming out of pores while brushing, you should stop brushing immediately.

Step 6: Pulling With Tweezers

After brushing the areas of clogged pores, the femoral pores will naturally get softened. You’ll notice that the plug or hardened substances are poking out of the pores.

When you see them poking out, you should pick a tweezer, firstly. Then, pull out the hardened plug gently. Also, you can try to remove the plugs by squeezing, after following step no five. 

However, you’ve to remain careful not to pinch the skin of your bearded dragon with the tweezer. Also, do not force trying to pull out the plug.

If the hardened plus is not coming out, you should leave it and try on the next day following the same steps.

orange bearded dragon laying on sofa
Owner: Wendy Clark

Step 7: Repeating The Process

You may be thinking to clean all clogged femoral pores in one day. Unfortunately, you may not be successful to remove all plugs on the first try.

Hence, you will need to repeat the process if you fail to clean out the plugs altogether.

You need to give your bearded dragon warm baths for several days. After the bath, you can apply some oil over the clogged pores over the night. The researchers said that coconut oil and olive oil are healthy for your beardie.

After repeating these steps, the clogged pores will become softened dramatically. Then, you can clean the pores following the works of step six.

Step 8: Applying Neosporin

When you pull out the hardened plug, the pores remain open. Hence, there are high risks of bacterial infection to the open pores.

For this reason, you should apply a thin layer of Neosporin after drying out your beardie. It will keep your bearded dragon safe from bacterial attacks.

However, when you finish the entire cleaning process, the open pores may seem reddish or raw. But, there is nothing to worry about.

As long as you keep him in a clean environment, there will be no issues of infection. Hence, you need to check the femoral pore areas from time to time.

When To See A Vet For Clogged Femoral Pores?

After repeating the above processes, if you notice that the secretion plugs are not coming out, you may take your bearded dragon to a veterinarian. So, you might wonder when you should take veterinary assistance.

There are some specific signs which declare that your bearded dragon needs professional help. Let’s check out the signs.

  • There is bleeding around the clogged pores.
  • The pores are extremely swollen or impacted with a severe amount of secretion plugs.
  • Black beard
  • Severe redness around the pore areas.
  • Your bearded dragon tries to avoid heat sources in the enclosure.
  • Besides, your beardie faces trouble moving around.
  • Excessive lack of energy
  • Not to mention, there will be a clear sign of their having pain when you touch the clogged pores.
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If you see any of these mentioned signs, you should not hurt your bearded dragon more. Leave all the attempts to clean the clogged pores. Go to a reptile vet immediately.

How To Prevent Clogged Femoral Pores In Bearded Dragons?

If you do not want to make your bearded dragon suffer, you should prevent it beforehand by taking small steps. Besides, you must ensure preventing further clogged femoral pores after cleaning the plugs once.

Let’s see how to prevent clogged femoral pores in bearded dragons.

Keeping rough surfaces:

As mentioned before, you must keep some rough surfaces so that your bearded dragon can rub his legs. So, you can keep rocks, logs, hammocks, branches, hideaways, things to climb on, etc.

Proper humidity:

Humidity should be kept within 20%-40%. It’ll be best if you keep the range above 35% but within 40%.

Regular warm bath:

This is a must to do work to prevent clogged pores in bearded dragons. Soak your beardie for at least 15-30 minutes daily. It will make their pores softened. As a result, when your bearded dragon does his regular activities, the secretions will get easily removed because of getting friction.

Observing regularly:

You should give a bit of attention to your bearded dragon regularly if you want your pet safe and sound. Hence, you should check often if their femoral pores get clogged.

Moreover, you need to observe whether your beardie shows any signs of discomfort, pain, lethargy, etc.

Large enclosure:

To help your bearded dragon move around and rub his pore areas freely, you should give him proper space. The size of the enclosure depends on the size, number, and age of the bearded dragons.

A moderate comparison between a bearded dragon and the size of an enclosure is given below.

  Age Of Bearded Dragons   Size Of The Enclosure  
Baby Bearded Dragon (under 10 inches long)Around 20 gallons
Juvenile Bearded Dragon (10-16 inches long)40 gallons
Adult Bearded Dragon (16-20 inches long)50-75 gallons
Adult Bearded Dragon (over 20 inches)gallons
bearded dragon hideout
Owner: Aly Brumbaugh

Avoid loose and smooth substrate:

Many people prefer to buy loose substrates for bearded dragons as these are available in bulk and are pretty cheap. Such as sand, wood shavings, etc. But, these can turn into a danger for your beardie.

Moreover, smooth substrates are not favorable for bearded dragon’s health, like reptile tiles, newspaper, etc. None of these substrates can provide friction to rub their legs.

Proper diet:

Provide safe and nutrition enriched food to your bearded dragon.

Proper supplementation:

You need to provide proper supplementation regularly, including vitamin A, vitamin D, etc.

Ensure cleanliness:

Ensuring the cleanliness of each component of the enclosure can give your bearded dragon enough opportunity to maintain his pores.

Can Male Bearded Dragons Get Clogged Femoral Pores?

It doesn’t matter whether your beardie is male or female while its femoral pores are being clogged.

Like female beardies, male bearded dragons can also suffer from clogged femoral pores. If their secretions of femoral pores do not get removed properly, these pores will become clogged.

Moreover, the male bearded dragons tend to have a large volume of waxy secretion from their femoral pores as they have more advanced pores. For this reason, the male bearded dragons are more prone to get affected by clogged femoral pores than the female beardies.

How Do You Know If Your Bearded Dragon’s Nose Is Clogged?

We’ve discussed femoral clogged pores so far. But, to your surprise, the nostrils of bearded dragons can also get clogged. Usually, their nose gets clogged due to shedding or respiratory infection.

So, there are some common signs to know whether your bearded dragon’s nose is clogged or not.

Such as-

  • Your bearded dragon will be struggling to breath
  • Also, your pet bearded dragon will be panting
  • Besides, the bearded dragon will try to breathe through the mouth
  • Making wheezing sound
  • Puffing of throat

The best way to treat is to take professional help. Otherwise, you can gently press or push pressure to the side of their nose.

bearded dragon closeup image
Owner: Anna Searor

What Do Infected Bearded Dragon Pores Look Like?

Before cleaning up the clogged pores, you must ensure that these pores are not infected. If the bearded dragon’s femoral pores get infected, you should take the vet’s help. Hence, this is necessary to know the signs of infected pores of bearded dragons.

The most noticeable sign of infected pores is their swollen, reddish appearance. Besides, you might notice yellowish waxy secretions coming out of the pores. Sometimes, the secretions remain so vaster than the pore opening that it gets stuck there.

In healthy pores, there remain no hard substances. But, you will find hardened and packed-up discharges. In addition, your beardie may be in pain if infected pores remain.

Are You Supposed To Pop Bearded Dragons Pores?

You might want to reduce the pain of your bearded dragon by squeezing its pores to remove the clogged waxy secretions.

No matter how tempting it sounds, you should not take this step at your hand. These femoral pores are not only released sebum but also connected to glands.

Popping bearded dragon pores may risk harming the glands underneath the pores. Moreover, the natural process of releasing the secretions gets hampered due to popping the pores. Hence, the experienced owners strictly restrict all owners not to popping bearded dragon pores.

Also, you may want to pop the bearded dragon pores if the hardened plugs are poking out. But, hold your temptation. Rather, you can gently pull out the plugs with the help of tweezers.

How Do You Squeeze Bearded Dragon Pores?

If you want to clean the femoral pores of your beardie, you should know the basic norms of squeezing the pores. But, you must be careful not to squeeze in case of clogged pores. If the clogged pores become infected, you should not dare to squeeze the hard plugs.

Before squeezing the pores, you need to make the pores lose by using lubrication. You can also soak the femoral pores by using a moist-cotton ball with warm water.

When the openings seem more exposed, you can make a Q-tip with gentle pressure on each pore. Do not squeeze hard to remove the secretions. If there remains any build-up of excess secretions or dirt, that’ll come out with the gentle tip.

Not to mention, you should take the help of the vet in case of any emergencies. If you fail to remove any blockages by gentle squeezing, you should leave that for the professionals.

Do Bearded Dragons Get Blackheads?

The answer is yes! Your bearded dragons can get blackheads which are known as clogged femoral pores.

As mentioned before, the femoral pores of beardies tend to excrete a waxy secretion. If these excretions do not get emptied from the pores, the soft secretion will clog the pores. Such heavy blockages look like blackheads.

Final Words

Clogged femoral pores can lead to serious health issues for your bearded dragon. To avoid such health complexities, you need to have a clear idea about the reasons, cleaning process, and prevention of clogged pores. I hope this article has given you proper insight into how to clean bearded dragon clogged pores.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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