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Why Do Bearded Dragons Have Nose Plugs?

With bearded dragons currently being the most commonly kept reptile in the world, the number of people looking to get themselves a pet bearded dragon is currently higher than ever.

This is partly due to the naturally expanding popularity of the species due to so many people currently having a pet bearded dragon but a large number of people have been sharing various videos on social media of their pet bearded dragon acting cute helping to increase popularity too.

Due to so many people being new to keeping a pet bearded, there are a large number of questions being asked with each month that goes by and one question that we have seen being asked time and time again is why do bearded dragons have nose plugs?

The most common reason that a bearded dragon may end up with its nose plugged is due to excess shed getting stuck in its nostrils but unsuitable substrate can also end up clogging in their nostrils too.

Both of these are usually very easy to fix in most cases provided that you discover the plugged nose early and try to remove the blockage with a suitable method.

The issue is, there seems to be a large amount of confusion about a bearded dragon with a plugged nose so we have decided to publish this article on the topic to try and help as many of our readers who are in this situation as possible.

Do Bearded Dragons Have Nose Plugs?

Bearded dragons do not have biological nose plugs that they can use to block off their nostrils like some other reptiles but in some situations, they are able to contract their nostrils.

The vast majority of reports that we see about there being a problem with something plugging a bearded dragon’s nostril is almost always due to a foreign body getting stuck in the nostril of the bearded dragon.

Thankfully, with most colors of bearded dragon, this is usually very obvious and easy to see so the majority of people are able to quickly and easily notice the plugged nostril and start to unblock it if needed.

If you don’t feel confident enough about unblocking the plug in your bearded dragon’s nose then you can take your bearded dragon to a vet to have them assess the situation and clear the plug from your beardies nostril for you.

Even experienced bearded dragon keepers often opt for this option even though it is generally very easy to remove a plug from a bearded dragon’s nose yourself at home without hurting your pet so there is no problem with choosing the vet route if you want to and in some cases, it may be better.

What Causes Bearded Dragons Noses To Get Plugged?

There are a number of reasons that your bearded dragon’s nose may end up getting plugged but most actual blockages are due to one of the three following causes:-

  • Excess Shed
  • Substrate Buildup
  • Mucus

Excess Shed

The most common type of nose plug that you will see blocking your bearded dragon’s nose is excess shed stuck in their nostrils.

This is usually more common with younger bearded dragons due to their smaller nostrils and more frequent shedding but it can still happen with older bearded dragons too.

In most cases, a bearded dragon will just sneeze the excess shed out of its nostrils with ease and without a blockage forming.

Unfortunately though, some bearded dragons will end up with a little blockage of shredded skin plugging their nose but our article going over how to help a bearded dragon shedding its nose should be able to help you.

It is usually obvious if this is the problem plugging your bearded dragon’s nose as you can usually see that the blockage is a flake of skin shed rather than anything else and in most cases, you can usually remove it with tweezers.

Substrate Buildup

Another problem that can end up plugging up a bearded dragon’s nostrils is unsuitable substrates and this is usually more common with people new to keeping bearded dragons.

This is usually due to the bearded dragon keeper getting a more expensive, finer substrate option for their pet bearded dragon’s vivarium that ends up clogging around their nose and plugging it up.

In most cases, the cheaper, larger grain substrate options are often better for bearded dragons and totally remove this risk.

Issues with humidity in some vivariums can still cause this problem even if you do use a suitable substrate for your vivarium though so keep this in mind too.

You can usually tell if your beardies nose is plugged due to substrate clogging as you can obviously see that the blockage is substrate.

This is still often very easy to remove yourself without having to do to the vets but in some cases, you may have to try and keep the clogged substrate wet with warm water to soften it before safely removing it.

Some bearded dragons don’t really like this process making it tricky but once the clogged substrate plugging your bearded dragon’s nose has been softened, it is usually easy to remove.


A less common cause of plugged noses in bearded dragons is dry mucus after having some type of infection, usually a respiratory infection.

If you do notice any signs of infection in your pet bearded dragon then we would highly recommend that you get your pet bearded dragon to a vets office for a check up as soon as possible.

Some types of infection can take hold of your beardie quickly and end up proving fatal and the longer you leave an infection to develop, the more difficult it can be to treat so act quickly.

If you are noticing issues with your bearded dragon’s nose being plugged due to mucus build up then it is usually a sign that the infection is over though as the mucus is running out and drying up.

This one can be tricky to clear from your bearded dragon but if you are lucky, you may be able to remove the dry mucus plugging your bearded dragon’s nose with tweezers but this is easily the most difficult type of blockage to remove yourself.

Are There Any Risks Of A Bearded Dragon Having Its Nose Plugged?

The risks of your bearded dragon having its nose plugged of blocked are usually minimal but in some cases, it can cause issues with being able to breathe correctly.

Depending on the cause of the blockage, you may end up finding that additional health issues may end up developing in your pet bearded dragon over time too but this is rare.

As we touched on above, it is usually best to try and deal with any clogs, plugs or blockages in your bearded dragons nose as soon as you notice them rather than leaving them to develop and get worse though.

How To Tell If Your Bearded Dragons Nose Is Clogged!

It is usually very easy to tell if your bearded dragon has nose plugs or not as you can almost always see the obstruction in your bearded dragon’s nostrils with a quick visual inspection.

In some cases, you may have to shine a light into your bearded dragon’s nostrils to get a better idea of what’s going on, especially if your beardie is mid-shed.

If your bearded dragon is currently in the process of shedding, we would highly recommend that you wait for its shed to end before you try to remove any excess shed blockages in your beardies nose as they may naturally clear as the shedding process progresses.