Seminal (Hemipenal) Plugs and Seminal Exudates
©1994, 2002 Melissa Kaplan
Seminal Plugs Are Not
Seminal plugs, on the other hand, develop inside the inverted hemipenes and should be removed if they are not naturally expelled during defecation. You'll know when it's time to do something about them when they become clearly visible, sticking out through the venter folds.
What does need intervention as soon as they are seen are retained seminal plugs.
Once they grow in length as high up as the vent, the tops of the plugs begin to trap feces when the lizard poops. In time, you will see two pieces of hard smooth poop in the lizard's vent. You can try to remove them yourself. First, soak the lizard in a warm bath. Then using gloved hands or a couple of layers of facial tissue, gently rock one of the plugs from side to side as you gently pull. The plug should pop out. A bit of the hemipene may evert a bit with the plug but the hemipene should retract back into the tail. Repeat with the second plug, if there is one.
When I first wrote this article, there weren't many vets who were familiar with either the exudates or with the seminal plugs. While lack of knowledge about the former is not a problem, it is in the case of the latter - I've heard of vets wanting to amputate the hemipenes thinking there was a problem! This illustrates why it is important to go to a vet who has not only experience working with reptiles but to keeps up with the reptile veterinary literature and research.
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