Chinese Water Dragon With Mouth Lump

Q. My female Chinese water dragon has a strange whitish lump on the outside of her mouth. She has a place to swim and adequate room to move around, and her color is very bright. She eats about two crickets a day, and sometimes I give her a mealworm. She doesn’t seem to like fruit too much. I dust her crickets twice a week with calcium powder. I’m not sure what could be causing this problem or how to fix it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Amanda Ninemire
Valdese, N.C.


White spots show where Salmonella bacteria created abcesses in a water dragon's skin.White spots show where Salmonella bacteria created abcesses in a water dragon's skin.

A. There are many causes of lumps and bumps. Some are minor, and others can be serious. Whitish lumps could be retained pockets of skin, fungal infections, abscesses, foreign bodies, mites, ticks, tumors, etc. The most important thing is to have your Chinese water dragon evaluated by a qualified reptile veterinarian.

Your vet will likely take, generally with the edge of a scalpel blade, a small sample of the mass and examine it under a microscope. On occasion it may be necessary to take biopsies or get microbiological cultures. Regardless, odds are your veterinarian can help your Chinese water dragon. Please take her in for an exam before mouth lump condition becomes a problem.

You also may want to review your water dragon’s diet. Several excellent articles about water dragon husbandry have appeared in REPTILES magazine over the years. Adult lizards do well on a meat diet, such as mice, fish and small birds. They will eat insects and veggies, but that is only a small part of their diet.

One of my favorite reptile cases ever involved a young client who brought in an ornate uromastyx for an exam because it had an orange bump on the side of its face. After a thorough discussion of the owner’s husbandry practices and a complete examination of the lizard, I was able to make the diagnosis. It involved neither expensive tests nor surgery, and the lizard was cured before the client left.

What was it? Carrot baby food had caked up and dried into a hard lump on the side of the lizard’s face.

Healthy Salmella

This water dragon has normal skin.


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