Uromastyx (Uromastyx sp.) Care Sheet
There are many different types of uromastyx available as pets. The most popular types are Mali, Egyptian, Moroccan, and Ornate. These lizards are found throughout Northern Africa and parts of the Middle East. The different types of uromastyx vary in size and the largest is the Egyptian uromastyx. Adult Egyptian uromastyx can reach 2-3 feet in length while the other types range between 1-2 feet. The typical uromastyx habitat is dry, hot, and rocky and you need to duplicate this in captivity. Uromastyx lizards can be housed alone or in groups and it’s best to have only one male in the enclosure. When housing uromastyx together make sure the lizard’s cohabitate peacefully. If any lizard looks stressed or is losing weight, separate that lizard from its cage mates. Adult male uromastyx can be sexed by the presence of enlarged femoral pores located on the underside of the back legs. With proper care uromastyx can live 10-15 years or more.
Temperature and UV Lighting
Uromastyx love heat and require temperatures to range from 90-100 degrees. They also require a basking spot under the light to range between 110-125 degrees. Make sure that your lizard also has a cool area available that ranges in the low 80’s. Night time temperatures can range from 65-70 degrees. Proper temperature allows the uromastyx to properly digest food and the immune system to function normally. Uromastyx require 10-14 hours a day of UVB light. This light enables the lizard to produce vitamin D3. The vitamin D produced by UVB metabolizes the calcium in the lizards’ diet. In general it’s what makes their bones hard and without it they usually die. This process of inadequate UVB and calcium is called Metabolic Bone Disease. Also it is very important to change your UVB light every 6-8 months, after this time the light stops producing adequate UVB. If you’re not sure if your UV light is still producing UVB, bring it in and we’ll be happy to test the light for you.
Uromastyx also require a calcium and vitamin supplement. This supplement works with the UVB light allowing the lizard to receive the proper amounts of calcium and vitamins. This should be used every day as babies and reduced to 1-2 times a week as adults. Calcium is sold in a powder form and is sprinkled on the insects and vegetables that you feed your uromastyx. You should apply a very light coating to the food items, being careful not to waste any excess powder.
Different beddings have positives and negatives when used for reptiles. The best type of bedding for uromastyx would be some type of fine sand or small bird seed, such as, proso millet. Certain types of sand can cause impactions in the intestine and kill baby uromastyx. We feel that these types of impactions are rare and we have never personally encountered this problem.
Food & Water
Uromastyx are usually herbivores and their diet should consist of green leafy vegetables and occasionally insects. The following vegetables should make up 80 percent of their diet: Collard greens, mustard greens, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, hibiscus leaves and flowers, green onions, spinach, green beans, zucchini, and frozen mixed vegetables. Fruits should make up 10% of their diet. Examples of ideal fruits are: Apple, bananas, strawberries, figs, peaches, mango, papaya, cantaloupe, grapes, blackberries, and blueberries. The remaining 10% should be different feeder insects such as crickets, superworms, mealworms and waxworms. Uromastyx do not typically drink a lot of water. Most of their water intake comes from eating crickets and vegetables. Water should be given twice a week as babies by soaking the lizard in a shallow dish of water for about 5 minutes. The uromastyx should be able to stand in the water without having to swim. If soaking is inconvenient for you, a water dish inside the cage will work fine.