Uromastyx Care: Species Overview
- Common Names: Uromastyx Lizard
- Scientific Name: Uromastyx spp.
- Distribution: Throughout Northern Africa & the Middle East
- Adult Size: 8-24”
- Life Expectancy: 15-35+ years
Uromastyx is a genus of lizard found in parts of Africa and the Middle East. There are several species regularly offered in pet stores, and care requirements for common species are very similar. Uromastyx lizards come from scorching places and need high temperatures to do well as pets. In the wild, these lizards live in burrows and will do best if offered underground retreats.
Uromastyx Care: Habitat Set-Up
- Juvenile Uromastyx needs a minimum 20-gallon terrarium. Juveniles can be housed together in a 30-gallon terrarium.
- Adult Uromastyx needs a minimum of 40+ gallon terrarium.
- Provide plenty of hiding and basking places.
- Rocks, thick branches, or Mopani Wood make excellent choices for decorating your lizard’s habitat.
- Daytime Terrarium Temperature: 85-90° F.
- Basking Spot: 98-115° F.
- Nighttime Temperature: 75+° F.
- A nighttime drop in Temperature is natural and can be accomplished by turning off all overhead heating devices and leaving a ReptiTherm® UTH on 24-hours per day.
- Zoo Med’s Basking Spot Lamp, PowerSun®, Repti halogen™, and Ceramic Heat Emitters, are excellent choices for heating Uromastyx enclosures.
- Provide a large rock directly under the basking area to help retain heat.
- UVB Lighting is essential for Uromastyx to process calcium in captivity.
- Without UVB lighting and a proper diet, Uromastyx will develop serious health problems such as Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD).
- UVB Lighting should be left on for 10-12 hours per day and turned off at night.
- Zoo Med’s ReptiSun® Linear and Compact Fluorescent Lamps are an excellent choice for providing Uromastyx with UVB. The PowerSun® is a unique way to ensure both UVB and Heat all in one lamp.
- Uromastyx lives in arid, sandy places in the wild and will do well on a variety of sand-type substrates in captivity. They prefer a mixture of sand and soil that will allow them to burrow.
- Hatchling Uromastyx will do best on Cage Carpet, such as Zoo Med’s Eco Carpet or Vita-Sand®.
- Excavator® Burrowing Clay Substrate will allow you to create a naturalistic terrarium complete with burrows and tunnels for your animals. Uromastyx lives in burrows and will require underground retreats to provide security.
- A mixture of Eco Earth® & ReptiSand® or ReptFresh® is an excellent choice of substrates for Uromastyx species.
About the Uromastyx
Uromastyx Care: Temperament
- The Uromastyx are very docile lizards, which, after time, can be social. They are not shy and accepting of human handling. They can be attention-seeking and very curious. The Uromastyx sleeps the same hours as their owners since they are diurnal.
- Approaching from above can make them very nervous and inclined to hide instead of eating and basking. Be sure to let the Uromastyx settle into their enclosures.
Diet and Nutrition
- Uromastyx lizards are omnivorous reptiles that require a well-balanced diet of both insects and plants. Although they will eat many different types of food, plant matter should make up the bulk of their diet.
- Juveniles will need to be fed pinhead to small size crickets daily along with other small insects such as mealworms. Zoo Med offers a variety of Can O’ insects and canned diets that will make providing a varied diet convenient.
- Collard or Dandelion Greens, Hibiscus flowers, Romaine lettuce, and other veggies offered 1-2 times a week.
- Uromastyx will take vegetables and Zoo Med’s pelleted or canned Bearded Dragon Diet as a staple. Insects offered 2-3 times per week.
- Always remove uneaten insects after each feeding.
- ReptiCalcium® and ReptiVite™ with Vitamin D can be added to both live and plant foods as directed.
- Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite or scratch (especially when stressed).
- Supervise children around pets.
- ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
- Adults should assist children with handwashing after contact with a pet, its habitat, or aquarium water.