Equipment for keeping Uromastyx
Vivarium: VX36 vivarium for one, or VX48 depending on species.
Heating: Lighting I recommend a basking/UV lamp similar to Exo Terra Solar Glo Sun lamp 125Watt. This is left on 10-12 hours and simply turned off via a time switch. They do not require any heating at night as long as it does not o bellow 65deg. F.
We recommend two thermometers PT-2465 place one at each end to show the cool temperature and hot end temperatures to indicate that there is a heat gradient.
Substrate: youngsters up to 1 year kitchen, wall, backing or newspaper. Calci sand, desert sand or play pen sand.
Décor: large food bowl.
Plenty of Caves and hides terra cotta drain pipes they love especially the ones with a 90deg., bend in, Blank one end off and then raise the open end on a rock at the cool end and put some straw in it as bedding.
Rocks, drift and bogwood.
Calcium and vitamins: Exo-Terra Calcium +D3. Exo-Terra Multi Vitamin Powder.
Many reptiles require a diet based on live or fresh foods, due to their specific feeding habits. These are readily available, but in themselves do not offer a balanced supply of nutrients. To ensure your pet receives a properly balanced diet, it is important to increase the nutrient content of these foods with a nutrient supplement.
There are about seventeen species but some may well be sub species (ssp) within the genus and most are not generally available through the pet trade. So I will only mention those that are readily available.
All Uromastyx have a stocky build and a well-armoured tail which gives it its common name Spiny Tail Lizard. All of the species of Uromastyx have salt glands around their nostrils and it is not uncommon to see salt crystals build up around the nostrils.
Uromastyx acanthinurus: Grows to about 16” in length. It has a fairly wide colour range in individuals from green to yellow to bright orange and all shades in between. U. acanthinurus comes from North Africa and can be found in Libya, Morocco, Niger and Sudan.
Uromastyx aegyptius: This is the largest member of the genus and can get up to 30” long weighing several pounds.
Its colour can be variable but is generally dark to light brown sometimes tan.
U.aegyptius is found in Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Iraq and Israel.
Uromastyx benti: Common name Rainbow Uromastyx. Shows some sexual differences, males tend to have a more bluish body colour with white spots and the females are usually light brown or tan with reddish tails.
They grow to around 14”.
U. bentii comes from the Yemen and the Arabian Peninsular in general.
Uromastyx dispar: Common name is the Sudan Uromastyx. They Grow to about 14-16”, their colour can vary from brown to orange-red or yellow.
They come from the Western Sahara Desert, Sudan.
This species occurs in Western Sahara desert,
Uromastyx maliensis is a ssp of U. dispar.
Uromastyx ocellatus: This species shows some sexual differences, the males having a bluish-green body or being green with orange and yellow blotches. The females have more subtle yellows and browns with less orange. They also grow to around 14” in length.
U. ocellatus comes from Egypt and the Middle East similar to U. aegyptius.
Uromastyx ornatus: There is some confusion with this species some think it is the same as ocellatus and probably a ssp of U. dispar. The colouration size and geological distribution is the same.
These are quite active lizards and require plenty of room ideally the vivarium should be four times larger than the Uromastyx. These lizards are all terrestrial
And so require more ground area than height.
For a 12” Uromastyx a 48” vivarium is advised.
Temperature: Coming from extremely arid desert areas they can tolerate extremes in day night temperatures. A basking temperature of 110° - 130° F is required with daytime temperatures of 85° - 95° F, the nighttime temperature should be allowed to go down to 60° - 70° F.
Heat and Lighting: I have found the best type of heating and lighting is by using a Mercury vapour lamp as in the Exo Terra solar Glo as they give off a high level of UVB and heat in one lamp. As soon as I changed over from the conventional UVB tubes my animals showed greater colouring and were much more active and started to show courtship displays.
Placing a large rock under the lamp helps the Uromastyx giving it a warm rock to bath on and facilitating the digestion of its food.
Substrate: Use play pen sand or Calci sand. Do not use builder’s sand or sand off the beach. Décor: Uromastyx are terrestrial and burrowers so do not require branches. They require plenty of rocky hiding places, like rockwork with plenty of nooks and crannies where they can squeeze into. This is easy to accomplish with the use of Aerated concrete blocks or Terracotta air bricks with some pieces of slate. I find that a terracotta Drain Junction with one end blanked off makes a great makeshift burrow for the Uromastyx, add some hay as bedding. Diet: Uromastyx are mostly omnivores but will take insects if given the chance I give mine a couple of locusts once a week as a treat. The bulk of their diet should be vegetarian. Vegetables such as peas, beans, carrots and corn, leafy greens such as dandelion leaves and flowers, salad leaves, rocket, water cress, Kale, Squash, courgettes, mushrooms etc. They also love seeds so give them Millet that you get for cage birds, mixed bird seed (not many sunflower seeds as they contain a large amount of fat/oil), dried peas and beans. As these are desert animals water need not be added as they get all their water needs from their foods. In fact adding water to the vivarium can cause excessive humidity which will do more harm than good. My old female Uromastyx acanthinurus has never see water in 16 years and is extremely healthy and active. Vitamins as in Nutrobal by Vetarc should be given twice a week and Calcium powder every day sprinkled on the food. General notes: The vivarium should be spot cleaned daily and the vivarium stripped down and cleaned with a vivarium cleaner like Arc-Klens or TAMODINE-E by Vetarc.
Breeding Uromastyx Mali. Breeding the other Uromastyx should be very similar.
Tips on Sexing Uromastyx. Mali Uromastyx generally must be longer than 25cm (10”) and more than 148grams (5¼ ounces) to breed successfully. This takes about three years in captivity. Although they often breed communally in the wild, they do best if kept as true pairs year round in captivity.
Determining sex is tricky at first. Both sexes possess femoral pores, and when reared in captivity, coloration is no longer a reliable indicator of sex.
Looking for hemipenal bulges under the tail this is the safest sexing method. Gently arch the tail over the lizard’s back. Look at the underside of the tail just behind the vent opening. With females you’ll see the base of two ligaments, one on each side of the vent, angling down toward the tail tip. Just their base is visible, so it will look like a small upside-down V sitting just above each corner of the vent. With males the hemipenes sit on top of these ligaments, largely masking them. In this case, the pattern looks more like two parallel lines sitting just above the vent pointing toward the tail tip.
Setting up a breeding vivarium. Set up a breeding pair of Uromastyx as described, but add a nest box in the cool end instead of the normal, cave-like hide.
The most practical nesting area for a Mali Uromastyx is a completely self-enclosed tub. A 10-gallon soft-plastic tub with lid intact works well. Cut a 4-inch-diameter hole in the upper side, and attach a similar-sized flexible drainpipe or central heating duct to the hole to allow entry from ground level. Fill the box ⅔ full with a 50-50 mix of washed playground sand and peat moss. Adding 10 % caliche soil (soil with a high limestone high pH content makes it more attractive to nesting females. Add water until the substrate is slightly moist to the touch.
Although Mali Uromastyx kept as pets can have a 12-hour photoperiod year round, put the lizards through an artificial winter to initiate breeding. Begin by dropping day lengths by one to two hours each week, either a few minutes each day or all at once each weekend, until they’re down to four to six hours of daylight.
Steadily decrease the average daytime ground temperature over this same time period until the mid-80s is the daily high. Night-time lows should also drop 2 to 3 degrees each week and eventually be in the high 60s. Night-time temperatures should persist throughout the night and most of the day. The exception is when basking lights are on, and temperatures climb back into the mid-80s.
During the early stages of Mali Uromastyx brumation, we offer food every second or third day, and we offer normal amounts at the accustomed feeding time, usually midmorning. When the lizards are down to six hours of daylight, we stop feeding completely. Full brumation proceeds for another 60 days. After that, reverse the process. Add a daylight hour or two per week while gradually increasing the background habitat temperatures until the summer norms are reached.
Incubation. Breeding usually occurs right before you reach the normal 12-hour day. Male Uromastyx often head-bob at the female Mali Uromastyx, especially in the early morning, and actual copulations are easy to miss.
Gestation lasts an average of four weeks before the female lays a single clutch of 10 to 20 eggs. Remove the Uromastyx eggs and the nest box as soon as she finishes burying them.
Prepare an incubation medium from slightly damp vermiculite cut with aquarium granular activated charcoal and 10 percent dry perlite. Fill a Tupperware container measuring approximately 11 inches long, 7 inches wide and 4 inches tall about ⅔ full with this mix, and bury the eggs on their sides until only a small portion of each egg is visible. Original orientation of the Mali Uromastyx eggs is not important, but handle them as little as possible. Put the lid on the container. No air holes are necessary though I do add some pi holes at either and of the box.
Incubate the container at 92 °F. Pop the lid once a week to circulate air and to look for any obviously bad eggs. Eggs more than 25 percent caved in, leaking fluid, or with fungal or bacterial growth are bad.
Care of the young Malis
Mail babies hatch in 60 to 80 days and require the same housing and feeding conditions as the adults. Only two modifications are required. Paper towels for the substrate, and a ½” deep water dish is provided for the first two months.
Eight to 10 hatchling Uromastyx can be kept in a vivarium 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 1½ feet tall. Remove two individuals every two to three months as they grow.
Most Uromastyx babies seek food within 24 hours of hatching. We offer the same diet given to adults, but we offer it twice per day: midmorning and midafternoon.