How to Care for Your New Uro

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Uro Factoids

Origin Dry parts of northern Africa
Temperature Hot -- basking area even hotter
Size 12 to 18 inches
Water Skip the water bowl
Humidity Very low
Lighting UVB needed
Substrate Sand, bird seed, alfalfa pellets
Security Hide box, tube, or cave
Foods Phytophagus (eats plants)
Supplements Weekly vitamin/calcium is plenty
Breeding Needs a brumation period (cool time out)
Threats Birds, other aggressive Uros, excessive handling

 

 


LA
That's "Mr. Maliensis" to you, Bub.

LA
Young uromastyx.

LA
Young uros try to run away most of the time.

Disclaimer:  Since Iíve kept Uromastyx for less than two years, I canít really call myself an expert.  In fact, Iíd be hard pressed to tell the different species apart.  So make sure you also look into some of the other Uro sites on the web.  LA

LA
Red Uromastyx

LA
Same red Uromastyx deciding to move along down the line.

Origin:  Uromastyx come from the top of Africa.  They live in not so much sandy areas as diggable clay and dirt with sand mixed in.  They dig deep burrows for security and temperature regulation.  They browse upon tough shrubberies and occasional bugs.  They really dislike birds because birds eat them.

Temperature:  Some like it hot -- especially Uromastyx maliensis.  Provide a cool area at 80 to 95F at one end of their cage plus a toasty warm spot for them to bask (loaf) in leisure.  Sun glasses are optional.  Like iguanas, Uros need heat to digest their food, but they need a much hotter temperature.  Run them up to 110F, maybe even a bit warmer.  Though not brilliant, Uros are smart enough to move around to the temp they prefer.

LA
Provide climbing areas or your Uromastyx will climb all over each other.

Climbers:  Uromastyx roam around.  They trek all over the joint.  Their sharp little claws enable them to clamber over rocks and branches alike.  Rough rocks may (no guarantees) de-sharpen their toe nails.  Forget plastic plants and vines, these hungry herbivores will try to eat them.

 

LA
Many Uro owners keep them over sand.

Substrate:  Avoid keeping your Uro over ground up walnut shells or cedar chips.  Cedar chips cause problems with all sorts of critters -- even small mammals.  Some Uro fans use alfalfa pellets.  Since you keep them dry, you donít get that mushy mess.  Other keepers like outdoor carpet which can snag their toenails.  The latest most recommended substrate?  Bird seed.  No kidding.  Very easy to clean and nutritious if they eat it by accident (or on purpose).

LA
Does a guy this scary looking need to hide in a cave?

Security:  Since Uromastyx like to burrow, they obviously feel more secure in their own cozy quarters.  Well, few people have the room to let them burrow.  Instead, they opt for hide boxes, plastic or clay tubes, or caves.  You can make a quickie cave with a piece of slate atop two rocks.  Those new resin hollow logs work well and look very natural.

LA
Supposedly, Uros love shredded carrots.  We have not found that to be the case.

LA
They do like greens -- in this case Romaine lettuce.
 

Sara Klips, December25, 2008
You really might want to alter your uro page a tad. Most of the ones 
you're showing are dangerously skinny. They should be Very fat 
lizards. Also, Romaine lettuce is a big no no. It fills their tummy 
but doesn't provide enough nutrition to actually help them.
They should be kept alone, and if a uro is being friendly, it's likely 
that it is too cold. They should feel really toasty when you pick them 
up. A health uro is an active uro. They should spend most of their 
time running around their cages. A basking spot should be temps up to 
130F even.
Lastly, until they're at least 7" in length, they should be kept on 
paper towels. You'll find that to be a much nicer substrate and the 
uro itself will stay much healthier and cleaner.
Soaking isn't all that advisable because the water gets trapped in 
their tail whorls and can cause tail rot. Also, they have a bad habit 
of aspirating water and giving themselves respiratory infections.

A:  I added your comments to my Uro page.  Thanks.  LA

LA
They prefer dandelion greens and other weeds.

LA
Flowers especially trip their trigger.

LA
Uromastyx climb all over each other to devour dandelion blooms.

LA
And they enjoy trefoil also.

LA
Here they're munching an unknown rubbery weed.  They like it.

LA
All of them love dandelions.

LA
False turnip tail uromastyx debating over trying the shredded carrots.

LA
Uromastyx munch a bunch on lightly misted  iguana pellets.

LA
Female and male Uromasthx devouring shredded zucchini.

Foods:  Uromastyx resemble tortoises in the face and in their diet preferences.  Clovers and grasses go down smooth as well as plantains and violets.  They go nuts for any flowers.  They will eat a veritable rainbow of flowers.  Some people find frozen vegetables more convenient.  Others provide a dish of juvenile iguana pellets.  Give them more than dry pellets or misted pellets (to bring out the smell).  They get all the water they need from the vegetation they eat.  If you do feed yours crickets, feed them very few.  If you give yours a calcium/vitamin supplement, once a week is plenty.

 

Water Bowl:  None needed.  Keep water out of their cage to hold down the humidity.  They donít drink it.  They just walk thru it and drag their food thru it.  This is one way they accidentally ingest substrate.  Some Uro keepers give their scaly buddies a weekly soak in very shallow warm water.  They say their Uros wonít drink while they watch them.

LA
Probable male -- nice color.

LA
Definite female -- not quite as brightly colored but still attractive.

LA
Not much doubt on sexing when the female is full of eggs.

Sexing:  Males usually show more color than females.  Females are wider, especially gravid females.  Both sexes are fairly friendly.  The females do get stand-offish just before laying their eggs.

LA
We gave her her own personal tub to lay her eggs in to no avail.

LA
When we gave her a smaller version in the main cage, she threw a house-warming party.

LA
When her company left, she wanted to bail also.  And she did.

LA
She laid one in the sand.  She laid several in the substrate and broke them all.

LA
And she cranked out these behind her egg-laying site plus as many more that she broke.

LA
We saved this many out of about 20.  We'll incubate them in the low 90s.

Breeding:  As you can see, the female lizard did the work in spite of all our help.  To do the process right, the sexes need to brumate -- cool down and eat way, way less for about two months.  If they were to eat, the food might rot in their digestive systems.  When you warm them up, the first thing that enters their minds (after eating) is continuing the species.

LA
He's saying Hi! to his new room mate.

LA
And it looks like they're getting along just fine.

LA
Most Uromastyx crawl right up your arm on your first date.  Excellent claws.

LA
And they don't struggle to escape when you grab them.  They're fairly friendly from the start.

LA
So you might want to take a closer look at a Uromastyx soon.

Last Word:  The more you learn about Uros (and other lizards), The better you like them.  And the longer you keep yours, the better they like you.  Keep yours very warm.  LA

LA
Nigerian Uromastyx.

LA
Another one.

LA
Same guy.

LA
Ditto.

LA
Another uromastyx.

LA
Same guy.

LA
Many more uromastyx becoming available these days.

LA
Face just as cute.

LA

LA
Males sport a daker face.

LA
Males also sport a hemi-penis just above their vent.

Lynne Henderson , Edmonton, Alberta, March 23, 2011
I have two Uromastyx Lizards. I was dismayed to see all your pictures of your Uromastyx Lizards. They all looked totally dehydrated and extremely small bellied (as though they had internal parasites) My Uros have bellies that look like your little pregnant Uro. They are supposed to have big bellies Ė that is the sign they are manufacturing water and are healthy. Perhaps you should look at the picts from Deer Fern Farms Ė they raise Uroís and have a lot of info in their site. They were my Gurus when I bought my Uroís here in Edmonton.
Concerned animal lover

A:  While I don't think my uros are totally dehydrated, I will add your comments to my oro page.  LA

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