How to Care for Your New Uro
Aqualand's inside scoop on Uromastyx maliensis (and some others)
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That's "Mr. Maliensis" to you, Bub.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Lynne Henderson ,
Edmonton, Alberta, March 23, 2011
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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