Uromastyx are 10-30” long, diurnal desert-dwelling lizards with rounded heads, large, rotund bodies, and substantial, spiky tails. There are roughly 18 species in the genus Uromastyx, which can be found throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia.
Uromastyx require lots of heat and light, as well as a large enclosure, and vary in handleability. They can be considered intermediate-level pet reptiles.
A single uromastyx should be housed in no smaller than a 4’L x 2’W x 2’H enclosure. Larger individuals (larger than 15”) should be housed in nothing smaller than 6’L x 2’W x 2’H, preferably larger.
Substrate should be washed play sand or fine desert sand, at least 4” deep for burrowing. Do not use seeds, as this encourages them to eat their substrate. In addition to substrate, you will need to provide ledges and branches for climbing, as well as plenty of places to hide so they can feel secure. One of these hides should offer a humid microclimate to help keep your uro hydrated.
Although Uromastyx are not particularly known for drinking from water bowls, a shallow bowl of clean water should always be available.
Heating and Lighting
Uromastyx require strong UVB lighting to stay healthy. Use a high-intensity T5 HO Arcadia or Zoo Med bulb, half the length of the enclosure and mounted in a reflective fixture. UVB bulbs decay over time, so you will need to replace yours every 12 months to maintain performance. For best results, use with a Solarmeter 6.5 to measure output.
Basking surface temperature should be at least 120°F as measured by an infrared thermometer. Use a piece of flagstone or slate tile for the basking surface, and a cluster of at least two halogen flood bulbs to provide heat. The temperature gradient should go down to 75-80°F on the cool end.
Heating and lighting should be turned off at night.
Food and Supplementation
Uromastyx are herbivores, and require a low-protein diet. They do not eat insects or other animals. Instead, they eat a variety of greens, vegetables, flowers, and seeds. Fruit can be offered as a rare treat. The bulk of the plant matter fed to uromastyx should consist of nutritious leafy greens and orange vegetables such as squash or carrots. Appropriate greens include collard greens, arugula, dandelion greens, hibiscus leaves, chard, kale, carrot and beet tops.
Lightly dust each salad with Repashy SuperVeggie to help balance your uro’s nutrition.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you are new to uromastyx, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.