Fresh greens (collard, kale, dandelion, romaine, endive, mustard) mixed with frozen mixed vegetables and grated squash or carrot should make up the main portion of the diet. Dried lentils, split peas, and birdseed may also be added in small amounts to the salad daily. Note: No dried lentils, or hard to eat foods for hatchlings. Superworms, waxworms, or crickets may be added once a week or less (more for the young, less for adults). Always feed small uros small crickets
, never large ones! In the wild, insects make up 6% or less of the diet of the Uromastyx. Excessive animal (insect) protein can lead to kidney disease and or gout in herbivorous lizards. Commercial iguana diets
may also be used for Uromastyx but shouldn't be the sole source of nutrition.
Important Note-When feeding the Uromastyx fruits and vegetables please shred and keep them separate instead of mixing all different fruits/veggies in one container. You may offer them in one bowl but allow for several piles of different foods instead of one big clump. We have found that keeping the foods separate will encourage them to eat a lot more then when all the foods are together. It is also noted that Uromastyx need to have some seed in their diet. Millet sprays are a good way to feed them seed.
As a vitamin supplement
, one part calcium carbonate mixed with one part Reptivite
is recommended. Supplement hatchlings and juveniles twice a week, adults once a week.
Uromastyx do not constantly drink water from dishes
, but sometimes they will, so water should be provided in some form. To keep the animal hydrated soak or mist
once or twice a week outside the cage, and/or mist the inside of the shelter. This will provide high humidity like is found in their burrows in the wild. This does not mean the entire cage should be humid - that could be fatal.
Uromastyx are best housed in large custom cages with three sides of wood or other material, and one side glass. Uromastyx do not like clear surfaces and seem intolerable of glass aquariums. They may be used if the sides are partially covered or built up with rock or other landscaping materials.
crushed with walnut shells may be used as substrate. To avoid digestion problems, caution should be used when using sand with hatchlings and young Uromastyx. Food must be provided in dishes that do not allow the mixing of sand and food.
Flat rocks are needed for basking spots and some sort of shelter must be provided. Provide your uromastyx with plenty of sand to burrow in and a cave
or two to feel secure. This can be made of carefully stacked rocks, flexible metal tubing or cork bark. Uromastyxs prefer a tunnel cave and this cave should be slightly moist during the day.
Heating & Lighting Requirements
spot bulbs must be used to provide a basking spot of 110°F with an air temperature of 80-85°F in the rest of the cage. Nighttime temperature can drop to 69-72°F.
Full spectrum 7.0 fluorescent lighting
is important. A good set-up contains one full spectrum bulb combined with a black light for nighttime
. Providing fluorescent light is critical for proper absorption of vitamins and minerals from their food. If you do not use fluorescent light the animal may develop MBD (metabolic bone disease) and will experience a deformed and shortened life span. Fluorescent bulbs need to be replaced every six months.
Uromastyx are some of the most personable and easy to handle lizards in the pet trade. They rarely bite. Even most wild caught are friendly. Captive bred animals usually don't have a fear of humans. These are very intelligent lizards, so they are a lizard that will interact with you.
Over stimulating any reptile can cause stress which may weaken the immune system. Please allow several days for the Uromastyx to acclimate before any handling. Once you do start to handle the lizard, only handle him for a few minutes at a time. Remember when you are handling the lizard you are removing them from their heated environment. Always wash your hands before and after handling.
Reptiles will not ever be like a dog, allowing you to keep them out of their habitat for many hours - this could be stressful to your lizard and may cause health problems.
Do not put large heavy cage furniture in with your animals that is too heavy for the them to burrow out from under.
Remember to check your cage temperature
several times a week and keep the temperature on the heated end warm enough. Keeping a reptile too cool will weaken their immune system, not allow for proper digestion and will cause difficulty in movement and normal body functions. Keeping the animal too hot can cause overheating and death in a matter of minutes. Always provide the reptile with a cold end and a hot end so that they can decide..
These should be active lizards and if you notice a decrease in the amount of movement this could indicate a problem. Please make sure you examine your uromastyx for signs of illness and seek treatment immediately if there are signs. Reptiles are good at hiding their illnesses until it is in an advanced stage. We recommend vet checkups for all animals. Remember to have your reptile checked for internal parasites at your vet. Each vet will have a different approach to treating parasites.
Be an educated pet owner and purchase a book on your lizard as an educated owner is the best owner.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet please call 717-299-5691 ext. 1246 to reach the Reptile Room.