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Uromastyx

My experience thus far with Uromastyx species is very limited. I purchased 2 Uromastyx benti at the Daytona Expo in August 2001. They acclimated slowly and now (Feb. 2002) are doing quite well. "Now" has turned into 2013. Wow! The benti continue to do very well and have produced 3 clutches of eggs. The first year I failed at incubation. The second year she laid most of her eggs in dry sand, all except one, which hatched! The baby is doing well too now 3 years later. A video of her laying one of those eggs the first year can be seen here at YouTube.

Liam the Ornate Uromastyx arrived in 2006. As of this writing (2013) he is a big fat pretty boy with an attitude. A video of him hula dancing can be viewed here at YouTube He has since been on a diet. They do inhale air to puff themselves up but he was a tad overweight at the time.

Generalized Uromastyx Care
General:
Uromastyx in general need very hot, very dry conditions. I keep my juveniles in a tank that is 48"x12"x12". There is a basking spot at each end. One basking spot is about 120 degrees and the other one is about 110 degrees. It is about 85-90 in the middle of the tank during the day. At night there is no heat source and the tank drops to room temperature which varies from about 70-75 generally.

Heat and UV:
I utilize a UVHeat bulb (gives off heat and UVB) on one end. There is also a uvb fluorescent tube across the top towards the other basking spot. These guys are the original sun-worshippers. They need lots of UVB. The sun is the best source, naturally, but I have found the UVHeat bulbs to be very good and they seem to be more active under it.

Feeding:
Uromastyx are vegetarians. That said, they will take crickets and other insects when young. I feed mine mostly greens at the moment. I also feed them soaked legumes like peas and lentils. When they get bigger they will eat them dry. In the wild they eat a lot of seeds and legumes dry. When small you can put the dried peas, beans and lentils into a coffee grinder and make them into a sort of dust and sprinkle that on the greens. By greens I am referring to escarole, chicory, collards, turnip tops, mustard greens etc. NOT LETTUCE. Although some romaine can be fed it is not a good staple and should NOT be relied upon as a large part of the diet. Mine do prefer light colored greens but I am unsure if that goes for all uros or not. I have a friend with several malis and they seem to eat just about everything. The sites listed below have very good diet information on them.

Water:
This section should be labeled "No water". Generally speaking, Uromastyx species should NOT have any water dish available to them. These animals come from very arid (dry) conditions and cannot have a high level of humidity. These animals should NEVER be misted, even when shedding. If Uros become wet or damp they can get a sort of rot amongst their tail scales. The only exception to the "no water" uros is the Uromastyx benti. They can have a small dish of water in their enclosure. They come from a slightly less arid area and will actually drink from a dish. All other species of uros have no need for a water dish.

Soaking:
Now, to really confuse matters... Uros that are recent imports, are dehydrated or have a shedding problem CAN be soaked in hot water. This is water that is warmer than warm, that is actually hot to the touch. They can be soaked like this for several minutes but then need to be dried off VERY well to avoid the tail rot we talked about in the water paragraph above. After soaking and drying that tail off really well put them back into their hot cage and the heat lights should do the rest.

Acclimation:
MANY of the Uromastyx (particularly adults) that are in pet stores are recent imports. Buying an adult of these species is not a good idea in my opinion unless you can be assured that the animal has been acclimated for several months, has been deparisitized and is eating well. Adult Uromastyx collected from the wild generally do not do well in captivity. When you first get your Uro leave it alone until it starts eating really well. I mean, don't even go in there to clean the cage. Just put the food in and walk away ever day. When the animal is eating well you can have more interaction with it.

Uromastyx Links

http://www.urotopia.com/ Lindsay Pike's Urotopia

http://www.kingsnake.com/uromastyx/ Uromatyx Homepage

http://www.deerfernfarms.com/ Doug Dix, Breeder


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