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Basic Uromastyx Care

Basic Care of Uromastyx

Includes information on:
  • Diet
  • Temperature and Lighting
  • Enclosure
  • Veterinary Care


    Diet should consist mainly of leafy greens, excluding all lettuces. Lettuces (especially iceberg) are mainly composed of water with little nutritional value. That said, a list of good greens includes:
    Dandelion greens and flowers *
    Colliard greens
    Mustard greens
    Turnip greens
    * - Never pick dandelions that have grown in a lawn unless you are certain that the lawn has been free of pesticides and chemicals for at least one year. What you can do, to have dandelions year-round, is grow them indoors in potting soil. Either wait until the ones outside are white and puffy and then pick the seeds and plant them in a pot, or you can buy seeds online.
    The next part should be other vegetables, such as:
    Bell peppers
    Shredded squash and zucchini
    Shredded carrots
    Green beans
    Corn (frozen or cooked, but NOT raw!)
    Fruit and Grains:
    A very small portion should go to fruit and grains. The bottom third of a strawberry or part of a raspberry or grape is sufficient. The grains can come from granola or grainy health-food breakfast cereals (like Wheaties) crumbled into tiny bits. I've discovered that mine just cannot seem to get enough granola, so I have to actually bury it under other food so that she has to eat other things first! I've also discovered that when I'm having trouble getting her to eat, putting a small amount of strawberry or raspberry right on top makes it look very appealing. (It's the red.)
    When making food,
    cut everything into small pieces (no wider than your uro's mouth) and mix together in a salad.
    You should also supplement your uro's diet with vitamins like Rep-Cal (calcium with D3) and Herptivite (multivitamin.) These are both powders which you should lightly (too little is better than too much) sprinkle over food. It isn't necessary to do this at every feeding. I generally use Herptivite about once per week and Rep-Cal about two or three times per week.
    In conclusion,
    if you're unsure of whether or not a particular vegetable is healthy or safe and you can't find it on a care sheet, don't feed it! Also, variety is key in making sure that your uro gets the most nutrients and taste variation (would you want to eat the same thing every day?) possible.

    Temperature and Lighting:

    You should have a hot side and a cool side. To do this, place your basking lamp on one far side of your terrarium. The basking temperature should be around 120 ° F (49 ° C.) Many people believe that 120 - 130 ° F (49 - 54 ° C) is optimal, but I haven't had any problems keeping my temps around a constant 120 °. You will need to experiment with bulb wattage and a digital thermometer (available at any electronics store) to find what wattage achieves this for you. The cool side, then, will naturally even out. It should be in the 90s range F (lower mid 30s C.)
    You will also need fluorescent lighting to provide UVB rays. (Not doing so will result not only in body colour looking very drab, but Metabolic Bone Disease, which is both debilitating and fatal.) ZooMed's ReptiSun 5.0 and Iguana Light 5.0 are bulbs that will provide this and are available at any pet store that carries reptile supplies (like Petsmart.) Incidentally, the incandescent bulbs (for heat) that you'll need are also available available at pet stores.


    Your enclosure should be large in order to give your uro plenty of space to move around. Measure the lizard from snout to tip of tail and make your enclosure at least four times the length and width. Height isn't as important because uros are terrestrial and don't climb much (although, I do provide a "tree" under the basking lamp so that she can get closer to the heat source if she wishes, which she frequently does.)
    Washed play sand not only works better than the specialty sands produced for reptiles, but is available at any home repairs store (like Lowe's or Menard's) for MUCH cheaper. Compare 50 lbs. (about 23 kilograms) of play sand for around $2 (around 1.18£) to 5 lbs. (about 2 kilograms) of special reptile sand for around $8 (around 4.72£.) Shredded newspaper, while not very pretty, is cheap and works well. I've also heard many times that millet seed works well, but I haven't actually tried it myself. And while we're on the subject of substrate, the depth of your uro's substrate should be at least 3 - 4 in. (about 8 - 10 cm.) because by nature, they like to burrow.
    Hide boxes:
    Give your uro at least one spot where they can hide. There are various things made specifically for this purpose - repti-caves, hollowed out half-logs, etc., but really, anything turned over with a hole cut in the side, and is big enough that the lizard can fit its body into, will work.

    Veterinary Care:

    After bringing home any new herp, you should always take it to a qualified herp vet for a checkup. Click here for a list of qualified herp vets who have been recommended by their clients.

    These are just some very basic instructions on uromastyx care. For more detailed information, including the differences between uromastyx species and advice on breeding, click here.

    For a list of breeders, click here.