WHEN DO I SEE A VET?
- Annual wellness exam for physical exam, fecal, and bloodwork baseline testing
- Pre and post brumation (hibernation) wellness exams
- Not eating or pooping for over a week
- Open mouth breathing or noise while breathing
- Diarrhea, blood in feces, vomiting, or regurgitation
- Retained shed, tail rot, redness, swelling, or open wounds of the skin
- Enlarged eyes, swelling or bleeding of the mouth
- Any health concerns or questions
Babies: A 40 gallon (36” L x 18” W x 16” H) or larger enclosure
Adults: A 120 gallon (48” L x 24” W x 24” H) or larger enclosure
Enclosures should have a basking area, hide, and décor to provide enrichment for your uromastyx. Uromastyx are terrestrial reptiles that require more floorspace then vertical space.
Uromastyx are territorial reptiles and should be housed alone unless housed for breeding purposes. Housing together is a risk for injury and fighting that can be harmful to your uromastyx’s health.
Paper towels, tile flooring, shelf liners, and slate floor are all acceptable flooring options. Uromastyx are known to commonly get substrate impactions and caution should and research should be done before choosing a substrate. Particle substates such as “WASHED” playsand and ecoearth topsoil are good options to allow for burrowing and enrichment. Make sure to avoid very fine dust forming consistencies, that can easily produce a lot of irritants. Choose a slightly coarser material that can be misted and let dry when initially placed to help decrease dust particles. Washed playsand has sharp silicates removed and is an acceptable substrate to be used. It is important to monitor hydration and volumes of sand being consumed while on a substrate such as washed playsand or ecoearth. If using a topsoil substrate preforming routine changes every 6 months is recommended and every 12 months when using a washed playsand with weekly fecal sifting on a routine basis.
Lighting and Heating
Proper temperatures and lighting are essential for the development, growth, and maintenance of your uromastyx.
Lighting: Uromastyx are a long day basking diurnal desert species. They require a high output UVB lighting for proper vitamin D3 synthesis starting with their skin. Ideal hours of daylight to nightlight range from 10-14 hours of daylight to 10-14 hours of nighttime without lighting. This can be achieved by a timer connected to their lights. UVB lights lose strength over time even though they may still emit light and should be changed every 6 months. Sources of natural sunlight are great for uromastyx when temperatures are in their healthy range. It is important to note that windows and glass block UVB rays, screens and mesh can decrease the UVB strength to your uromastyx. Avoid placing glass enclosures in direct sunlight as this can heat up much higher than anticipated.
Recommended UVB lights include:
T5 Strip Lights:
Arcadia T5 D3+ Reptile Lamp 14% UVB with reflector
Zoomed Reptisun 10.0 UVB T5-HO with reflector
Mercury Vapor Bulbs:
Zoomed Reptisun 160 Watt
MegaRay 160 Watt
Osram GmbH Ultravitalux 300W
Heating: Uromastyx are ectotherms or poikilothermous meaning they get their body temperature from the environment. This is key for proper metabolism and digestion of their food as well as overall health and function. During the day your uromastyx should have a basking area that reaches 110-130°F, with a cool side having an ambient air temperature of 80-90°F. During the night ideal temperatures should remain between 70-80°F, avoiding any temperatures below 65°F due to risk of causing digestive issue and other illnesses.
Humidity and Hydration
Humidity and hydration play several important roles in your uromastyx health. Humidity assists in proper shedding and rate of dehydration, but can cause respiratory issues and issues with their tail in particular if too high. Ideal humidity for a uromastyx is 10-40% humidity and should be monitored using a hygrometer inside the enclosure. Most uromastyx won’t drink out of a water dish and prefer to drink from condensation or mist on their body or in the enclosure. To achieve a desired drinking and hydration a night-time fogging with a humidifier or fogger twice a week or an early morning misting can help achieve proper hydration. Naturally uromastyx live in high humidity burrows and simulating this can help maintain proper hydration.
Nutrition is a very important part of allowing for proper growth and development of a uromastyx. Understanding and knowing the appropriate food choices can help your uromastyx stay healthy and avoid many medical complications. Baby and juvenile uromastyx should be fed 1-2 times a day. As well adults can be fed 1-2 times a day or as needed to maintain desired weight. It is needed to supplement your uromastyx’s food with calcium and vitamin dustings to provide additional nutrients. Dusting your greens with calcium during every feeding is needed for a uromastyx. Multivitamin dustings are recommended every 1-2 weeks. Consult with a veterinarian to discuss the possible need of adding vitamin D3 to your calcium dusting as in some cases it may be recommended. A list of recommended supplementations can be found below. Uromastyx are mainly herbivorous, but are known to also eat insects occasionally. There are several appropriate methods to feeding including offering greens in the morning and evening with a few insects once a week, rotating days offering greens in the morning and vegetables in the evening with weekly offerings of insects, or even offering greens and vegetables daily together and insects once or twice a week. Maintaining a balance and routine diet is important to maintaining stable health in a uromastyx.
Greens and Vegetable Options: (~90% of diet)
Mustard greens, collard greens, kale, cabbage, turnup greens, shredded carrots, spineless prickly pear, dandelion flowers and greens, or shredded yellow squash. A dish offering lentils, millet, and split peas can be available at all times. If on substrate it is important to offer greens and vegetables in a dish, slate, or hard surface to avoid consumption of the substrate.
Insect Food Sources: (~10% of Diet)
Most commonly offer insects include superworms and mealworms, but other feeders such as crickets, dubia roaches, or grasshoppers due to low fat to high protein ratios and hornworms, phoenix worms, silkworms, or butterworms due to high fat or low protein rations. (Hornworms are a good source of fluids, and Phoenix worms are a good source of calcium) Can also be offer. It is important to feed these in a food dish where they cannot escape or cause the uromastyx to consume a substrate while trying to eat. Dusting insects offer with calcium is recommended.
Recommended Dusting Supplements:
Repashy Calcium Plus Reptile Supplement
Flukers Calcium without D3 and phosphorus free
ZooMed Repti Calcium without D3
ZooMed Reptivite without D3
Enrichment is an important and stimulating part of a uromastyx’s day to day life.
Several Enrichment options are listed below:
Thrive Feeding Ball – Allows your uromastyx to stay stimulated and rotate a plastic ball to gain access their insect food source.
Obstacle Mazes – Creating mazes or obstacles that require the uromastyx to move to get to its food stimulates activity and exercise for your uromastyx.
Supervised Time Outside Their Enclosure – Make sure to have a clean, item free area where you can supervise the activity of your uromastyx. Make sure no other pets including dogs, or cats have access to the uromastyx when outside its enclosure.
Outdoor Enclosure – This is beneficial by not only providing natural sunlight on days where weather is appropriate, but stimulation of another environment. Make sure that the weather is appropriate to their needed temperatures, provide them with shelter and a water source, and do not leave them unsupervised unless they are in an enclosure safe from predators and secure from escaping.
Is My Uromastyx A Male or Female?
Some species of uromastyx are sexually dimorphic, meaning we can visually differentiate a male from a female. Males and females will vary in color and size depending on their specific species in these cases. In addition, the most reliable way in determining sex can be done by a skilled veterinary professional through several methods at a younger age including probing for hemipene pockets, endoscopic sex determination, and ultrasound sex determination. Listed below is a helpful characteristic that you look for to visually differentiate a male and female.
Hemipene Bulges – Adult male uromastyx will have enlarged bulges around the ventral (bottom) aspect of their tail base just behind the vent. This can be easier or harder to see depending on the weight and body condition of the uromastyx. Females lack hemipenes and do not develop the same bulge seen in the males. Gently lifting the tail can allow for visualization of these bulges in a male.
Want this information in hand? Download the Uromastyx Care Guide below!