Spiny Tail Lizard (Uromastyx) Care and Husbandry

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Spiny Tail Lizard (Uromastyx) Care and Husbandry
STATEN ISLAND ANIMAL HOSPITAL
AVIAN AND EXOTICS PET CARE LIBRARY
Uromastyx species are now being successfully kept in
captivity due to better understanding of their dietary
and environmental requirements. Two popular
species that do well in captivity include Uromastyx
maliensis (or mali uromastyx) and Uromastyx ocellata
ornate. Very docile and often shy, allow for a hiding
place in their enclosure and plenty of substrate to dig
and burrow in. These gentle creatures are diurnal —
active during the day and sleeping at night.
Spiny Tail Lizard (Uromastyx) Care and Husbandry
Diet
Most uromastyx lizards are herbivores, therefore,
they eat mainly vegetables. A few species may
require more protein in their diet and can be
offered gut-loaded crickets every few weeks.
Juveniles require a higher percentage of protein
in their diet than adults do. Incorporating
softened iguana or tortoise pellets is beneficial
to maintaining a healthy lizard. Dark leafy
greens, such as collards, kale and dandelion
greens are good sources of calcium. Squash,
sweet potatoes and other mixed vegetables can
also be fed in small amounts for a balanced diet. A healthy male Uromastyx (saharan uromastyx)
Calcium supplements should be given 2-3 times
a week and multivitamins (with Vitamin A) should be given once a week to every other week. If
your uromastyx eats 30-50% pelleted diet with the greens, you do not need to apply the extra
vitamins to the food. Make sure to research the specific dietary requirements for your species.
Fresh water should always be available. Soaking two to three times a week for 10 minutes in
warm, shallow water may be needed in addition to a water dish for hydration. This will depend
on the age and import status of your uromastyx. Be sure to check with your veterinarian.
Housing
Uromastyx aegyptia
A 30-gallon fish tank with a secure, fine, mesh
screen top is a good cage to start with for most
young uromastyx. Depending on the species you
will have to buy or have built an appropriate sized
enclosure – preferably four times the length or more
of the animal. Hide boxes that are low enough to touch
the uromastyx are important for them to feel secure in
their enclosures. A basking area with an incandescent
bulb should be offered on one side of the cage.
Continued on page 2
640 Willowbrook Road, Staten Island, NY 10314 | Ph 718.698.1400 | statenislandanimalhospital.com
Spiny Tail Lizard (Uromastyx) Care and Husbandry
| Page 2
The temperature under that light, where the uromastyx will
actually sit should reach 110-150 (depending on the
species) degrees F and in 80-90 degrees F at the
cooler end. The temperature should drop to 60-70
degrees F at night. You also need to offer a 5.0
UVb fluorescent light over the basking area.
This bulb needs to be 7-15 inches from the
animal in order to work well. Make sure
there is NO glass or plastic between this
Uromastyx acantlinura (4 years old)
bulb and your uromastyx. Lights should be
on 12 hours a day and UVb fluorescent bulbs
need to be replaced every 6 months (even if they still work). Right now there are several
incandescent bulbs that provide heat and UVb such as, T-Rex Active UVB Heat bulbs and
Zoomed’s PowerSun UVB bulb. Use newspaper, indoor/outdoor carpet or Care Fresh as
substrate. Uros love to burrow so the Care Fresh is ideal. Natural sunlight is the best source
of UVb light.
You can expose your uromastyx to the summer months, but DO NOT leave your lizard
outside in a glass tank or an enclosed container because it will overheat. In addition, dogs,
cats, raccoons, among others, like to eat uromastyx so never leave your uromastyx
unattended.
Veterinary Care
Veterinary care is important in uromastyx lizards
because most of the animals in the pet trade are
caught from the wild. Many animals suffer from
malnourishment and dehydration during shipment.
Internal and external parasites are also common in
wild animals. Yearly exams help maintain health
and identify problems such as gout, skin infections
and other problems.
Uromastyx maliensis (mali uromastyx)
If you have any questions or concerns about your
pet lizard or would like to schedule an appointment
for your pet, please call Staten Island Animal
Hospital at 718-698-1400.

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