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Uromastyx Care Guide for Beginners

Uromastyx Care Guide for Beginners

Uromastyx, also called the spiny tail lizards, are a type of lizard and can be found in deserts and semi-desert regions. They have an average life span of 20 years and require very little human interaction to stay healthy. In this guide we will discuss their care requirements including diet, environmental needs, behavior patterns as well as what you need for housing them. We hope that through reading this article you will decide if Uromastyx is the right lizard for your family!

What Are Uromastyx?

Uromastyx are a genus of large, arboreal agamid lizards found throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Inhabiting rocky deserts and other areas where they can find crevices to hide in during the day or burrow underground, these spiky reptiles have evolved to thrive under harsh conditions—and make great pets for people who want to own a pet lizard. Uromastyx are primarily herbivorous, but because so much of their natural habitat has been altered by humans they may also eat insects and other small invertebrates when food is scarce.

Uromastyx lizards are herbivores and need a diet high in fiber and low in fat. They can be fed leafy greens like collard, mustard, dandelion, endive (chicory), escarole (endive), radish tops; vegetables such as carrots or squash; fruits like red apple, pear, peach or melon; and flowers like hibiscus. They need to eat a lot of vegetables in order to get enough calcium for healthy bones, but because the high fiber content of greens is difficult for them to digest they may not be able to process all that vegetation on their own. To ensure your uro gets all the nutrients it needs, you can dust their food with calcium powder or soak the greens in water that has had vitamin D-fortified orange juice added to it.

Uromastyx lizards are diurnal (active during the day) and like basking in sunlight once they wake up in the morning; therefore, if kept indoors make sure there is a basking lamp and/or heat pad available to them. They’ll also need an ultraviolet light source (UVB bulb) for 12-14 hours per day, as the special lights will help them synthesize vitamin D and metabolize calcium from their diet.

What Are Uromastyx?

Keeping uros happy and healthy means providing them with enough room to move around and a suitable abode to live in. A glass aquarium with a secure screen top is fine for one or two lizards, but if you have more pets it’s best to invest in an enclosure made of wire mesh that can be easily cleaned. Uromastyx are strong and can break free from small enclosures, so be sure the wire mesh is no more than half an inch thick.

Uromastyx lizards are desert dwellers that dig burrows under rocks for shelter during the day; therefore, they need to live in a dry environment with some place cool but also warm to hide when they sleep. They like to climb and do best in an enclosure with branches or other items they can use as perches. Climbing branches (like grapevine) should be sturdy but not so heavy that your lizard gets injured when it falls off, while any rocks placed inside the cage need to be made of a material that won’t break apart if your uro falls on it.

Uromastyx lizards are intelligent animals that need mental stimulation in order to be happy, so offering them new things to explore and play with every day will help keep their spirits up. They love natural items like rocks or wood pieces they can climb on, burrow under, hide behind, etc., but you can also feed them by hand and give them a treat like calcium powder or liquid calcium with D vitamins added to it, which they’ll lick up eagerly.

Appearance and Origin

The Uromastyx is a genus of lizards that are found in the desert regions of Northern Africa, across the Middle East to India and Pakistan. There are ten different species with two subspecies which makes for twelve types of uromastyx! All these varieties have very similar care requirements though they can vary slightly depending on their location.

A desert lizard, Uromastyx lizards are found in dry and arid climates. They will not do well if they are kept over wet substrate as this can lead to fungal infections on their skin so it is important that you keep the habitat very clean! Make sure any food items offered are dusted with calcium powder or provide a calcium lick for your lizard.

Appearance and Origin

This type of lizard is an omnivore and they will eat both meat-based items as well as plant matter, so it’s important that their diets are varied. They should be fed a variety of insects such as crickets or mealworms but also vegetables like kale, collard greens, mustard greens and turnip greens. You can also feed them fruits such as papaya and mango but try to keep this at a lower percentage of their diet.

Gender Difference and Mating

Male Uromastyxs are known for their blue color on the top of head whereas females have gray color. This is one way to determine genders if you do not want to spend money for getting your lizard checked by a vet or purchasing a home test kit which can be very expensive. Males also have thick crests, but they are smaller in comparison to female’s crests.

Allen says that if you are not sure which gender your Uromastyx is, look for the small white spot on their throat. It may be difficult in younger lizards while it becomes more visible as they grow older and bigger. Females have round shapes whereas male’s color is vivid with blue color. Males are also found to be more aggressive in comparison with females who can live happily together if they get along well.

Uromastyx is a lizard species which mates throughout the year but females lay eggs once in two years only during two months of winter season because it’s mating time for them and that makes sense why they eat less during this period.

In order to know which gender your Uromastyx is, you will need a UV light and a hand lens for accurate observation of their private parts. A typical lizard’s penis that has opened into Y shape with two prongs at the end while females have a slit or hole on top of their belly just near the back legs.

Why Does Uromastyx Make Good Pets?

Why Does Uromastyx Make Good Pets?

Uromastyx is a type of lizard that resembles the dinosaurs. The reptiles are known for their spiky, fat tails and broad feet which enable them to run across flat deserts at high speeds. They also have very long necks when extended outwards from their body in order to hunt insects such as locusts and crickets. They can reach a size of up to 50 cm and, on top of that, they are very easy to take care for.

Uromastyx is a type of lizard that resembles the dinosaurs. The reptiles are known for their spiky, fat tails and broad feet which enable them to run across flat deserts at high speeds. They also have very long necks when extended outwards from their body in order to hunt insects such as locusts and crickets. They can reach a size of up to 50 cm and, on top of that, they are very easy to take care for.

Fun Facts about Uromastyx

Uromastyx are commonly referred to as spiny-tailed lizards or mastigure. This is due to their ability to puff out and darken the skin on their tail when they feel threatened (known as “autotomy”). This act serves them well in self defense, but can be an annoyance for owners of these particular pets (more on that later).

Uromastyx are quite fascinating in appearance. They have a very spiny tail which is usually held up over their backs like an angry cat, and they possess unusual necks (called “sagittal crests”) with spikes protruding out of them. These features combined give the lizard its distinctive appearance.

The lizard’s head is rounded, with large eyes that are often ringed in black or dark orange. Uromastyx can have a wide variety of colors and patterns including reds, yellows, oranges, greens (very rare), whites, browns and grays. They also come in many different sizes, ranging from about 12-18 inches long.

Uromastyx are commonly found in the desert regions of North Africa, but they can also be seen inhabiting areas of northern India and Israel. Due to their habitat being so hot, these lizards have evolved a way to conserve water by not producing tears (similar to camels). They also dig deep burrows to keep safe from the hot sun and predators.

Fun Facts about Uromastyx

Uromastyx are often considered one of, if not THE most popular lizard pets today (along with bearded dragons). This is because they make an ideal pet for beginners; their care requirements can be quite simple compared to other lizards, making them a good choice for those just entering the world of reptile-keeping.

The Cost of Caring For and Raising Uromastyx

The cost of caring for Uromastyx is much less than other pet lizards, but it can still be quite expensive if you let it. You should plan to spend at least $300-$500 per year on housing and supplies. -You will also need a source of UVB lighting (at least 100 watts) which costs around $100. -Food costs can be really expensive, especially if you buy the highest quality diet available at pet stores which is around $40 per bag! Fortunately there are other options that cost much less and have great results in my opinion.

How Much Does Uromastyx Cost?

The cost of a uromastyx can be anywhere from $15 to $100. The price depends on the age and size, but also whether or not they are captive bred or wild caught. The latter will have a higher price tag because it requires the breeder to take more time and care to make sure they are healthy enough to breed.

Uromastyx Lifespan

On average, the uromastyx life expectancy is around 15 years in captivity. However, there have been many cases of these lizards living up to 20-25 years when given proper care and husbandry! This means that if you want a pet that can be with you for many years, this is definitely the lizard to consider.

Cost for Cage Setup

A 40 gallon tank is not very expensive, but you need to be able to heat it and keep the humidity level high. The best way would be an under-the-tank heater in combination with a basking light for UVB . This setup will cost around $120-$150 dollars depending on where you get your supplies from.

Cost for Cage Setup

An alternative would be to use a kiddie pool or stock tank. This will decrease the cost of your setup by around $80-$100 dollars, but it is more difficult to control the humidity levels in this type of cage setup. It also might not provide enough space for larger uros. The choice is up to you!

Cost for Food

Uromastyx eat mostly leaves and shrubs, so they do not need to be fed any other type of food. However, owners must provide their pet with a high-quality commercial diet at least once or twice per week. These diets should contain the correct amount of calcium and vitamin D that will keep your pet healthy and happy. The average cost of a high-quality commercial uromastyx diet is $20 per 25 lb bag.

In the case that you find yourself unable to purchase food from online retailers, you can also grow certain types of plants for Uromastyx in your home garden or yard. These plant species include: prickly pear cactus, Russian olive tree, alfalfa grasses and flowers.

Medical Costs for Uromastyx

Vet visit costs can be anywhere between $45 to $150 per office visit. Make sure you have some money set aside for this expense, as it’s not unusual for uro owners to go through multiple vet visits every year (especially if they are new to the species). Uros need annual checkups and wellness exams just like any other pet. But their medical needs go beyond the basics, because they are a fragile species that should be handled by experienced vets.

Uromastyx owners report spending anywhere from $20 to over $100 on emergency vet care for sick uros every month! Some of these visits end up being purely preventative (like yearly physicals), but other times owners end up at the vet because of some life threatening emergency. So make sure you’re prepared to spend a significant amount on your uro each year!

Where Can I Buy Uromastyx?

One of the most popular lizards kept in captivity, Uromastyx are not only hardy but colorful. They have become increasingly sought after due to their unique appearance and even more intriguing behaviors! You can find these little gems at your local pet store or you might be able to get lucky on Craigslist. If purchasing from a breeder is an option for you, this is a much better approach as the adults will be more reliable at being healthy and feeding. If you are purchasing from a breeder it is best to ask if they have any baby uros that may need rehoming as well – there’s always someone who wants them!

Where Can I Buy Uromastyx?

Pet Stores

While the internet is always a good resource for information, it is not your only option. One great place to start looking for an urchin egg-eater would be at local pet stores. Depending on where you live there may also be reptile shows that are coming up in your area which can give you access to more exotic pets. Pet Stores are a great place to find uromastyx urchins. Some stores have them for sale, but most will know where you can purchase one. A few reptile shows might be coming up in your area that would allow you access to more exotic pets as well.

Breeders and Sources

If you are lucky enough to live in an area where there is a local breeder, this would be the best way to find out about upcoming sales and stock. For those of us not so fortunate, we’re going to have to look at our other options. The second choice that many people turn towards when sourcing their uro’s is the internet. There are many places to buy from, and it’s important that you do your research before buying anything online (especially if you plan on purchasing animals from the site). There have been many horror stories of people purchasing animals from what they thought was a reputable website or seller, only to find out that it’s either a fraud, contains subpar care information, misinformation about how old their animal is, and so on. In fact there are several Facebook groups dedicated to warning other members against particular breeders, and you should definitely spend some time looking through them (just be careful not to fall for clickbait scams that are set up by the same people who run these pages).

Classified Ads/Facebook Groups

There are many classified ads/Facebook groups that you can find. The prices may vary, but always keep in mind the age of an animal if it is for sale. You should never purchase any reptile or amphibian without knowing its exact age (ideally). If someone will only give their age as two years old, they could be anywhere from two years to six+ years old. If you are looking for an animal that is still growing, this could be a potential problem as the age gap may be too much between your uro and any prospective new friends!

Reptile Rescues

If you are willing to go the extra mile, consider checking out your local reptile rescues. These groups usually have a few uromastyx for sale as well but likely will not be able to give any sort of detailed information about them because it may vary from one rescue group to another (and their care needs can change dramatically over time). If you are able to see the setup of their housing, this would be helpful.

Reptile Rescues

Breeder Sales or Reptile Shows

The last way that beginners might find an urchin before hitting up Facebook groups and classified ads is by purchasing from a breeder sale (or reptile show). This can be more expensive than getting one off of Craigslist but it will be worth the peace of mind in knowing that you are getting a healthy and well-socialized animal.

Home set up for uromastyx  lizards

A proper home should include: a large, well-ventilated enclosure; an under tank heater (UTH) and/or heat lamp for basking spot; UVB lighting; fresh water in a shallow dish. For more information on creating the perfect habitat please see our Habitat page.

Tank  Size

You’ll need a large tank for your Uromastyx, one that is at least 36″ x 18″ x 12″. They can get up to 24-30 inches in length! While this may seem like it would be way too big for you or wherever you plan on putting the habitat, there are actually some great options for housing your uromastyx.

Uromastyx need a very specific habitat to survive, so you’ll want to make sure that the tank is set up exactly how they need it. If you’re low on space and don’t have anywhere in your home or yard where this can go, there are some great options available at pet stores that will work.

The first is a combination of glass and wire cages, which are usually sold as an aquarium set up. These come in different sizes, but the trick with these is making sure you get one big enough for your Uromastyx’s length to fit comfortably inside without being able to turn around all the way.

These cages are probably the most common option, but they do have some cons. The biggest one is that you can’t see your lizard at all if it’s in this kind of enclosure so it may be harder to enjoy them as much!

Another issue with glass aquariums is that Uromastyx need sand or dirt which will get everywhere and make the enclosure dirty. This is just extra work that you’ll have to do if you’re using this kind of tank

Other options are really tall, but skinny tanks like the one pictured below. These might be better for smaller lizards or younger ones who can’t fit across so much space yet! You may also want to check out some plastic storage containers, which are surprisingly cheap and easy to get!

Tank  Size

You could also use an enclosure that’s designed for other lizards. Bearded dragons or leopard geckos would be perfect because they’re smaller than uromastyx so you can save space while still giving them the right environment. Of course, if you have room it’s always best to get one that’s designed for your pet specifically so you know it has everything they need!

Basking Accessories like Branches, Rocks, And Hiding Holes

Basking is an important part of your Uromastyx’ life. Basking helps them regulate their body temperature, which in turn helps them digest food more efficiently and boosts immunity. Give your pet a variety of basking spots to choose from so they can thermoregulate throughout the day easily by moving around or changing places with another basking spot in their vivarium.

Here are some basking accessories you can add to your pet’s home:

Branches, rocks, and other decorations that they can climb on or hide underneath will offer them different levels of relaxation throughout the day. Climbing is very beneficial for Uromastyx because it builds muscle and helps them burn excess fat.

Having a few branches with leaves will provide your pet the opportunity to snack on fresh greenery throughout the day, which adds extra nutrients and fiber into their diet plan. Make sure that they are pesticide free so you don’t accidentally poison your little buddy! If there aren’t any natural branches in your pet’s habitat, you can always buy some from the local pet shop and spray them with water daily so they stay fresh and green.

Hiding holes aren’t just great for hiding out during times of stress or sleep; they also provide a warm refuge on cool mornings when your Uro wants to escape chilly temperatures in his burrow. Your pet will appreciate having a few hiding holes in his home that he can choose from, so if one is too hot or cold for him during different times of the day you won’t have to worry: he’ll just take over another.

Make sure your Uromastyx has enough room to bask and explore every area of his habitat by offering him a variety of basking and hiding accessories.

Dishes and Bowls

Uromastyx are strict herbivores. Their diet consists of 80%–90% plant material, with flowers and leaves being the most important part of their diet. They require a high fiber intake to ensure that they receive adequate nutrients from food without taking too much calcium into their bodies. You can provide your Uromastyx with a calcium supplement in the form of calcium carbonate (i.e.: Tums) or with cuttlebone, which is used to make bird feed and can be purchased at most pet stores.

Dishes and Bowls

How do I choose the right uromastyx for me?

When it comes to choosing a healthy uromastyx for you, there are several things that need to be considered. The first thing is the age and weight of the lizard because they should fit well in your hand or palm. If you have children, make sure they won’t handle them too roughly as their skin can tear easily which can lead to infections.

Uromastyx are also solitary lizards, so you should only have one in a terrarium or enclosure. If you want more than one uromastyx, make sure they’re the same species and probably around the same size because large ones can eat smaller ones if hungry enough! Some people will argue that you can keep two together, but it’s not recommended.

Once your uromastyx is in the enclosure, make sure they have ample room to roam because these guys are active lizards! The height of the enclosure should be at least 30 inches or higher so that there is enough space for climbing and hiding. If an adult is housed in an enclosure that’s too small, it can lead to health problems and they may become aggressive.

Keep the temperature around 100 degrees during the day with a basking spot of 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure there is enough room for them to get away from the heat if they want or need to, otherwise this could lead to health problems as well.

The humidity in the enclosure should be around 20% and a shallow water dish will help with this. The substrate you use is also important, so make sure it’s non-toxic for uromastyx lizards because they will eat anything that smells good! If there are any loose pieces of substrate (like bark or moss), make sure they won’t eat it because it can cause intestinal impaction and death.

The last thing you want to consider when choosing a uromastyx for your child is the size of the parents so that there aren’t any surprises in store! If possible, try to see pictures of the parents and get a general idea of their size.

All three (height, temperature, humidity) should be considered before buying your uromastyx lizard to make sure you’re providing the best care for it. The enclosure needs to ensure they have room to roam and also allows them plenty of places to hide when needed such as rocks, logs, and other decor.


The diet for uromastyx is very simple, but there are a few things that should be considered. First off, it’s important to remember that they are primarily herbivores in the wild and need plants in their diets to survive. They do not have any kind of special digestive enzymes so you don’t really want them eating bugs or meat.

They will eat some greens, so you can give them kale, collard greens and dandelions as well as carrots. Since they are desert animals it may be helpful to have a dish of sand in the enclosure so that if they do need something with grit on their teeth this is there for them. I would recommend a dish that is ceramic or something similar and it should be big enough for them to climb into.


Another thing you will need to consider about their diet is the calcium: phosphorus ratio. You want this ratio to be close to two so they can use the nutrients from both of these minerals, but not too high as well because if there is too much calcium the animal will have problems.

It’s important to remember that Uromastyx are not going to be eating a lot of food at a time so you need to give them enough for about three days and take out any leftovers each day. You can also sprinkle some vitamin powder on their vegetables or put it in a dish for them to lick at their leisure.

You will need to soak the veggies in water so that they can get fluid, but since these animals are also desert creatures you don’t want too much because it could cause problems for your Uromastyx which we will go into more detail about below.

Daily Feeding and Cleaning Routine

Edit your uro’s enclosure daily and spot clean the area around his/her droppings. This little bit of work is essential to maintaining a healthy habitat that helps prevent illness.

Make sure you feed your pet with fresh vegetables at least once every day, as well as other foods like mealworms or crickets.

The most important aspect of caring for your uro is to ensure that you feed them a proper diet. You should be giving them good quality vegetables and greens, like mustard greens or collard greens (and no iceberg lettuce), along with occasional insects and other foods like mealworms or crickets. Sandwiches are also something we enjoy feeding our uros.

Handling and Bonding

This species is one of the best to handle. They are very docile, calm and don’t run away when you pick them up. If your uro bites or gets scared it’s because they didn’t recognize your scent yet – not a reason to worry! Their bite will only hurt for a few seconds but keep in mind that they have a thick tail and it can get ripped off if the euro falls from height, so be careful!

When you first handle your new baby make sure to rub your scent on its body. Uros recognize our scents very easily. So by rubbing yourself over his or her whole body this will help them get used to you. You can even put a little bit of your clothes on them to help the bonding process, just let it rest over their back for a few hours so they get used to your scent.

Once they are familiar with your smell and have seen you often around their enclosure without running away from you then it’s time to start handling them! Start with a few minutes and slowly increase the time.

You can even try to let them walk out of their terrarium on your hand – this is where bonding becomes important! If you have handled them since they were babies, then it’s very likely that they will walk into your hands or stay there for a while. However if you just bought your uro then it will be a bit more difficult.

So once your uro is used to you, start by putting one hand inside the enclosure and wait for them to come onto your hands or walk on top of them. Once they are comfortable with this, slowly try picking up their tail – again make sure that they are familiar with your scent and your hands.


Do uromastyx need an under tank heater?

It depends on where you live and the season. If there is a temperature drop below 75 degrees at night, an under tank heater may be necessary to keep your uromastyx from getting too cold. In general however, as long as they have a basking area that’s kept around 100-110 degrees they should be fine.

What do I need for a uromastyx?

Uromastyx are desert lizards, so they need a warm environment. The tank should be around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You also need to make sure there is no humidity in the cage because Uro’s can get respiratory infections from high levels of humidity. For substrate you will want something that holds heat well and dries easily. This could be reptile carpet or play sand. You can also use a heat rock on one side of the cage to provide heat for your Uromastyx, but make sure they do not come in direct contact with it as this will burn them!

Useful Video: How to Set Up and Care for Uromastyx Lizards


This is a great way to get started with new pets and uro’s are one of the best for beginners. They aren’t as popular as bearded dragons but they can be just as easy, if not easier than caring for beardies! So come on over and check us out at The Ultimate Uromastyx Care Guide for Beginners.