New Uro won't eat, other issues

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Hatchling Member

I got my first uro a week ago. He is an adult dwarf breed, but I don't know which breed. The pet store said he was the smallest uro breed in the world?

I have him in a 55 gallon tank with reptile carpet and a 12x12inch porcelain tile (for his nails). He has a cave on the cool end and a hollow plastic tree on his basking end, which he hangs out inside a lot. His basking spot is around 115 degrees, his cool side is 86 degree. He has a Powersun MVB (100 watt) on his basking spot and a 75 watt incandescent bulb. He has a Reptisun 10.0 18-inch tube on the cool side of the cage. I am offering him collard greens, spring salad mix, strawberries, apples, blueberries, and I think that is it. He also has bird food to eat - they are like reptile crunchies? The pet store said to feed him that and it is the only thing I've seen him eat so far. Here it is at Petsmart. He has a water dish in his cage.


1. He's not eating. I've seen him eating a little of the crunchies and he ate one piece of collard greens the first day. His poops were large and numerous at first, today it was just a tiny little thing.

2. He glass dances most of the day, but if I stick my hand in the cage, he tries to run up the glass to get away. He was cool with me the first few days and is now completely freaked out. When he isn't glass dancing, he is hiding in his basking tree for the most part. I'm trying to just stick my hand in the cage and leave it, so that he gets used to the hand. I did that with my beardie and it worked, but my beardie was nothing like this.

3. I've given him two baths and both times he fell asleep in the tub. He seems really relaxed but it doesn't seem right. I think he is too cold maybe? The bath was about 105 degrees (taken with an infrared, not sure if that works for water). Pet store said to bathe him 2x/week.

Please note, I say "pet store" but it is a specialty store in Pennsylvania that is all reptile and they breed almost all their animals, but not the uros. I feel that they are significantly more knowledgeable than a regular pet store employee. The setup I am using is what they told me to do. I feel comfortable with it, not sure about the bird food, though.

I'm sure relocation stress is the main problem here (aside from the bathing thing), but I'm getting concerned since he isn't eating. I was told he might eat crickets a few times a week and I'm going to buy some today and gutload for a few days. I also read online that they should not eat bugs, so... ?

Thoughts? Advice?



Well, my first answer from what I have read and being about 2 months ahead of you in owning a Uro is this..they take a awhile to acclimate. Not a week, but weeks/months.

I would just leave him alone for the most part. Keep offering him his greens everyday and try to sort of keep an eye on his eating. If he seems to be loading up on only the seed, I would take it out. Uro's get their moisture from the greens, so only eating seeds, pellets etc can lead to de-hydration.

Speaking of water..Uro's like very low humidity. I would remove the water dish and NO baths. Baths can lead to water being breathed in and upper respiratory infections. My understanding is bathing is Uro is a last resort for severe de-hydration only.

It sounds like your diet is great and temps are good..I suspect the guy just needs to get used to his new home. My Mali goes through stages every few days where is very tense and skittish. Other days he will let you hand feed him. Some days he hides all day. I let him do his thing. If he is skittish, I leave him alone.

Uro's , unlike bearded dragons prefer not to be handled much. It is really more of an observational type pet I think.


Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Thanks for your advice. I took out the water dish. I tried giving him a few crickets this morning. He was very interested in eating them but couldn't catch any - even when I was holding it in front of him with tongs. They are smaller than the space between his eyes, but not much smaller.

I notice that when he is cooler, he is okay with me holding him. He only gets cooler from baths (no more baths) and from being held, so I'm not sure how to utilize this information. It could be useful in the taming of the uro. I hope he starts eating soon, though. I'm concerned since he is barely pooping now. I have some Critical Care that I could syringe feed him, but I suspect it will be a lot trickier to syringe feed him than my beardie. I'll probably wait on that. I'm going to take him to the vet this week or the next anyway to get him established as a patient and to get a fecal done.

He's so cute, I'm disappointed that he isn't a cuddler like my beardie :( but he is a lot of fun to watch :)


A vet visit certainly couldn't hurt.

I would also avoid any insect food. Uro's are herbivores. Insect/animal protein can lead to problems with health down the road as I understand it. I would not recommend the force feeding either, it will only add to the stress and compound the problem.

I am willing to bet if you offer the greens every day and just leave him alone to acclimate, he will be fine.

We are having a test of wills right now with mine. He decided he only wants to eat hibiscus flowers and baby iguana treats..both treats we give him on occasion. He tears apart his salad and tank looking for the iguana treats in particular. We have cut him off and he has not eaten in 3 days now. I am not overly worried, he will eat his greens when he gets hungry enough. Tough love.


Uro's are vegetarians, I'd stick to strictly half and half ORGANIC spring mix (take out the spinach it inhibits their calcium absorption I was told) and dark green veggies like kale and collard greens. Wash these well, leave the water on the leaves a little, and rip up into pieces to make sure the size of the veggies isn't too intimidating. Add some calcium powder lightly to the veggies. Look for the Repashy brand online.

No insects should be fed to Uromastyx's, their bodies aren't meant for that type of protein, leafy greens should be the staple. Also bird seed can make a good substrate and I've been told acts as roughage for all the leafy greens they eat. My babies love to chow on that stuff and not eat their veggies so I'd keep an eye on that with yours. It looks like this:

NO water. Absolutely no water bowls OR baths. They are very very dry lizards, and can't handle any more water other than what comes in the veggies. Repeated baths or forcing them to drink water can be fatal.

One of my Uro's is very very shy. I've taped white printer paper on all sides of the enclosure because he runs back into his cave if he sees me looking at him. He only eats if I've left him completely alone and not make eye contact especially. He also will only bask if he's alone in the room. My female could care less and doesn't mind my presence but my male is very shy.

My Uro's are comfortable around 125 F and feel sluggish and won't eat if they are colder than 110. My male's coloring comes out best when it's super hot in the tank and the UVB light is on. Otherwise he's dark grey instead of his beautiful white and lime green.

My Uro's poop every day around the same time, when it gets hot enough in the cage for them to come out of their cave-beds and start basking.


Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Vianeth, thanks for your advice!

I'd read about using the bird seed/millet as a substrate on the Deer Fern Farms page. Are they the generally accepted experts on Uro care? They also recommend not using a UVB light and I saw another thread here about how that has possibly not worked well. There is so much info out there about bearded dragons but just not much about Uros (that I've found so far). I prefer to see several experts agree before I accept anything as gospel, you know? It's been frustrating with the Uros.

Do you think that the bird seed substrate might be too big for my uro? He's 7.5 inches long and 72 grams. Also, how do you keep it clean?

He didn't manage to eat any crickets and I took them away. No bugs for him. I understand that the spring mix has to be organic - I can't find any organic collards or kale, though. I wish I could. Should I add the calcium every day for an adult? What about vitamins?

I'll be honest, I had taken out the water dish based on Draxx's advice, but yesterday he just looked dehydrated to me. The skin around his middle was pretty wrinkled and I associate that with being dehydrated. He hadn't been eating, so there was no water coming in. So I put the water dish back in and I took a piece of collard and wet it and rubbed it on his mouth. A few hours later, he had eaten ALL his greens. I hadn't bothered to put in much, but I put in more and he ate a little more. Exciting times! I've taken the water bowl back out now.

I wonder if my uro is like your shy one. The room he is in, my teenage daughter is hanging out in there all day on her computer. I also never see him basking. I think I'll try covering the front of his cage today and see if he is happier. Or maybe I should just leave it alone since he just ate yesterday. I might not want to make a change if he's only just now adjusting.

I appreciate your advice!


It does seem like there aren't enough solid, expert information about Uro's out there. For me, I have 1 book about them I found at a pet store, and the internet.
The guy at Deer Dern Farms aka Doug Dix is 1 of the only 2 Uro breeders in the US specializing in certain types/colors. (not sure which types but this is what he told me at an expo). He also breeds tortoises and is familiar with beardies. So he's been doing this awhile, knows the species quite well when it comes to captive breeding and raising. He knows their personalities, habits, what they like to eat, all that. He's experimented a lot more than most of us have i'm sure, and he's determined that bird seed is the safest substrate for these guys because it's digestible.
I think what you should do is do some safe experimenting yourself. I started out with no UVB light because that's what Doug said he eliminated from his viv's and can supplement with Repashy powder's. I think he said something about them not needing any mercury vapor bulbs at the expo, and that it didn't seem to show that they needed it (the uvb part of the bulb). I ended up putting the Reptisun 10.0 t8 bulb back in there just to cover my bases. I figure that they are sun loving and heat loving lizards. Giving them UVB light just makes sense to me. Doug also suggests to try and give the Uro's natural sunlight when possible (I still have yet to do this...)
If you buy the very small round beige colored bird seed (I saw this stuff in Doug's tubs at the expo surrounding a rock in the Uro enclosure) it won't be too big. My little babies, who are 6" long, are fine with it. When I first brought them home, they ate the seed only and not the veggies so I had to get rid of the seed for awhile and keep them on a different substrate, which ended up being paper towels.
A few of us here on the boards are using the Reptisun 10.0. I want to say my Uro's enjoy it because their coloring brightens up and they get more active with it. But I think it might be just the heat they care about, so i'm not really sure. I just feel better having UVB light in there for their calcium powder.
Wrinkly skin- my Uro's get that as well even though they get plenty of hydration with their veggies. I think that's just how it is, and it does look kind of weird. My female is growing and is looking less wrinkly. Her stomach is usually filled out and flattened during the day when she basks. My male is a bit on the skinny side compared to my female. He has scrawny legs and he usually lies down in an S shape which makes the wrinkling appear worse. The best you can do is to make sure to keep feeding your Uro the spring mix and dark greens consistantly. I try to keep fresh greens in the tank at all times and make sure they see it and know it's there. When I fill the bowl and put it in the tank, I take a piece and set it down in front of their head so that they smell it and they usually eat it after I do this. After finishing they get up to look for the bowl which I put down in clear view of them. Sometimes this means putting it under the heat lamp.


Hatchling Member
Original Poster
Thanks, Vianeth. I'm interested in the bird seed substrate, but I'm going to read up on it a bit more first. I should reread Doug's care sheet - I read it before getting Hugo and so I think I'll find it more helpful now.

It's good to know that the wrinkly skin is normal. Hugo started shedding yesterday. I also cleaned his cage for the first time since I got him (aside from the daily cleanings) and I think it upset him. Plus, he had to be held for all that time - although he seemed pretty content with that (good sign!!). So, he's being kind of cave-y today and didn't eat much since the big feast, but that seems like normal lizard behavior to me.

I think he's getting used to us :D
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