New Uromastyx - some newbie questions

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I just picked up my two URO's a couple of hours ago. They are approximately 7 months old. I have no idea what sex they are. They have grown up together and seem to enjoy each other's company.

Can those of you that have URO's give me some advice on how to deal with them over the next few days while they are getting acclimated to their new surroundings. I have them in a plastic tub right now because I will have to clean out their terrarium tomorrow. Please let me know what the recommended substrate is for Uro's.

Also, the lady that had them was feeding them lentils and frozen mixed veggies. There is corn, peas, green beans, carrots, and lima beans in this mix. Is this an okay diet? I realize they also require greens such as dandelion, and mustard greens. What other greens are good for them.

What is your URO's favourite foods?

Do you ever take them outdoors? If so, what do you put them in?

Claudiusx Sicko
Staff member
Keeping them in a plastic tub? Are you providing them adequate temperatures? I would clean the tank now and put them in it today.

I use bird seed for substrate, but tile is a good choice too.

Vegies are good in the diet, but like you said, greens are also a must. Calcifers favorite is bok choy and dandelion greens.

When I can I take her outdoors, I usually just hold her but it took a long time to get Calcifer tame. Much longer than a beardie.



Original Poster
I cannot clean it today. Might be able to tonight but it's too big for me to handle alone and it's still in the car. When my husband comes home I will have him help me get it out and I may be able to clean it tonight but it's very dirty and I think it's going to take some time. I do have them in a plastic 40 or 50 gallon tup with a 150 watt bulb.

From what I've been reading about a Uromastyx diet they shouldn't really have any of what they have been fed any more than twice a month? I am getting this info from the UROWIKI site.

I will go and get them some greens and start feeding them some of those. I sure hope they take to them.


Juvie Member
I would go with slate or non coated ceramic tile.. or even paper towels before birdseed. Some.. probably most uros are fine on birdseed.. but some really LOVE to eat it. If they are offered THAT much birdseed.. they can occasionally eat too much and not get enough greens. Since you don't know what your uros are like.. id start off with a flat surface. My uro in particular does not eat birdseed at all.. he would be fine.. but you never know. If you do really want birdseed.. if you can find plain millet that would be good. If you have a whole foods near you.. you can buy millet in bulk very cheap.. much cheaper than buying birdseed from a pet store.

Since I am posting here so far after the fact.. I assume you have already set up their house.. and have chosen a substrate. As for their food... frozen mixed veggies are ok.. but remove the corn if you can. They certainly should be more of a treat though. Greens like endive, escarole, turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelion greens, are all good. Avoid spinach at all costs.. avoid chard too, although not quite as bad as spinach it is still not good for them. Butternut .. or any other winter or summer squash is good on occasion.

I assume you know they have to be kept much hotter than beardies.. what are their temps like.. and how big is their house? For two uros you need a decent sized enclosure. Also.. what type of uros are they? Because some get much MUCH bigger than others.

Last... especially since you don't know what sex they are.. be prepared if you have to.. to separate them when they get older. Even opposite sex pairs sometimes need to be separated.


Original Poster
Thanks for the reply. I have decided to go with the reptile carpet for now. Probably will change that to slate or washed playsand eventually. They are in the same enclosure as they came with which is 36" x 18" x 18" which seems rather small once I have all their furniture in there. :( I would like to get them something bigger. Do you think a 4' x 2' x 18" would be an okay upgrade or should I go even bigger. My hubby is NOT going to be happy I can assure you of that. :( I'd rather stick to the 4' rather than 5 if possible. I don't know the species as yet and haven't been able to get very good pictures. Not even sure how to upload them to this site.

I am on the right track as far as food goes. I have joined a couple of URO forums so I'm getting lots of info.

I noticed the UK forum people use sand a lot while the American's seem to think it's a bad idea.

I am also not sure that they are only 7 months as well. That is what the previous owner told me but not certain even she knew how old they were.

I am prepared to separate but they have been brought up together so hopefully that will help. If they are both boys I am aware that will be an issue and that I could have problems even with girls.


Juvie Member
Well.. the size of the house really is going to depend on what species you have. If you have two Ornate lizards for instance.. a 4 foot by two foot enclosure would probably be ok.. but if you have two Egyptian Uros.. that wouldn't even be big enough for one animal. I have a Moroccan Uromastyx.. which is a larger type.. but by no means huge. He will probably grow to 18-22 inches at most. An egyptian uro can grow closer to 3 feet long. Ornate.. and the other dwarf uros only grow to maybe 12 inches. Pictures would help with finding out what type and what age they are. About how long are they now? Are you on the repticzone uromastyx forum? There are some really informative people there.. Vers in particular. He has helped me out many times.. still is helping me with my Uro's current eating problems.

Sand.. lots of people use it.. I suppose its not horrible for an adult uro.. but you need to keep their food on a raised flat surface so they do not consume any sand while eating. My uro licks EVERYTHING.. so he would ingest sand if he were living on it. Calcium sand is horrible tho.. if you do use sand.. use washed play sand from a Lowes or some home improvement store. The colored playsand at walmart will stain the animal. Keep in mind they really don't live in sand in the wild... some people seem to think they do.. but they don't.

The reptile carpet.. not a bad choice.. my beardies nails used to get stuck in it.. and it bred coccidia which made my beardie sick for a bit. Once I changed her to ceramic tiles it was all better. The coccidia is in their gut.. and in their stool. It can not be killed with cleaners or soap.. so it builds in the carpet and it ends up multiplying in the animal and causes problems. The only real way to rid yourself of it is to boil the carpet when you clean it. I had to clean her whole cage with boiling water.. and I threw away any decorations that could not be boiled. Even though this was with a beardie.. any lizard or any other animal for that matter can carry coccidia.

As for their sex and separation... yes males can be a problem.. but so can two females. The best bet for living together is opposite sex.. but even then the dominant one .. even if not violent.. can cause eating issues in the other, by either eating up all the food.. or stressing the other animal into not eating.. so keep an eye out while they eat and watch their weight. If you dont already have one.. getting a digital scale to keep track of their weight is a good idea.

As for hubbies.. mine is never happy when lizards cost me money. I spent A LOT yesterday on a much needed vet visit for my little Uro. He got some fluids, an xray, a b-12 injection, and critical care to feed him.


Juvie Member
Oh yeah.. and outside. I bought a kiddie pool for Gordo to get some sun in. The first day he just lost it so I brought him back in. Today he was pretty terrified too.. and he started jumping at the edges... so I quickly got him back inside. If you lose hold of a uro outside... you can kiss it goodbye if its not tame. I was so terrified that he would make it over the side before I got to him. I am off to walmart later today to find something with higher sides that he can get some sun in.

Im sure I said this in the last post... if i didn't, I meant to. Post pictures as soon as you can.. even if you cant get good ones and I will try to help you figure out what they are and how old they are. Try to put in a size reference.


Original Poster
Thanks Spikeshuman! I agree on the sand issue. I'm sure they would injest it so using tile would be a much better choice. you have me worried now about the reptile carpet. I just bought another one so I would have two on hand so when one is dirty I could use the other but now I'm thinking maybe I should send it back. It will probably cost me more to ship it back though so not sure what to do about that. :(

I can't seem to get the temps right in there enclosure either. I could use some help with that.

I made them a basking spot with a slate tile 12 x 12 and a upside down flower pot glued together. I made a whole in the pot so they can also use it as a hide on the hot side. I can get the temps up to 126 but the ambient temp only gets up to around 80 on that hot side. Not sure why but I can't get it too 100 as it should be. I am using a 100 Watt Halogen flood bulb which I read was a good choice. I am using a flood bulb in the cool side and it gets to around 80 on the floor of that area.

I have changed around their enclosure so much since they arrived because the past owner wasn't doing the right things but now I think I have stressed them out with all the changes. I really need to get this figured out for their sakes.

I have posted pictures and my concerns in the following thread. viewtopic.php?f=34&t=195039 Your thoughts would be appreciated.


Juvie Member
As for the carpet.. if you have a santize option on your washing machine.. that should be hot enough to kill the coccidia. If you don't I would honestly opt for paper towels instead. The dragon poos on the paper.. you pick it up .. wipe up a bit and throw it away.. and you wont have any reproducing coccidia.

The temps.. how big is your current enclosure? The carpet doesn't really help with the temps either... since it doesn't retain heat. I use two heat lamps from lowes for ambient temperature. My hot side is 99-102 and my cool side is 89-95. You don't really want your cool side to be lower than 88 or so, and the cool side really only needs to be a very tiny portion of the enclosure, most of the area should be around 100. I use a halogen flood lamp also from lowes for the basking spot.. it gets to 136. The size of the enclosure really will determine the best way to heat it. Also.. you do have a uv source right? How far away is that from the animals. You want it only about 8 inches away, 10 inches max. A foot or more away has greatly diminishing effects. That also depends on the type of bulb used. If you have a mvb.. that can be around 12 inches away.

Changing the enclosure over and over will stress them out. They need a secure place to hide where they can count on not being disturbed. So get it how you want it and then leave it alone as much as possible. Uros like very low, very tight hiding places. You want maybe a centimeter higher than the animals body.. maybe even less, they really like to squish in there and you want it just big enough for them to turn around in. They are really good at curling around in a U.. so if they are babies.. you want fairly small.. low profile hides.

Ok.. i looked at your pics. Those most certainly are not babies.. nor are they 7months. Previous owner may have had them seven months... but those are somewhere around a year to maybe a year and a half. They are saharan uromastyx.. or U. Geyri. They would be considered subadults. You will eventually want more room for them.. but what you have is fine for now. The basking spot is very high. Do they climb up there? If they are getting up there and using it.. thats great. Uros are not much for climbing though. They like to stalk across their enclosures back and forth. They are usually very active and like to run.. which is why I have a 6 foot by 2 foot 125g fishtank for mine. The flower pot hide is way too high.. even the other hide is higher than I would use.. but for now they are both ok since they provide somewhere to retreat to. You need to eventually find lower hides so that they can build up decent humidity at night... or you may run into shedding issues. My hides are very low.. but somewhat large.. so Gordo is going through serious shedding issues right now. His skin just doesn't want to come off. Since your enclosure is so small.. I am not sure how a heat lamp would do.. But I would try it. You may even be able to use the heat lamp as a basking spot source too. It can heat up the tile significantly.. and then the surrounding area as well. They are super cheap compared to the halogens. I am going to post pictures of my enclosure. Although it isnt beautiful.. it is very optimal for the animal.

This is his whole house. Everything is fairly low. Two heat lamps on either end.. and the halogen pointed at his slate basking spot. UV tube in the middle.. half over the basking spot.

This is his cool side hide, I got rid of the store bought one on top cause he never bothered with it, but he LOVES the one underneath. I also doubled the flooring under it.. so its an even tighter squeeze inside than the opening would suggest.

This is his hot hide where he sleeps. He curls up and tucks into the back of it.


Juvie Member
Also.. i saw your post.. and can answer that. You have that slate up very high.. so it is absorbing all the heat from the basking lamp. Then it shades the entire area underneath it. SOOO the basking spot can get hot.. but the general area does not.. because the slate has absorbed all the energy. Rather than putting the basking spot so high.. I would lowering it significantly.. to maybe only as high as a paving stone.. and then adjusting the bulb for heat. As for advice from the enclosure thread.. very few of these forum members have Uro's.. most are bearded dragon people.. so they may not get why you want it so hot. People are often surprised when they find out how hot a uro really has to be.


Original Poster
Thank you sooo much for answering! I agree my basking spot is way too high. I went back to the nursery this morning and bought a couple of paving stones but I think I need to go and get more. I'm going to try to work with what I have for now but this is certainly a work in progress. I hate having to change things again on the URO's but it's still not right. They seem to love their hide on the cold side and that's what they have been use to so I will leave that one alone until I figure out the hot side!

I really love your enclosure and would love to give my guys a big tank like that for their home but for now they are stuck with a 36 x 18 x 18.

I am worried about the shedding issues you are speaking of. My guys are in the middle of a shed. What can I do to make sure they don't have a difficult shed?

Do you have your slate siliconed to the pavers or does it simply sit on top as is so you can change things if necessary?


Juvie Member
Everything in his enclosure is removable. I often have to remove pieces and wash off stuck poop and food.

The best thing you can do for their shed is make sure they have that nice snug hide for night time. Are you measuring their humidity? You want their daytime humidity around 20% when they are shedding.. and inside their hide it should be higher.. especially at night when the light is off. When they are not shedding.. a daytime humidity between 10 and 20 would probably be good. Don't quote me on that.. but you should find any humidity info you need on Urowiki. Gordo's house has a humidity level between 16 and 20% during the day. At night it climbs to 24% because that's what my house is normally at. Higher humidity levels cause respiratory infections. They probably prefer that cold side hide because it isn't so tall. Its also possible that its warmer because its not being shaded by the basking tile. With the two of them in it at once.. it probably makes it nice and snug in there.. which is good. I am not sure if anyone has talked to you on the soaking topic. Many people do soak their uromastyx the way one would soak a bearded dragon. I personally think the risks to that far outweigh the benefits. I would not ever soak a healthy uromastyx. Read up on Tail rot on Urowiki.

Back to the shedding.. Uromastyx always seem to have trouble shedding. In reality.. they just tend to shed in patches.. and a whole shed can take months. It really isn't anything to worry about. Just keep an eye out for any retained shed that's causing infection or circulation issues. Tails are the worst part of the shed.. sometimes the body can shed twice before a full tail shed is done. Gordo still has one or two spikes that never shed from last time, and never pick at the shed.. especially the tail spikes. You can damage the spike underneath. I have seen a Mali uro with a completely smooth tail, no spikes.. because the owner always "helped" him shed.

While your uros are young.. your enclosure isn't too horrible. They should top out at about 14 inches in length.. and can get fairly hefty. The 4 foot by 2 foot enclosure you mentioned earlier sounds like a good size and I would work on that.

Let me know how your progress comes along with the heating / lighting, because thats really the MOST important thing you can do for them. Getting the heating right can mean the difference between life and a slow miserable death. Do you have any UV lighting on them? It doesn't look like it in your pictures. That is also very important. They can start showing behavior / health issues very quickly with no UVA/UVB source.


Original Poster
Thanks again for all your info! I really appreciate it. I have had reptiles in the past. I'm not a young woman LOL! so I'm pretty knowledgeable about UVB for my animals. I have had land turtles in the past, and I still have an aquatic turtle that needs UVB. I've also had other animals in the past but this is my first experience with URO's so I really appreciate all your help with them.

I loved your set up and sure wish I could give them a big enclosure like that. I would love to at least do a 5' foot one eventually but if not I guess I will have to do a 4' foot enclosure. For now I will just deal with what I have. I changed the basking spot and I think they will like it much better. It's just a piece of slate sitting on top of a brick and a paver. Simple but probably much more effective than the other basking spot. They can get underneath it and I will probably change it a bit more to make it even more private but I had to do this pretty quickly today. I think my temps on the hot side will be easier this way too. I will keep you posted. I will try to get a picture as well.

So back to the UVB. Yes I just received my new UVB hood and the 10.0 Reptisun in the mail today! I had trouble getting the dang hood working so I'm not sure if it's a bit defective. I'll have to keep any eye on it. I have never had to use a 10.0 before. For my turtle they said that 10.0 was much too strong for him. He seems to do fine with the 5.0 and I use the coil UVB on him but I am going with info I received quite a while back so I'm going to go back to Austin's Turtle Page (forum for turtles) and see what they are recommending these days. I have had Percy turtle since 2007 and I want only the best for him as well as my URO's. I named Percy after my Dad who passed away in 2006 so he has a very special place in my heart.

I also have a little Crested Gecko named Lizzie. I got her a couple of months ago. Wow she is sooo much easier to care for than the URO's! No UVB, regular temps and she eats a special diet that has been made for Crested Gecko's. She is really cute too! I got her when she was only 4 grams. She isn't much bigger than that now but she is growing.

You are Gordo's mom right? Since I found this forum I have been keeping tabs on your saga with Gordo. I sure hope that everything works out with little Gordo. He already has a place in my heart.

I am still trying to come up with a name for my bigger URO. Any suggestions?? I think your son named Gordo right? Maybe he can come up with another cute name. :)

Have a great night!


Juvie Member
Today he nicknamed Gordo "Puff Daddy" because now that I have to tube feed him the critical care.. he gets all pissy and puffs afterward. If you have been reading Gordos horrible ordeal on the repticzone forum then you are on one of the best forums for Uro information and Help. I haven't written much about it here.. mostly because there are very few uro owners here. Everything I know I got from those guys on repticzone, Urowiki, and Doug Dix. I spent two months on that forum asking questions and getting Gordos house just right before I ordered him.

The uv thing.. the lower UV's are perfect for turtles and tropical lizards. The uro's and the beardies need the 10.0 just because they are desert animals that bask. Even with the UV light.. its no where near what they would get in the wild. Twelve hours of UV from the bulb is equal to 30 minutes or an hour of natural sunlight... I cant remember exactly since I read it over a year ago.

Gordo's house is my sons fish tank. He got it for his birthday a few years back. I found it on craigslist real cheap with a custom mahogany cabinet it sits on. He used to have a 2.5 foot catfish in it. When he grew too big for the tank we drained it for a lizard. I decided on Uromastyx because I was tired of dealing with bugs.. so I refused to get another insect / meat eater.

We have a little leopard gecko.. and your right.. so simple. Hes got a infrared for warmth.. but other than that its just water and worms. Super easy.

So .. names.. I kinda like Sparky. Seems to go well since they are both so explosively yellow.. Sunny and Sparky. Im not the best with names though lol. Gordo got his name because they accidentally sent me a clubbed tailed iguana first.. and he was a very skinny long lizard.. so they called him Delgado. Gordo being a uro is supposed to be a big fat lizard.. so it just seemed right to go with Gordo after Delgado. Spike is always a good Uro name.. also my beardies name lol. viewtopic.php?f=30&t=176499 Thats Spikes picture thread if you wanted to see her.. shes a cutie. We thought she was a boy at first.. thats what petsmart told me.

Anyway.. its my pleasure to help out. I like to see people that care enough to really take care of their animals properly. Can't wait to see more pictures!
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