16 year old uromastyx
I just got a 16 year old uromastyx and I’m really concerned about his health. The original owner kept his lights on 24 /7. She was feeding him romaine lettuce and occasionally birdseed. He is in a little tiny 20 gallon aquarium and he is easily 16 long and almost 4 inches wide. His substrate looks like shredded cardboard and she said she only changed it once a year. He is moving around but pretty slowly. I would like to change his diet and cage size and light cycle first but don’t want to stress him out. Is there any suggestions on this?
Message To: Dominic.18 In reference to Message Id: 2320802
16 year old uromastyx
Uros get all the water they need from the veggies they eat. They DO NOT need a water bowl and if you do they will get repository infection and could be fatal. Do not spray there cage walls or decor which will cause humidity and then can refer to the respiratory infection. Humidity should stay between 20 and 30 percent. Do not spray them or give them baths, uros can not take cool temps, which means water will cool there body temps down and could hurt them. So again when you give them there greens just spray a little bit of water on there food and they will get moisture. Another way i have heard of is that if you give them lentils soaked over night and give some in the morning they can give little water to.
About substrate, Uromastyx have only certain substrates. When they are hatchlings to 7inches at the very least they need to be on paper towels, newspaper, or anything that is like so that is not loose substrate. Loose substrate such as sand, gravel, dirt and etc can cause impaction which will can give you a huge vet pill or/and fatal. After they reach at least 8 to 9 inches you can start to place them on loose substrate. Substrate is one of the biggest debates in all forums.
Substrate you can use:
-Keep them on paper towels or newspaper
-Rabbit Pellet, i have not tried these personally but i have heard they are good.
-Sand, now sand is (in my opinion) the best substrate to use. Washed play sand is the ideal substrate used for uros as it is most of Africa anyways. Sand gives them the natural life that wild uros would use. Plus its cheap and only cost $2.50 to about 4 bucks and any hardware store. You will find that most owners and breeders use this.
-Bark, pine, and wood substrate
-Gravel, dirt, or any other close to this.
-CALCIUM SAND, this is highly bad for a uro. the calcium is to high and can over dose your uro and can lead to death. Never ever use this sand.
-Ground English Walnut shells, they can cause impaction and can hurt you uro.
- pretty much and store sold sand that had large loose substrate.
There are many types of substrate that can be used but sand is most recommended.
Lighting and UVB:
Uros require special lighting, among most other reptiles. They are desert dwelling animals. They live in the hot arid deserts of Africa. They need high temps in there environment but also uvb rays are important. You need a uvb bulb or tube to give the uro a good amount of safe uvb rays. I use the compact bulb but some are not good and therefore give too much rays which could hurt your lizard. When you get one make sure the bulb is closer than 12 inches away from the top to the lizard but can`t get to close. i recommend no closer than 10 inches. Make sure that the screen is not in the way or any other top so you can get the right rays cause screens filter out many of the important rays. The uvb rays are very important, if you do not intended to getting this then don`t even bother getting a uro.
Temperatures and Humidity:
Like i said before Uromastyx require high intense heat that many other lizards do not require. a proper cage size can only achieve this requirements, a cage that is 4’x2’x’2 is a good size for one uro. if you house two then you would want to go bigger. The bigger the better, but if you do not get the right size then your temps are near impossible to get right. They require three different temps in there cage. On the hot side they need a air temp of no more, no less of a 100 degrees. On the cool side a air temp of 82 to 85 degrees is a good temp for them to cool off when needed. For there basking surface temps, they should be any where from 125 degrees to 140 degrees. Uros like it HOT, but every species is different so anywhere in that range should be good. For there night temps, it should be 75 degrees or between 75 to about 80 degrees, but no lower than 75 if so then you either need to raise the temps in that room or buy a heat emitter. they are a little pricey but worth it. They raise the heat but do not produce heat. Do not use those red or blue night lights. Uros can see them and will be thrown off there schedules. Heat emitters are a good choice. Like i said before humidity should range from 20% to 30%. To measure temps i recommend digital thermo, they read accurate readings or the air temps. DO NOT buy those stupid dial and/or stick on thermo, they are inaccurate and can be off as much as 20 degrees, they are useless. The digital thermo are fairly cheap at walmart and stores like that, only 10 bucks or so. Pet store are a little more expensive, can range of a price of 15 to 40 buck for one. You should get 2, one for the hot end and one for the cool end. For the surface temps (a digital won`t give accurate readings, as it only reads air not surface) but a infrared temp gun that is 25 bucks at walmart. They are dependable and cheap.
Heating and Equipment:
Like i said before Uromastyx need very high temps. I explained the temps earlier. You will need at least one 150 watt bulb to get close to the requirements. There will be millions of combinations that you could use. It depends on your cage size on the most part. If you do not at least have the right minimum size cage then your temps will be off and you will need to get the right equipment. Mercury Vapor bulbs are a good choice, i personally have not used them but there good but just make sure there not to close to your lizard, they could harm them with to much rays or uvb or heat. What ever combination you make just make sure you get the right temps because if you don`t then they won`t digest right then they will get off track and can get to worse problems.
For Equipment do NOT EVER use electric heat rocks i repeat do not use those. They get very hot and can hurt or/and burn your lizard. That was a mistake ever selling them. Just stay away from them, if you have one now then as you read this you should be taking them out, i will not be the only one telling you this. For bulb brands. I use zoo med, all living things, and tight beam bulbs. They all work just know how to use them, there watts the uros basking spots height etc. As far as under tank heaters go i do not use them and a lot of people i know do not, they can throw off the actual overall heat temp in the cage. I would stay away form them.
I provide a custom cage built by me. A custom cage is good cause you can get what you need and its cheaper. My cage size is 50x26x17 (LxWxH). I have two Mali Uromastyx. I use a 150 watt all living things bulb for the hot side which is 100 degrees. 100 Watt tight beam bulb for my basking spot which is 125 to 130 degrees. For my cool side i use 40 watt bulb for my cool side which is 81 degrees. I use washed play sand. I pretty much have what i told above.
Description of Diet:
Uromastyx are strictly herbivorous. They will not eat crickets, mealworms, etc. I good staple diet is dandelion greens, endive, and escarole. Do not feed spinach, kale, bok choy, spring mix. You could feed collard greens, turnips, watercress, zucchini, summer squash, or butternut squash. Not at the same time though. Just very so often. Feeding you uro is important to your lizard there are many many bad varieties and many good ones. Just need the right one.
Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:
A good supplement is bee pollen granules. I use these for them but only feed once or twice a week. Do not over due this. You can feed it to them as a granule or what i do is chop it up with a razor blade to a powder way and sprinkle it on there veggies. Only a little bit though. Another supplement is calcium powder with d3.This will help the uro with its calcium intake. But if your using a mega-ray bulb i suggest you do not use the bee pollen and the calcium powder unless the uvb output is low then you could use it.
Maintenance is not hard at all with the uros. They poop little to medium sizes. (not like the bearded dragons where they poop like a bowl full if your familiar with them) Just get a sifter from a pet store or if your uro is on paper towels or newspaper then its a easy clean up. They are not hard to clean up after.
Some Words on this Species:
Uros like to dig, be careful when you put the hides, bricks, tile, etc that you put them on the base floor and cover the sides and inside with sand. The uro will dig themselves to death, literally. They will dig till they get crushed. So be careful. For hides, they like to feel there backs touch the top of the hide. A simple to bricks with a tile on top will do. You can get creative. Just don`t use abrasive things like cement. When i get bricks i sand them down with this hard metal thing to smooth it out. Just make sure when you get more then one double everything for your lizards. Two hides (or more), 2 basking spots, 2 feeding bowls, etc. Never house two males together. They are very terrestrial animals and they will fight males to males. It will hurt them or even kill them. Uromastyx are fun and a lizard that will become a part of your family.
Message To: Just4Help In reference to Message Id: 2320803
16 year old uromastyx
Hope this helps!!