For my website ive created a section for caresheets, but i wanted to make them myself so their pretty accurate...before i add it to the site i want to make sure i have it all right...this is for a mali uromastyx
Remeber, as with all my caresheets, these are the basic things you need to look at. Most of the things ive listed here is what you will need to focus on but remember to do TONS of research before the day of purchase. This way the animal can live and thrive easily in your care. Good luck!
Rating: In my opinion this lizard needs some sort of experience with lizards before a purchase. This is just because even though they dont require much their diet is very specific and its hard to give them all the correct nutrients they need to thrive. They also end up being a big investment for the animal itself and all the things you need, such as lighting, tanks, etc. All in all, id say this lizard is for someone with reptilian knowledge.
Basic Info: The mali uromastyx come from mali in africa, which is a very dry environment with little ability for life. The uromastyx has adapted skills to eat only plants, since their stricly vegetarians, and are able to extract water from the food they eat. This way they dont need much water. The mali uromastyx, in my opinion, looks like a turtle with no shell and a spiky tail. They use this tail as a defence mechanism. My uro's, even though extremely docile, have tried to tail whip only if i sneak up on them. What they do in the wild is stray not to far from their burrow and when they get scared, they'll run into the burrow and hold their tail, spikes out, at the entrance so the preditor cant get them for lunch. A good tactic, id say. As I said above the mali uromastyx is strictly a vegetarian and can thrive with no meat. Some keepers offer crix once a month at the most just for added protein, but with the proper vegies this wont be necessary.
Caging: As babies they can easily live in a 15-25 gallon tank for a little while, as uromastyx tend to take their time growing. As adults they will need a minimum of a 40 gallon, long, tank. This just means that their should be a lot of floor space as their completely terrestrial and like the space to roam.
As with all animals their should be a minimum of two hides, one for the warm end and one for the cool end. To get this cool and warm ends, you must just keep the heat lamp on one end of the cage. This allows the reptile to change its ambient temperature as required. If he doesnt have a place to escape from the heat, he can easily overheat and obviously you dont want this.
The basking temperature should be high, at around 120*F to 130*F. To make sure your not making it to hot for the uro get a reliable thermometer. Do not buy heat rocks as this could cause serious harm to the animal. The lizard will not realize his skin is melting until its to late. As in the wild they will want a lights out period, so they should get 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. When the lights are out, make sure the temps dont drop below 60 or 70 F at the minimum. This usually never happens unless your house is very cold!
Substrate: The best substrate to use is sand, since the uromastyx live in the wild on great big dunes of sand. The best type to buy is washed playsand. Uro's like to dig so when you place decorations such as rocks into the enclosure make sure that all parts of the rock are as low as they can go so the uro cant dig under and get crushed. Try to make the hides low, and preferably out of slate rock, so the uro can make a nice comfortable squished hide. They like squeezing their bodies into little crevaces as this makes them feel secure. Again, make sure their not litarlly squashed by the decors. but have a nice safe enclosure.
Lighting: Their will be two types of lights needed to help your uromastyx thrive without any problems. The most important is the UVA and UVB radiating lights. These are those long white tube lights, but make sure they are reptile specialized to give off the right rays. In the wild they get their D3 from the sun, but in a tank they cant get it. Dont think putting your tank next to a window will help because the sun will get filtered through the glass and will do nothing. These tend not to be expensive anyway, around 70 bucks over here in ontario, canada
The other light you will need, of course, is a source of heat. The best is an over head heating source, such as a bulb inside a fixture, which can just sit on top of the screen lid. To get the right temps for the basking spot (the basking spot should be a flat area, closest to the heat source where the lizard can fully stretch out and catch the rays, at around 120*F to 130*F) you can use a bulb around 100 watts. This all depends on various things but experiment with wattage until you achieve the recomended temps for your lizard.
Other enclosure tips: I find that adding fake green plants or anything like that becomes a problem as the lizard mistakens this for food and will ingest the plastic. So I reccomend as decorations, just use decorative rocks, slate, and anything else you can think of!
Feeding: One of the hardest things to do for your uromastyx. Well, the only hard thing is making sure you have the right things it needs to thrive. Their are arguments that the uromastyx need some sort of meet in their diet, but in my opinion the only thing its good for is a good chuckle, as uro's are terrible at catching crickets! So id say 98 percent of the diet is greens. Offer a dozen crickets every month...once a month at most. Good greens to give your uromastyx, just some, are collard greens, mustard greens, romaine lettus, carrots, endive, escarole, and bok choy. Make sure to wash any vegies thouroughly as this is where the uromastyx get their water from. Do not keep a water dish in the enclosure as this can be dangerous for the animal. It raises the humidity to high, and since the uromastyx come from dry deserts of africa it is both un nesessary and possibly harmful.
Other Information: One of most asked question, health wise, is "what is the stuff comming out of my uromastyx nose!?" This is going to be white flaky kind of things that look like sugar. It is! Its the way the uromastyx secrete sugars from their foods. Dont be mistaken if your uro has anything wet or not right looking comming out of his nose because this could possibly be an infection but the sugars im talking about will be hard and white, and will surround the nostrals.
Since most uromastyx are wild caught since their hard to breed, make sure to select a healthy one. To do this just make sure they dont have any scars or open wounds. Also you want to make sure their is no feces or anything stuck to the vent. (where he poo's
) This could be a sign of bad husbandry. Also make sure his eyes are wide open and he is extremely active. Uromastyx are one of the most inquisitive, active, and fun to watch lizards. They should be out during the day since they are diurnal. If they are hiding inside their hides to much then be suspicious. Then again, one of my uromastyx seems to be very scared of me but what im saying is, just check.
Again as most are wildcaught, if you plan on getting a wild caught, remember i can end up costing you more then just to buy a captive bred. The vet bills could start to add up if you get unlucky. I have two wild caughts but I purchased them from reputable people that i knwo have made sure they are in good health before selling them. Just watch out for the ones in poor shape. Right away you know if their selling a mali uromastyx from 80-130 it is wild caught almost indeffinetly. If it is in the higher price range of 200-250 it is mostly likely captive bred. Just make sure wherever you buy your animal try to get it from a reputable source and check for health in your specimen. Check out my Links page for a reputable source. Their called deer fern farms and breed all different species of uromastyx. A great source!