Uromastyx lizards, also called spiny-tailed lizards, mastigures, and dabb lizards. They are among the most fascinating reptiles that you can buy from the pet store and make a great pet for experienced hobbyists.
You can easily identify uromastyx lizards through their massive spiked tails and flattened body shape. Although most uromastyx lizards are usually calm and docile, you are likely to find some uromastyx that are not docile or fearful when you get them.
As a uromastyx lizard keeper, you may be wondering if they like to be held. In this article, we will shed more light on the topic of whether uromastyx likes to be held. You will also learn how you can handle uromastyx lizards the correct way.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Gospel. Read more about our knowledge control process here.
Do Uromastyx Like To Be Held?
Generally, captive-bred uros usually accept handling more readily than a wild-caught adult will. However, uromastyx lizards have varying temperaments. Some uros accept regular handling without protesting while some try to flee from being handled.
This is because captive-bred uros will be already used to handling right after birth. However, a wild-caught adult will need time to acclimatize to a new environment and you will add more stress by handling them.
Some uromastyx may try to dissuade you from handling them using different ways like huffing and puffing, swinging their spiked tail, etc. Although some uromastyx may like to be held, handling usually stresses them out.
You should ensure the handling sessions is brief and should not be more than once or twice per week
Is Uromastyx A Friendly Pet For New Reptile Keepers?
Uromastyx lizards have a docile temperament and are not aggressive to humans. However, they are considered to be the perfect pet for intermediate or advanced hobbyists.
Beginner hobbyists can also keep uros if they are ready to put in more time and effort to learn more about the needs of these lizards.
How Do You Bond With Uromastyx?
The way you tame and bond with your uromastyx will determine the overall experience that you will get from keeping them. If you buy a wild-caught uros that is over 6-12 months old, you will need to go through the taming process.
However, uros are usually used to regular handling and people around them if you are buying it from a store. You can determine whether a uromastyx is tame or not by trying to handle them.
A tame uros will calmly make themselves comfortable on your hand while an untamed uros will try to run and hide. If an uros is not tamed, you will need to bond with it to help it get used to handling. Some of the ways that you can bond with your uromastyx are stated below.
The first step to bonding with your uromastyx is to build trust with it. Whether your uromastyx is an adult or juvenile, tame or wild, it will need time to adapt to a new environment.
Uromastyx may refuse food or stay hidden for a few days if you just bought it. During this transition period, you should give it space and do not handle them for some weeks. Furthermore, you should avoid startling them.
You can start to build trust by just going there and sit by the tank. Once your uros does no longer hide once you pass by the tank, you can then start to slowly put your hand in the tank and observe their reaction. You can then get closer if your pet does not seem scared.
You can then use its favorite food to lure it close to you.
Hand Feed Them
Once your uros are comfortable in your hands, the next thing is to hand feed it to help boost your relationship. Although your first try may not be as perfect as your imagined, this is quite okay.
Nevertheless, you should try to feed your uros from your hand before you place it back in the tank. This will help you to develop a sense of ownership in your uromastyx. You should try to repeat hand-feeding your uromastyx to help strengthen trust.
You can start the hand-feeding process using lentils, green vegetables, and seeds to help overcome their shyness.
Introduce Them To New Foods
Food is one of the things that bring people together and you can use it to bring your uromastyx closer to you. Changing food will also help to change the mood of your uromastyx.
One of the good things about uros is that they accept a wide range of food and you can easily find a new food to give them.
Uromastyx loves leafy vegetables like lentils, beans, and split peas. You can also feed them with green leaves such as mustard green, turnip greens, kale, dandelion green, cabbage, and several other green vegetables.
Note: whenever you are handling your uros, avoid stroking or touching its tail too much. The main reason for this is that the tail is the major defense mechanism of uromastyx lizards. Your uros will be stressed out and try to whip you if you stroke its tail.
This may then affect your bonding experience with your uros.
How Do I Make My Uromastyx Happy?
According to a popular saying, a happy pet is a healthy pet. Your uromastyx will stay healthy if you can provide everything that will make it happy.
A proper uromastyx care is quite different from many tropical lizards available in the reptile trade. Uromastyx lizards are desert species and they prefer that their enclosure is hot during the day and mild at night.
Everything you need to know about caring for uromastyx lizards is stated below.
Housing And Set-Up
It is best if you keep your uromastyx in a glass terrarium as it is easy to clean and sanitize. You can keep juvenile uromastyx in a 20-gallon terrarium while you can keep adult uros in a 40-gallon terrarium. Furthermore, you should provide plenty of hiding spots for your uromastyx lizards.
This is because they naturally burrow whenever they are intimidated and a hiding spot can serve this purpose. You can use branches and rock formations to mimic their natural habitat.
Uromastyx lizards need UVB to help them process calcium, an important nutrient for them. Without calcium, they can develop numerous health problems like a metabolic bone disease. This is why you should provide UVB lighting in their enclosure between 10-12 hours per day.
Uromastyx lizards are desert species and need a high amount of heat to keep them happy. The ideal daytime temperature for uros is around 85F. Furthermore, they require a nighttime temperature of about 75 F to stay healthy.
You can meet these ideal cage temperatures with ceramic heaters, direct heat bulbs, or under-tank heaters. You will also need a digital thermometer to help ensure that the appropriate temperatures are maintained in their enclosure.
You will also need to provide a specified rock where your uros can bask in their housing. The temperature of the basking area should be more than 100F. Furthermore, the ideal humidity level that uros need should not exceed 35%
You will need to change the substrate in your uromastyx lizard enclosure weekly. Furthermore, you should try to remove everything from your uromastyx enclosure once a month to clean them thoroughly with hot water and non-toxic soap.
Uromastyx lizards are regarded to be omnivorous reptiles. However, they prefer plant-based foods to meat-based foods.
Uromastyx lizards usually feed on tough desert plants like cacti, grasses, flowers in the wild. However, you can replace desert plants and flowers with a diet of leafy greens plus vegetables in captivity. Another common diet that you can feed your uros is seeds.
How To Have Fun With Your Uromastyx?
Some of the ways that you can have fun with your uromastyx are stated below.
- Hand feed your uromastyx
- Place a wide range of accessories in their enclosure
- Allow your uros to climb up your shoulders.
Most uros are calm and docile and you can easily handle them. However, some uros are not docile in the beginning and you need to earn their trust before you can handle them.
Once your uros stays calm when you get close to it then you have earned its trust.You will need to continue spending time with your uros if you want to keep building trust.
Building trust may take longer based on your uros. You don’t have to worry as you will have plenty of time to spend with your uromastyx.