Got your Uromastyx shedding stuck to its body? Nothing to worry! This article will work you through what to do to help your Uromastyx. You can tell it’s a stuck shed if the shedding started 1-2 weeks and without all the parts completely shedding off.
When a reptile is about to shed, its physical appearance and behavior normally change and it usually takes between one to two or a few more weeks for the animal to successfully shed.
However, many times, reptiles hardly had a successful shed on their own without the assistance of their keeper. A stuck shed can be a result of some husbandry-related issues such as poor humidity.
In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about uromastyx shedding, including how to recognize signs of shedding and how to assist your uromastyx if it has a stuck shed.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Gospel. Read more about our knowledge control process here.
- Uromastyx Shedding Stuck: What Is It? How Do Uromastyx Shed?
- 5 Things You Should Do When Your Uromastyx Is Stuck In A Shed
- 3 Things You Should Not Do When Your Uromastyx Is Stuck In A Shed
- Wrapping Up
Uromastyx Shedding Stuck: What Is It? How Do Uromastyx Shed?
Most reptiles, such as snakes and some species of lizards shed their entire skin at once in a single complete piece. However, uromastyx sheds its skin in patches, parts by parts.
Once your pet begins to shed, you’ll notice the skin peeling off on its own when it’s time. The dull skin will eventually peel off making way to the healthy skin beneath it.
To remove the older skin faster, your uromastyx will rub itself or the part against objects in the enclosure. This process is natural and it usually takes between 1 – 2 weeks to complete.
On the contrary, if you notice that your pet uromastyx still has some old skin stuck to its body after two weeks, then it’s a stuck shed and you should assist to get it off.
Body parts that are most affected by a stuck shed are the eyelids, toes, and tail and you’ll always have to get the shed off these parts manually. It is believed that the spikes on the tail can be the reason why the old skin is stuck/trapped to the body and refusing to peel off.
How Often Do Uromastyx Shed?
Shedding is the natural process of getting rid of old skin and replacing it with new skin. It’s primarily as a result of growth. As a young reptile grows older and bigger, the need for its skin or scale to be replaced with fresh ones arises. This means that younger Uromastyx shed more frequently than older ones.
Ideally, Uromastyx below the age of two years shed every month or two, but as they get older, they will shed less frequently, like once every three to six months. Adult uromastyx over the age of 3-4 years will shed once or twice a year.
How Long Do Uromastyx Shed?
Both in the wild and in captivity, it takes between a week or two for uromastyx to shed completely. Once you see the dull skin in your uromastyx, it will begin shedding in pieces (parts by parts).
Signs Of Shedding In Uromastyx
You can tell that your uromastyx is about to shed if you notice these signs. Normally, there is always a change in behavior and feeding habits and also a change in skin color. Signs to look for include:
- Change in skin color from normal to pale or even duller.
- Change in behavior – sleeping and hiding more than usual.
- Being moody – unwilling to be touched or handled.
- Refusing food during the period.
- Shedding will be in pieces – you’ll begin to see it shed various parts of its body at different times.
- Rubbing itself against objects to get the shed off.
5 Things You Should Do When Your Uromastyx Is Stuck In A Shed
It is important to note that uromastyx don’t shed in whole. They shed in pieces – that is, various parts of their body will shed at different times and all these are expected to happen between 1 – 2 weeks. But if you notice that a section or part of the body hasn’t fully shed after two weeks, up to a month, then you need to do these 5 things to help your lizard with the stuck shed:
1.) Help Remove The Stuck Shed By Rubbing With Wet Cotton Balls
First, your lizard is having difficulty shedding because of poor humidity. That being said, if the stuck skin is severe, wet the affected area and gently rub it with a soft toothbrush.
However, ensure you do it once or twice a day, and only in the morning so that your uromastyx can have ample time to dry out by basking for the rest of the day. Depending on how terrible the shed is, a damp cotton ball may be preferable.
2.) Provides Extra Humidity
Uromastyx lizards are desert-dwelling lizards which means that they naturally need low humidity levels of about 20% – 30% in their enclosure. However, during shedding, you can raise the humidity to help them shed with fewer efforts.
To do this, you need to provide your uromastyx with a humid hiding place, this will help raise the humidity and soften the stuck shed to pull off. Once the stuck shed is softened, use tweezers to pull the stuck skin or rub it with a cotton ball.
Another way to raise the humidity in their enclosure is to add a small plastic container filled with damp, moist, or wet sphagnum moss to their cage. Note that the moss you are to use should not be dripping wet.
Ensure that the container you’re using has openings that your lizard can go in and out at will. But do not allow your uromastyx to stay in there for too long.
Also, provide it with clean drinking water that has been treated to remove chlorine and fluoride. Note that tap water contains chlorides which are highly harmful to reptiles and amphibians.
3.) Use A Shedding Aid
You can also use a shedding aid such as this to moist the skin and make it easy to peel off the old skin.
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4.) You Can Soak “Only That Part” Of The Body
If all the aforementioned methods did not work, give your lizard a soak in only the affected parts in shallow warm water for about 10 minutes and gently rub the stuck shed with either cotton balls or a soft brush to pull it off.
Note: DO NOT Force A Stuck Shed Out Of Your Lizard. This can cause severe injuries to the lizards. Also, avoid soaking your lizard for too long or too often as this can cause respiratory infection or tail rot.
After your uromastyx lizard has completely shed its skin, keep it warm for at least 24 hours.
5.) Take Your Uromastyx To The Vet
Finally, if all you did to help your uromastyx with a stuck shed didn’t work, take your pet to the vet. Do not allow your pet to live with a stuck shed.
3 Things You Should Not Do When Your Uromastyx Is Stuck In A Shed
As a concerned keeper, when your pet uromastyx is stuck in its old skin, you will want to peel it off yourself. While this is not entirely wrong, there are processes as to how you can help your pet out of a stuck shed and what you should not do. This section discusses the 3 things you should not do when your lizard is stuck in a shed. They include:
Do Not Maintain The Stuck Pieces Of Skin
Leaving a stuck shed on your uromastyx is as deadly as any infectious disease. This is because the stuck shed will prevent the free flow and circulation of blood in the affected parts and this can lead to necrosis.
Parts of the body where this usually occurs are the toes and the tail. Thus, when your lizard is shedding, much attention should always be given to these areas. Always check around the toes and tail tip to ensure that there is no old skin left unremoved.
Do Not Pull The Skin That Is Still Tight
Another thing that you should not do when your pet is stuck in a shed is to pull off the old skin when you haven’t moistened the affected part. If you do this, you are likely to cause injury to the lizard because the skin may come along with its flesh.
Keep in mind that the old skin is refusing to peel off because it’s very dry. Therefore, you’ll need to use moist cotton balls or moist moss to rub the skin off.
Do Not Bathe Your Uromastyx
No matter the condition, you should not bathe your pet uromastyx. Bathing your uromastyx can result in a respiratory infection as well as scale rot. Instead, if your lizard is stuck in a shed, use a damp cotton ball to rub the area or you use tweezers to pull the old skin off. Note that you should use tweezers if the affected parts are dampened.
Uromastyx are found in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, and South America. They spend most of their time basking in the sun to regulate their body temperature.
This means that in captivity, they require higher temperatures and lower humidity to thrive. But, during shedding, to avoid stuck shedding you can raise the humidity to help the lizard shed completely and without stress.
Note that stuck shed in uromastyx has nothing to do with poor husbandry. Nonetheless, when you see that your uro is about to shed, it’s wise to increase the cage humidity and maintain the temperature to help the lizard with the shed.
However, if your lizard is stuck in a shed, follow the steps discussed in this article, and ensure that you avoid bathing your lizard as this can cause serious health issues such as tail rot and respiratory infection.