North African Spiny-tailed Lizard

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Species group:

Other common names: North-African Mastigure; Bell's Dabb Lizard; African Spiny-Tailed Agama; Spiny-Tailed Lizard; Moroccan Spiny-Tailed Lizard; Moroccan Dab Lizard; Algerian Leopard Uromastyx

Scientific name: Uromastyx acanthinura

The basics:
North African Spiny-tailed Lizards are native to the Sahara Desert in Northwest Africa, Morocco, Mauritania, and Egypt. They are found in arid and semi-arid regions (sands, bushes, dry scrubs, and rock crevices), where it seldom rains, summer temperatures reach higher then 100F, and winter temperatures dip below freezing.

Appearance / health:
The Uromastyx acanthinura is favored in the pet trade because of its beautiful bright colors. They average 15 inches in length and is darkest colored on the head and tail. The body is almost as long as the tail, which is thick and sharp, and used effectively as a weapon against predators. Some varieties are mostly gray, but many are of different base colors like red, green, tan, bright orange, and fluorescent yellow. Irregular body patterns like bands and blotches occur in various colors also, from shades of red and brown to grays and black. The bellies are mostly white or cream, with sporadic black spots.

Behavior / temperament:
Uromastyx acanthinura are popular not just for their beautiful colors but also for their docile temperament. They are one of the hardiest reptiles to keep as pets. Under optimum conditions, they can live to about 20 years.

The best cage for Uromastyx acanthinura is a large desert-type terrarium with a substrate of 6-12 inches deep. The most important element of the cage is the heating and lighting system that should mimic the lizard’s natural habitat. Full-spectrum fluorescent lights that provide the highest levels of UVA and UVB are necessary for the animal’s optimum health. Day temp: 81-86F; night temp: 59-68F; basking temp: 104-115F; humidity: less than 50%; lighting: up to 14 hours, full-spectrum UV required.

North African Spiny-tailed Lizards are best kept in pairs or trios. They are solitary by nature, but seen in the wild in groups and large communities. They require a relatively deep substrate because they tend to burrow to hide from predators, sleep, cool off, hibernate, or lay eggs. Misting the cage 2-3 times a week is also recommended.

The Uromastyx is predominantly herbivorous, appreciating lettuce, greens, peas, lentils, birdseeds, and chopped fruits and vegetables. On rare occasions, they will feed on ants, grasshoppers, and crickets. They should be fed moderately to avoid obesity.

Uromastyx are egg-layers that require several years to reach maturity. Like other lizards, they bury their eggs under the substrate. They undergo hibernation of about 4 months at 53-64F before the mating season.


taming, wonderful lizards, beautiful bright yellow, primordiallook


large cage space, strong uvb, wide temperature gradient, high temps, low protein diet

North African Spiny-tailed Lizard Health Tip

North African Spiny-tailed Lizard

From findiviglio Nov 13 2015 6:58PM


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