Species group: Uromastyx, Dabb and Spiny-Tailed Lizards
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
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
Hard to Resist - a Good "Starter Uro"
This is one of the largest and one of the most impressive of the Uromastyx. Stoutly-built, with a bulldog-like face and nearing 2 feet in length, an adult male is a sight to behold…and a group makes a stunning exhibit. They are well-established in captivity and, assuming you can meet their needs, are a great choice for serious lizard-keepers.
Uromastyx can be quite hardy – individuals of several species I kept during my career as a herpetologist lived into their 20’s, and greater longevities have been reported. But their needs are very specific – and if unmet, they decline very quickly. Ultra-high levels of UVB, as well as UVA, are essential – try your best to provide some exposure to unfiltered sunlight (even a few minutes can be useful) whenever possible. A wide temperature gradient – 80-100 F, with a basking spot of 120 F and a sharp drop in temperature at night, must be established. This is impossible in anything but a very large enclosure. Custom-built cages and cattle troughs are the best options, and their size will also allow for their near-obsessive digging. This is especially true for the ponderous North African spiny-tail.
Strict attention must also be paid to the diet. Uromastyx have evolved to consume a fibrous, low protein diet, and cannot live on the rich diet favored by many commonly-kept herbivorous lizards. A wide variety of fibrous greens, wild native plants, grasses, seeds and legumes, supplemented with calcium and vitamins, occasional root vegetables, and grassland tortoise chow must be provided if they are to thrive (insect protein is needed by young animals, taken in small amounts by adults of some species)..
From findiviglio Nov 13 2015 6:58PM