Ornate Uromastyx

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Species group:

Other common names: Ornate Mastigure

Scientific name: Uromastyx ornata

The basics:
The Ornate Uromastyx is native to the deserts of Egypt, Southern Israel and the Saudi Arabian peninsula. Ornate Uromastyx are fairly closely related to the smaller Eyed Dabb Lizard (Uromastyx ocellata ornata).

Uromastyx ornata were first exported for the pet trade in the 1980's, but their exportation was banned in Egypt in the early 1990's, and almost all specimens now available are captive bred. Ornate Uromastyx are popular because of their handsome coloration, and generally calm temperaments.

Appearance / health:
Ornate Uromastyx attain a maximum length of 37 cm, which makes it an Uromastyx of moderate size. The animal's head contains scales of equal size. The hindlegs also contain conical and thorny scales. The tail is a bit flat and contains 20-23 segments. The colors of U. ornata vary by individual.

Males often have a green, blue or red-violet base color on their back. The back also contains brown circles which can be filled with yellow. These circles can be woven together into yellow bandings. Females have and (dark) brown base color and the yellow patterns on the back. Their bellies are lightly colored, and both sexes have a pattern that looks like a net. With females this net pattern is brown/black, males have blue, green, brown and black. Generally, females are much duller colored.

Behavior / temperament:
Uromastyx lizards are diurnal. They are active during the day, climbing over rocks and digging into burrows and crevices. They are docile and attractive, making them one of the most favored lizards in the pet trade.

Ornate Uromastyx are best kept in dry, desert-type terrariums with a screen lid to allow air circulation and low humidity. One adult Uro requires a terrarium that is at least a 50-gallon size, preferably longer than high. The recommend substrate is sand, although shredded newspaper will do the job. Several hides or caves should be provided at the hot and cold ends of the tank for both security and thermoregulation. Cool areas should be about 85F and basking areas at about 120F. A strong full spectrum UV light is recommended. Decorative rocks and plants can be added. Humidity must remain at 30-40%. Day temp: 80-90F; night temp: 70-80F.

Most Uromastyx lizards are territorial. Keeping Ornate Uromastyx in pairs is recommended, although keeping them in groups with only one male is also practiced by pet owners. Living in groups might be uncomfortable to some individuals, which should be removed and housed separately to reduce stress. The ideal hibernation period is 3 months at 50-59F.

Like other Uros, the Ornate Uromastyx is omnivorous but leans toward fruits and vegetables. Greens should be given daily including mustard, collard, turnip, and dandelion greens. Vegetables can include beans, peas, corn, carrots, and cucumbers. Fruits, cactus, and dandelion flowers are well accepted. Young Uros that require protein in the diets can be given crickets and superworms.

Winter cooling at 68F is recommended before the breeding season, which is in early spring. A small box of moist sand or vermiculite should be placed in the cage for egg-laying. Eggs should be removed from the cage and incubated separately.


great personalities, intriguing lizard, Great First Lizard, spikey tail


little boring, hardest lizards, ileocecal valve


fat tail, low moisture content, heat spots, dark leafy greens, completely herbivorous diet

Ornate Uromastyx Health Tip

Ornate Uromastyx

From ifweirdisnormal Apr 19 2012 2:03PM


Ornate Uromastyx Behavior Tip

Ornate Uromastyx

From soleilfleur21 Dec 11 2013 4:42PM


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