Species group: Uromastyx, Dabb and Spiny-Tailed Lizards
Other common names: Ornate Mastigure
Scientific name: Uromastyx ornata
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
The Ornate Uromastyx is a beautiful and intriguing lizard. They get to be about 15-18 inch sin length. They are unarguably the most beautiful of the Uromastyx species, with colors of bright green or blue year-round. They are also one of the few lizards that can be fed a completely herbivorous diet... in fact, animal protein, while often accepted eagerly, is not good for uromastyx, and so should be less than 5% of their diet. The lack of live food makes the convenience of the uromastyx something to be desired. It also makes them relatively inexpensive to feed, as long as you don't mind trips to the local fresh produce stand. It can also be difficult, though extremely important, to keep a basking area of 115-120, with the rest of the tank not dropping below 80.
Uromastyx should have a diet made up primarily of dark leafy greens, and spinach should be offered sparingly. Fruits and veggies can be given as well, with radishes and berries being popular choices. Beans, while enjoyed, should be fed sparingly due to their low moisture content. A water dish should not be offered except during sheds, as most uromastyx will not drink. In the wild they get all moisture from their food, so it should be misted before being offered. A bowl of birdseed should always be available, as it aids in digestion.
Ornate Uromastyx are generally handleable, and are regarded as having the best temperament of the Uromastyx family. They are, however, the most likely to become sedentary and less active as adult, and are also harder to pair. Importation of the Ornate Uromastyx from Egypt is no longer legal, and so specimens are rare and are all captive bred. Ornates are also not as durable as the more popular species of Uromastyx..
From ifweirdisnormal Apr 19 2012 2:03PM
Great uromastyx, but very delicate
I've owned two ornate uromastyx, and they were the hardest lizards by far to keep, including out of my other three breeds of uromastyx. Ornates are gorgeous, both of mine were a lot less shy and skittish than my other uromasyx, and they took to being handled almost immediately. But they are extremely delicate and are stressed out very easily. Both of mine looked perfectly healthy one day and then were incredibly sick the next. My one ornate, Shaka, got all puffed up as uromastyx do, and then she couldn't deflate herself. She stayed puffed up to the point of extreme rigidity for about six hours before we took her to the emergency clinic, where she spent the night in an oxygen tank and received multiple different medications. The breeder told us it had something to do with their ileocecal valve getting stuck, and that it is actually a common occurrence in ornates. And my vet had never seen anything like it, because the other breeds don't do that, so that is something to be aware of. Lulu and Shaka both had great personalities, but they require much more care and attention than our other uromastyx, let alone all of our other lizards. I would only get an ornate if you have a lot of time to spend trying to keep everything perfect for them, because of how easily they get stressed out. We are planning on possibly getting another ornate in the future, but not until we have the ability to keep everything as stress free as possible for one..
From soleilfleur21 Dec 11 2013 4:42PM