Uromastyx (also known as spiny-tailed lizards) are a genus of herbivorous lizards that originate from North Africa and the Middle East.
These lizards are exotic pets and need a very special setup in order to live long and happy lives.
What are the heating and lighting requirements of this reptile?
In this article, we have listed everything you must know about keeping your uromastyx in the warm, dry, and bright environment that it loves. Check out all the details about how it must live that are listed next in this article.
A uromastyx enclosure must stay between 80 and 85°F on the cool side and 90 and 100°F on the warm side. Heat the basking spot to between 110 and 120°F. The reptiles like 10 to 25% humidity and need 12 to 14 hours of daylight. Keep the temperatures at night between 68 and 80°F.
Do uromastyx need UVB? And if so, how much?
To find the answer to these questions and more, check out the extended care guide up next.
Table of Contents
Uromastyx Heating and Lighting
To give your uromastyx lizard the best care, it needs the right heating, lighting, and humidity levels.
What kind of environment will your pet thrive in?
Check out all of the specifics listed below.
Uromastyx Lizards Ambient Temperature
Uromastyx likes the hot and arid temperatures they would face in northern Africa and the Middle East their natural habitat. So the temperatures in their enclosures must reflect this.
What are the official uromastyx heat requirements?
These lizards require varying temperatures to survive. These include a warm side of the enclosure, a cool side, a basking area, (more about this later), and varying daytime and nighttime temperatures.
Let’s have a look at these in more detail.
The cool zone daytime temperature in the enclosure must stay between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The warm zone daytime temperature in the enclosure must stay between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature gradient in the enclosure must drop at night. The best nighttime temperatures are between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uromastyx Basking Area Temperature
The uromatyx is cold-blooded, meaning that it uses the heat in its environment to cool itself down or warm itself up. These lizards rely on the heat of the sun for warmth in their natural habitat.
When keeping lizards as pets, they must have enough equivalent UVB light exposure.
What is the correct basking surface temperature for them?
The right basking temperature is between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Your lizard will spend several hours each day sitting on its basking platform soaking up the rays of the UVB lighting.
Uromastyx Humidity Levels
Uromastyx lizards vary widely when it comes to their humidity requirements. Some coastal uromastyx species prefer more humid environments and need them reflected in their enclosures in captivity.
Other lizards are used to drier climates and do not like their enclosures to be overly humid. You must check the exact requirements for your uromastyx species when humidifying the tank.
What are the average humidity levels for these lizards?
Most uromastyx like humidity levels are between 10 and 25%.
They also like having a burrow box that is more humid which they can enter and leave whenever they wish. The burrow box should stay between 40 to 45% humidity.
UVB Lighting for Uromastyx
The daytime and nighttime light levels in a uromastyx enclosure must mimic those the lizard would see in the wild.
Do uromastyx need light at night?
Uromastyx do not need light at night. They need 12 to 14 hours of daylight and 10 to 12 hours of darkness.
These reptiles are diurnal and are normally only active during the daylight hours.
Meeting the Uromastyx Heating and Lighting Requirements
So we now know exactly what uromastyx needs to live healthy lives in captivity.
But which tools can you use to make their enclosures up to standard?
Up next we will let you in on some of the best heating, lighting, and humidity tools that will help you not only create the right environment but also monitor and adjust it.
Uromastyx Heating Devices
Your uromastyx enclosure must have both a cool side and a warm side for the lizard to stay alive.
What kind of heating devices are available for your reptile?
Here are some of the best options.
- Heat lamps. There is no tank heater more effective than a heat lamp. With the right heat bulbs, a uromastyx heat lamp will warm up quickly and maintain the intense heat that your lizards need. You must set your lamp to create the right environment on both sides of the cage.
- Ceramic heat emitters. Placing a ceramic heat emitter beside the cage is also effective. It is good for achieving the slightly cooler temperatures required on one side of the cage.
- Heat pad. Putting a heat pad underneath your uromastyx enclosure will help to keep the tank warm at the bottom too. It provides supplemental heat that will ensure there are not any cold spots in the enclosure.
To keep track of the temperatures inside your uromastyx enclosure you must use thermometers. These will help you ensure that the tank is neither too hot nor too cold.
What are the best temperature gauges to use?
These are some of the best options.
- On and off thermostat. This kind of thermostat will passively track basking temperature and other temperatures in the tank. It will turn on your heat device when the cage environment is too cold and turn it off when it becomes too hot. The thermostat has options allowing you to program it for the daytime, nighttime, and the varying temperature requirements inside the tank. This thermostat will control your devices so you do not have to keep an eye on them. Some of the best models include a memory that will save your pre-set temperatures even after a power out. This gives you the most peace of mind.
- Thermostat with an alarm. This kind of thermostat will constantly measure temperatures inside your uromastyx enclosure. When the temperatures drop or are too high an alarm flashes or sounds to move you to action. This is a slightly cheaper version of an on/off thermostat that involves action from you but is still very effective.
- Infrared thermometer. Most thermometers of this kind come in an infrared gun style that allows you to point the device at the tank and read the temperatures inside it instantly. You will then be able to alter your heating devices manually as needed. You must read the temperatures regularly with this thermometer.
Uromastyx UVB Light Bulbs
Your reptile needs strong UVB lighting bulbs to ensure it stays healthy and does not develop a metabolic bone disease. To ensure they produce light to their full potential you must replace them often.
How often must you change uromastyx UVB bulbs?
Here are some instructions to ensure they work to their full potential.
- Choose the best bulb for uromastyx. Full spectrum, bright white light is the best basking light and general light for your reptile. The bulb must be made from special UVB transmitting glass to ensure that it emits the maximum amount of UVB light.
- Periodically change the reptile basking bulb. Reptile UVB lighting bulbs need changing every 6 months if they are T8 bulbs one inch in diameter. Some high-quality T5 UVB lamp and bulb sets work to their full potential for up to 12 months as they are only half an inch in diameter.
- Keep the right distance. To ensure the lighting in your uromastyx tank is up to standard, you must keep your heat lamp at the right distance. Most will work their best when you keep them between 9 inches of the basking area.
- Do not shine through the glass. Most UVB lights are only effective when they shine directly into the uromastyx terrarium. Do not shine them through the glass of the tank or the basking surface temperature will not be high enough.
Captive-bred uromastyx must live in well-monitored environments. Part of keeping your pet lizard healthy is making sure its enclosure is humid enough.
What are the best options for uromastyx humidity?
Here are some of our favorite options.
- Humidifer. The best way to keep your tank humid is with a humidifier. (More about this in a mo.)
- Hand-held mister. A spray bottle with water in it is also good for keeping the atmosphere in the tank humid.
- Substrate. Certain coastal uromastyx species like their enclosures more humid than other species. To meet their needs, you must make their tanks more humid. Do this by adding a humid substrate such as sphagnum moss to the tank floor. You may also use a mister for your uromastyx home. Putting sandy soil, edible plants, and edible flowers in the enclosure will also increase the humidity. The burrow box must contain plenty of moss and moist, sandy soil to keep it humid.
As well as having the right basking temperatures, your lizards must have the right humidity levels in their enclosures.
How can you measure the humidity in the enclosure?
Here are some of the best options.
- Smart spray system. The best way to keep the tank humid is with a smart spray system. This system constantly monitors the humidity in the tank. It links to your mister and will automatically mist the tank when the humidity drops below the set level. Some of the spray systems work with a timer that will automatically mist the tank when you program it.
- Digital hygrometer. A digital hygrometer will constantly measure the tank’s atmosphere. Some of the higher-end models will sound an alarm or flash when the levels become dangerously low or high. The alarm will move you to action to help you best look after your reptile’s health.
- Analog hygrometer. An analog hygrometer will measure the humidity inside the tank. It is easy to stick to the tank. You must check the hygrometer regularly to ensure the humidity inside the enclosure stays ideal. If it is not, you must use a mister.
Uromastyx SP Requirements FAQs
Up next, we have answered some of the web’s most search questions about uromasyx housing. Check it out and find the answers to your queries!
How Much UVB Does a Uromastyx Need?
Uromastyx are cold-blooded reptiles that need to bask in UVB light to keep themselves warm. Basking is one of the many natural behaviors that keep the reptile healthy.
Your uromastyx is a full-time basking reptile and needs access to UVB wavelengths for 12 to 14 hours every day. At various points throughout the day, your reptile will spend time sitting in the light of a basking bulb and hiding in the shade.
Your uromastyx lighting setup must allow your pet to get the UVB it needs to prevent disease and stay healthy.
How Long Can a Uromastyx Go Without Heat?
For a uromastyx heat is very important. They like the intense and dry heat they would face in their natural habitat.
You must keep your uromastyx warm at all times.
You must closely monitor even the night time temperatures in their environments as these animals are cold-blooded and cannot keep themselves warm. You must not handle them or keep them outside their enclosures for more than 10 minutes at a time as their body temperatures will cool right down and they could struggle to warm themselves up again.
Staying in a cold environment will quickly make your uromastyx sick. Sick or wounded uromastyx do not have high survival rates because they are exotic pets and many veterinarians simply do not have enough experience to treat them well.
Do Uromastyx Need UVB?
Hatchling, juvenile, and adult uromastyx need UVB to survive and prevent diseases such as metabolic bone disease. UVB mimics the light these reptiles would feel in the wild and provides them with the warmth and UVB wavelengths that they need.
A uromastyx without access to UVB will quickly get sick and die.
To supplement the UVB and further prevent bone diseases, you must ensure your reptile gets enough calcium. Besides feeding it the right diet, you must dust its food once a week in calcium powder.
Calcium and vitamin supplements are also important for these reptiles.
What Do Uromastyx Eat?
Uromastyx are herbivores and must eat a balanced diet including fruit, vegetables, seeds, and legumes.
Vegetables must make up the bulk of their diet. They must eat dark leafy greens such as dandelion greens, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, carrot greens, collard greens, hibiscus greens, and turnip greens.
Refreshing food like cactus helps keep your uromastyx hydrated. But you must also provide it with a shallow water dish.
They must eat pulses and seeds almost every day. These include millet and lentils.
Fruits are high in sugar so you must only give them to your reptile once a week. They like to eat kiwis, figs, and berries.
A Warm, Dry, and Bright Uromastyx Tank
Putting your uromastyx in the right environment is a big job and unfortunately, many do not reach their life expectancy due to poor husbandry. But thanks to the information in this article, we have got to know this reptile’s living requirements to perfection.
A uromastyx enclosure needs a warm side between 80 and 85°F and a cool side between 90 and 100°F. It must not be too humid, just 10 to 25%. The reptiles need 12 to 14 hours of daylight each day.
Measure the temperature with an on/off thermostat and the humidity with a smart spray system.
Did you find this article interesting?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best information about uromastyx and other lizards and cold-blooded pets. For more guides on housing multiple uromastyx, looking out for signs of illness, and handling your pet, visit our website.
Thanks for reading!