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These are male Saharan uromastyx lizards, one orange phase, one yellow phase. Uromastyx from Urotopia.com. Photo by Lindsay Pike.
Uromastyx lizards are easy to recognize by their stocky body types and by the long, spiny tail. Uromastyx from Urotopia.com. Photo by Lindsay Pike.
This ornate uromastyx lizard's bold colors are even carried onto the tail spines. Uromastyx from Urotopia.com.
Photo by Lindsay Pike.
The hollow-looking depression seen on the side of this ornate uromastyx lizard's head is the ear opening. Uromastyx from Urotopia.com. Photo by Lindsay Pike.
Uromastyx (Uromastyx sp.)
Uromastyx are a genus of lizard in the agamid family, the same family that includes bearded dragons and frilled dragons, clown agamas and many other familiar lizards. There are at least 18 different species of uromastyx officially recognized by taxonomists, and many more subspecies and varieties.
The common name spinytail, or spiny-tailed agamid, comes from the 10 to 30 rings of spiked scales covering the top side of their tail. They are also sometimes called dabb lizards, or mastiguires, but they are usually just referred to as “uros.”
Uromastyx lizards inhabit a discontinuous range stretching through most of North Africa, the Middle East and across south-central Asia to the Indian subcontinent. This area, entirely north of the equator, spreads across 5,000 miles and 30 countries. These lizards occur at elevations ranging from sea level to more than 3,000 feet.
Uromastyx are categorized as CITES Appendix II. This means trade is regulated, but not necessarily prohibited. Some countries will allow exports and some will not, but the total quantity permitted is in the tens of thousands per year.
There are several things to consider when obtaining a uromastyx lizard. First off, find out the eventual adult size of the species you are getting. Attempt to determine the genuine source and history of the lizard, including whether it is captive-bred, imported recently, or imported long enough ago to be acclimated to captivity. All other things being equal, captive-bred animals are more likely to be free from parasites, accustomed to a captive diet and the constraints of a cage, and less frightened by typical household activities. Genuine, captive-bred uros are normally only available as hatchlings.
Most adult uromastyx are between 10 and 18 inches in length, the primary exception being the Egyptian uromastyx, which can exceed 30 inches in length. Hatchlings can measure a mere 3 to 4 inches in length.
Uromastyx Life Span
It's difficult to estimate normal life span of uromastyx lizards in captivity because until recently most of the information available was from imported lizards that started their...