Everything You Need to Know About the Uromastyx

Posted by Samantha Bubar

The Uromastyx, only found north of the equator, looks like a pint-sized pet dinosaur.

Native to North Africa, the Middle East, Southern and Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the Uromastyx is a small and stout spiky-tailed lizard. Often called "Uros," these desert lizards are in the same family as the bearded dragon and live for roughly 15 years.

Because they are from the desert, these lizards don't usually drink standing water. They get the majority of the water to keep them hydrated from the vegetables and plants they eat.

In captivity they need a fairly large temperature gradient (80-100 degrees Fahrenheit) with a basking temperature of 120 degrees! They also like to burrow to cool down and graze, so it is beneficial to keep them in as large of an enclosure as possible.

Uros are diurnal and eat mainly plant matter and a few insects. They are best for reptile keepers with some experience as the large temperature gradient may be hard to maintain, and is critical for proper health of your Uromastyx.

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Uromastyx heads are small and round. They have a salt gland near their nose that excretes mineral salt to help them conserve water. This mixture of salt and snot is called "snalt".


They have a stout body that ranges from 10-18 inches.


Their tail has 10-30 rings of spiked scales on the top of the tail. When they feel threatened, they might whip you with their spiky tail.


The Uromastyx has a wide range of colors from natural earth tones to vivid bright colors. When they are cooler in temperature, they turn a dark, dull color in order to absorb heat better.


Uromastyx have long nails so they can burrow and dig to escape the high desert temperatures.


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Everything You Need to Know About the Uromastyx