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Reptiles/Saharan Uromastyx


I have a Saharan Uromastyx who I would guess to be approx. 18 months old.  When he first came home he was in a 20 gallon terrarium and we used crushed walnut shell for the substrate, and the lighting for day was/is a ZooMed 100 W Powersun UVB, I also have a night light for him.

I recently purchased a 36 gallon terrarium along with clay substrate, the lighting has remained the same which I am thinking may be the problem but you are the expert so...

My uros name is Happy.  I am not sure if a male or female.  Happy has been in the new terrarium for approx. 10 days.  Happy is not coming out from the cave we have had since we brought him home very much at all.  Some days he will eat ravenously and others he will hardly touch the food.  Happy has always enjoyed digging and burrowing in his substrate and continues to do so.  

I suppose I should also tell you this-Happy will ONLY eat Boston lettuce and occasionally crickets and dandelions, in the past I have tried every other veggie imaginable, Happy just will not eat anything else.

Do you think he is unhappy with his new housing or could this be bromation?  I am ordering new lighting for Happy today and cannot decide if I should get the walnut shell or not.  Should I take Happy to a vet?  Any assistance you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Lee

Hello Lee,

Usually Uros don't tend to brumate or if they do it isn't a very heavy brumation.  They will slow down some but don't typically brumate heavily like other lizards do.  
The Powersun mercury vapor bulb should be fine.  Do you know what the temperatures are at now for him?  He will need a basking temperature of around 120-140F range with a cooler end of around 80F or so.  Be sure he has plenty of areas to get cooled off as well as get out of the UVB also.  How close is the UVB to him?
Happy is a great name for him, too!  
He definitely needs more variety of foods though.  Try some squash varieties, or bearded dragon or iguana feed such as the dry pellets or even turtle pellet food, too.  He wont eat any mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens or swiss chard?  A few types of berries like blackberries, raspberries or strawberries are usually good to feed once or twice a week, also.  Sometimes they can sure get picky with their foods.  Keep trying with other foods to be sure he is getting adequate nutrition.  
Are you already using crushed walnut for his bedding?  I would recommend using a more natural source such as bed a beast, washed & sifted play sand but NOT a calcium based sand like calcisand as that can cause impaction.  The walnut shell has been known to cause impaction too if ingested.  There is also a clay excavator substrate or even a coconut husk type of substrate too you could consider.
How often do you give calcium for him?  As an adult, he needs calcium at least 3 times per week too.
If you have any pictures of Happy & his tank, be sure to post them if you can.

Let me know how he is doing.


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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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