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Mali Uromastyx

Uromastyx maliensis

  • Family: Agamidae
  • Adult Size: 10 to 15 inches total length
  • Range: North Africa
  • Habitat: Deserts
  • Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
  • Dangerous:
  • Care Level: Intermediate


With imports pouring in, this chunky lizard is now the best-known of the ‘dabb’ lizards of the Mideast. In reality, its availability as a popular pet belies the difficulty of acclimating these animals to captivity. Mali Uromastyx lizards are so specialized for their harsh, desert habitat that they have a poor track record as a pet partly because hobbyists try to treat them ‘too well’ in their efforts to create caging conditions more suited for lizards from moister, more temperate regions.

Give the Mali uromastyx a large cage. Decorate it like a desert – sandy gravel as a substrate with abundant rocks. They need an exceptionally hot basking lamp aimed at one end of the cage. It should reach well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit directly under the light because these guys like it hotter during the day than most lizards. Keep the ‘cool’ end in the high eighties to low nineties, although it can drop another 20 degrees over night.

Mali uromastyx are fully herbivorous, subsisting on leaves, flowers, and seeds of desert plants. That’s also how they obtain all their moisture. A water bowl is unnecessary in the cage because they don’t drink standing water. A nocturnal burrow is utilized in the wild, so try to simulate one for them in captivity.

For more information, read our detailed Mali Uromastyx care sheet.

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