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Ornate Uromastyx

Uromastyx ornatus
Family: Agamidae
Adult Size: 12 to 16 inches overall length

Southern Israel and Saudi Arabia

Habitat: Deserts
Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
Care Level: Advanced


This handsome species needs to be kept very dry to avoid skin problems and toe infections. A layer of sandy gravel makes a good bottom material in the cage. One prominent basking rock should be positioned at one end so the lizard can mount it and get close to a strong heat lamp above that spot. It’s absolutely essential that ornate uromastyx lizards can bask every day for several hours under light that exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit or they may not be able to function properly. Even the cool end of the cage should reach the high 80s during the day. Temps in the 70s are fine at night, though.

These are the most colorful of the uromastyx lizards, with males taking on gorgeous blues and greens when mature. Both sexes are specialized vegetarians that derive all their moisture from desert plants and seeds that you wouldn’t think are ‘juicy’ enough to provide water. Ornate uromastyx like to feast nearly every day after warming up to a temperature in the 90s – hotter than is recommended for most other saurians. No water bowl is needed in the cage as it will only get polluted and breed potentially harmful bacteria.

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