Setting up the uromastyx enclosure correctly is essential for your pet’s well-being. Besides the substrate and adequate heat and humidity sources, your uromastyx needs a variety of surfaces for different activity levels. Read on for some tips on how to decorate your uromastyx enclosure with furnishings that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
In addition to the warmth provided by basking lamps, your uromastyx will appreciate having a couple of warm objects placed in the enclosure. Raised basking spots with concentrated heat of 50-60°C (120-140°F) are ideal places for your pet lizard to relax and digest its meals. Areas with different levels and distances from the heat source will allow you to create a variety of temperature zones where the uromastyx will thrive.
Basking platforms, slate rocks, and terracotta tiles from garden specialty stores, as well as heavier artificial ornaments like rock ledges, are great basking areas for uromastyx. Alternatively, you can find a smooth piece of limestone on a beach, but you need to make sure that it is large enough and at least 5 cm (2”) thick. Bake the stone for 20 minutes in the oven at 95°C (200°F) to kill any germs before placing it in the enclosure.
Uromastyx is a basking species, but it still needs to spend some time in dark and cool areas. It is, therefore, important to provide fully and partially covered shady spots throughout the enclosure for your uromastyx to rest and cool off when they need to. Large artificial plants with a weighted base and trailing plants, are ideal for creating shade in the cage.
Snug hides, like caves or themed ornaments, also provide great shady spots. They allow uromastyx to feel secure, minimize stress, and regulate humidity levels. You can also use a plastic Tupperware box with a hole cut in for easy access. Fill it with sand, peat moss, or coco fiber mixture, topped with sphagnum moss to retain some moisture. Keep in mind that the box needs to be large enough for the uromastyx to hide in but small enough that it feels cozy and safe.
Even though uromastyx are ground-dwelling lizards, they like to climb and will use every opportunity to do so. Be sure to provide a few climbing spots in the enclosure, such as hollow cork bark logs, Mopani wood, or grapevine.
Enclosure accessories and decorations should be cleaned at minimum monthly. Remove the uromastyx and all the contents from the cage before you start cleaning. Spray the decorations with disinfectant and rinse thoroughly with water before drying them off and putting them back in place. Cleaning should be done during the daytime so that the uromastyx stays in a warm vivarium for at least one hour before the cage temperature drops for the night.
- There are a few things to keep in mind when decorating your uromastyx enclosure:
- Fully set up all furnishings before placing your pet uromastyx in the enclosure.
- Place larger objects directly on the floor of the enclosure without any substrate beneath. The uromastyx will use any opportunity to dig under objects, which can result in injuries.
- Make sure that any large rocks and bricks cannot be easily toppled by your pet lizard.
- Lamps shouldn’t be placed too close to the basking spots. Natural rocks can get extremely hot and cause burns. Be sure to monitor your temperatures with Zoo Med Digital Thermometers and/or a Digital Infrared Thermometer