UROMASTYX MALIENSIS

Habitat
The Uromastyx maliensis also called Mali Uromastyx inhabits the northern parts of Mali and the south of Algeria, where they share their habitat with U. geyri. The climate in their natural habitat is known as a semi- desert to desert climate, with big temperature differences between day and night. The area is very dry and consist mostly of sand wth several rock formations.
Uromastyx are very territorial animals, and they live alone or in small groups with only one male and one or a few females. Males will fight, and can injure each other badly when put together, but also females can be very dominant to each other and cause troubles. It might even be difficult to keep a male and a female together in a terrarium all year round, and its advisable to have an extra cage ready in case they will fight. Uromastyx are diurnal lizards, very active during the day and basking a lot in front of their burrow, but they will retreat into their hides when the sense danger or when it gets to hot. Temperatures can be 10 degrees higher than with the U. acanthinura. From December until March they will retreat into there hides for a resting period.



Description
The U. Maliensis is a medium sized Uromastyx, and will reach a total length of approximately 35-40 cm. Males are often very dark to black and at their backs they have a beautiful yellow colouring. Females often have a less dark brownish ground colour, and the yellow on their back is less bright. Also the males have a bigger head than the females. This probably is the best known of all Uromastyx species, and especially in the USA it is very common in the pet trade. And even though there are many success stories about breeding the maliensis, there are still a lot of wild caught animals for sale.



Cage
As this is a pretty active lizard we recommend a pretty big terrarium, I keep my malies in a 150cm x 70cm x 55cm terrarium. By creating a climbable back wall you can increase the floor space. The bigger the terrarium the better. By using flagstones and rocks artificial hides can be made, always make sure all rocks are safely secured and can’t fall on your lizard. (you won’t be the first one losing a reptile because it was crushed by a rock) As substrate I use washed play sand. You can decorate your terrarium with rocks flagstones and wood. Make sure there are enough hides in the terrarium, at least 1 for every animal. Uromastyx like to cramp themselves into their hides, keep that in mind and don’t make them to spacey.

As Uromastyx are real sun loving lizards there can’t be to much light in the cage. The lighting consists of a self ballasted ReptileUV Mega-ray (100W) and a 60 W incandescent spot lamp. UVB lighting seems to be very important for the proper growth and behaviour of these lizards. Without it these animals cannot process calcium and will quickly become calcium deficient and parish. Besides this lizards can see more colours than humans, all the way into the UVB spectrum, this might play a role in finding food and courtship The lamps are on for 12 hours a day (summer 14 hours, winter 8 hours). Animals bask when the air temperature is about 30°C and become active almost immediately. The temperature under one spot can go as high as 55°C and a little cooler under the other spot lamp (40°C). Nightly temperature can be dropped to about 20°C. To get this temperature gradient you need to have a relatively large cages, and at least 2 light bulbs.



Care
Mature and juvenile animals are fed 6-7 times a week. They eat mostly vegetable matter but an occasional locust or wax moth larvae isn’t refused, but must be kept to a minimum as there is a debate about how this would have a negative effect in the long run. A very important aspect of the diet is to vary the vegetable matter fed to your Uro. Animals were mainly fed protein rich veggies with endive as the number one. The endive is mixed with rasped carrots, dandelion (flowers and leaves), cabbages and paksoi. The seeds of paksoi are not eaten. They Uro’s love birdseed, pollen granules and lentils The food is powdered with a calcium and vitamin supplement. 1-2 times a week the terrarium is misted about an hour before the lights are turned off to increase night time humidity. Normally a healthy Uromastyx will obtain the necessary water from his food and do not need a water bowl. I have not offered a water bowl over the last 5 years. But if you offer a water bowl make sure that it’s a very shallow bowl so the humidity in your terrarium wont go up too much.

Breeding
Unfortunately I haven’t bred my malies yet, but especially in America there are a lot of good breeding results with this species. And also in the Netherlands and Germany this species is bred more often. So everything I write about the breeding and incubation of this Uromastyx species is from the literature listed below. To get them in a “breeding mood” a resting period from November to January is given. Lowering the temperature for 5 to 10 degrees celcius over this period should be sufficient. (Wilms) After copulation the female will lay 10 to sometimes even 24 eggs, in slightly moistened sand.

Incubation of the eggs
In the incubator at a temperature of 30-32 degrees Celsius the eggs will hatch in approximately 75 to 100 days.

Raising the juveniles
As I bought mine as juveniles I can tell you this from my own experience. The juveniles are kept the same as the adult lizards. Only the food offered is cut into appropriate (smaller) pieces, and in the beginning I offered a small water bowl. The young malies are very enthusiastic, and will go through the whole cage. Wild caught animals are much more difficult to acclimatise than captive bred juveniles, and are more skittish. Even though mine were captive bred they were still very skittish while they were young, but as they grew bigger the became “used to me”. I never handle my Uromastyx unless its absolutely necessary because this is stressful for the animal, and it will cool down quickly outside of it’s cage. Uromastyx are display animals, if you want to something to hold and cuddle ………. buy a cat.

Conclusion
Uromastyx maliensis is a very active lizard which can be kept in captivity if all basic conditions are taken care of, such as adequate housing, feeding, health, acclimatisation and heat/light. For advanced hobbyists this species gives a nice challenge in caring and breeding them. Off course we want to see a healthy population in captivity this is why this species must be bred more in captivity. Be sure to get captive bred animals, as they are easier to keep healthy and strong. Uromastyx are not lizards to pick up and cuddle when ever you feel like it, they are display animals witch should be enjoyed from INSIDE their terrarium.


Literature

• Uromastyx plus other common Agamids – Jerry G Walls – isbn 1882770870 – The herpetocultural library

• Spiny-tailed Agamids: Uromastyx and Xenagama – R D Bartlett – isbn< 0764125729 – Barron’s

• Uromastyx – Thomas Wilms – isbn 3936180121 – Herpeton

• Dornschwanzagamen – Thomas Wilms – isbn 3980621472 –Herpeton
• Uromastyx and Butterfly Agamids – Jerry G Walls – isbn 079382074x – TFH Publications

• Basic care of Uromastyx Lizards – Philippe De Vosjoil – Advanced vivarium systems

• AVS Uromastyx – Jerry G Walls – Bowtie Pr

• Uromastyx verzamelnummer, 2005 – Stichting Doelgroep Groene Leguanen

• Draco 31, Dornschwanzagamen – Draco

• Reptilia 16, Dorschwanze – Reptilia