Unhealthy Mali Uromastyx


New Member
I have a 3 year old Mali Uromastyx and he has always been a sick lizard since he was a baby. He doesn't eat much in terms of Crickets and i know they can get kidney failure from too much protiene. He eats a lil bit of bird seeds and mixed greens. I can't find much info online about Mali Uros.He is very skinny and small.Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Here is caresheet on them. They only eat crickets once in a while, they live on dark leafy greens and other veggies along wih a small amount of bird seed to aid in digestion.
Read here
What kind of temps do you have in the cage? Is he in an aquarium? Does he have a substrate to be able to bury into? I never gave my uros any crickets. I did offer a large assortment of veggies, kale, collard greens, squash, peas, green beans, carrots, sweet potato, several others but I don't remember what. I kept about 3" of substrate, I used something called calves creep, starter food for baby caves. I also kept a small dish of bird food in for them. I kept 3 together, 1 male & 2 females in a 100 gal aquarium. Had them for 4 or 5 years. Let me know if I can help.
I agree with not feeding it any insects. I feed mine the same greens (dandelions, kale, collards, endive, escarole, etc.) and veggies (carrots, squash, zucchini, sweet red pepper, sweet potato, etc.) I feed to the insects and a bit of fruit (pear, apple, melon, berries, etc.). I brumate them in Dec. until about March during which time I give them no food but I do provide a dish of dry lentils which they rarely touch...and a fresh dish of water every few days.

Have you ever had it tested for parasites? What substrate are you using? Does it poop?
Romaine lettuce as well. No iceberg, there is no nutritional value in it. My mali's diet is ~60% romaine leaves. All three are fat and happy! :)

Throw in a random assortment of above suggestions (bird seed, veggies, etc.)

Do you have any sort of heat source -under- the enclosure? Have you ever heard of this Laurie? Local herpetologist recommended for me to have a constant heat source, ideally under their basking light. He says most mali owners do not keep them hot enough, as they require that heat for proper digestion and therefore energy production.

Hope your mali gets better! Thankfully, they're pretty hardy lizards, I'm betting you'll see improvements.
I used to breed malis.

A few tips.

Hot is correct. You can get by with 100-110 basking site, but they acclimate better when ambient is quite warm as well. The first couple of years I used even warmer basking spots indoors and old black rubber automobile tires to provide hot basking spots outdoors in the sun, and they used these as well. But they are not necessary.

Best acclimation for me was in very spartan and warm enclosures- 30 gallon storage tubs with no substrate, bottom roughed up with sandpaper so they could grip. 75 or 100 watt reflector over one end of the tub. Probably ambient heat was often around 90 in those tubs, and there was lots of light bouncing around in there. In addition to the items already mentioned for food, I used a lot of dry iguana food, and they did very well with this. Was a great way to get them eating during acclimation.

Once acclimated, housing can be more complex and interesting for the lizard. In my case, I kept set ups almost exactly like bearded dragon set ups. They even did great here outdoors in the summers.

I cycled like I do my bearded dragons ~3 months at 50-70 degrees. They would breed after that.

I was trying to find photos of hatching- I know I saw them in my files somewhere recently, but can't find them this morning. Babies grew very slowly for me- like 3 years to adulthood or something. I used mainly iguana food for diet. Probably better to use more salad than I used along with the pellets- search online for iguana salad information for balancing a vegetarian diet. Mine did great on rep-cal iguana pellets though, with greens as treats for the several years I kept them. They were very cute little chubby lizards. I did not feed insects other than a few times just to see. Adults and babies did go after them. But they aren't necessary and maybe not desirable.

I don't know what they say about water these days, but when I was keeping them the information of the day was that they rarely drank and standing water should not be kept in the enclosure and any ambient humidity would kill them. I found all of these facts to be untrue. Maybe it was the pellet diet, but mine drank regularly from shallow water dishes, and I always kept standing water in the terraria. I even kept them outdoors all summer here on the east coast just like I keep my bearded dragons and they thrived outdoors in the sunlight- yellow would almost glow, even though we have a lot of humidity sometimes and many rainy days each summer (I covered their terraria with tarps during rain though- damp substrate for any significant length of time can lead to skin problems and bacteria problems).

I don't think you should use a heat pad unless you are just having problems raising your ambient with lights during the day. They do not need extra heat at night unless temps drop below 50. If you want to let him go dormant for a few months during the winter, remove his food supply and take him down slowly over 3-4 weeks so he can clear his gut. I learned the hard way my first year with these guys (and chuckwallas at the same time) that 2 weeks without food is not long enough to clear the gut for vegetarian lizards sometimes.

This is a link to the best source of information I have found about them online:


Acclimation is the worst part- if you can get him past the first few months, they are really hardy and durable. Like I mentioned- my best acclimation worked out to be in really spartan enclosures with simple food (mainly rep-cal pellets) and a shallow water dish. It sounds weird, but probably the tub walls gave them some privacy and my success rate skyrocketed compared to trying to pamper them in more elaborate setups with hide spots and a variety food items etc.
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ah found a pic of some babies in their 30 gallon storage container.

Really, I raised them just like bearded dragons except that I fed them no insects...

Omg those babies are so adorable!!

Romaine lettuce as well. No iceberg, there is no nutritional value in it. My mali's diet is ~60% romaine leaves. All three are fat and happy! :)

Romaine is only very minimally better than iceberg. And some sources say it's even the same or worse than iceberg.

Romaine - Ca:p 0.8:1 , Pro: 1.6%, Fat: 0.2%, Water: 95%, Fiber: 1.7%
Iceberg - Ca:p 1:1 , Pro: 1%, Fat: 0.2%, Water: 96%, Fiber: 1.4%

I didn't know that at first and used a lot of romaine back in the day too. But I steer clear of it like iceberg. Collards, mustards, and turnip greens and the others kinyonga mentioned are way better for nutrition!
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