Omani Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx thomasi)
The Omani Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx thomasi) is one of about 18 species of genus Uromastyx.
According to Thomas M.Wilms (Studybook Breeding Programme Uromastyx thomasi Oman-Spiny-tailed lizard, First annual report (2006), the Omani Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx thomasi) lives in coastal Oman. The status of the wild population is unknown, but preliminary investigations suggest this species is not common in wide parts of the range (WILMS, unpublished). The distribution area of the Omani Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx thomasi) has a length of approximately 600 km and a maximum width of 230 km. Obviously, not all types of landscape (e.g. mountainous areas) represented in the natural range of the species are suitable for them as habitats.
However, the results of laboratory research and international breeding projects afford grounds for creating population ex situ.
The Omani Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx thomasi) are middle-sized mastigures with a distinctive appearance and quite attractive coloration. They inhabit arid climate areas and are active in the daytime. In fact, they need rather hot day temperatures to live and reproduce. Their diet includes seeds and different plants but depends on the season (live or drained plants, flowers, seeds).
At present, this species is quite rare and endangered in nature. The Omani Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyxt thomasi) research started in 2000, when the first successful breeding results were obtained in Germany.
BION Terrarium Center has been implementing its own Omani Spiny-tailed lizard breeding project during the last decade, and as of February 2020, we have 4 male and 6 females to form the breeding stock. We hope, it`s the beginning of our long-term work with these amazing animals.
Typical enclosure conditions:
Cage: we use a glass terrarium of 90x70x65 cm for keeping an adult pair or 1 male and 2 females. During the period of digging clutches, females might be aggressive and animals need more control. Sometimes, we keep them separate. In winter, males are kept in separate cages.
Substrate: bank sand (for adults).
Decoration: wooden, ceramic, and stone shelters – at least 2 per cage.
Water bowl is necessary during the breeding season only.
Lighting: we use full spectrum lamps of 80 W and 300 W. The day length is 10-12 hours during the period of activity and 14 hours during the breeding season. During the winter season, lighting is not needed, except for a spot lamp.
Temperature: during the period of activity we usually use quality lamps (Osram , Raptor, Zoo Med) of 100 W or more depending on the cage size, but the temperature at the enclosure should be controlled to avoid overheating. It should be 25-26º C at night and 29-32º C during the daytime. The basking spot temperature achieves 55-60º C.
Humidity: around 50%.
Adult lizards receive food every second day. They prefer seeds (lentil, green peas), motley grass (dandelion, nettle, clover, mulberry, raspberry, blackberry, mint, plantain, knot-grass, etc.), and flowers (rose, hibiscus, linden, robinia, etc.). Using dried grass and flowers is also very useful out of season.
Mineral supplements: lump Calcium is always available in feeding dishes.
We reduce gradually the temperature and lighting from the beginning of January. In January or February, we arrange near 2 weeks of rest at 23-26º C and without any lighting. The period of temperature and lighting increase follows later.
The breeding season starts with raising temperature and lighting and keeping pairs together.
After 35-40 days of gravidity, the female digs a clutch into a substrate (usually 10 to 15 eggs, 1 or 2 clutches per season). During this period, the female feeds less.
Temperature of incubation: 29-33º C, usually 32º C.
Humidity for incubation: 60-70% (a drop of water should appear on the substrate surface (vermiculite) after pressing it). Excessive humidity is dangerous.
Hatching occurs after 75-80 days.
At first, we keep our juveniles in groups of 5 individuals. The terrarium size is 600x400x450 mm.
Substrate: paper towels.
Decoration and lighting are the same as for adults.
The temperature at the enclosure should be about 35-40º C, and 60º C at the basking spot (where ceramic shelter to seat on should be located).
We spray our babies twice a day (in the morning and фе noon) with a small amount of water.
Young animals start feeding at the age of 2 or 3 days. In general, they feed on the same plants as adults.
Calcium should be always available.
Health problems of the Omani Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx thomasi) aren`t studied enough and we recommend to keep all the rules of responsible care to avoid health problems of your pets.
We can indicate a few important points from BION’s experience to keep your Omani Spiny-tailed lizard healthy and happy as well as enable them to breed:
- always keep the high temperature in a basking spot and use quality lamps like Osram or Zoo Med on a regular basis ;
- keep a low humidity level – around 50%;
- provide your lizards with a proper area of 1 sq.m for an adult pair or trio;
- use the proper diet including fresh flowers and no fresh fruits at all;
- use dry flowers since fall to spring – as a matter of fact, they help to fix your lizards stomach problems, if any.
1.. Frank Glaw - Miguel Vences. 2007: Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences&GlawVerlag GbR 3rd Edition. 496 pp. Germany.
2.. Randall L. Gray. 2003. Desert Lizards: Captive Husbandry and Propagation. Krieger Publishing Company. Malabar. Florida.
3.. Thomas M. Wilms, Species-Coordinator. 2006. Studbook / breeding Programme Oman-Spiny-tailed-Lizard (Uromastyx thomasi).
4.. Thomas Wilms. 2005. Uromastyx: Natural History, Captive Care, Breeding (Spiny-Tailed Lizards). HerpetonVerlag. 155 pp. Germany.