Are you considering getting a pet Uromastyx but don’t know if it can be handled or tamed?
Whether or not your new reptile companion can be held and interacted with depends on several factors, such as the specific species of your Uromastyx, its individual personality, and even how close your bond is to your pet.
In this post, we’ll outline the process of taming an Uromastyx, as well as how to properly handle one in order to keep them happy and healthy.
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Can You Handle Uromastyx?
Handling Uromastyx is a complex and often controversial topic.
Although some owners have reported handling their pet Uromastyx with success and minimal stress to the animal, handling any reptile carries a certain degree of risk and should usually only be done by experienced owners.
However, as mentioned above, there are some factors that come into play.
It Depends On The Species
There are 16 known species of Uromastyx, and hundreds of sub-species. Uromastyx aegyptia alone has 15 sub-species across the Arabian Peninsula.
While most Uromastyx tend to be docile, it’s no surprise that this wide diversity means that some have the potential to be aggressive.
For instance, the Morrocan Uromastyx (Uromastyx acanthinurus nigriventris) and its subspecies are widely considered to be one of the–if not the–most aggressive species around.
It’s not rare to hear about longtime owners or handlers getting bitten by this particular species.
On the other hand, the Mali Uromastyx (Uromastyx maliensis) is a docile species that’s also perhaps the most common type of Uromastyx to be sold as a pet.
Other docile species include the Egyptian Uromastyx, the Ornate Uromastyx (Uromastyx Ornata), and the Ocellated species (Uromastyx ocellatus).
Generally, though, while you should always be careful, you shouldn’t expect your captive Uromastyx to be aggressive.
Uromastyx have individual personalities. Regardless of the species, there will always be outliers.
The answer can also change depending on how you got your pet. If you adopted an adult Uromastyx, it may have been mistreated in the past and can act skittish or aggressive.
Of course, if you got your Uromastyx when it was still young, then it can be easier to tame and handle them as they can grow accustomed to human touch.
Whether you can handle your Uromastyx or not can also depend on how much time you have to devote to taming or handling it.
While the bulk of Uromastyx can be tamed, it can take a long time for them to get used to being handled.
This means that the more time you can spare, the more trust can be built between you and your pet, and taming can come much easier.
Tip: Have a look at our uromastyx care guide to learn more about these awesome lizards!
How to Tame Uromastyx
Depending on the individual Uromastyx, certain introductions and handling techniques can help create a better bond between owner and pet, leading to a less stressful handling experience.
Here are the basic steps to taming Uromastyx. Keep in mind that this is for Uromastyx that are already acclimated, not brand new ones.
- Start off slow. You can start by simply hanging around their enclosure to let them get used to seeing you. Try not to startle them or disrupt their comfortable routine.
- Let them make the first move. Allowing your Uromastyx to approach you on their own terms can help them feel safer and can make taming easier.
- Be gentle. When you do pick up your Uromastyx, make sure to do so slowly and carefully. Always support their entire body so that they won’t feel unsafe.
- Be patient and consistent. Taming can take a while, and you can’t expect your Uromastyx to instantly become comfortable with being handled.
Ultimately, it’s important to not rush handling your pet Uromastyx. Always go slow and follow best handling practices for reptiles whenever possible.
Tips for Handling and Taming Uromastyx
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to handling and taming Uromastyx. It all depends on the species and individual personality of your pet, as well as how much time you have to devote to taming.
That said, here are some general tips and tricks to help make it easier for you.
- Get to know the species. Knowing more about your Uromastyx in detail can help you understand their personality and behavior better.
- Learn their stress signals. It can be helpful to recognize their stress signals, such as wiggling or glass surfing. This way, you can ensure that your taming experiences are safe for both you and your pet.
- Stay protected. Uromastyx can bite, and boy, do their bites hurt! You may want to wear hand protection when handling them at first as they may bite if scared.
- Hold them properly. Maintain a firm but gentle grip on their tail so that they are supported, have no way of falling off your hand, and don’t get too stressed out by your touch.
- Provide them with safe spots. Allowing your Uromastyx to have a secure spot can help build their trust in you. Having a place in their enclosures where they can hide can also help them feel more secure in general.
Do Uromastyx Like to Cuddle?
Uromastyx are not big on cuddling. While they can be tamed, uromastyx remain wild animals that don’t consider cuddling as part of their natural behavior.
Most will tolerate light petting on their head or nose, but cuddling should definitely not be encouraged.
Do Uromastyx Like to Be Held?
Generally, Uromastyx don’t enjoy being handled, but they can certainly tolerate it.
It’s important for owners of Uromastyx to recognize that these reptiles need their space and time for themselves and may not feel comfortable with too much human interaction, especially picking them up.
If given the chance, they’ll likely prefer to hide than be held in the hands of a person.