Geyri is 2 years old on June 27. She is growing, and shedding now; a hard process for them that goes on for maybe a month, shedding in patches, unlike a snake. She is healthy and loves her new, bigger enclosure. I have studied what it looks like in the part of Africa where her species comes from and try to make it as close to that as I can, in an artificial environment. She was bred here and has never been to Africa, but her instincts tell her what her home should be like.
Now at 2 she is like a teen-ager, and has gotten more brave about things like climbing in her tree. So, I had to move things around for her and give her more wood to climb on. Today she sat up in her tree for 2 hours, the way a uro in the great desert might do. She can survey her whole world from up there.
I need to go on a soap box now, to discuss the ways people can get a uromastyx if they want one. Geyris come from southern Algeria, Mali and Niger. 12 or so other species that are imported to this country come from other parts of North Africa and many countries in the Middle East. Some of those countries have now banned the legal export of uromastyx, but poaching and illegal export run rampant.
Uromastyx are caught wild from their burrows, thrown together into containers and might spend a month or more in transit to this country and other countries. During that time, they don’t have any of the specific needs of uros: proper heat, UV light and food. Many uros in the wild carry a light load of internal parasites, and they are manageable in the wild. But the stress of their shipment increases the load of parasites. So many of these animals arrive in this country sick, injured, and near death.
I have a friend who lives in Algeria, in the heart of the Sahara. In the area where he lives, a species larger than Geyri, called Moroccan uros, used to be all around out in the desert. He could walk out and see them. Now, the collection of the uros has been so bad that he needs to travel 40 miles before he can see any. People collect them and tie ribbons around them so they can carry them around and handle them without being bitten, since these are wild and frightened animals. My friend showed me this picture of an adult Morrocan in an animal market in his city several days ago. This uro is gravid with eggs.
This one was badly injured by others in the capture and hold process.
When uros are imported to here, they are sold at expos and in pet stores. They are sick and some cannot be rehabbed at the point they are for sale in stores, and will die. Many pet stores do not have any good information about the specific needs they have, and they sell them to people who also don’t know how to treat this amazing reptile. People buy them, follow the instructions they were given, and then the animal often dies.
So, this soap box is saying, if you want to get a uromastyx, do a lot of research about how to set up their new desert home, before you get one. And, buy one from a trusted breeder in this country, a person who has rehabbed wild caught ones and developed good healthy breeding stock from them, and is producing healthy captive bred uros. Geyri came from a breeder who is now the top breeder in this country, Phillip Lietz at Arids Only. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxHfAWMAvtY474gBqYnm9aw firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many other good breeders, and they all know how to ship uros safely, clear across the county and in one day. If you are on Facebook, I would recommend you joining a uro group there called Uromasyx Club. https://www.facebook.com/groups/396395070428291 It has so much information about every aspect of uro life, from experienced uro keepers across the world, including a list of breeders in this country and others.
So, soap box over. This has become a passion for me as I learned more about my own little uro, about what a wonderful species uromastyx are, and what horrible conditions go on for some people to be able to obtain them. Captive bred uros are available, and you will be very happy if you get one of them: healthy, happy and ready to spend the next 15 or so years in your good care.
Geyri wanted me to write about this for her birthday, so that more animals like her parents can live in peace in their desert environments, and everybody who wants to have a uro can have a captive bred one. Too many species of animals are being wiped out by different forms of human greed. I’d like to speak up for this species.
So, Happy Birthday Hatch Day to Geyri, my dear little uro, here enjoying the little oasis in the cool end of her desert home. And a video of her now willing to let me touch her frequently.