Somali Uromastyx (U. mcfadyeni )

Somali Uromastyx are an infrequently seen species in herpetoculture,  imported into North America for the first time in mid 2001. Unlike importations of most other Uromastyx species, importations of Somali's have all been very small and sporadic in nature. Thus they are still very rare and command prices from $250 to $450 each.  It's one of the dwarf species closely related to the Ornate Uromastyx and superficially similar in looks. They appear to max out at around 10"+, 185 grams or so. The ground color is tan to blue gray in juveniles and females, to rich sky blue in mature males.  Both sexes carry dense, almost rectangular blue spotting, in contrast to the Ornate in which rich blues are generally restricted to the males.  By further contrast, only the male Somali's carry extensive yellow spotting, which occurs equally in both sexes of Ornates. Both sexes have femoral pores but the pores are extremely minute in females.  This trait is the best one to use in sexing juvenile specimens.  

The personality is almost as if someone crossed an Ornate with a Sudanese Uromastyx. They are generally more flighty than an Ornate but not so hyper or skittish as Sudanese tend to be.  Hardiness as captive breds is debatable, but as wild collecteds they must be deemed very difficult. As fresh imports they can be hard to switch over to a normal domestic diet, so unless you're patient and have a well planted garden (or weedy yard), the prognosis is poor.  If you find yourself in possession of an unacclimated specimen, sometimes using crickets  (with the hind legs and a few fore legs removed) placed in a very shallow dish of torn up greens and peas can get them to begin feeding.  Placing dandelion, Mallow, and  Hibiscus blooms in the dish also works well to stimulate feeding. Be careful about using just insects. It's a poor diet that they will sooner or later abandon leaving it harder to switch them over to greens. 

We have not worked with enough individuals of this species to make comments as to their temperament towards cage mates but their long term hardiness is generally problematic. We do NOT consider this a species which should be sold as a pet for several reasons. First and foremost, they are simply too rare both in the wild and in herpetoculture to justify removing animals from the breeding population. Secondly, wild collected Somalis generally do very poorly in captivity and until captively produced, are really not likely to survive for all but the specialist. We do not buy wild collected Somali's for resale and will only consider releasing some to those well experienced with Uromastyx and who intend to use them for breeding purposes.  Barring a significant change in their availability, we don't expect to have many available. We have had consistently poor success with this species and do not currently have any in our breeding groups. Most our colleagues have had similar  experiences with egg-binding gravid females being the weak link with this species. I really like them but it's hard to justify continuing to drop money into them with no progress to show for it. Please e-mail or call us (360 435-2679) if you're looking for Somali's.  We keep a "Wanted" list and fill it to appropriate homes as specimens become available. 

Three Variously Patterned Adult Males

Juvenile Female Adult Female


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Copyright 1992-2010 by  Douglas Dix. All rights reserved for all photos and text