Ornate Uromastyx (U. ornata )
Ornates are probably the most popular Uromastyx species. They along with Egyptian Uromastyx were one of the first species imported into North America in sizable numbers starting in the late 1980's. They were relatively inexpensive at that time with most specimens going for less than $100. Their relatively low resale price along with the poor success of most keepers in even keeping them alive resulted in very few Ornates being kept back by herpetoculturalists to attempt to breed them. Then in the early 1990's, Egypt (their primary country of origin, along with Israel) banned further exportation, causing their price to rise dramatically. Luckily a few of us had already begun the effort to work out their husbandry needs and Deer Fern Farms along with Randal Gray and Audrey Vanderlinden became the first to successfully breed Ornates in North America. Today a few Ornates still enter North America as hatchlings from Europe or "ranched" from Jordon, but a notable percentage of specimens are currently produced by a handful of U.S. breeders. The limited numbers available coupled with high demand have generally kept the price for hatchlings around $225 - $300 with fully colored adults bringing appreciably more.
Ornates don't bring a premium price simply because they are uncommon. They also generally have the calmest, most laid back personalities of the Uromastyx group while displaying outstanding coloration year-round. Males tend towards a main body coloration of varing shades of blue (sky blue to deep cobalt blue) and/or green (lime green to deep forest green), with large yellow spotting occurring on the upper back. A few also get pinkish to orange washes over the center of the back. Females are usually much paler versions of the males, with more of the background colors being tans with occasional blue or green highlights but similar bright yellow spotting. They are a medium size species, with most maturing around 10" to 14", 250 + grams. Most readily allow handing and are usually friendly and outgoing (shyness being rare). The most common complaint about Ornates' is that as adults, they can become somewhat sedentary. These are the couch potatoes of the Uromastyx world. They are not one of the easier ones to pair (females MUST be paired while young), but mated pairs are less aggressive toward each other compared to say Moroccans or Mali's.
Availability is generally limited to captive bred juveniles. As few are produced each year, they tend to be one of the more expensive Uromastyx. Young brightly colored adult males are sporadically available for $350 and up. Ornates are a reasonably hardy species, generally suitable for those with only moderate experience, but as only hatchlings are normally available, we suggest novices start with hatchling Mali's, Bandeds or Moroccans before trying an Ornate hatchling. Those have nearly identical requirements but are slightly more forgiving of husbandry errors than Ornates as hatchlings. They are also commoner and much less expensive and less of a loss to the breeding population (and your pocket book) if you make a serious error and lose them. Still Ornates are not an overly difficult species to work with if you follow a few simple rules, so don't let us scare you off if you're set on trying a hatchling.
Our availability is sporadic, so please e-mail or call us (360-435-2679) if you're looking for Ornates. We keep a "Wanted" list and fill it as specimens become available. We’ve posted photos below representing the more common colors and patterns found in Ornate Uromastyx. We are in the process of up scaling our breeding efforts with Ornates after letting most of our original stock go, so most of our Ornates are just coming onto breeding age. We do have long term arrangements with other U.S. breeders to support their captive breeding efforts and sell their stock to supplement what we are currently producing. So we usually have a at least some hatchlings available each fall. Numbers are generally limited so please let us know if you wish to get on our waiting list for hatchlings. Pease see "Deer Fern Farms Ordering / Prices" for ordering information.
For those looking for hatchlings or older specimens,
please look over our various web pages to get a feel for what we carry. Please see
"Irish" green male
"Robins-Egg" blue male
"Squiggles" a partly banded female Ornate
Redback High Blue female
Melanistic Red Back Male
We are avid supporters of captive breeding and are always looking to support fellow breeders by purchasing healthy captively produced clutches of Uromastyx. Please let us know if you have an interest in wholesaling your clutches. We hold all purchased specimens for several weeks after being shipped to us so we can verify their condition and to let them settle in before being offered to the public. So you can rest assured your hatchlings will be well cared for. We occasionally buy exceptional adults as well. E-mail us photos if you wis hus to consider your specimens.
For those looking for hatchlings or older specimens, please look over our various web pages to get a feel for what we carry. Please see"Deer Fern Farms Ordering / Pricing" for ordering information. Availability for the various species can be seasonal or sporadic so please e-mail or call us (360 435-2679) if you're looking for to add a Uromastyx to your family. We keep a "Wanted" list and fill it as specimens become available.
Copyright © 1992-2010 by Douglas Dix. All rights reserved for all photos and text