Shedding is a normal process of getting rid of the old skin while new skin replaces it. It is mainly caused by growth, and young uromastyx will shed more often that older ones. In this post, you will learn all about uromastyx shedding, signs of shedding and how to help your uromastyx shed.
How often do uromastyx shed?
Young uromastyx under 2-3 years old will shed as often as every month or two, but will start shedding less with time – once in 3-5 months. Adult uromastyx over 3-4 years old will shed only once in a year or few.
Signs of shedding in uromastyx
- The skin will become duller
- Shedding will be in pieces – various parts of the body will shed at different times
- Behavioral – sleeping more than usual and hiding more
- Being moody – unwilling to be touched or handled
- Refusing food
- Rubbing against objects to get the shed off
How long do uromastyx shed?
Once you see the dull skin, it can take around a week or a bit longer for your uromastyx to finish shedding. Your uromastyx will shed in pieces.
How do uromastyx shed?
Uromastyx shed in smaller pieces, and you will see the skin coming off when it’s ready to. The dull skin will eventually separate from the fresh skin underneath and come off. Your uromastyx will be rubbing against various objects to remove the skin faster. Some uromastyx will eat the skin so you won’t even see it in the tank.
How to help your uromastyx with a shed?
Please do not pull the skin that is still tight and not ready to come off, or it will cause scars and infection. Only when the skin is flaking, you can help to take it off by hand.
However, always make sure to help your uromastyx with shedding on the head, especially on eyelids, on toes and the tail. The spikes on the tail can trap the old skin, so you might need to manually remove it.
Always make sure to check around the toes and tail tip especially, because any stuck skin will cut off the blood circulation and can cause necrosis (death) of toes or tail tip.
Uromastyx stuck shed
Please do not bathe your uromastyx, as it can cause a respiratory infection and scale rot. Instead, if there’s a problematic shed areas, use tweezers or rub the area with a wet cotton ball instead.
You might also place a small plastic tub filled with some sphagnum moss like this that you sprayed with water. Moss should be slightly moist, but not dripping wet. Make a hole in the tub lid so your uromastyx can get in and out easily. Don’t let your uromastyx sit in there for too long, however. Place it in the middle of the tank so that it stays moist but not cold.
Sometimes, if the previous seller or owner did not take a proper care of your uromastyx, there might a few layers of stuck shed on the body.
If you can see a thick layer of stuck dull skin, you need to rub wet cotton balls on your uromastyx to try and get the old skin off. You might also use a shedding aid like this to moist the skin and make it pliable.
If the stuck skin is very bad, you can soak that part of the body and rub it gently with a toothbrush. However, only do it once or twice, and do it in the morning so that your uromastyx can dry out properly by basking for the rest of the day.
However, if nothing helps or if it looks like an infection, please take your uromastyx to the vet. Vet will remove the skin and you will need to keep the area clean and disinfect it until it heals. Also make sure to supplement the food with multivitamins once a week.
While uromastyx need low humidity levels of around 20-30%, you can have a moist hide for it when it’s shedding. For this, you can include some moist moss inside the hide that can help moisten the skin and shed easily. Don’t spray the tank or your uromastyx, and don’t soak it either.
Uromastyx not shedding?
Some owners start worrying that their uromastyx hasn’t shed in weeks, especially if it’s a baby and other clutch mates have already shed. Please don’t expect all clutch mates to shed at the same time, as it can be different. Growth rates are different in each animal as well as shedding rates.
If you have one uromastyx and it hasn’t shed for a long time, it can also be normal. Adult uromastyx of over 3-4 years of age can shed only once in few years!
Younger uromastyx might also not shed for months. As long as your uromastyx is eating, gaining weight, pooping, basking and behaving normally, there is nothing to worry about. Uromastyx are slow growers as well.