Egyptian Spiny-Tailed Lizard

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Uromastyx aegyptia

Habitat: Egyptian spiny-tailed lizards are found throughout desert areas of Egypt and the Middle East including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Jordan.

Diet: Egyptian spiny tail lizards are mostly herbivores that feed on leafy greens. They absorb most of the water needed from their diet. However, they will eat insects if they are able to! 

Size: 3.2 to 4 feet long

Weight: 1 to 2 pounds

Lifespan: 15 years in the wild. Up to 30 years in human care. 

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Vulnerable – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to possess a high risk of extinction as a result of rapid population declines of 30 to more than 50 percent over the previous 10 years (or three generations), a current population size of fewer than 1,000 individuals, or other factors.

Our Egyptian Spiny-Tailed Lizard:

Lawrence (Male) – Estimated Date of Birth Between April and June 2014

About Egyptian Spiny-Tailed Lizards:

Uromastyx – or spiny-tailed lizards – are a special genus of lizard that are commonly distinguished by their large, spiny tails. These tails are used like clubs to fend off predators. It is so formidable that when sleeping, the lizards will stick their tails outside of their burrow as a warning to any predators thinking about having a Uromastyx for dinner, and this is sometimes enough to deter them. The Egyptian Spiny-Tailed variety of this genus is also very accustomed to the extreme desert biome that they call home. Deserts are hot during the day, but nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing. To help survive this fluctuation, these lizards have loose, wrinkly skin so that they can increase their body surface area to absorb more sunlight during the day. Their dark color also helps them to absorb heat quickly and keep the warmth in. They also have a small indentation on the top of their head that acts almost like a “cup” and collects dew water. In the morning, they tilt their heads so the water drips towards their mouth. This allows them to stay hydrated during their habitat’s particularly dry spells.  

Did You Know?!

  •  Female Egyptian Spiny-Tailed Lizards dig a burrow to keep eggs safe and within a stable temperature range. She can anywhere from 5 to 40 eggs at once and hatchlings are independent, venturing out into the word without needing any support from the parents
  • Although adult spiny tail lizards are strict vegetarians, some young lizards will not pass up a  insect as a small treat!

The Utica Zoo will be closed at 1:00pm on 6/1 for wine in the wilderness and will reopen with normal hours on 6/2!