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 strict herbivores that feed on leafy greens. They absorb most of the water needed from their diet.

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 Birthdate Between April and June 2014

Did You Know?!

  • With their formidable size and spines, these spiny lizards can fend off predators by using their tails like a club while hissing and exposing their teeth. 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.
  • Since they call the desert home, Uromastyx have unique ways of collecting water. A small indentation on the top of their head acts almost like a “cup” and collects morning dew water. In the morning, they tilt their heads so the water drips towards their mouth.
  • The desert is an extreme biome to live in. Deserts are hot during the day, but nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing. Uromastyx 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 keep absorb heat quickly and keep the warmth in. For example, you might notice that a blacktop road remains warm into the night even if temperatures decrease after sundown.

  • Females 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!