Uromastyx Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Uromastyx, Spiny-tailed lizard

Scientific Name:

Uromastyx acanthinura

Wild Status:

Depending on Uromastyx species some are Least Concern to Vulnerable


Hot desert conditions


Throughout southwestern Asia and the Arabian Peninsula to North Africa and the Sahara desert.


Burrows if in danger

Life Span:

15 years is typical


Generally under 14 inches in total length

Cool Facts:

  • If frightened, they have spiked tails that they use to hit predators with and will hiss.
  • Uromastyx love the sun and can handle up to 115 degrees without any water source
  • Uromastyx can be very aggressive to each other.
  • They can lay 6 to 23 eggs and tend to mate in April
  • There are 13 species of  Genus Uromastyx
  • The name Uromastyx comes from Ancient Greek use of the "oura" which means "tail" and "mastix" which means "whip."
  • Uromastyx can change color and become darker to absorb more sunlight and then go lighter if they become too hot.
  • The Uromastyx will hibernate in winter for 2 to 5 months.


Uromastyx lives in desert habitats which has rocky or sandy areas which can support burrows. Uromastyx are omnivores who are diurnal and sleep in burrows at night with their tails close to the entrance for protection. The Uromastyx gets it's water mostly from vegetation. Some of the vegetation contains high salt content and the Uromastyx has developed glands in it's nostrils to eliminate the extra salt without eliminating water. The Uromastyx reach sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years of age and lay eggs. The eggs incubate for 70 to 80 days. The Uromastyx is susceptible to different kinds of internal parasites such as roundworms, tapeworms, pinworms to name a few.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Reptilia Order: Squamata Suborder: Iguania Family: Agamidae Subfamily: Uromasticinae Genus: Uromastyx

Conservation & Helping:

Uromastyx main threats are in trading for the pet industry and in trapping for food and medicine. It is difficult to regulate because they are sold underground and often misidentified.  Another threat is in road mortality because they like to sit in the hot sun and often end up basking in the sun on a hot road.

For Teachers and Educators


Keep Exploring Defenders!