Egyptian Uromastyx



DIETHerbivores, but known to ingest insects in dire situations

RANGENorthern Egypt, east of the Nile River; scattered populations in southern Egypt

HABITATArid and desert areas

Egyptian Uromastyx

Status: Vulnerable

Large lizard ranging in size from 20-26 inches. Coloration varies according to temperature, when cool lizards are dark gray; when warm lizards become yellowish gray. Spines are located along the animal’s tail.

Habitat/Range: Uromastyx found in northern Egypt, east of the Nile River. Scattered populations in southern Egypt and most concentrated along the coasts of the Gulf of Suez and Aquaba. Found in desert and plain region with fairly coarse substrate and scattered vegetation. Often found near sea level and are tracked with fecal pellets and burrows.

Diet in the Wild: Herbivores, but known to ingest insects in dire situations. Acquire water from vegetation they consume.

Diet in the Zoo: Millet seeds, vegetables. Crickets for enrichment

Predators: Raptors, dogs, monitor lizards, snakes

Life Cycle and Social Structure: Females can lay 5-40 eggs. Incubate for 8 to 10 weeks. Sexually mature around 4 years of age. Females will make a burrow to lay eggs and once hatched, offspring may remain in burrow for another few weeks. Found in “loose colonies” with a single individual per burrow. They are diurnal and ground dwelling.

Life Span: 15-20 years (Captivity)

Interesting Facts:

  • Wild female Uromastyx are smaller and less colorful than males. For example, maliensis females are often light tan with black dorsal spots, while males are mostly bright yellow with mottled black markings.
  • Importing in the 1990’s brought a lot of attention to this species in the pet trade.
  • Burrows can be used by other animals once abandoned. When burrows are dug deep, it brings soil with lower salt content to the surface for plants to use.
  • Population has declined 30% over 15 years 

Conservation Messages: Species is in decline due to collection in the pet trade.

Their habitat is susceptible to development activities, especially agricultural expansion. Also being impacted by increase in amount of off-road vehicle use creating more habitat disturbance.

What you can do: Do your research before buying a pet. Make sure they are being purchased from a reliable breeder and not captured from a wild population. They get fairly large and so if purchased, should have equipment to handle a large lizard.