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Home > Reptiles > 7 Types of Uromastyx: History, Pictures, & Info

7 Types of Uromastyx: History, Pictures, & Info

ornate mastigure (Ornate Uromastyx) lying on the rock

It has been said that the Uromastyx lizard is the friendliest lizard you will ever find. Not only are they described as friendly, but they are also some of the most colorful lizards on the planet. While many lizards are bred for decades to get the vibrant color of the Uromastyx, these lizards naturally get their brilliant colors.

They are called by many names worldwide, but the most common titles are Dabb or Spiny Tailed Lizard. While there are over 15 species of this lizard in the world, we’ll talk about the seven most colorful in the guide below, so join us.

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How Are Uromastyx Classified?

The Uromastyx is a genus of Asian and African lizards. Their natural habitat includes dry, hot deserts and mountainous regions in India, the Middle East, and Africa.

The 7 Uromastyx Breeds

1. Egyptian

uromastyx aegyptia resting on rock
Image Credit: I Wayan Sumatika, Shutterstock
Origins: Northern Egypt
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Height: 26 to 30 inches

The Egyptian Uromastyx is listed on the vulnerable list in Egypt, but they’re currently the largest known Uromastyx. They are quite a bit duller in color than the other Uromastyx lizards on our list. They’re light gray or brown in hot temperatures, but their skin changes to a darker color when the temperature drops.

They make great pets, especially for beginners. They are extremely docile, and unlike some lizards, they don’t mind when humans touch them or pick them up. However, you will need a larger enclosure than you would for any of the other Uromastyx on our list.

2. Ornate

ornate mastigure (Uromastyx ornata) lizard
Image By: Danny Ye, Shutterstock
Origins: Egypt, Yemen, Israel
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Height: 12 to 14 inches

The Ornate Uromastyx can most often be found living in small social groups in rocky terrain. They use the crevices and gaps to hide from any predators that come their way. They are also considered to be the most colorful and gorgeous of the Uromastyx species.

They are a gorgeous blue and green color, with the female being more muted than the male, so it’s easier for her to hide and give birth. Both males and females make excellent pets. They are gentle, easy to handle, and relatively friendly. They also need very little maintenance after their cage is set up and are ideal for beginner pet parents.

3. Mali

mali uromastyx
Image Credit: Naaman Abreu, Shutterstock
Origins: Mali
Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Height: 10 to 15 inches

The Mali Uromastyx can live in rocky outcrops in the driest of scrublands. In the hottest part of the day, you’ll find this lizard burrowed into the sandy ground to get away from the heat. This also helps the Mali to stay hidden from predators during the day.

They are not as flashy as the Orante, but they do have gorgeous coloring, which, when combined with their docile temperament, makes them one of the most common lizards for pet owners to give a forever home. The male’s color changes from light gray with spots to black with yellow spots. Female adults have a mixture of dark and light brown colors.

4. Saharan

saharan uromastyx lizard
Image By: Lauren Suryanata, Shutterstock
Origins: Algeria, Niger, Mali
Lifespan: 20 years
Height: 11 to 13 inches

The Saharan Uromastyx is also known as the Red Saharan Uromastyx and was named after a German Zoologist named Hans Ger von Schweppenburg. They are one of the smallest Uromastyx lizards, reaching between 11 and 13 inches at full growth.

This is a species that’s hard to find in the wild because of their small size. They can mostly be found in sandy burrows and rocky outcroppings. They are not usually kept as pets because they are so hard to find in the wild.

5. Moroccan

moroccan uromastyx lizard
Image Credit: Dan_Koleska, Shutterstock
Origins: Morrocco
Lifespan: 15 years
Height: 12 to 15 inches

The Moroccan Uromastyx can be found in the dry scrublands and is known as the Moroccan Spiky-Tailed Lizard and the Eye lizard. This is due to the eye-like markings on the Uromastyx’s body and their long-spiked tails.

They are considered the most aggressive of the Uromastyx lizards and are quite territorial. If you own one of these lizards, it’s best to be careful when handling them, as they have been known to bite their owners.

6. Ocellated

ocellated uromastyx lizard
Image By: reptiles4all, Shutterstock
Origins: Egypt, Sudan
Lifespan: 20+ years
Height: 12 inches

The Ocellated Uromastyx is one of the smallest lizards on the list, growing to only 12 inches when fully grown. They have bright spots, which make them one of the more popular Uromastyx lizards as pets, along with their size. Their skin is blue-gray with bright orange and yellow patterning.

Their colorful spots cover their backs and along their tail. They make good pets because they have no problem with being held, but you must be careful to keep their enclosure at the right temperature. Compared to other lizards, they need a hot basking area that reaches 120° F.

7. Sudanese

Origins: Algeria, Chad, Sudan, Egypt
Lifespan: 25 years
Height: 14 inches

The Sudanese Uromastyx is also a small species that doesn’t grow to be very big. They top out at around 14 inches when they are fully grown. However, for their small size, they live a long time, over 25 years, which is the longest-living Uromastyx on our list.

They are light-colored lizards with brown skin and tan spots across their back. This coloring and the spots help them to hide when they need to from predators.

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Most of the Uromastyx lizards make good pets, and compared to other reptiles, they’re relatively easy to care for. They eat a mostly herbivorous diet, but in the wild, some eat small insects. Although most do not mind being held, you still have to be gentle when you pick them up.

From the Egyptian to the Sudanese, the Uromastyx has unique patterns and skin tones, and some change color as they age. Whether you’re looking for a larger reptile or a smaller one, the Uromastyx will make you a good companion for quite a few years to come.

Featured Image Credit: Milan Zygmunt, Shutterstock

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