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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

21 Spiny-Tailed Lizard Facts You’ll Never Forget

Interesting spiny-tailed lizard facts for kids.

A genus of herbivore lizards, the Uromastyx genus is commonly known as spiny-tailed lizards. These lizards are widely distributed in several countries across Africa and Asia. The species found in Asia has been moved to another genus known as Saara. A few species of spiny-tailed lizards are Egyptian spiny-tailed lizards, Saharan spiny-tailed lizards, and Indian spiny-tailed lizards.

These spiny lizards are commonly found in sandy, olive, and yellowish-brown colors. The color of the body generally depends on the temperature as lizards become dull and dark in colder months while they appear lighter while basking in the heat. They have a strong and muscular spiked tail that is mainly used to attack predators. The average length of spiny-tailed lizards is around 10-36 in (25-91 cm).

Spiny-tailed lizards primarily dwell in burrows under the ground, rocky and semi-rocky areas, and open sand deserts are the most common habitats. In Africa, lizards are mainly found in the north and northeastern regions. Spiny-tailed lizards also inhabit several countries of the Middle East and Asia. They are mainly herbivores but sometimes their diet also includes insects, small animals, and young lizards. Predation and the illegal pet trade are a few major threats to these reptiles.

Let's read more interesting facts about the spiny-tailed lizard and if you found this article insightful, don't forget to check out exciting information about different animals like the lava lizard and the sand lizard.

Spiny-Tailed Lizard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spiny-tailed lizard?

The spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx) is a genus of herbivore lizards. These lizards are found in several countries of Africa and Asia.

What class of animal does a spiny-tailed lizard belong to?

These lizards belong to the class of Reptiles and the family of Agamidae. These reptiles belong to the Uromastyx genus.

How many spiny-tailed lizards are there in the world?

The exact population of the species of spiny-tailed lizards is not known as of now, but studies reveal that these reptiles are widely distributed across several countries in Africa and Asia.

Where does a spiny-tailed lizard live?

In Africa, these lizards are mainly found in the north and northeastern regions. Spiny-tailed lizards also inhabit several countries in the Middle East and Asia.

What is a spiny-tailed lizard's habitat?

The most common habitats of spiny-tailed lizards are burrows under the ground, rocky and semi-rocky areas, and open sand deserts. The temperature in their habitat generally ranges from 19-140 F (-7-60 C) and burrows help them to maintain the body temperature between 68-77 F (20-25 C).

Who do spiny-tailed lizards live with?

Like other species, spiny-tailed lizards are solitary and prefer to live alone. In the breeding season, adults come together.

How long does a spiny-tailed lizard live?

Most species of spiny-tailed lizards generally live for around 30 years, while lizards generally live up to 15 years. These lizards generally live less in the wild due to predators.

How do they reproduce?

Very little information regarding the breeding patterns of this reptile is available as of now. Adults reach sexual maturity after four years. Studies reveal that females generally become aggressive to the burrow intruders in the breeding season. Male and female lizards are involved in several courtship displays such as males generally shake their heads or  perform push-ups to attract females.

Eggs are laid after 30 days of copulation and the incubation generally lasts for around 70-80 days. Females lay around five to 40 elliptical eggs with leathery shells. The juveniles or young lizards remain in their mother's burrow for three to 12 weeks.

What is their conservation status?

Several species of the spiny-lizard genus have been listed in the Least Concern category, while species such as the Saharan spiny-tailed lizard and south Arabian spiny-tailed lizard are listed in the Near Threatened category. The Egyptian spiny-tailed lizard is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List. Predation and the illegal pet trade are a few major threats to these reptiles.

Spiny-Tailed Lizard Fun Facts

What do spiny-tailed lizards look like?

Spiny lizards are commonly found in sandy, olive, and yellowish-brown colors. The color of the body generally depends on the temperature as the lizards become dull and dark in colder months while they appear lighter while basking in warm weather.

The Saharan spiny-tailed lizard is found in beige or orange color with light spots on the body. This species goes through two phases and generally turns either yellow or red. Unlike other spiny-tailed lizards, Saharan spiny lizards are medium in length.  

These spiny-tailed lizard facts will make you love them.

How cute are they?

These lizards are very attractive. The males generally do push-ups and head-bobs to attract females and to show their dominance.

How do they communicate?

Like other lizards, spiny-tailed lizards follow the same methods of communication. Adult lizards perform several courtship displays such as push-ups and head bobs. Males are quite territorial and use their secretion to mark territories. Tactile cues are used to locate preferred soil for burrowing and studies also reveal that chemical cues are used to find partners and food.

How big is a spiny-tailed lizard?

The average length of spiny-tailed lizards is around 10-36 in (25-91 cm). These lizards of this species are five to 10 times bigger than the tiger salamander and the Texas horned lizard.

How fast can a spiny-tailed lizard move?

The exact speed of spiny-tailed lizards is not known but they move swiftly in search of food. They generally stay within their territory.

How much does a spiny-tailed lizard weigh?

The exact weight of spiny-tailed lizard is not known as of now.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to male and female spiny-tailed lizards. Males are generally larger and colorful than females, and the latter has shorter claws.

What would you call a baby spiny-tailed Lizard?

No specific name has been given to the babies of spiny-tailed lizards.  

What do they eat?

These reptiles are herbivorous and the spiny-tailed lizard diet mainly includes leaves and plants. In the absence of food, the reptile preys on insects and small animals. Predators like monitor lizards and shrikes often prey on this reptile.

Are they dangerous?

The lizard generally does not pose any threats to humans but can attack if someone tries to harm or threaten its burrow.

Would they make a good pet?

The status of several species of spiny-tailed lizards is Vulnerable as these lizards are deeply affected by the illegal pet trade, while the status of a few species is listed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List. While talking about the spiny-tailed lizard care, this reptile is one of the most low-maintenance and easy to handle when compared to other species. They can be gently hand-fed. One can find a spiny-tailed lizard pet from any reputable pet shop.

Did you know...

The armadillo spiny-tailed lizard is native to South Africa and the light brown color helps this species to easily blend in with its surroundings.

A species native to Madagascar, the Madagascar spiny-tailed lizard resembles the collared iguanid lizard.

The Persian spiny-tailed lizard is also known as the Iranian mastigure.

What are the types of spiny-tailed lizards?

There are around 18 species in the Uromastyx genus, while the species found in Asia has been moved to another genus known as Saara.

How to care for your own spiny-tailed lizard?

A large fish tank of around 40-55 gal (151-208 l) is required as it needs to resemble a wild habitat. A basking rock should also be provided and a proper amount of heat should be given for a healthy life. People also make rock towers that help the lizard to climb. The availability of multiple rocks would help the lizard to make burrows. The most important thing is cleanliness and you should plan to deep clean the tank every month. The spiny-tailed lizard cost is around $100 to $300.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our spotted salamander facts and hellbender salamander facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in of our free printable spiny-tailed lizard coloring pages.

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