Uromastyx are some of the friendliest lizards you can find.
Not only are they friendly, but they are also some of the most colorful lizards in the world.
There are over 10 stunning types of uromastyx you can find in different colors and patterns. Many lizards need generations of selective breeding to have vibrant offspring, but it is natural for this lizard to be colorful.
Uromastyx lizards have so many unique looks that it is interesting to watch them. They will undoubtedly bring color and joy to your home.
Keep reading to learn more about different species of uromastyx and their colors.
Types of Uromastyx
Uromastyx are an incredibly diverse genus of lizards belonging to the Agamid family. It is a broad term used to encompass an entire genus of desert lizards of many different species.
They are commonly referred to by a number of names throughout the world. Some of the more common names are spiny tailed or Dabb lizards.
There are currently 15 uromastyx species that can be found in a variety of habitats throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East.
All of the types of uromastyx lizards have similar features. Adults measure from 10 to 36 inches and are generally broad bodied with broad heads and fat tails. Their tails are covered in a series of large spines which is where they get the name spiny tailed lizards.
The pattern of these tail spines is different between the various uromastyx colors. The color of these lizards is also incredibly variable, but it often includes a mix of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, white and black.
One way to tell different uromastyx lizards apart is by looking at their size, color and pattern. The location where they are found can help to narrow down their species, but several species have overlapping ranges in the wild.
The table below lists our top 10 different types of uromastyx and their size, color and pattern.
|Egyptian||30 to 36”||Tan or gray||Large with limited patterning (if any).|
|Ornate||12 to 14”||Blue, green, orange, white and yellow||Medium size with blue base color and yellow bands of spots across their back.|
|Mali||10 to 15”||Black, gray and yellow||Black or gray body with many small yellow spots along their back and legs.|
|Yellow||12 to 15”||Yellow, orange and black||Gradient of white to yellow and orange extending down their back interspersed with round black markings.|
|Red||12 to 15”||Red, orange and black||Gradient of white to orange and red extending down their back interspersed with round black markings.|
|Saharan||11 to 13”||Yellow, orange or red||Yellow or red/orange with small black spots and lines across their body.|
|Moroccan||12 to 15”||Black, orange, yellow, red and white||Medium size with a gradient of white, yellow or red.|
|Blue||12 to 14”||Blue and green||Shades of blue and green with patterns of yellow and orange.|
|Ocellated||12”||Gray||Small gray body with orange or white spots.|
|Sudanese||14”||Brown||Brown with lighter tan spots along their back.|
The table above is just ten of the more popular and common pet uromastyx lizards. There are a further five species in the wild, but those lizards are not seen in the U.S.
The Ornate species (U. ornata) is native to the middle east with wild populations in Egypt, Israel and Yemen. They can often be found living in small social groups within rocky spaces. They use the natural gaps and crevices of the Sinai Peninsula to hide from predators.
Ornates are often considered the flashiest and most beautiful of all Uromastyx species.
These lizards have a stunning blue or green base color that is broken by horizontal bands of orange, yellow and white spots. These colorful spots are outlined in black and run down their back, extending towards their belly.
Adults typically fall between 12 and 14” when fully grown.
Males normally have much more vibrant colors when compared with females. Males can be found in a series of bright shades of green, blue, and sometimes even red. Females have similar colors, but are often more muted. Their dull color allows them to be able to hide when birthing and caring for young.
Both males and females make excellent pets, but their striking appearance is not the only reason why they make good pet lizards.
Ornate Uromastyx are extremely docile, easy to handle and require very minimal maintenance once their enclosure has been setup. They are often considered excellent introductory pets for anyone wishing to keep a lizard.
- Color: Bright shades of green, blue and sometimes even red.
- Lifespan: 20 years.
- Range: Egypt, Israel and Yemen.
This Uromastyx lizard (U. maliensis) is from Mali where it lives in very dry scrublands with rocky outcrops. They can normally be found in rocky outcrops as well as in burrows in the sandy ground. They will often dig large burrows to escape the hottest part of the day and remain hidden.
Malis can either have a black base color with yellow patterning, or a yellow base color with a black pattern. The pattern of both color varieties is the same and is made up of simple dots, eyespots, lines, or honeycomb markings. Some individuals will have all four markings at the same time.
The patterning of Malis is not as flashy as the Ornate, but they still display a beautiful color.
Their striking color, small size and docile temperament all contribute to making them one of the most common uromastyx lizards. They typically cost anywhere from $150 to $300 making them relatively cheap.
- Color: Black base with yellow dots, lines, or honeycomb markings.
- Lifespan: 20 years.
- Range: Mali.
The Moroccan Uromastyx species (U. acanthinurus nigriventris) is native to the dry scrublands of Morocco, North Africa. They are also known as the Moroccan spiny tailed lizard or “eye” lizard. This is because of their eye-like body markings and long spiked tails.
Moroccan species have a base color of yellow or red extending down their backs and reaching their bellies. Black normally dominates their head and legs. The size of these black markings will vary among several distinct wild subpopulations.
These Uromastyx morphs are one of only two species that can have different color varieties, the other is the Saharan.
Yellow and Red Moroccan Uromastyx colors are rarely sold under separate names. Instead most breeders simply list them as a Moroccan. This lack of differentiation means that both color phases are normally priced the same at around $250.
Moroccans are considered one of the more aggressive varieties and are territorial. They will occasionally bite their keeper when attempting to handle them.
- Color: Yellow or red bodies with black markings.
- Lifespan: 15 years.
- Range: Morocco.
The Egyptian Uromastyx (U. aegyptia) can be found in Egypt, but also Libya, Palestine and Israel. Unfortunately these lizards are now listed as vulnerable in these countries due to habitat loss and exportation. In the 1990s Egypt exported more Uromastyx than any other country in the world.
Egyptians are not as colorful or flashy as other Uromastyx species, but they make up for it in size.
The Egyptian is currently the largest known type of Uromastyx. These desert dwelling lizards can reach lengths of up to 36 inches when measured from snout to tail.
These lizards are dull in color and normally range from light brown to black. Egyptians are typically a light brown or tan coloring with no visible markings. Young individuals will have yellowish spots along their back that fade with age. They have fat tails with the characteristic spines.
Do not let the large size of these lizards make you think they make bad pets. While they do require a larger enclosure, the Egyptian is just as docile and friendly as any on this list. This species is known to be tame, easy to handle and extremely tolerant of human interactions.
The Egyptian species is fairly common in the pet industry and can be purchased for $250.
- Color: Light brown or tan with no markings.
- Lifespan: 20 years.
- Range: Northern Egypt.
The Saharan (U. geyri) was named after German zoologist Hans Geyr von Schweppenburg. They are one of the smallest Uromastyx lizards and are typically found in Algeria, Mali and Niger.
All Saharan species are one of two distinct color phases, red or yellow.
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No Saharan Uromastyx exists that does not fall somewhere along the spectrum of yellow to red. Both males and females can be yellow or red. Most of the time these lizards are yellow, but due to seasonal color changes you can also find them in red.
Their red color comes during the time of year that individuals are going through their breeding season. Their red body is a sign that they are capable and ready to breed.
Yellow and red color phases are otherwise identical in size, habitat, range and behavior.
This species is difficult to find in the wild due to the limited number of wild individuals and their small size. They only reach about 13 inches in length and spend most of the day in rocky outcroppings or in sand burrows.
- Color: Yellow, orange or red.
- Lifespan: 20 years.
- Range: Algeria, Mali and Niger.
A Yellow Uromastyx can be either the yellow phase Saharan species or the yellow Moroccan species.
The Yellow Saharan has a bright yellow neon from their back to their belly. Patterning can range from small flecks of gray to intricate interconnected rings across the entire back. Females will typically have a duller beige color.
Yellow Moroccans refers to Moroccan Uromastyx species that fall on the yellow side of the color spectrum. Moroccans can be yellow, red or somewhere in the middle!
The Indian Uromastyx (U.hardwickii) can also be found in a yellowish brown color with dark colored spots on their body. However this species is often known as the Indian spiny-tailed lizard and not a yellow Uromastyx.
A Red Uromastyx can be either the red phase Saharan species or the red Moroccan species.
The red phase Saharan has a bright neon orange body. Their red color comes during the time of year that individuals are going through their breeding season. Their red body is a sign that they are capable and ready to breed.
Red Moroccan Uromastyx are permanently red. They are siblings to the yellow phase Moroccan and fall predominantly on the red side of the color spectrum. Both phases have the same black markings on their head and legs.
There is also a red banded spiny tailed lizard which is a type of Uromastyx found in Algeria, Mali and Sudan. This particular species is usually shades of black or gray with brightly colored yellow, white, or orange bands. Despite what their name may suggest they are not red.
The Blue Uromastyx (U. ornata philbyi) is also known as the Arabian Blue. It is a subspecies of the Ornate and apart from its color and tail is almost identical in appearance, size and pattern.
One difference in appearance between the Blue and Ornate is their tail size. The Ornate has a much longer tail compared to the stubby tail of the Blue. Blues also live in a smaller range between western Saudi Arabia and northwestern Yemen.
Arabian Uromastyx are found in beautiful shades of blue and green. Some can also have splotched patterns of yellow and orange on their backs. Their vibrant colors have made them one of the more popular pet species.
The Arabian is one of the smaller uromastyx species at around 13 inches in length, but they are just as good as pets. They are even slightly less expensive than the Ornate Uromastyx at around $350. Regardless of which species you end up with, both have identical care requirements and tank sizes.
- Color: Shades of blue and green with patterns of yellow and orange.
- Lifespan: 20 years.
- Range: Western Saudi Arabia and Northwestern Yemen.
The Ocellated species (U. ocellatus) is one of the smallest uromastyx lizards reaching just 12 inches long. They can be found throughout Egypt and Sudan and are gray with a series of orange or white spots. These spots travel all along their backs and spiny tail.
They are one of the more popular Uromastyx colors because of their small size and bright spots. They are also very tolerant of handling.
- Color: Gray with orange or white spots.
- Lifespan: 20+ years.
- Range: Egypt and Sudan.
Sudanese Uromastyx (U. dispar) are another small species that can be found in Algeria, Chad, Mali and Sudan. They can reach about 14 inches in length and are known to be able to live up to 25 years.
The Sudanese Uromastyx is brown with lighter tan spots along their back. Some individuals will have legs that are a darker shade of brown than the rest of their body. This color helps them to hide in rock outcroppings as well as sand.
- Color: Brown with lighter tan spots along their back.
- Lifespan: 25 years.
- Range: Algeria, Chad, Mali and Sudan.
Uromastyx are an incredibly diverse group of unique and colorful lizards.
Their wide range of colors has made them an increasingly popular pet. These lizards can be bright colors such as blue, green, orange and red. Some also come in duller shades like black, brown or tan.
The Ornate and Arabian are considered the most beautiful species. Ornates have a stunning blue or green base color that is broken by horizontal bands of orange, yellow and white spots.
All Uromastyx make excellent pets for both beginner and experienced keepers, regardless of their color.
Let us know your favorite color in the comments below.
Want to learn more about different types of reptiles? Why not read our guide on the A-Z List Of Types of Dinosaurs.