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Uromastyx vs Desert Iguanas Differences and Comparison

Uromastyx vs Desert Iguanas Differences and Comparison

Do lizard fascinates you? If yes, my friend this article is for you.

In this article, we know about the physical characteristics, behavioural traits, diet, habitat etc. of Uromastyx/Spiny-tailed lizard and Desert Iguana.

We will prelude this article with a faceoff in which we’ll get the winner of the faceoff. Let’s know about them.

What are some physical characteristics of Uromastyx or Spiny-tailed lizard?

North African Spiny-tailed lizards or Uromastyx or Mastigure belongs to the Agamidae family.

The average body length of an adult spiny-tailed lizards is about 10-36 inch and weigh about 450 gm.

As the name suggests “spiny-tailed” these lizards have stout tail having protective rings of spines on their tails.

Uromastyx has a blunt head, large and spiny tails; they have a flattened torso.

The colouration of lizards vary from mottled red, orange, green, yellow, grey to brown;

this scale colouration becomes most vivid when they became sexually mature.

Both males and females are equal in size; however, males have more colour variations.

How does Desert Iguanas look?

Desert Iguanas are iguanid species; they are medium-sized lizards having a stout, round body, small head and long tail.

An adult iguana has a body length of about 10-16 inches and weighs about70 gm.

They have dorsal scales on their skin; the colouration of desert iguanas is greyish brown with a dorsal surface having a reddish-brown pattern.

Sexual dimorphism is absent in iguanas; males and females look alike. However, males can be identified by the reddish marking on their tails.

What behavioural traits Spiny-tailed Lizard/Uromastyx have?

Uromastyx/Spiny-tailed lizards are very aggressive; they are intolerant even to their species.

They are aggressive towards intruders; they even kill or eat their siblings.

Fierce fights between skinks are quite common; they bite the sides of their opponents which leave white scars in the bite area.

Uromastyx is diurnal species; they are most active during the day and hibernate in winter for 2-5 months.

How is the behaviour of Desert Iguanas?

Desert Iguanas are active mostly during the day; hence, they are diurnal.

Desert Iguanas are adapted to tolerate extreme heat; they are active even if the temperatures reach 40 degree Celsius.

This ability also helps them to avoid predators as their predators cannot sustain such high temperature and remain in the shelter.

Desert Iguanas take shelter, in rock crevices or burrows of other animals; for the whole winter and hibernate from October to March.

Male Iguanas are solitary and territorial; they often show aggressive behaviour against other males.

While males have territories, female iguanas have home ranges i.e. they can forage in their home ranges without having any territorial fight.

When any threat befalls iguanas they inflate their body and became twice their actual body size.

Like other lizards, they also automatize their tails to distract them and escape by running away.

What does a Spiny-tailed lizard eat?

Spiny-tailed lizards are primarily herbivores; however, they do ants and beetles some times. They usually eat high fibrous desert plants.

What are the dietary constituents of Desert Iguanas?

Desert iguanas are herbivores; they eat leaves, flowers, buds and other vegetation.

They also eat insects such as mealworms, crickets etc however, such type of eating behaviour is quite rare.

Where do Spiny-tailed lizards live?

Spiny-tailed lizards are found in Saharan deserts, Saharan Atlas, Mauritania, Algeria, Egypt.

Where Desert Iguanas are found?

Desert Iguanas are indigenous to the Sonoran desert, Mojave Desert, Northern Mexico.

They are also found on some islands in the Sea of Cortez. 

In what habitat Spiny-tailed lizards live?

Spiny-tailed lizards live in arid and semi-arid regions.

What kind of habitat does Desert Iguanas live in?

Desert Iguanas live in a desert environment; they inhibit the regions having scrubby forests and creosote flats.

Unlike other lizards which are inactive during the high temperature; desert iguanas are also active even during the peak temperature of the day.

Desert iguanas take shelter in burrows and creosote bushes during the nighttime.

Amazing facts: about Uromastyx and Desert Iguana

  • Uromastyx is well-adapted to the African or Saharan Climate.
  • They can withstand high temperature and fulfil their water need through cactus and other sparse vegetation.
  • Uromastyx protects itself from predators through its spiny-tail; they can inflict severe injuries with their razor-sharp tail.
  • Uromastyx can inflate its body; it goes in the rock crevices and inflates while remaining stuck in it.

Faceoff: Uromastyx vs Desert Iguana

As per the above information, Uromastyx and Desert Iguanas both are very distinct lizard species; however, both of them live in hot climatic conditions.

On the one side, we have Uromastyx which has a razor-sharp tail as a weapon whereas on the other side we have Desert Iguana an agile and sharp-clawed lizard.

Uromastyx is quite heavy in comparison to Desert Iguana; desert iguana can only dodge attacks and can inflict injuries with its sharp claws whereas

Uromastyx already has a size and weight advantage on its side.

It is quite hard for a desert iguana to take down an Uromastyx, hence we predict Uromastyx as the winner of this faceoff.

Comparison Table: Uromastyx vs Desert Iguana

Comparison HeadUromastyxDesert Iguana
WeightAbout 40 gmAbout 70 gm
Body Length40-43 cm55-62 inches
BehaviourTerritorial; lives in groups of 3-4 females with 1 male.Males are solitary; females live in home ranges
Geographical DistributionThey live in deserts of North America and Arabian Peninsula.Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Northern Mexico and some islands in the Sea of Cortez.
HabitatArid and Semi-arid regionsLive in desert areas, scrubby forests.
Life Span20-25 yearsAbout 7 years in wild; 14-17 years in captivity