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Natural UAE

Spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastix microlepis)

Can grow to a length of 65 cms and usually lives in loose colonies. There is rarely one burrow on its own but usually several, at some 20 to 50 m distance from its neighbour. Colonies can extend over large areas, depending on the availability of food. Feeding on shrubs, the spiny-tailed lizard never drinks water and has special glands that help its body to dispose of uric acid. The spiny-tailed lizard, called 'dhab' locally, often allows other creatures, such as snakes, scorpions and hedgehogs to share its burrow. Despite its dragon-like appearance it is a very placid animal that prefers to flee rather than enter into conflict. If cornered, however, it can give painful blows with its spiny tail. With its strong jaws that have no teeth, but possess sharp bone plates, it can give a nasty bite. The dhab used to be a welcome source of protein for the bedouin and the strong leather of its skin was widely used.

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