Jan 8, 2014

Fur, Feathers & Scales - Mali Uromastyx

Nope. That wasn't a typo. My fingers were properly placed on my keyboard. In fact, my spell check wants to change uromastyx to burgomaster.  Really? What is that?  Anyway, a uromastyx is a real thing.  And until very recently, I didn't know much about them.  So, we're basically learning together! See how fun this is?

Meet Agatha the Mali uromastyx, which is a lizard sometimes known as a spiny-tailed lizard, and rightly so.

They are found in North Africa and the Middle East. 

Agatha is roughly eight years old, and the average lifespan for one of these guys is about 15 to 20 years.  You might have noticed that she has a slightly misshapen tail.  She used to be housed with a male who bit her tail.  Needless to say, they broke up. 

They average 10 to 18 inches in length (but one species can be much larger) and eat only vegetation. They don't drink much either, because they get nearly all the water they need from the vegetation they consume. 

This mali uromastyx species is sexually dichromatic, meaning the males and females are different colors--the males are more brightly colored than the females.

My favorite thing about Agatha (although her big, fat, spiny tail runs a close second) is the way she excretes salt to normalize the amount of sodium in her body.  You and I excrete salt through sweat and urine.   She has nasal salt glands that secrete clear fluid, which later dries as a fine, white powder. That white stuff on her face is actually salt.

Thanks for learning about this reptile with me! What's your favorite thing about Agatha?


  1. How cool! Can I say my favorite thing is her name? ;)

    1. Well, of course! Our herp keeper gave her that name, and he will be happy to hear that!