Dubai is mega city located in the hot and dry Arabian Desert that has always been home to several animal species native to the arid climate. Dubai’s varied topography, which ranges from coastal flats along the Arabian Gulf to the rocky mountains in the Hatta region provides diverse habitats for the animals that live here. Whether it’s the commonly seen camels and falcons or the more elusive sand cats and Arabian oryx, Dubai is teeming with wildlife. The emirate also has special conservation areas where wildlife in Dubai can live peacefully in a protected environment.
Let’s look at some of the animals you can find in Dubai.
DUBAI WILDLIFE: CARNIVORES AND REPTILES
Experts estimate that there may only be around 250 Arabian leopards left in the wild. This species has become rare following the loss of habitat and the demand for their skins. The UAE now carefully protects the Arabian leopards in the region. These leopards usually live in coastal mountain ranges and hilly steppes of the Arabian Peninsula.
- Arabian Leopard
- Rare Newborn Arabian Leopard Cub Could Help Save Endangered Species
- Arabian Leopard Information
- Arabian Leopard – Tigers and Other Wild Cats
Arabian sand cats prefer rocky or desert environments and they often live in areas with vast landscapes and natural vegetation. Sand cats don’t like extremely hot weather and normally hunt at night to survive. Their diet includes lizards, snakes and small rodents. Sand cats are adapted to a life without much water and manage to get the fluids they need from the prey they eat.
- Sand Cat
- Sand Cat – International Society for Endangered Cats
- 8 Things You Didn’t Know About the Sand Cat
- Arabian Sand Cat
Arabian wolves were once found throughout the Arabian Peninsula. They made their homes in the mountains, the deserts and the coastal plains. Excessive hunting over the years however, has led to the relative extinction of Arabian wolves in the Arabian Peninsula. Several wildlife centers in the region have successfully bred Arabian wolves, but the species does not live in the wild anymore.
- Arabian Wolf
- Life and Behavior of Wolves: The Arabian or Desert Wolf (PDF)
- Wolves: Saudi Arabia at a Glance
- The Arabian Wolf
Spiny Tailed Lizard
The spiny tailed lizard lives all over the UAE. This lizard prefers to inhabit areas with gravel and likes to burrow into sand dunes for protection. Spiny tailed lizards usually live in colonies with each lizard occupying a separate burrow. These lizards are categorised as endangered animals and hunting them is banned in the UAE.
- Spiny-tailed Lizard Care (PDF)
- Egyptian Spiny-Tailed Lizard
- 21 Spiny-Tailed Lizard Facts You’ll Never Forget
- The Spiny-Tailed Lizard
DUBAI WILDLIFE: HERBIVORES
The UAE’s’ national animal is the Arabian oryx. This species of antelope is native to the deserts and plains of the Arabian Peninsula. The Arabian oryx has successfully adapted to the harsh desert climate and can also live comfortably in temperate grasslands. These herd animals often migrate great distances to find edible vegetation.
- Arabian Oryx – Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures
- Arabian Oryx Information
- How the Arabian Oryx was Brought Back From Extinction
- Saving Species: Arabian Oryx
Arabian Sand Gazelle
The Arabian sand gazelle inhabits the coastal areas as well as desert regions. These species tend to avoid rocky areas with steep inclines. Previously, the Arabian sand gazelles suffered reduced numbers due to excessive hunting, but wildlife conservationists now have successfully bred them and reintroduced them into the wild. The Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve is one of the places where you can find the beautiful Arabian sand gazelles.
- Arabian Sand Gazelle
- Sand Gazelle
- Antelopes of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (PDF)
- Sand Gazelle or Reem
Dromedary camels are domesticated animals in the UAE. They are well-adapted to life in the desert and can survive up to one week with little food or water. These animals can also travel for up to two weeks without drinking any water. Camel owners allow them to graze on grass and oats and other vegetation such as thorny shrubs. Camels can be found throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
- The History of Saudi’s National Animal
- Dromedary: Arabian Camel
- Multiomic Analysis of the Arabian Camel
- How Does the One-Humped Camel Survive Without Drinking?
DUBAI WILDLIFE: BIRDS
Flamingos in Dubai often live in nature preserves where they enjoy protection. Flamingos prefer coastal areas and wetlands where they have access to saltwater. These glorious birds use their feet to stir up mud, then they suck the muddy water through their bills to filter out mollusks, shrimp and other small organisms. The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai is a popular place to see flamingos.
- Birds of Saudi Arabia: Greater Flamingos
- Saudi Arabia’s Largest Flock of Lesser Flamingo
- Flamingo Guide: How to Identify Each Species and Where to See
- Flamingo Facts and Information
Desert Eagle Owl
As the name suggests, desert eagle owls usually live in desert regions, but can also be found in woody and rocky areas. Desert eagle owls prefer arid conditions. They often make nests on the sides of cliffs and watch for prey from their nests. These owls mainly eat insects and other small birds, reptiles, bats, snails and rodents.
- Pharaoh Eagle Owl (Bubo Ascalaphus) – Information, Pictures
- Pharaoh Eagle-Owl
- Desert Eagle Owl Information
- Swooping Pharaoh Eagle Owl Hunts in the Desert
Falcons are an important species in the UAE. For centuries, people of the Arabian Peninsula have used falcons for hunting. These magnificent birds can be trained to deliver their prey to their owners while it’s still alive. This is an important concept in Islam – when hunting animals for food, the animals have to be alive at the time their throats are cut to draw blood. Falcons can be found throughout the Arabian Peninsula.