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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 05 Mammals in UAE Desert - Exotic Creatures to Admire
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Mammals in UAE Desert - Exotic Creatures to Admire

The hot humid deserts of the UAE are home to a variety of mammals that have beguiled nature lovers over the years. Housing populations of the threatened dugong species; the UAE harbours the following.


The Magnificent Arabian Leopard

Although listed as being the smallest amongst the leopard sub-species, the Arabian Leopard is the most powerfully built of all cats in the region. The animal is identified for its paler colour, in comparison to its counterparts in the African and Asian regions. A deep golden yellowish colour is seen only along the back ridge of the animal, whilst the rest of the body is a greyish colour that seems to blend in with the desert sands. Black Rosettas and spots cover just about every part of this beautiful creature's body. Guests at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara and similar hotels should explore the legendary Liwa Desert for sights of these magnificent cats as well as other residents of one of the largest sand deserts in the world.


The Arabian Oryx

This stunning desert antelope was extinct at one time, but thanks to conservation efforts the beast can be seen wandering across the Arabian Peninsula once more. This species of antelope, seem to be specially designed for survival in the tough desert environs. The bright white coloured coat has the ability to deflect the harsh rays of the sun while the hooves are splayed out to emulate a shovel, making walking over desert sands quite easy. The animal's legs are white coloured with white bands around the ankles with a triangular brown patch on the forehead. Desert-based five star hotels Abu Dhabi is home to will offer 4X4 desert safaris that almost always guarantee sightings of these majestic beasts.


Arabian Spiny Mouse

This little creature has a unique trait that lends it, its name. The fur when stroked in the direction of the hair follicles turns into coarse spines that stand up and act as protection for the mouse. It belongs to the species – acomys, a Greek name which is an amalgamation of two words; Akoke means sharp point, and Mus, for the mouse. The fur is a dark tan colour with flecks of greyish black along the tips. Not an animal you will glimpse at once, but keep a sharp lookout when resting from a camel trek or safari and you just may see one scuttling along.


The Arabian Tahr

This is a rather small animal that exhibits extraordinary agility and strength. Both the male and female of the species sport short stocky horns, with the male having a larger, stronger and hardy pair. The Tahr has a long shaggy coat that is reddish brown in colour while the males also sport a long mane that grows longer with age.


Branford's Fox

The Branford's Fox does not have the distinct reddish colouring of its counterpart but is no less striking in appearance. The coat is plush and soft with a grey undercoat with the top having a black streak. The throat and belly are a creamy colour while the tail is white or black-tipped; the latter is more common.