Slevin’s sand gecko (Stenodactylus slevini)

Close up of the head of a Slevin's sand gecko
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Slevin’s sand gecko fact file

Slevin’s sand gecko description

GenusStenodactylus (1)

Slevin’s sand gecko is a small gecko with a large head, a tapering tail, and relatively slender, rounded toes (2). As in other gecko species, the eyes are large, with a pupil that contracts to a vertical slit, and the skin is soft, with small scales (3) (4). The body of Slevin’s sand gecko is a fairly dark sandy colour, lighter on the underside, and with bands and mottling that range from orange to brown (2). There is a chevron mark on the back of the head (3). The juvenile has strong light and dark barring on the tail, which is somewhat reduced in adults (5).

Also known as
Slevin’s ground gecko, Slevin’s short-fingered gecko.
Stenodactylus haasi.
Total length: 8 cm (2)

Slevin’s sand gecko biology

Little information is available on the biology of Slevin’s sand gecko. It is a nocturnal, ground-dwelling species (5), which, like other geckos, is likely to feed on insects and other small invertebrates (4). Like the closely related Arabian sand gecko (Stenodactylus arabicus), the female may lay a single egg (3). The young Slevin’s sand gecko is reported to produce a distraction display when confronted by a potential predator, passing waves of movement along the extended tail. This is thought to distract the predator’s attention towards the tail, which is expendable, and away from the vulnerable head and body (5).


Slevin’s sand gecko range

Slevin’s sand gecko occurs in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, southern Iraq, Yemen, the western United Arab Emirates, and Qatar (2) (6).


Slevin’s sand gecko habitat

This species is reported to inhabit areas of relatively firm sand in sandy plains (2) (3) (5).


Slevin’s sand gecko status

Slevin's sand gecko is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1)

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Slevin’s sand gecko threats

Little is known about the threats faced by this species. In areas such as the United Arab Emirates, it may potentially by impacted by a range of threats to its habitat, including urbanisation, development, overgrazing, overextraction of groundwater, pollution, and increasing levels of tourism (7). However, its status in the wild, as well as its occurrence in the pet trade, are currently unknown.


Slevin’s sand gecko conservation

There are no known conservation measures specifically in place for Slevin’s sand gecko. In the United Arab Emirates, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) are working to protect and manage biodiversity in the region (8), but further research into Slevin’s sand gecko is likely to be needed before any specific conservation action can be taken for this attractive small lizard.

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Find out more

To find out more about this and other sand geckos see:

For more information on conservation in the United Arab Emirates see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones), echinoderms, and others.
Active at night.


  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2013)
  2. (August, 2009)
  3. Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
  4. Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. Arnold, E.N. (1984) Evolutionary aspects of tail shedding in lizards and their relatives. Journal of Natural History, 18: 127 - 169.
  6. UNEP-WCMC Species Database (May, 2009)
  7. WWF: Major environmental threats in the UAE (August, 2009)
  8. The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (August, 2009)

Image credit

Close up of the head of a Slevin's sand gecko  
Close up of the head of a Slevin's sand gecko

© Mike Hill /

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