Slevin’s sand gecko (Stenodactylus slevini)

Also known as: Slevin’s ground gecko, Slevin’s short-fingered gecko
Synonyms: Stenodactylus haasi
GenusStenodactylus (1)
SizeTotal length: 8 cm (2)

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

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

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

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).

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.

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.

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:

  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)