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  • Writer's pictureShazza

What Wildlife Can You Spot While Driving on UAE Roads?

A harsh desert climate, rolling sand dunes and shiny skyscrapers are the usual images that come to mind when thinking about Dubai and the UAE.

But as much as this part of the world is now perfectly habitable for humans, it's also home to diverse wildlife, with much of it being native to the land.

You don't need to venture too far out of developed areas to spot the many animals that take up residence in the UAE.

Arabian Oryx

One of the most iconic symbols of the UAE, the Arabian oryx is a majestic antelope that roams the desert dunes with grace and elegance. With its distinctive long, straight horns and striking white coat, the oryx is a sight to behold against the backdrop of golden sands. Once on the brink of extinction, concerted conservation efforts have helped restore their populations, and spotting these graceful creatures in the wild is a testament to the success of these endeavors. The UAE is now home to the largest population of Arabian Oryx in the world!

Arabian Sand Gazelle

Not to be confused with the Arabian Oryx (honest mistake of course!), the Sand Gazelle is a nimble and elusive creature perfectly adapted to its sandy habitat. With its sandy-colored coat and slender frame, the sand gazelle blends seamlessly into its surroundings, making it a challenge to spot from a distance. However, lucky travelers may catch a glimpse of these agile antelopes as they dart across the desert plains in search of food and shelter.

Arabian Sand Cat

Venture into the remote desert regions of the UAE, and you may be fortunate enough to encounter the elusive Arabian sand cat. With its tufted ears and sandy-colored fur, this small feline is a master of stealth, silently prowling the dunes in search of prey. Despite its diminutive size, the Arabian sand cat is a formidable hunter, preying on small rodents and reptiles with remarkable agility and precision.


No exploration of UAE's wildlife would be complete without mentioning the iconic camel. With their sturdy frames and padded feet, camels are perfectly adapted to desert life, serving as reliable companions for generations of desert travelers. Whether glimpsed grazing on sparse vegetation or trekking across the dunes with their Bedouin handlers, camels are an enduring symbol of the UAE's cultural heritage and natural resilience.

Arabian Caracal

Stealthy and enigmatic, the Arabian caracal prowls the desert landscapes with silent grace. With its distinctive tufted ears and sleek fur, this solitary predator is a master of camouflage, blending seamlessly into its surroundings as it stalks its prey. While sightings of the Arabian caracal are rare, the thrill of catching a glimpse of this elusive feline is a testament to the wilderness that still thrives in the heart of the desert.

As you traverse the desert highways and rugged terrain of the UAE, take a moment to appreciate the rich tapestry of wildlife that calls this region home. From the graceful Arabian oryx to the elusive Arabian caracal, each species plays a vital role in shaping the unique ecosystems of the desert. Whether you're a wildlife enthusiast or simply seeking to connect with nature, exploring the wilderness of the UAE is sure to leave you with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and resilience of life in the desert.

Time to hire a car in Dubai and go looking for more exciting wildlife!

Images sourced from: Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi

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