The Dhub is a spiny tailed lizard which lives in the deserts of Saudi Arabia (and elsewhere in the region). What some may think is a snake hole burrowed in to the sand might also be the home of a dhub.
According to www.Arabianwildlife.com the dhub are characterized by an elaborate suit of armour, consisting of a tail adorned with dagger-sharp spines and a head that would not look out of place on the end of a medieval battering ram. They are usually only spotted at a distance through the shimming Arabian heat-haze, which is a pity, for there are relatively few people who have had the chance to study the amazing mechanics and colours of the dhub from close up.
Despite their rather fearsome appearance, dhubs would not willingly harm anybody. They might snack on the odd insect as babies, but as adults they are strictly vegetarian with few exceptions, confining their diet to the meager pickings offered by desert plants. They have a very low metabolism that allows them to not only make the most of a low calorie diet, but to also go several weeks on end without eating anything. Dhubs will usually go through their entire lives without drinking a single drop of water; most of their moisture requirements being met by the rather dry and often salty plants which they feed upon. Dew, condensed in the entrances of their burrows, will also be utilised if it hasn’t already evaporated before the dhub wakes up (they are not early risers and most dhubs consider 8 a.m. to be the middle of the night).
Although dhubs are fairly low on the food chain, they are by no means an easy meal and it is a specialist predator that is capable of outwitting this spiky adversary. Not only are they difficult (and painful) to hold on to, but they are also fast and alert and will scramble to the safety of the burrow at the slightest hint of danger. Their biggest threat would come from above, with many eagles and hawks being more than willing to have a go at them. Foxes too, would take advantage of a dhub that had wandered too far away from its hole. The most specialized dhub killer is probably the black desert cobra (Walterinnesia aegyptica). These stealthy snakes are able to follow the lizard straight down into the burrow, where the dhub will be engulfed after a brief struggle against a powerful neurotoxin, a venom capable of killing a human. Monitor lizards (Varanus griseus ssp) will eat the baby dhubs. In fact these hardy reptiles will eat anything that moves and are not adverse to eating things that have long since stopped moving, even if that was days ago!
But what about normal people….or beudions of the desert? What is there view on dhubs? Well, if you get the opportunity to chat or better yet sit down at a fire with a true Saudi beudion, you just might find yourself getting served dhub! www.Everything2.com web site provided this interesting narrative on eating dhub: “Dhub is a delicacy among the Arabian bedawins in the peninsula, I was offered a chance to eat it and to tell you the truth, it tasted kind of like chicken. It has white meat. Is it healthy eating lizards I hear you yell? Based on Islamic teachings: “thou shall not eat flesh eating animals, thou shall eat grass eating animals.” Based on this alone, bedawins justify that eating dhubs isn’t such a bad thing. You can either boil it or roast it, I never tried frying it with oil. Most of the meat can be found in its armored tail.
One of the most popular ways to catch Dhubs these days is by hooking one end of the hose to the car’s exhaust pipe and hook the other end to the Dhub’s lair, and simply fill its lair with smoke, this causes Dhubs to exit their holes. It was proven to be the fastest and effecient way to catch Dhubs that hide inside holes, diging its hole is both time consuming and exhausting.”