The Steppe Runner (Eremias arguta) is a medium-sized reptile in the Lacertidae family of wall lizards. It is also known as the Mongolian Racerunner.
The Steppe Runner varies in colour to camouflage itself with its environment. It has a wide body, deep head, and short tail. Around its head and neck, older males may have tubercles, which are small, rounded outgrowths of skin. It has a light underbelly. It has dark eyes. Its fourth toe on its hind (back) leg is longer than the other toes.
It grows to about 85 centimetres (33 inches) long.
It is native to south-eastern Europe and Central Asia, in countries such as Turkey, Russua, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Mongolia, and north-west China.
The Steppe Runner prefers deserts, open sandy areas, and steppe regions with sparse vegetation.
The Steppe Runner is carnivorous, eating insects, locusts, beetles, termites, worms, and mice. It lies in wait for prey to walk nearby.
It is oviparous. The female lays 6-15 eggs in a sunny location. The eggs hatch after 42-49 days.
[Location of photographs: Dushanbe Zoo, Tajikistan]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM