Texas Horned Lizard
(Phrynosoma cornutum)

Description: Often called Horny Toads, these stout and spiny lizard have very wide and flattened bodies. They can reach an average adult size between 2 to 5 inches (6-12cm) and are typically light brown with darker brown spots on its dorsal side. It has very large horns projecting from the base of its rounded head, and spines protruding from the sides of the body.

Natural History: In its native range this lizard is most commonly found in dry and open habitats with sandy substrates and brushy vegetation. It was introduced to to the Southeastern United States through the pet trade, and several breeding colonies have established in coastal dune habitats. 

They forage on the ground during hot days for small invertebrates, especially ants. Camouflage and their unappetizing appearance are their best defense against predation. However, if that fails they will emit drops of blood from their eyes to confuse predators long enough for them to escape.

Distribution: This lizard is native to Louisiana to Arizona, but a few populations have been established along the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Contributed by Jake Zadik (12/04/2019)