Species group: Horned Lizards
Other common names: Horny Toad
Scientific name: Phrynosoma cornutum
The Texas Horned Lizard is the largest, and most common of the 14 species of horned lizard in North America. It is native to arid and semi-arid landscapes with sparse vegetation, from the Sonoran Desert in Mexico to the plains of Kansas and Oklahoma. Phrynosoma cornutum has also been introduced and is established in several areas in the southeastern United States, including North Carolina and Florida.
While the Texas Horned Lizard is listed in the category of "least concern" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the lizard's population has declined in certain areas such as Texas because of declines in harvester ant populations due to the spread of fire ants, pesticides, and over-collecting for the pet trade. The Texas Horned Lizard is now a protected species in some states, and it is illegal to take, possess, transport or sell them without a special permit.
Appearance / health:
The Texas Horned Lizard is about 7 - 7.5 inches long from nose to the end of its tail. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, "The Texas horned lizard or "horny toad" is a flat-bodied and fierce-looking lizard. The head has numerous horns, all of which are prominent, with two central head spines being much longer than any of the others. This lizard is brownish with two rows of fringed scales along each side of the body. On most Texas horned lizards, a light line can be seen extending from its head down the middle of its back. It is the only species of horned lizard to have dark brown stripes that radiate downward from the eyes and across the top of the head."
harvester ants, nutritional needs, pet trade, quick deaths, Troublesome Beasts
live crickets, conservation efforts, science class, feisty little guys, horny toads
From Kacie Bingham Sep 24 2017 10:17PM
Even Zoos Avoid These Fascinating but Troublesome Beasts!
Horned lizards, the mini-Triceratops of the reptile world, are hard to resist. Indeed, back in the 1960’s millions were collected for the pet trade (and killed, stuffed and posed with instruments to be sold in cheesy tourist traps!). The vast majority met quick deaths, and they remain one of the most difficult lizards to keep…even well-financed zoos avoid them!
Primed by eons of evolution to thrive on an ant-based diet, some accept other insects but still expire in short order. And living in an ant-infested home or region is rarely an answer, as only certain species are accepted, and we know little of the balance of their nutritional needs. Harvester ants are available online, and most horned lizards consume these with gusto. However, they need huge quantities of ants every day or so, and a diet of one species alone may not be effective long-term. If you’re lucky enough to live within their range, get out and watch them (with care, they can be approached quite closely) – but please, leave them be!.
From findiviglio Nov 3 2015 9:03PM
Texas Horned Lizard
A while back, a friend of mine gave me a Texas Horned Lizard he had found in his backyard. He said I could keep it and learn how to take care of him.
So I tried. I went back home and placed him inside a shoebox that I had lying around and filled the box with some dry grass and some dirt. I can't recall exactly what food I was buying for him at the pet store, but I do remember he wasn't eating any of it at all. One day I caught him eating a fly so I came up with a method to catch flies for him and feed them to him. He was eating them like crazy, I suppose they like flies alot.
Sadly, he only survived a month with me. He suddenly died one day and I never knew why.
If you have one of these lizards please be more careful and inform yourself on how to take good care of them. These are creatures that are probably at a high risk being away from their natural habitat. Also they might require lots and lots of heat or a very warm environment.
Here's a picture of what mine looked like..
From iProofReadYou Sep 7 2015 11:49PM