Texas Horned Lizard Facts
- The rather astonishing Texas Horned Lizard forms one of the 14 known species of spike-bodied reptiles in its native range of habitation.
- Collectively, these different species also seem popular as horned lizards.
- The bodies develop far more round in shape than most lizards. Some Native American peoples traditionally considered this animal to be sacred and included it in much of their art.
- Humans used to keep the lizard as pets until the practice became illegal. The species now holds a Threatened status with the IUCN.
Texas Horned Lizard Physical Characteristics
Though all species of horned lizard remain rather diminutive in size, the Texas Horned Lizard ranks as the largest of the species in its area.
The lizard also displays a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism in regards to size. The females attain a length of as much as 4.5 in (11.4 cm) while the smaller male reaches up to 3.7 in (9.4 cm).
Its coloring displays a mottling of various shades of brown, gray, and black. The protruding horns of the Texas Horned Devil form legitimate extensions of its skull and have a composition of solid bone.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Squamata
- Family: Phrynosomatidae
- Genus: Phrynosoma
- Species: P. cornutum
Texas Horned Lizard Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The Texas Horned Lizard remains native to an area of North America that includes Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and northern Mexico. Humans have also introduced it into Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas.
Despite its rather fearsome appearance, the creature remains remarkably docile. Wild individuals will sit calmly in one’s hand. Individuals rarely bite, unless directly threatened.
The animal is entirely insectivorous and feeds primarily on harvester ants but will also feed on a variety of other insects.
Perhaps the fact that it has few natural predators prevented the development of a natural reflex to bite. Its natural coloring serves as an excellent camouflage in its native habitat.
The lizards have also developed an unusual defense mechanism. Individuals can project an aimed stream of blood from the corners of the eyes, and from the mouth as well. This blood is also mixed with a chemical to make it extremely foul-tasting.