Texas Horned Lizard

(Phrynosoma cornutum)

Background information:

-Texas Horned Lizards are mainly found in dry habitats that are located in open areas with sparse vegetation.

-Because they dig for hibernation, nesting and insulation purposes, they are commonly found in loose sand.

-They can run quickly, but in order to survive, they rely mostly on their camouflaged skin.

-Females lay about 14-37 eggs each spring.

-They are known to squirt blood out from the corner of their eyes whenever they feel disturbed.

-Their diet mainly contains beetles, spiders, ground-dwelling arthropods and ants which are 90% of their diet.

Causes of Endangerment:

  • Farmer's have increased their use of pesticides because of ants, therefore putting a large shortage on food (ants) for these lizards.
  • Also, herbicides used to kill weeds affect ants because it reduces their food supply.
  • When droughts occur ants stay inside so it becomes harder for the lizard to find food.
  • Collection for pet trade.


-Oklahoma and Texas have made it illegal to collect them for pets because they do not do well in captivity at all. Handling horned lizards is illegal even if your intentions are good. For example, if you help a Texas horned lizard cross the street or move it to what you believe is a better habitat, you can be ticketed. Scientists are required to obtain collecting and handling permits from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department before they conduct some research on these lizards.