Texas Horned Lizard
Comanche National Grassland, Otero County, Colorado—May 7, 2006
Horned lizards are probably my favorite lizards in the world, so I was looking hard for my first Texas Horned Lizard in the 20 hours or so that we were in prime horned lizard habitat in eastern Colorado. After a long afternoon hike and then a long morning hike the next day, I knew my chances were getting slim. As my wife drove us slowly over the dirt road leading from Vogel Canyon back to pavement , I rudely made my sister sit in the back seat so I'd have a few last minutes of potential lizard-spotting from the front passenger's seat. It paid off this time, as I spotted this little beauty when it made a small movement as we drove past. Not that anyone's counting, but this is my third horned lizard spotted from a moving car, after one Desert Horned Lizard
and one Regal Horned Lizard
Valley of Fires State Park, Lincoln County, New Mexico—May 21, 2008
Valley of Fires State Park is situated in the middle of a huge geologically fresh lava flow. We arrived on a hot afternoon. I did some poking around near the campground but didn't see any herp activity. I did find a horned lizard poop though, which made me excited at the thought of seeing an actual horned lizard the next morning when it wasn't so hot.
The first thing we did in the morning was to take our dogs for a walk before it got too hot for them, so we were up before the lizards. On our way back I spied a Sceloporus lizard near our campsite at the edge of the road. It skittered off as I approached, and I never did see that particular lizard again. But as I looked for it I saw my first Texas Horned Lizard of New Mexico. It was followed later in the morning by three more, including one basking on the edge of a paved "nature trail" through the lava.
City of Rocks State Park, Luna County, New Mexico—May 28, 2008
I christened this somewhat appendage-challenged lizard Stumpy. Its lack of front foot didn't seem to make any difference in speed though; it seemed as fast as any other horned lizard (which is to say, not very fast).
near City of Rocks State Park, Luna County, New Mexico—May 13, 2009
While staying in nearby Silver City for a few days, I headed out one evening to look for snakes on the road. It wasn't a good night for snakes — all I found were several dead-on-road young gopher snakes
. But my trip was worthwhile because I found these two fine lizards taking in the just-before-dusk road warmth. The first one was a large adult, and the second one a small youngster.
- Eric Pianka and Wendy Hodge's excellent article on horned lizards, from the University of Texas.
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Sherbrooke, W. C. 2003. Introduction to the Horned Lizards of North America
- Smith, H. M. 1995. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and Canada
- Stebbins, R. C. 2003. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition