Horned Lizard

Wyoming State Reptile

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Horned lizard; Carbon, Wyoming.

Horned lizard; Carbon, Wyoming.  Photo by Penny Higgins/Flickr (Use Permitted with Attribution/Share Alike).

Official State Reptile of Wyoming

Wyoming designated the horned lizard (Douglassi brevirostre) as the official state reptile in 1993. All State Reptiles

Also commonly called "horned toads" because of their rounded, toad-like shape, the horned lizard is a genus of short-tailed, short-legged lizards in the iguana family, about 3-5 inches in length. Even the list of state symbols on Wyoming's official website refers to the state reptile as a "horned toad" (toads are amphibians).

Horned lizards feed on ants and other insects. They can have an intimidating appearance because of the horn-like spines on the back of the head and sides of its body, but horned lizards are actually docile and gentle in nature. When a horned lizard feels threatened, it flattens and freezes in place, trying to blend with the ground (it can also spray an intruder with blood from the corners of its eyes in defense).

Please do not aggravate or disturb these animals. They are well-camouflaged, but not difficult to catch if spotted. People find them adorable and take them home as pets. They belong in the wild, and their numbers are dwindling.

Wyoming

Images

Horned lizard; greater short-horned lizard in Tonto National Forest, AZ.  Photo by Carla Kishinami/Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution/no derivative works).

Horned lizard

Short-horned lizard - photo © Andrew Williams / Critterzone - (used
by permission - contact Critterzone: Animal Pictures, Nature Stock Photography
for commercial license or any use.

Videos

Horned Lizard feeds on toxic ants - Wild West: America's Great Frontier: Episode 1 Preview - BBC Two