Some Arizona Horned Lizards: Regal Horned, Short Horned, Texas Horned Lizard
Photos by Greg Clark
There are a number of species of Horned Lizards in Arizona, here are photos of four types of Horned Lizards.
Here is a photo of Regal Horned Lizard from southern Arizona. Generally the best time to see one of these is in the middle of the summer in the early morning or late afternoon. Leave this lizard alone if you see it. It has enough trouble already without people picking it up. If disturbed, it can squirt blood out of its eyes, another reason to leave them alone. It can squirt the blood a long way (like several feet). The overall color matches the natural ground color. This is the largest of the horned lizards. Compare the color of this lizard to the Regal Horned Lizard that follows.
Here is another example of Regal Horned Lizard, except this lizard was photographed at the extreme North-East part of its range, North of Roosevelt Lake at an elevation of about 2500 feet. Here, where saguaro habitat is in transition to oak-agave habitat, the rocks have a pinkish color and so this lizard fits right in.
The Texas Horned Lizard has some fearsome spikes at the back of the head like the Regal Horned Lizard, but the other marks on the back are very distinctive compared to the Regal Horned Lizard. This photo was taken in McNeal, AZ a town not too far from Douglas, AZ in the SE corner of the state. This photo was taken close to the extreme Western edge of its range.
Here is a Short Horned Lizard from Mt Elden, North of Flagstaff, AZ. There are several sub-species of Short Horned, this example was found at around 8000 ft at the top of the mountain and so is likely to be the Mountain Short Horned Lizard. Note the difference in horn length between the previous Regal and Texas Horned Lizards. Short Horned Lizards are noteworthy because they adopt the local color of the ground and rocks where they live. Mt. Elden has reddish - pink soil and rocks, as well as tan soil and rocks. The example photo shows both colors on the same rock. Compare this photo to the next Short Horned Lizard.
This example of Short Horned Lizard shows how the lizard perfectly matches the color and pattern of the sandy soil and river rocks where it lives. This lizard was living at the edge of Cherry Creek, a permanent water course that flows near Young, AZ at an elevation of about 5000 feet. Based on its geographical location in Central AZ it is another Mountain Short Horned Lizard.
Copyright Greg Clark, 2010