Texas Horned Lizards, usually called “horned toads,” are not amphibians at all but reptiles, little lizards. They used to be common in Oklahoma but have nearly disappeared from many areas because of loss of habitat and the use of pesticides, which have killed their main food source, ants. They are an Oklahoma Species of Special Concern.

The horned lizard has a spikey body with large spikes on the head and smaller ones over the back and sides. The short body is rounded and flat and looks more like a toad than a lizard, hence the common name horned toad or horny toad. Unlike most lizards, which try to bite and struggle to get away if held, horned lizards are docile and will lie quietly in one’s hand.

As a final defense against a predator, a horned lizard can squirt a stream of blood from the corner of its eye. This confuses the predator, usually causing it to retreat. The stream can reach 4 feet.

Although we’ve only seen a few at our place in 20 years, I hope everyone will help to keep these cute little lizards from disappearing.

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E-mail lindsey.chastain@skiatookjournal.com

Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Renuard was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.