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Short-horned lizard
Common Name:

Short-horned lizard

Scientific Name:

Phrynosoma hernandesi

Unique Qualities:

The short-horned lizard is yellowish or reddish-brown, with two rows of large dark spots down its back. It’s a small lizard with a fringe of tiny horns around its sides. It’s most active during the day and burrows into the soil at night.

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Can be Seen:

The short-horned lizard is found in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, near the South Saskatchewan River and the Milk River. It’s also found in many western states.

Likes to Hang Out:

The lizard likes warm south facing slopes in rocky and grassy areas. It spends the winter in cracks and fractures in rock, away from the icy wind.

Likes to Eat:

The short-horned lizard is a sit-and-wait predator that loves to eat ants, beetles and some grasshoppers.


The species is listed as vulnerable by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The major threat to its survival is the development of its habitat for grazing cattle or for mining oil and gas. Both activities change the landscape and push out the lizards.

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