Greater Short-horned Lizard

The Greater Short-horned Lizard is a smaller lizard with a stout head and short tail. The head of this lizard is wider than it is long and is shaped like a heart. Horns protrude from the back of the head. Their bodies are wide and flat, with a jagged fringe of scales along the sides of adults. The color pattern varies depending on location, but typically is very camouflaged to their environment.
Phrynosoma hernandesi
5-8 Years
  • Priority Species
  • Unprotected
Least Concern
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

The Greater Short-horned Lizard’s range extends from semiarid plains to high mountains. They occupy a wide variety of habitats including sagebrush, open pinyon-juniper, pine-spruce, and spruce-fir forests. They prefer areas with looser soils as well. In Nevada, they are found in the Northwestern part of the state.

  • Cold desert shrubland and sagebrush
  • Grasslands
  • Pinyon juniper forests


  • Habitat Degradation
  • Habitat Loss

Natural History

The Greater Short-horned Lizard eats primarily ants, but their diet is more varied than other horned lizards. They will also eat beetles, bees, and other ground-dwelling insects. They are ambush predators and use their camouflage to surprise prey.
The Greater Short-horned Lizard is more cold-tolerant than other horned lizards. Because they live at higher elevations, they have very short breeding seasons. Females give live birth to up to 16 babies. There is no parental care, and babies will quickly disperse after birth.
These lizards use their camouflage to avoid predators as well as to catch prey. Common predators for them are snakes, other, lizards, birds of prey, and mammals. If noticed and pursued by a predator they will try to puff themselves up to make them seem bigger and harder to eat.

Fun Facts

This species of horned lizard can squirt blood from the corners of its eyes to deter predators. Females give birth to live young.