This small flat lizard has a unique defense mechanism. This and the fact that it is flat and spiny makes this group of lizards hard to miss. So, let's see what else that we can learn about the Mexican Plateau Horned Lizard.
Physical Description and Behavior
These horned lizards are 8-9 cm long, with about half of that length being their tail. They are stocky with a flat, wide head. Their ventral scales are flat and smooth, while their side scales are sharp, used primarily to cut any predators that try to eat them.
They have many ways of protecting themselves. For instance, they will sit completely still, trying to blend into the ground when predators approach. Their spike-ridden outer body can also be dangerous to any animal if eaten. But the most intriguing part would be their eyes, which can shoot out foul-tasting blood at predators, causing them to recoil and drop the lizard.
Their diet mostly consists of ants, although other insects are consumed if available. They are solitary and diurnal animals, attempting to mate between the months of May and June.
Habitat and Location
This horned lizard is likely to reside in open forested areas. They make their homes in sand, rock formations, or bunched grass. They are endemic to Mexico and can be found from Chihuahua in the north all the way south to Puebla and Veracruz.
Phrynosoma orbiculare is considered Endangered according to the Mexican government as listed in the Official Mexican Biodiversity Diary, rule NOM-ECOL-059-2001. The decreasing population is due to habitat loss from practices such as logging. Collectors have also caused widespread harm to this species, making their numbers dwindle even more.
Watch this species in action in the video below