Although people call Horned Lizards horny toads, they are not toads or frogs; Horned Lizards are reptiles. Like any reptile, the Horny Lizard depends on its environment to regulate its temperature.

The majority of the Horny Lizards live in deserts and semi-arid environments. You may be lucky to see the Horny Lizards basking during the morning hours of summer because they love it hot! Even so, the Horny Lizards are vulnerable to overheating, so they move to the shade as the day becomes unbearably hot.


The most obvious feature is the Horny Lizard’s body shape. 

  • They do not have a sleek tubular body shape.
  • They have a wide, flattened body shape for camouflaging and burrowing.
  • They are noticeably spiny on the better part of the body.
  • They have a crown of horns beautifying the back of their heads.


Horny Lizards often prey in open areas. They move quietly or silently wait for the unsuspecting ants and grasshoppers. When the prey animal gets closer, the Horny Lizard snaps it up quickly using its tongue and swallows it whole.

  • Horny Lizards prefer eating ants.
  • They feed on invertebrates such as spiders, grasshoppers and beetles.


  • Horny Lizards live across the Columbian basin and the Cascades foothills.
  • Their habitat includes the open pine forests, sagebrush plains, and short-grass prairies.
  • They stay close to the patches of loose sand and soil to dig.
  • Horny Lizards can be found near the anthills.


  • Horned Lizards are active when the temperature is between 60-80 degrees, which is usually during the morning hours. They show less activity in the afternoon.
  • Horny Lizards prefer soft sand and soil near rocks to blend easily with the background.
  • They dig into loose soil to hide when there is danger.
  • They use their small claws to climb and dig.