Fun Texas Spiny Lizard Facts For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
Oct 20, 2022 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Texas spiny lizard facts tell us about how this species is one of the smallest in the family and is always found on a tree.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

The Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus) is a species of lizard of the genus Sceloporus, native to northeastern Mexico and the southern Central United States. Found mostly in the bark of trees and fences, this species is found widespread throughout its habitat.

This is a diurnal and arboreal species and is active only during the daytime. Typically shy and nervous, these reptiles will move to a tree from the ground or flee the scene by running through the leaf litter on the ground.

This can be heard quite easily. Even though this species likes to live in the trees and are arboreal, they are seen feeding and searching off the ground for insects.

To help them when climbing, they also have modified toes and claws. The breeding season for the Texas spiny lizard is throughout spring and summer with usually four clutches a year.

The tail is almost the same size as the length of the body. A specialty of these lizards is that they can break their tail off when threatened by a predator. However, the brand new tail that emerges from the broken part won't be the same size as the tail beforehand.

They are perfect as pets due to their good behavior and a special UV light in the enclosure is enough to make them happy.

For more relatable content, check out these lava lizard facts and desert spiny lizard fun facts.

Texas Spiny Lizard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Texas spiny lizard?

Texas spiny lizards are reptiles of the genus Sceloporus and are part of the lizard family.

What class of animal does a Texas spiny lizard belong to?

The Texas spiny lizard (Sceloporus olivaceus) falls under the class of reptiles in the kingdom of Animalia.

How many Texas spiny lizards are there in the world?

The population of the Texas spiny lizard is not known. There is no danger to the population currently.

Where does a Texas spiny lizard live?

Texas spiny lizards (Sceloporus olivaceus) are found in a range of places in the United States and Mexico. In the US, this reptile is native to Texas, Arizona, and Oklahoma. In Mexico, the Texas spiny lizard is native to the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and San Luis Potosí.

What is a Texas spiny lizard's habitat?

The Texas spiny lizard habitat consists of areas with leaf litter and mesquite trees. This reptile is found climbing trees and fences in scrub vegetation and suburban areas. It only comes to the ground to forage for food and for moving around in the habitat.

This is an arboreal species and is only found living in trees.

Who do Texas spiny lizards live with?

Often found living in solitary, this species defends their territory vigorously. Males are seen engaging in push-up contests on the ground. Pairs are only formed in the wild during the mating season.

These animals are quite friendly and hardy. They form great bonds with their masters when kept as pets.

How long does a Texas spiny lizard live?

The Texas spiny lizard life span usually goes up to seven years in captivity. However, it can be quite less too as reported many times.

How do they reproduce?

Texas spiny lizard eggs are laid by the females in a clutch of one to 20 eggs. There can be four clutches of eggs in a year, similar to other lizards. This reptile is known to breed in the spring and summer months.

Eggs are laid on the ground by females and covered with soil. A female is known to incubate the eggs for 60 days. Young are born fully developed and are made to climb on the tree and feed themselves right from the start.

Texas spiny lizard egg care does not need much effort as the lizards will take care of it by themselves if proper conditions are provided in the enclosure.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status has been categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.

Texas Spiny Lizard Fun Facts

What do Texas spiny lizards look like?

Mostly gray in color with white, black, or red-brown spots on the back, Texas spiny lizards are one of the smallest in the family. The variation in the colors and pattern of the body is subject to the habitat they live in. The pattern is present to camouflage the lizards in the wild.

Long toes and sharp claws are present to help them to climb. A male Texas spiny lizard has blue patches on either side of the body. The scales also look and feel spiny.

They are gray-bodied animals with white, black, and reddish blotches on the back.

How cute are they?

They are not usually considered cute.

How do they communicate?

Communication is usually done by tactile methods in lizards.

How big is a Texas spiny lizard ?

The Texas spiny lizard adult size ranges from 7.5-11 in (19-27.9 cm). A Komodo dragon is the largest species of lizards found in the world. Native to some islands in Indonesia, this species grows up to a length of 103 in (2.6 m).

How fast can a Texas spiny lizard move?

The speed is not known, however, they are known to be quite fast when threatened. They flee the scene when in danger of their predators.

How much does a Texas spiny lizard weigh?

The weight is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The Texas spiny lizard male or female species are not given different names.

What would you call a baby Texas spiny lizard ?

Babies of this species are called young.

What do they eat?

The Texas spiny lizard diet consists of various insects like beetles, grasshoppers, and wasps.

Are they poisonous?

The Texas spiny lizard poisonous nature is not determined. There are no venomous lizards found in Texas. However, there are only two known species of lizards that are poisonous, including the gila monster and beaded lizards. They are not too dangerous to humans if left alone.

Would they make a good pet?

Keeping a Texas spiny lizard pet is not that tough. This species of lizards adapt quite well and can be fed a large number of readily available insects such as crickets.

They should not be mishandled though, because it might trigger them to bite sometimes. This is the same in all lizards.

Did you know...

Although the Texas horned lizard has similar spines on its body, the Texas spiny lizard can camouflage itself without changing the color of the body like the Texas horned lizard. Also, the horned ones are considered the biggest lizards in terms of body length.

Texas spiny lizard food should never include ladybugs as they can make the lizard very sick and can kill them too. A range of other insects can be fed in captivity, like grasshoppers and beetles.

There is a very peculiar behavior seen in the males of the Texas spiny lizard. Push-ups are done by two males as a territorial challenge. Until one of them gives up, both males of this species continue doing push-ups. When one wins, the other one runs away.

Do Texas spiny lizards shed their skin?

There is not much information if the Texas spiny lizards shed their skin.

However, these lizards are known to shed their tail when hunted by a predator to save their skin. A new tail emerges in time in place of the old one but it's always shorter.  

How to look after a Texas spiny lizards?

For proper Texas spiny lizard care, a suitable habitat needs to be created. A large cage of around 30 gal (136.3 l) with plants, vines, and logs should be made available. A hiding place should be provided. The lizards are known to love basking in the sun, so proper UV lighting should be added.

These lizards should be fed only insects. Mist the cage once in a while. Two males should not be put together. A pair of male and female or two females can be kept.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sand lizard facts and frilled lizard fun facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Texas spiny lizard coloring pages.

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Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

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Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi

Postgraduate Diploma in Management

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Sakshi RaturiPostgraduate Diploma in Management

Sakshi has experience in marketing strategy, social media planning, and recruiting industry experts for capstone projects, she has displayed a commitment to enhancing their skills and knowledge. She has won multiple awards, including a Certificate of Appreciation for Creative Writing and a Certificate of Merit for Immaculate Turut, and is always seeking new opportunities to grow and develop.

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