Fun Regal Horned Lizard Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
Feb 09, 2023 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Interesting facts about Regal Horned Lizard for kids.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

The regal horned lizard, Phrynosoma solare, is a flat reptile that is named after the crown-like horns on the back of its head. It is a small-sized reptile whose length range is 3–4 in (7.6-10.2 cm). This species has a distinct appearance that helps it to camouflage excellently from predators. It is one of 15 horned lizards that are indigenous to North America and they are all commonly known as horny toads, horned toads, or horned lizards due to their distinct head armor comprising pointed, sharp horns. The Sonoran regal horned lizard has a small tail that widens at the base. One of the distinguishable characteristics of this special reptile is that its body has keeled scales all over it. It's known to have an appearance similar to that of a dragon! Another special trait of this reptile is that it can change its color from dark to light as per the environment around it. Horned lizards inhabit the deserts of northern America, and the Phrynosoma solare is no different. It can be spotted in hot and dry environments with sand and these reptiles are even known to bathe in the sun. It has been observed to be active at temperatures between 60-80 F (15.6-26.7 C). After sunbathing, it forages for food. Its diet mainly comprises sowbugs, spiders, and ants. They prey upon harvester ants the most. Keep reading to get to know more regal horned lizard special traits!

If you enjoyed reading our cool lizard facts, you must check out our texas horned lizard interesting facts and lava lizard fun facts!

Regal Horned Lizard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a regal horned lizard?

The regal horned lizard, Phrynosoma solare, is one of many lizards that are members of the Phrynosomatidae family. This reptile feeds upon sowbugs, spiders, and ants.

What class of animal does a regal horned lizard belong to?

This species belongs to the Phrynosoma genus and the reptile class.

How many regal horned lizards are there in the world?

The total number of reptiles of this species that exist in the world has not been evaluated yet. However, we do know that the population trend of these lizards is stable.

Where does a regal horned lizard live?

This species can be seen inhabiting forest, grassland, and shrubland habitats, rocky areas (like inland cliffs, mountain peaks), and desert habitats. It can be found in North America in the Sonoran Desert across south-central Arizona, east to western New Mexico, south through Sonora, and northern Sinaloa, Mexico.

What is a regal horned lizard's habitat?

A typical regal horned lizard habitat comprises hot and dry regions that include forest, grassland, shrubland, and desert habitats, as well as rocky areas (like inland cliffs, mountain peaks). It has been observed to be active at temperatures between 60-80 F (15.6-26.7 C). It can be seen near sand and anthills. This species is also known to hibernate in the sand to avoid cold temperatures from late September and October until spring. It also bathes in the sun before foraging! It resides on gently sloping terrain or level terrain that has desert vegetation like the creosote bush, the saguaro cactus, and the mesquite. Giant mesquite bugs are also known to reside in mesquite vegetation. This species of lizards can be found in Arizona, New Mexico, southern California, and Texas. The young bury themselves in sand too.

Who do regal horned lizards live with?

These horned lizards of North America's deserts are solitary reptiles and prefer company only during the breeding season from April to July.

How long does a regal horned lizard live?

The lifespan of this species that inhabits the deserts of North America is between five and eight years.

How do they reproduce?

These reptiles breed from late April to July and mating peaks in June. The egg-laying process starts a few weeks after the breeding period has ended, typically in early August or late July. Female reptiles lay eggs in the sand. Clutches of eggs can range between 10-30 eggs and, on average, 15 eggs are laid. Regal horned lizard egg development takes several weeks before the eggs hatch. The shell of the egg is flexible, white, and has a diameter of 0.5 in (1.3 cm). The young, referred to as hatchlings, are 0.9-1.1 in (2.2-2.8 cm) in length. Neither males nor females exhibit parental care for a hatchling after it hatches, which is why it buries itself in the sand. It is responsible to forage for itself. The young are classified as adults by their second summer's end and they become fully grown at the age of three years.

What is their conservation status?

These horned lizards are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. However, this species of horned lizards does face significant threats like habitat destruction and the extermination of ants, which are their preferred prey.

Regal Horned Lizard Fun Facts

What do regal horned lizards look like?

Regal horned lizard skin is covered with keeled scales all over its toad-like body. It is a flat reptile that is named after the ten crown-like horns on the back of its head. It has a distinct head armor comprising pointed, sharp horns. It has a small tail that widens at the base. It's known to have an appearance similar to that of a dragon due to its horns. It is one of 15 horned lizards indigenous to North America and can camouflage excellently with almost anything in its environment to protect itself from predators. Its body has shades of red, tan, pale, yellowish gray, brown, and yellow. The underparts of this reptile are pale yellow-gray in color and it has a reddish-colored top along with dark-colored blotches on the back. It has four legs that have four toes each and a claw on each toe.

The Regal Horned Lizard has a scaley toad like body.

*Please note that this is an image of a Greater Short Horned Lizard, not a Regal Horned Lizard specifically. If you have an image of a Regal Horned Lizard, then please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

How cute are they?

These horned lizards have dragon-like physical characteristics with keeled scales all over their body. These horned lizards have an intimidating appearance due to the horns on their head. However, they can be quite cute as they almost never harm a human and are really small having a maximum length of 4 in (10.2 cm)!

How do they communicate?

These lizards communicate with each other through movements of the body. They are also known to hiss.

How big is a regal horned lizard?

An adult of this species ranges between 3–4 in (7.6-10.2 cm). The young, referred to as hatchlings, are 0.9-1.1 in (2.2-2.8 cm) in length.

How fast can a regal horned lizard run?

It is a slow runner and thus has to camouflage with its surroundings to dodge predators. Its exact speed has not been evaluated yet.

How much does a regal horned lizard weigh?

The weight range of this species is 0.9-3.2 oz (25-90 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no particular names for male and female lizards of this species.

What would you call a baby regal horned lizard?

A young baby of this species of horned lizards can be referred to as a hatchling.

What do they eat?

Regal horned lizard food comprises a wide variety of items, majorly insects like sowbugs, spiders, and ants such as harvester ants. These lizards can devour 25 ants in one go! The regal horned lizard tongue is quite sticky and can flick out like a rubber band at the will of the reptile. This is a regal horned lizard hunting technique that is used when these lizards pursue their victim. They take in their food in a toad-like fashion with the help of a flick of their sticky and long tongue. When this toad-like action is disrupted, then they will run away quite fast. These ant-eaters are often found near ant hills. Some regal horned lizard predators include roadrunners, hawks, snakes, wolves, dogs, and coyotes.

Are they dangerous?

Horned lizards are not dangerous to humans, they might hiss when in your hand, but nothing else.

Would they make a good pet?

It is illegal to keep a regal horned lizard pet. They are quite difficult to cater to and are at risk of death due to a lack of proper care in captivity.

Did you know...

These lizards play dead so as to avoid being preyed upon!

The regal horned lizard defense mechanism

The regal horned lizard blood squirt is one of the most famous defense mechanisms that this reptile has adapted. If camouflaging themselves doesn't work, they will squirt blood from their eyes and astonishingly, this blood spurt goes as far as 3.9 ft (1.2 m)! These horned lizards restrict the flow of the blood from their head until the pressure ruptures the blood vessels in their eyes to cause a spurt of blood.

Can you keep a horned lizard as a pet?

No, these horned lizards cannot be kept as a pet as they are wild creatures, and it is illegal to keep them captive. You cannot buy them from pet stores for this reason.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our monitor lizard surprising facts and eastern blue-tongued lizard fun facts pages!

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Regal Horned Lizard coloring pages!

Regal Horned Lizard Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Sowbugs, spiders, and ants such as harvester ants

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore

Average Litter Size?

10-30 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.9-3.2 oz (25-90 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

forest, grassland, shrubland, rocky areas (like inland cliffs and mountain peaks), and desert habitats

Where Do They Live?

the sonoran desert across south-central arizona, east to western new mexico, Sonora, northern sinaloa, mexico, north america

How Long Were They?

3–4 in (7.6-10.2 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Reptilia

Genus

Phrynosoma

Family

Phrynosomatidae

Scientific Name

Phrynosoma solare

What Do They Look Like?

Red, tan, pale, yellowish gray, brown, and yellow

Skin Type

Scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

habitat destruction and ant extermination

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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