NEWText Box:

The Benevolent Order of the Texas Horned Toad

To contact us:

Phone: 254.773-3590

Fax: 254.231-4128


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Phrynosoma cornutum is the Texas State Reptile. The species is found in the mid-western and southern U.S. and in some parts of northern Mexico. In 1967, the Texas legislature passed laws prohibiting collection, exportation, and sale of Phrynosoma cornutum. Prior to this legislation, tens of thousands of Horned Toads were exported (dead and alive) from Texas every summer by tourists, would-be pet owners, and others, leading to the death of many a horned toad. Today, all Texas Horned Toad populations continue to decline.


Texas Horned Toads measure about two-and-one-half to five inches from nose to vent, with an overall length of seven to seven-and-one-half inches. They are flat-bodied and have a large crown of spines on the head, of which the two center spines are the longest. They have two rows of fringe on each side. Their belly scales are keeled, and dark lines radiate from their eyes.


Texas Horned Toads inhabit open country which may vary from dry hard pan with sparse brush, to loose-soil grasslands supporting cactus, mesquite, and other low sparse brush. They prefer loose sandy soil because they often bury themselves. During summer months hey have been known to lie motionless during the night under low brush in order to use their coloration as camouflage in their resting place. Texas Horned Toads are found from sea level up to 6,000 feet.


Phrynosoma cornutum lay eggs (oviparious). The mated female may deposit forty or more eggs in a burrow she has prepared, usually during the months of May to July. The young typically hatch within six weeks. Neonates usually measure about one-and-one-fourth inches.


They are diurnal. Texas Horned Toads, when alarmed, may puff up and squirt blood out of the corner of the eye as a defense. Texas Horned Toads go into hibernation around late September to October, depending on weather. They  usually come out of hibernation when the weather warms in March or April.


In the wild, the main diet of the Texas Horned Toad is about 69 percent harvester ants, with the remainder mostly being a mixture of termites, beetles, grubs, and various insects.


You will find Phrynosoma Cornutum from central Kansas, southwestern Missouri, and southeastern Colorado and throughout most of Oklahoma and Texas (including coastal barrier islands). The southeastern half of New Mexico and the southeastern corner of Arizona down to the Mexican states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas are also home to some of these lizards. Isolated populations have been reported in Alabama and Florida. Phyrnosoma cornutum is only one of several horned lizard varieties.

Conservation Status:

Horned Toads are listed as threatened in Texas.

Horned Toad populations have declined dramatically in both Texas and Oklahoma. Horned Toads have practically disappeared in the eastern and central portions of their range in Texas due to human disturbances, such as converting habitat to agriculture or to urban centers. Sadly, Texas Horned Toads will continue their rapid decline in North, Central, and South Texas— and beyond, as urbanization balloons more each year.