Common Name

Scientific Name

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by P. Dotson
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The desert horned lizard, Phrynosoma platyrhinos, occurs in the western United States and western Mexico. In Utah, the species is common in the western half of the state, where it can be found in arid regions, often in association with sandy soils. Although commonly called "horned-toads," desert horned lizards are reptiles, not amphibians.

Female desert horned lizards lay one or two clutches of approximately seven eggs during early to mid-summer. Typical food items include slow moving insects, such as ants and beetles, and plant matter. Desert horned lizards bury themselves in loose soil and become inactive during cold weather, as well as during extremely hot periods.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.