Welcome to Phrynosoma.Org!
Last updated: 2/6/08
Phrynosoma.Org is a non-profit website dedicated to the husbandry, propagation, and conservation of horned lizards
Phrynosoma.Org is created and managed by a group of people who share an
interest and fascination for the peculiar reptiles that make
up the species Phrynosoma. This website offers the most comprehensive
and authoritative information available for the care and propagation of
these unique and fascinating lizards. This is made possible through the
sharing of experiences and knowledge from this dedicated group of
This website contains Horned Lizard information, including:
husbandry, photos, movies from those in the HL community, personal
experiences, and links to other Horned Lizard sites. There isn't much
argument that Phrynosoma (Horned Lizards) are a fascinating species,
but they are certainly a challenge to keep, even for an experienced
herper. HLs require more dedication and special attention than other
reptiles commonly kept as pets.
The intent of this site is not to dissuade anyone from keeping a
legally obtained horned lizard. Rather, the information and advice
found here is offered in all good will as a minimum requirement for their
proper care in captivity. Make no mistake, horned lizards are very
difficult to care for, especially for the inexperienced.
Check out www.Antsalive.Com
Harvester ants for your horned lizards. At times there will be others
in the HL community that offer live ants for your horned lizards. These
offers may come and go, but AntsAlive has a good history of always
being there. Keep in mind that horned lizards and ants hibernate in the
winter. If you are determined not to hibernate your animals it's a good
idea to order ants at least a week or even two in advance during the
New Phrynosoma.Org Community Forum!
Check out the Phrynosoma.org Community Forum
for current happenings with horned lizard care, conservation, or
husbandry. This is a great place to ask questions and see what other
folks are doing to successfully keep and breed horned lizards.
Researching Laws and Regulations:
The Laws and Regulations, both local and federal, should be your
first consideration when thinking of owning a Horned Lizard. Some
species are completely protected, requiring special permits (usually
for scientific study only), some only require a fishing or hunting
license. Please visit the "Laws and Regs" link for more detailed
Information, or google by your home state for local Fish & Game
Before deciding on a Horned Lizard as a pet:
If you are determined to keep a Horned Lizard, you should
first read everything you can about them. Understanding their special
needs is paramount to successful keeping. Horned Lizard husbandry is
truly a commitment above and beyond that of most other herps. It takes
a dedicated individual to ensure they have adequate care. There are
several books and field guides that have been published that will also
provide some natural history and limited husbandy information. You will
find helpful and valuable information on each of our "HL Care" pages.
See the links at top.
The warnings on these pages may seem a bit harsh, but horned lizards
ARE difficult pets. Unlike other reptiles you might find at the local
pet shop, these lizards will die if not given proper care.
Things to consider:
Have you done your research? Have you read
the available, published information to feel you know the true
commitment required in keeping Horned Lizards?
Do you have the space, time,and money
necessary to take care of an Horned Lizard properly? Financial costs to
keep a healthy HL can be high. This includes buying, or building an
adequately-sized enclosure for the Horned Lizard, electricity bills
from their heat lamps, continually ordering ants if you can't catch
potential vet visits, etcetera.
Are you looking for a pet to hold, or to
take outside to play with your friends? Horned lizards are not good
social pets. They should be handled as little as possible. Handling
them is stressful, even though they appear relaxed, and stress in
horned lizards means health problems.
Do you know the specific ant species your
HL needs to survive & thrive on? Horned Lizards do not
eat the fireants found near many homes in many western states. The type
of ants they eat will depend on the species of Horned Lizard you have.
Most species eat the native harvester ants, which usually carry a
pretty potent sting.
Will you have the time and means (and
location) to catch your own supply of ants (spending up to one hour per
day collecting outside), or can you afford to order the ants that you
will need? One HL alone may eat anywhere from 30 to 300 ants a day
depending on its species, size, the temperature, and time of year.
Issues of special concern:
As opposed to the more commonly kept reptiles, such as Bearded Dragons
or Green Iguanas, Horned Lizards stand in contrast as an incredibly
fragile species who stress easily. Conditions other reptiles may be
able to function or do moderately well under may not be conducive to
healthy HLs. Most HLs cannot tolerate human traffic or loud noise near
their enclosure. While they are known for their gentle nature, they are
not very "outgoing" as pets, and are typically shy; preferring time
spent with either their own kind, or to themselves in the safety,
space, and quiet of their enclosure.
In general, Horned Lizards do not like to be handled much, if at all.
Whereas most reptiles will run when frightened, horned lizards tend to
hunker down and stay still. This is often mistaken for a relaxed calm
in the animal, when it is actually a conditioned response to a
perceived threat. Handling horned lizards is a cause of stress, which
always has negative effects on their health. Once stressed, HLs may
become "anorexic", and refuse food altogether, ultimately leading to a
slow death from starvation.
If you are still feeling comfortable with the thought of Horned Lizard
husbandry after reading this page, you may be ready to make the
commitment. In either case, we encourage you to join the forum and check back often, as
our site is continually updated. Thank you for visiting, and Good Luck!
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