By Nick Cairns, Sam Jaques and Graham Rothwell

Can you find the lizard in this picture? 


If you can then you are staring at Saskatchewan’s only lizard, the Greater Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi). The famous “horny toad” of western tales is not a toad at all but its horns are real enough. These projections give this small lizard protection from its predators in the form of armour but also camouflage. The “horns” break up the shape of a portly lizard so it can sit out in the open and pick off ants and beetles as the walk past.     

Greater Short-horned Lizard

If you look in suitable habitat in southwestern Saskatchewan, you may just see one of these interesting little creatures. In the late summer you may find a baby but they are protected and make poor pets so leave them where you found them. That way this little piece of Canadian biodiversity can hide in plain sight for generations to come.     

Baby Lizard