Pigmy Horned Lizards

circa 1910
RBCM 323 and RBCM 324
Scientific Name:
Phrynosoma douglasii

These are BC’s only two known Pigmy Horned Lizards, Phrynosoma douglasii, reminders of vanished species in areas of intense urban development.

These two specimens came from near Osoyoos, in the Okanagan region of British Columbia, and none has been collected there since. This species, now thought to be extirpated (locally extinct) in BC, is found nowhere else in Canada, but exist in a wide area in the western United States.

In the US, these lizards live in forests, sagebrush rangeland, dry lake beds, and even at altitude, and have great tolerance for cold climates. They mate immediately after hibernation, and can have 2-15 live young. Females bask, to speed the development of their young, which are about the size of your thumbnail when born. One of our two specimens (RBCM 323) was carrying two young when caught.

Look carefully in sandy-gravelly habitat in the southern Okanagan, especially around ant hills, even higher on mountains. These lizards are tiny and incredibly well camouflaged, and we can hold hope that they still exists in secluded locations above the agricultural and urban development around Osoyoos.

This object selected by Dr. Gavin Hanke. View Profile »