• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected.

Regal Horned Lizard

regal horned lizard

Regal Horned Lizard

NPS Photo

Regal Horned Lizard
Phrynosoma solare

Body length: 3 - 5"
Diet: Primarily ants, but some other insects as well

This species is probably called "regal" because of its king's crown of sharply-pointed horns. The horns are primarily used for defense against predators, and there is a recorded case of a young rattlesnake dying in an attempt to eat one. A Native American story describes how the trickster Coyote received a severe bellyache from trying to eat a horned lizard. Like several other horned lizards, this species has another ploy to ward off potential predators. When molested, it sometimes squirts blood out of its eyes! Though often called "horny toads", horned lizards are certainly not toads, which are amphibians. They are lizards, which are reptiles.

At Tonto National Monument regal horned lizards favor flat, open terrain and mesa-like hilltops where ants can be found. Ants comprise 90% of their diet.

Did You Know?

western diamondback rattlesnake

Tonto National Monument is home to at least 160 species of birds, 6 species of amphibians, 32 species of reptiles, 26 species of land mammals, and at least 14 species of bats. More...