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Herpetology: That’s One Cool Lizard

An amazing feature about our Grand Canyon tours is that you never quite know what you’ll see or find trailing along the paths of the Grand Canyon. But, if you keep an eye out you may just come across a unique lizard that is known for its crown of short spines. The Greater (Mountain) Short-Horned Lizard is among some of the many reptiles you’ll find scurrying on the warm canyon dirt and rocks. 

These little creatures are small, usually grey, yellow or reddish-brown with a row of distinct dark spots along its body. They can reach a length of 6 inches and have a blunt snout that give them a unique facial feature that you can differentiate from other lizards. Their short spines, their main identifier, form a crown on their head and also have them along each side of its body. If you’re looking to find one, pay very close attention because their color and their ability to remain in one spot for long periods of time allow them keep camouflaged and it may make it difficult to see them, so keep your eyes peeled!

Like previously mentioned, they can remain motionless until their prey comes close enough for them to grab. Short-horned lizards primarily eat ants but also eat other insects. When they catch their prey, they will eat them whole. But their fascinating behavior doesn’t stop there, these creatures are able to shoot blood up to three feet from specialized tear ducts that are located in the corner of their eyes when provoked or feel threatened, they are also known to ambush their predators in defense. Found throughout Western North America The Greater (Mountain) Short-Horned Lizards are amazing desert reptiles that you can also find both on the Rim and inside of the Grand Canyon.