By Mark Brock
Phrynosoma cornutum are a more difficult species, but they are manageable. Cornutum tend to be more heat sensitive than some of the desert dwelling Horned Lizards. It won't be an issue in most climates, but in areas like Arizona's Sonoran desert, they must be provided additional protection from the heat if kept outdoors. Your enclosure must provide them total shade during the hottest part of the day.
Wild vs Captive Born:
Texas Horned Lizards are a relatively skittish or shy Horned Lizard. If you have wild caught specimens, my experience is that some will take well to captivity while others have a temperament that is less suited to it. It's nearly impossible to know this without some observation over time. Captive born lizards are a far better bet than wild caught, and they will be much better adjusted to a captive environment.
Basking and Water:
Horned Lizards typically bask in the mornings and late afternoons. Sunlight during these times is more than sufficient to provide the necessary UV radiation for good health. Cornutum are avid drinkers and will readily take water from a dropper (indoors) or simulated rain (outside). They should be provided water at least twice a week, and more often during hot spells. Visit our Water Section for more details.
Ants should make up 50% of the diet, if not 65%. Feed some amount of ants every day, with the remainder being supplements from other sources, such as crickets, meal and waxworms. Waxworms have higher fat and chitinous make-up and are more difficult to digest. If overfed on these, they may be regurgitated. Some cornutum will eat the larger P. rugosus ants, while others seem to prefer P. californicus. Usually they will eat both kinds of ants, but not always. This is an individual preference for each lizard, wild or captive. I speculate that it is based on the particular microhabitat they come from. Captive born will tend to be less specific, overall, especially if a variety of ants is introduced from an early age.