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Phrynosoma platyrhinos is a species native to western North America. It is among the few Horned Lizard species that can withstand high heat; they are found in regions where daily temperatures can easily exceed 100 degrees. There are two subspecies: The Northern DHL (P. platyrhinos platyrhinos) and the Southern DHL (P. platyrhinos calidiarum). This species is uniquely known to eat some vegetation.


Platyrhinos are 2 to 3 inch snout to vent, overall length 5 inches. DHLs have a very blunt snout. They are flat-bodied; relatively short spines on head, one row of pointed fringe scales on each side; belly scales smooth; and one row of slightly enlarged scales on each side of the throat. Color resembles ground color and may be beige, tan, reddish, grey or black (found on lava flows). Usually marked with wavy, dark blotches on the back and a pair of large dark blotches on the neck.


Prefers arid land, on sandy flats and alluvial fans, along washes and edges of dunes. Usually found in association with Creosote, salt brush, greasewood, cactus, ocotillo in the desert, and also usually found where patches of sand are available.


Breeding for Platyrhinos is late April into May and may double clutch. 2-16 eggs are laid June to July and possibly August. Of Interest: Hybrids with the Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard have been found near Ocotillo, south of the Salton Sea, California.


They may puff themselves or hiss, if they feel threatened. To avoid being seen, they may remain motionless and wait for the threat to leave, meanwhile flattening themselves to match their surroundings. Desert HLs are known to bask along highway roads, rocks, and alongside road-banks, usually in the early morning hours to absorb the heat. There have even been sightings of DHLs during the night, perhaps searching for a meal, or taking warmth leftover from paved roads.


Natural diet includes: mainly ants, however they will also eat beetles, and other insects. They are known to eat limited amounts of plant material, such as berries.


From South East Oregon, South Idaho to Northeast Baja California and Northwest Sonora; western base of central plateau of Utah to eastern base of Sierra Nevada and Desert slopes of mountains of Southern California; and San Jacinto River wash (Riverside County, California) on the coastal side of mountains in California.