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Pygmy Short Horned Lizard

Phrynosoma douglasii



Extirpated (Locally extinct)


Very tiny - maximum 7 cm (2.5 in) long. Body is short and compact with a short tail, wide mid section, short stout horns, and rows of short spines all across the back, neck, head, feet, and tail for protection. Cryptic camouflage colours include grey, brown, and beige, often with some darker brown blotches to help it blend with the surrounding environment, especially when half-burrowed into soil, sand, or gravel.

Only two records of Pygmy Short Horned Lizards have ever been confirmed in BC.


This cryptically camouflaged lizard often partially buries itself and remains motionless until an ant or other terrestrial invertebrate prey crawls by. Prefers deep-soiled grassland/shrub-steppe habitat, as well as rugged terrain slopes and ridges with shallow and exposed soils. Considered to be extirpated (no longer present) in the south Okanagan and lower Similkameen Valleys. During the winter they hibernate in burrows below the frost line.


-Habitat loss from agricultural and urban development
-Vehicle road mortality
-Predation by domestic cats
-Invasion of exotic plants

You Can Help!

-Protect grassland-shrub-steppe habitat
-Keep pet cats indoors as much as possible
-Report sightings to recovery experts
-Control invasive plants and reduce soil disturbance to prevent invasive plants from establishing

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