The greater short-horned lizard is a master of disguise and is also good at hiding, so a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist is asking all of you to help out.
There is very little information on where the lizard, also known as a “horny toad,” lives or how many of them there are in Montana. In the late 1800s the lizard was considered the second-most abundant reptile along the Missouri River, behind only to the western rattlesnake, but it is no longer thought to be common in the state.
Heather Harris, a wildlife biologist in northeastern Montana, has been looking for the lizards in Eastern Montana to determine how many there are and where they live, but it hasn't been easy because the lizards are so sneaky and well camouflaged.
So she and other biologists are seeking the help of folks out walking around the countryside to let her know if they see any horny toads.
“If you happened to observe one anywhere in the state, please record the location, getting GPS coordinates if possible, date, number observed and a photograph if you can,” Harris said.
Observations can be reported by email to Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org, or your local FWP biologist.
Here are some tips about where to look and what the lizards look like: Adult greater short-horned lizards are active during warmer daylight hours. Their color varies so they blend in with their surroundings. They have a broad, flattened body with a heart-shaped head. They live on ridge crests between coulees, and can be found in sparse, short grass and sagebrush with sun-baked soil. They are also found in flats of relatively pebbly or stony soil with sparse grass and sagebrush cover.
— Marc Kloker, Fish, Wildlife and Parks