The Coast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum) is an incredible, dinosaur-like lizard with a seemingly superior aura. These little(ish) lizards are sometimes called horny toads, as they do somewhat resemble toads when they flatten themselves out, which is one of their defense mechanisms. They are not too common in La Ventana, in my experience, as they need open, sandy land to thrive. However, they do live here and, recently, I met my first representative of the species.
It was a normal, HOT!!! October day, and there was talk of a horned lizard in the neighbors’ garden. Naturally, I was intrigued, as I had never seen a horned lizard. After a few minutes of walking and searching for this amazing creature, I turned up nothing and decided to give in to the serene bliss of an air-conditioned camper. A few hours later, my dad came roaring down our small driveway on the 4-wheeler with a couple of builders from next door smiling on the back. To my surprise and joy, they presented me with Felipé, my very first horned lizard.
He was beautiful! His horns resembled a crown, and he seemed to know it. His half-closed eyes conveyed a calm and content yet somehow commanding expression. As I picked him up, I was worried that he would shoot blood out of his eyes at me, as this is another of their defense mechanisms. However, he seemed much more interested in the paparazzi now taking pictures of him. Felipé would sit unmoving for a moment, strike a new pose and show off his crown. He was, by far, one of the most photogenic reptiles that I have ever photographed. His only care seemed to be showing of his good side.
After marveling at him for a while, we let him go. I hope to see His Majesty in the future, posing in our yard.