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California Fish and Game Commission Expected to Act on Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard Status in February 2015

December 11, 2014



There is good news for California’s flat-tailed horned lizard (Phrynosoma mcallii) as the Center for Biological Diversity announced that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says that the horned lizard may warrant endangered species protections under the state’s Endangered Species Act. According to the Center, the DFW acknowledged that the data on the lizard’s population numbers is not good, and if no action takes place, it could go extinct. The Fish and Game Commission is expected to rule whether protections are warranted in February 2015.


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flat tailed horned lizard

Jim Rorabaugh/Fish and WIldlife service

The California FIsh and Game Commission will rule on the status of California's flat-tailed horned lizard in February 2015.

The lizard, once abundant throughout the desert regions of Southern California, including the Sonoran Desert, can now only be found in portions of the Sonoran Desert in Southern California’s California Desert Conservation Area that includes Riverside, Imperial and San Diego counties. Factors that have led to the reduction in population of the reptiles include habitat loss, off-road vehicles and global warming, the center said in a press release. Other factors that the center says has played a role in the decline of the species includes transmission lines, roads, energy development, and U.S. Border Patrol activities related to illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and vehicular travel. 

The flat-tailed horned lizard grows from 2.5 to 4.3 inches long. Although it is probably one of those endearing looking lizards, it does not survive in captivity due to its diet, which is exclusively harvester ants. Horned lizards have been disappearing not only in California, but in Texas and Arizona as well due to mostly man made threats, such as energy development and habitat loss.


John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 

 

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