Texas Spiny Lizard

The Texas Spiny Lizard is native to the South central United States and parts of Mexico. They aren’t endangered at all and are quite common, and from looking at siting maps online it appears that they are mostly seen from central North Texas down to Northern Mexico.

They usually run and hide or climb a tree at the first sign of people, so I usually hear them scurrying through the leaves and twigs rather than see them. The lizard in the photos below ran out of the brush right in front of me and climbed about 7 feet up a nearby tree. I slowly made my way to him to get some photos around all the branches. He didn’t move much and kind of just waited patiently until I left.

Texas Spiny Lizard on a Tree
Texas Spiny Lizard on a Tree

As you can see they have some really long toes and are apparently well adapted to climbing trees. Their coloring does a pretty good job of blending in with tree bark as well providing some camouflage I suppose. I might not have noticed it while I was walking by if I didn’t know it was there.

Texas Spiny Lizard on a Tree
Texas Spiny Lizard on a Tree

Some people keep these as pets and feed them crickets, but I would rather they live in the woods and eat bugs. I wandered off in search of other interesting things and let this guy get back to catching bugs or finding a mate or whatever lizards do when we aren’t watching.

39 thoughts on “Texas Spiny Lizard

    1. I am not sure that this lizard knew where he was other than on a tree anyway. He could just as easily be a Kenyan spiny lizard as far as he knows.

      Texans do have a tendency to call whatever animal they see a Texas version of that animal. I do check on this before making such an assertion. For instance, I often hear people refer to barn swallows as Texas barn swallows; they’re just barn swallows. The same with a lot of snakes. But this particular make and model of lizard seems to be most commonly found in Texas.

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            1. I wasn’t talking about flies! Oooh I have not had luck with my words today. Would …smack my head… BUT due to someone who shall remain nameless, I am still waiting on a helmet! πŸ˜›

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            1. Well, my ancestors did. I don’t really identify as European. But ancestors came from Germany, Wales, England, and France I suppose. Paternal line goes back to Germany a couple of hundred years ago. Mainly just mutt American.

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  1. Now that is a cool lizard. πŸ™‚ He does blend in really well with the tree. Glad he sat so still for you to get some good pics!
    Hopefully he finds a mate. πŸ™‚ Or he could already have one and she was at home wondering what was taking him so long on his outing!

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          1. Yeah right!! You can speak for a cow, pig,chicken,gnu and a turtle, but not a lizard? I think he probably stayed so long on that tree due to having a conversation with you!

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  2. I just found your blog. Nice.

    Are you a native Texan? I was transplanted there 2002-2011 in Round Rock (well…Brushy Creek). I worked in downtown Austin for the General Land Office (Stephen F. Austin building). I still miss it.

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    1. With all of this time off, I have become quite familiar with my local park and the wildlife there in. I never knew we had so many rabbits around here, but they’re nearly as thick as squirrels.
      I have also seen several different varieties of snakes that I have been trying to identify. They just don’t sit still long enough to study. I saw a couple of nice looking diamondback water snakes swimming around in a pond and watched them for a while. I only got iPhone photos and they weren’t very good.

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      1. The time we were at your local park a couple of months ago a woman on the trail told us to be careful about a snake she’d seen nearby. When I asked what kind she said she thought it was a cottonmouth.

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        1. I have seen some small dark gray snakes in the creek, but I never get a good enough look at them to tell. Cottonmouths are purported to be very timid around people and flee as soon as we’re about, and that is what these snakes did. But I can’t say for certain.
          I did find a cottonmouth when I was working on the coast in my younger days. I had thick boots and nearly stepped on him. I also had a weed axe and he stood no chance. I feel bad about that now.
          I have seen red stripped ribbon snakes around as well, they are fun to watch.

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