Dune Reptiles

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Coast_horned_lizardHorned Lizard Known to many as horny toads, horned lizards can be found throughout California in scrublands, grasslands, and woodlands where loose, sandy soils are present. The coast horned lizards (Phrynosoma coronatum) found at the Antioch Dunes survive on a diet of harvester ants and other small insects. The color of their scales, including the horns and spines on their head, back, and sides, help camouflage them, making them difficult to find when they freeze in place. Their last defense against predators is to squirt blood from their eyes!

Legless_lizardLegless Lizard The size and shape of a pencil, the silvery legless lizard (Anniella pulchra) is scattered throughout California in the sandy soils of dunes, woodlands, and rivers between the Antioch Dunes and Baja, California (Mexico). Their missing limbs are an adaptation that allows them to “swim” deep beneath the loose sands to hunt and avoid predators. Their diet consists of insect larvae, beetles, and small insects and spiders. Although they look like snakes, legless lizards have eyelids and can drop their tails to escape predators, just like many other related lizard species. They are often found in the leaf litter beneath oaks (Quercus spp.), lupines (Lupinus spp.), and heathers (Ericameria spp.), or under logs and rocks.


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