Conservation of Horned Lizards
Horned Lizards have declined throughout North America because of the cumulative impact of several factors, habitat loss, habitat degradation, invasion of exotic species (ants, dogs, cats, grasses), pesiticides and collection for pets. The amazing thing is that horned lizards are robust. They can live with humans if we want them to, but we must allow them to.
Certain activities will definitely prevent horned lizards from living in the environment. Total destruction of their native habitat is one activity. This is a broad category and includes paving over habitat to make room for new malls or houses, conversion to pesticide-requiring, mechanistic agriculture and intensive off-road vehicle activity. However, certain land uses seem harmless or less detrimental than others. Low-density cattle ranching and low-use recreational areas impart benefits because activities are restricted to small areas in proportion to the total size of the area.
Horned lizards can live with people - even in urban areas - given the right combination of protection to their habitat and food source, harvester ants. While we can not lay blame on one thing for the cause of horned lizards disappearing, the same goes for protecting them - no one singular thing can be done to protect them aside from completely leaving the habitat pristine and unaltered, an unfortunately unrealistic expectation.
Though untested in a scientifically experimental manner, we believe there are correlated factors associated with the presence and absence of horned lizard from the natural landscape. Please consider the following for measures that may protect or harm horned lizards.