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Eastern Short-horned Lizard

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Short-horned LizardThe region occupied by Eastern Short-horned Lizards in Alberta is one of the most climatically extreme on the Canadian prairies. Long, cold winters, the often very hot and dry summers and the possibility of rapidly occurring, vast temperature fluctuations in any season are all climatic factors in this area. The native vegetation over most of this region is generally mixedgrass prairie.

Short-horned Lizards in Alberta generally inhabit sparsely vegetated, south-facing slopes of coulees and canyons, along the interface between the prairie grassland and the coulee bottom. Sparsely vegetated areas with southern aspects appear to be the most commonly inhabited areas, although lizards have been found on east, west and some north-facing slopes as well. The low profile and short legs of this species seems to render travel through thick vegetation more difficult. However, adult female lizards appear to readily use vegetation as a source of shade and overnight cover. The lizards seem to require fine, friable soil which they can burrow into for overwintering.

In Alberta, Eastern Short-horned Lizards occupy habitat types that are limited in occurrence. However, the amount of available habitat in this province appears to be relatively stable, although it is subject to disturbance or destruction in some areas.

Reprinted from Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 5 (1997), with permission from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

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