Horned Lizard (Wild Animals by Papo)

Review of the Texas horned lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, by Papo, new for 2019 (just got it in the mail just today!). The figure is not marketed at the species level but is a good representation of P. cornutum (more on the morphology below). I was hesitant to buy this figure, mainly because I thought it would be too big compared to other small lizards in my Synoptic Collection. And while a little larger than I would have liked, it is not too big (for example, not nearly the size of a Safari Incredible Creatures figure) [more on the size and scale below]. Now that I have it in person, it is much better than I thought it would be! Growing up in Arizona, I kept regal horned lizards (P. solare) in terraria that I caught in the neighborhood, so this figure is somewhat nostalgic to my upbringing.

The species featured here also lives in Arizona, ranging west to Texas and north to Colorado and Kansas. Apparently, there are introduced populations in the Southeast US as well. They feed mainly on harvester ants (what I fed my P. solare), but will eat any small insect that walks in front of them.

Horned lizards (sometimes called horned toads or horny toads due to their squat shape) are probably best known for their habit of squirting blood from their eyes when stressed. There is debate on whether this is a controlled activity on the part of the lizard or if it is a natural effect of increased stress. Apparently it is caused by the lizard restricting the blood flow from their head, so the pressure builds up until it ruptures small capillaries in the eyes and mouth. Lizards have been documented to shoot blood up to 5 feet away!

This figure is just shy of 10.0 cm long (with a slight curve to the tail), making it 1.5:1 for an average specimen or just shy of 1:1 for a very large male. The head armature and color are spot-on for a Texas horned lizard. There is very good detail in the eyes, nostrils, and throat wrinkles. The underside is also very similar to the actual texture of a living animal (from what I can remember holding them in my youth). The rear portion of the animal is slightly elevated, which gives it a natural pose.

If there are any complaints about the sculpt, they could have added more detail to the spines on the upper surface of the body (the surface does have fine texture, but no obvious armature) and along the sides of the body. Also, the front feet are very simple. These are very minor complaints looking at the figure overall.

This figure comes highly recommended to anyone who likes to collect species diversity. If you are OK with a larger figure, the Safari Ltd. Incredible Creatures model is more detailed (you can get more detail in a larger figure), albeit more brightly colored. But if you want a standard-sized representative of this species or genus, this is a good option. In general, horned lizards have been fairly ignored by toy manufacturers, so this 2019 Papo model is a great way to have representation from this group.

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