Horned Toads: Fascinating Creatures of Arizona

If you are in Chandler, Arizona, and interested in local wildlife, one creature that you should not miss is the horned toad. These unique and fascinating creatures are native to the Sonoran Desert and can be found in a variety of habitats throughout the region. 

In this article, we’ll explore what makes horned toads so special, including what they eat, where they live, how long they live, and much more.

What Do Horned Toads Eat?

Horned toads are carnivorous and eat a variety of small animals, including ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and other insects. They are also known to eat spiders and other arachnids. Their diet can vary depending on their habitat and the availability of prey.

Are Horned Toads Endangered?

While horned toads are not currently listed as endangered, they are a species of concern in some parts of their range. They are threatened by habitat loss, as well as by the illegal pet trade. It is important to protect their habitat and avoid capturing or harming them.

What Do Horned Toads Eat and Drink?

Horned toads primarily eat insects and other small invertebrates, but they also drink water. They are able to obtain water from the insects they eat, as well as from dew and rain. They are also able to absorb moisture through their skin.

Where Do Horned Toads Live?

Horned toads are found in a variety of habitats throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, including the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. In Arizona, they can be found in a variety of habitats, from desert scrubland to rocky outcrops. One of the best places to see horned toads is at the Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler, Arizona, which has a variety of desert habitats and offers educational programs about these fascinating creatures.

How Long Do Horned Toads Live?

Horned toads have a lifespan of up to 10 years in the wild. They reach sexual maturity at around two to three years of age and can reproduce throughout their lives.

Why Are Horned Toads Endangered?

While horned toads are not currently endangered, they are considered a species of concern due to habitat loss and fragmentation. They are also threatened by the illegal pet trade, which can have a significant impact on their population.

How Big Do Horned Toads Get?

Horned toads can grow up to five inches in length, with males typically larger than females. They have a thick, rounded body and a flattened shape that helps them hide from predators.

Can You Have a Horned Toad as a Pet?

Horned toads are protected in Arizona, and it is illegal to capture or keep them as pets without a permit. Additionally, horned toads are not typically suited for captivity, as they require a specific diet and habitat that can be difficult to replicate in a home setting.

How Often Do Horned Toads Eat?

Horned toads typically eat every few days, but their feeding frequency can vary depending on the availability of prey and other factors. In captivity, they should be fed a diet of crickets, mealworms, and other insects.

Why Do Horned Toads Shoot Blood?

Horned toads are known for their ability to shoot blood from their eyes when threatened or attacked. This is a defensive behavior that is thought to be a deterrent for predators. The blood is mixed with a chemical called ouabain, which is toxic to some predators.

Can You Pick Up a Horned Toad?

While it is not recommended to handle horned toads, they can be picked up with care. It is important to approach them slowly and avoid startling them, as they may try to escape or defend themselves by biting.

Why Are Horned Toads Disappearing?

Horned toads are disappearing due to habitat loss, fragmentation, and the illegal pet trade. In addition, they are susceptible to a disease called chytridiomycosis, which is caused by a fungus and has had a devastating impact on amphibian populations worldwide. Efforts are underway to protect horned toads and their habitat, but more needs to be done to ensure their survival.


Horned toads are fascinating and unique creatures that are an important part of the natural landscape in the southwestern United States. They are well adapted to life in the desert and have several features that help them survive in this harsh environment. While they are not typically aggressive towards humans, it is important to give them plenty of space and to avoid handling them. 

If you want to see horned toads up close, one of the best places to do so is at the Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler, Arizona or in other desert settings. By protecting their habitat and avoiding capturing or harming them, we can help ensure that these amazing creatures continue to thrive in the wild for generations to come.

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