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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

pygmy short-horned lizard

Capt. Lewis, May 29, 1806-..a speceis of Lizzard called by the French engages prarie buffaloe are native of these plains as well as of those of the Missouri.  I have called them the horned Lizzard.  they are about the size and a good deel of the figure of the common black lizzard.  but their bellies are broader, the tail shorter and their action much slower; they crawl much like the toad.  they are of a brown colour with yellowish and yellowish brown spots.  it is covered with minute scales intermixed with little horny prosesses like blont prickles on the upper surface of the body.  the belly and throat is more like the frog and are of a light yelowish brown colour.  arround the edge of the belley is regularly set with little horney projections which give to these edges a serrate figure the eye is small and of a dark colour.  above and behind the eyes there are several projections of the bone which being armed at their extremities with a firm black substance has the appearance of horns sprouting out from the head.  this part has induced me to distinguish it by the appellation of the horned Lizzard.  I cannot conceive how the engages ever assimilated this animal with the buffaloe for there is not greater analogy than between the horse and the frog.  this animal is found in greatest numbers in the sandy open parts of the plains,  and appear in great abundance after a shower of rain; they are sometimes found basking in the sunshine but conceal themselves in little holes in the earth much the greater proportion of their time.  they are numerous about he falls of the Missouri and in the plains through which we past lately above the Wallahwallahs.

Capt. Clark, May 29, 1806-....a species of Lizzard called by the French engages, Prarie buffaloe are nativs of these plains as well as of those of the Missouri.  I have called them the horned Lizzard.  they are about the size and a good deel the figure of the common black lizzard, but their bellies are broader, the tail shorter and their action much slower; they crawl much like the toad.  they are of a brown colour with yellowish and yellowish brown spots.  it is covered with minute scales intermixed with little horney like blunt prickkles on the upper surface of the body.  the belly and throat is more like the frog, and are of a light yellowish brown colour.  around the edge of the belly is regularly set with little horney projections which give to those edges a serrate figure,      the eye is small and of a dark colour.  above and behind the eyes there are several projections of the bone which being armed at their extremities with a firm black substance has the appearance of horns sprouting out from the head.  this part has induced me to distinguish it by the appellation of the Horned Lizzard.  I cannot conceive how the engages ever assimilated this animal with the Buffalow for there is not greater analogy than between the Horse and the frog.  this Animal is found in greatest numbers in the sandy open parts of the plains, and appear in great abundance after a rain;  they are sometimes found basking in the sunshine but conceal themselves in little holes under the tufts of grass or herbs much the greater proportion of their time.   they are numerous about the Falls of Missouri, and in the plains through which we passed lately above the Falls of the Columbia.

 
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