This downtown Vegas mural was painted by Belgian artist known as ROA in 2014.
It is a type of lizard known as a Horned Toad (or Horntoad, Horn Lizard). If you want to get scientific, they are of the genus Phrynosoma. These reptiles are native to western North America where they prefer desert or sandy semi-desert areas. The mural is painted in bluish grey tones but these lizards are actually brown so they are well camouflaged in sand and dirt.
If there is a predator nearby, the lizard puffs itself up to look bigger and harder to swallow. At least five species of horned toads can also squirt a stream of blood at the predator. The blood comes from tiny blood vessels near their eyes. Apparently it doesn’t taste very good and some predators have second thoughts about eating the lizard.
Photos taken April 2023
More ROA murals as seen on Instagram