25 Sep Texas Horned Lizard: Bizarre Animal of the Week
With a spiky, angular head that creates an aggressive appearance resembling a dragon, it may be surprising to hear that the Texas Horned Lizard has been more commonly referred to as a “horned toad,” and “horned frog.” This descriptive failure for this Bizarre Animal most likely came to be thanks to the reptile’s seemingly toad-like rounded body and short nose, but the rest of the lizard’s physical form and function are decidedly reptilian.
Typically found in semiarid habitats in Texas, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Mexico, the Texas Horned Lizard is one of the largest-bodied lizards in the western United States. They are the state reptile of Texas, and are considered a threatened species in the state.
Their diet consists of mostly ants, although at times they have been known to eat beetles and beetle-like bugs. Pesticides have been eliminating much of their natural food supply, leading scientists to proclaim their use an assisting factor in the lowered population of the species.
But one of the most bizarre aspects of the Texas Horned Lizard (and most memorable) is it’s defense mechanism used against predators. What does it do? It puffs up it’s spiky body and streams blood out of the corners of its eyes. Creepy, right?
Want to learn more about the Texas Horned Lizard? We’ve assembled a pile of related links for you, below:
- Texas Parks & Wildlife: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/thlizard/
- UTexas: http://www.zo.utexas.edu/faculty/pianka/phryno.html
- Reptiles of AZ: http://www.reptilesofaz.org/Lizards-Subpages/h-p-cornutum.html