They are named for the crown of horns found on their heads. The size and number of horns will vary among species. The horned lizard is renowned for its ability to shoot a stream of blood from its eye (actually, its eyelid). They use this as a means of defense usually against canines. They try to shoot the blood into the predator's mouth! It seems the taste is very bad tasting especially to canines. A researcher tasted the blood and reported that the taste was not that bad to him, but the taste lingered for quite a while. So, I don't think I will be tasting it!
Today, horned lizards are hard to find here in east Texas. They are also gone from central Texas and are becoming hard to find also in north Texas. There is not just one reason for the decline of the horned lizard, but is multi-faceted. Things that have impacted the population of this lizard are habitat loss, habitat degradation, invasion of species like ants, dogs, cats and grasses, pesticides and collection for pets.
Good news! The Dallas Zoo just had their first clutch of 39 Texas Horned Lizard hatchlings! Great job for the Dallas Zoo!
The horned lizard is considered a threatened species by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is fully protected by the state.
The horned lizards are certainly fascinating, especially to kids.They are harmless to humans. So it goes to show us, we can't judge an animal by its appearance! It would be special to me to see the Texas horned lizards in our area again! #Texashornedlizard