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Horned Lizard


Short-horned lizards, also known as horned lizards or horny toads, have plenty of predators, including dogs, coyotes, wolves, and hawks. Luckily, they’ve developed some clever strategies for outwitting their foes. Shooting blood from their eyes is just one of their tricks.


Fun Facts

  • Short-horned lizards can be found in North and Central America from southern Canada to Guatemala. They prefer warm desert regions.
  • These small lizards have a crown of horns, spines down their back, and even a fringe of spines around the edges of their body. Their squat, flat shape resembles a toad’s shape.
  • Short-horned lizards are brownish gray to reddish brown. These muted colors help them blend into the landscape. Camouflage is their first defense against predators.
  • If that doesn’t work, short horned lizards can puff up their bodies like a balloon.
  • But that’s not all! If predators persist, some species can actually shoot blood from ducts near their eyes. Squirting blood on its own is cause for alarm, but the blood also contains unpleasant chemicals. Yikes!
  • Short-horned lizards’ favorite food is ants, but they also eat grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects.



Foe: enemy

Strategy: plan

Outwit: to beat an opponent


Questions and Answers

Question: Are short-horned lizards endangered?

Answer: Currently, short horned lizards aren’t endangered but their numbers are decreasing. People don’t like living with insects like ants and use pesticides to get rid of them. When ants disappear, the lizards have no food.

Learn More

Visit National Geographic to see images of short-horned lizards.



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Declan, Tobin. " Do horned lizards shoot blood from their eyes? ." Easy Science for Kids, Aug 2020. Web. 13 Aug 2020. < >.

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Tobin, Declan. (2020). Do horned lizards shoot blood from their eyes?. Easy Science for Kids. Retrieved from

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