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The Texas Horned Lizard

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What is a 
horny toad?

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Horny toads survive by eating a variety of insects, but they are ant specialists. A horny toad eats dozens of ants in one sitting. They quietly wait in open areas for unsuspecting prey, and then snatch them up with a flick of their tongue. Their foraging habits put them in danger, though, and they do fall prey to many larger predators. In fact, horny toads are a frequent item in the diet of hawks and snakes.


You Talkin' To Me!How does a horny toad defend itself?

When threatened, their first reaction is to flatten out and freeze in place. This enables the horned lizard to blend in with the ground as well as reduce the casting of a body shadow. Unfortunately, many horny toads are killed because they bask on roadways and simply don't move when a car approaches. Another defensive reaction is to run briefly then suddenly stop to seemingly create the illusion of disappearance. When disturbed or in an extremely agitated state, they are capable of inflating their body and hissing.

The horned lizard have large cavities in their head. The elaborate blood circulation system in its head is responsible for an amazing ability of the horny toad, one that many people still believe is a myth; it squirts blood from its eyes! The horny toad resorts to this scare tactic when it is trapped or afraid, forcing its blood pressure to rise so rapidly that the cavities in its head fill up and burst at the corners of its eyes, spraying whatever is scaring it with blood to deter the predator.


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