More infamously known as the “horny toad”, this iguanid is the Texas State
Reptile. Most people are going to remember these lizards as childhood pets. Many
may even remember a time in the past, where the Texas Horned Lizards were worn
as decorative pins on blouses; much in the same way, Madagascar Hissing
Cockroaches are used today in some parts of the fashion industry.
The Texas Horned Lizard is currently listed as a state threatened species, and
conservation efforts are in effect to offset current hardships facing the Texas
Horned Lizards. Among the greatest threats to the Texas Horned Lizard are
over-harvesting for the pet trade, as well as the loss of habitat due to
urbanization. What is more, one of the most detrimental factors is the
introduction of exotic ant species which have caused a decline in Harvester Ant
populations, the main food source of the Texas Horned Lizard.
One last touch on the Texas Horned Lizard is the issue of blood squirting from
the eyes, an act that has been recorded and occurs due to sinuses located in the
eye sockets that fill with blood, which then breaks the sinus walls under
pressure. The blood is believed to be laced with a chemical that is unsavory;
this defense mechanism is used on many predators, but is thought to be directed
at canines in particular.
Special thanks to Maria Pantazi.