Friday, June 20, 2014

Horned Toad On Freaky Friday...!

What makes something freaky, you ask? Well, how about a lizard that spits tobacco juice at ya?

Actually, that's what we were told back when I was a kid. The truth is even more bizarre, if the truth be told. When I was a kid, these little guys could be found all over the central Texas area. Sadly, their numbers have greatly shrunk due to many factors. They sure were fun to play with, though.

The Blood-Squirting Lizard

When disturbed, the greater short-horned lizard of North America shoots massive quantities of blood from its eye sockets. It makes for an exceptionally effective distraction and a grotesque escape scene. And the blood’s foul-tasting chemicals can send a predator running if any gets into its mouth.

This adaptation is easier on the lizard than shedding the tail, which is the other famously grisly lizard defense mechanism. Blood is a replenishable fluid rather than a distinct body part that must be grown back. But the lizard’s ability to defend itself with blood is still limited. Small lizards could easily bleed to death in a short time by losing too much blood.

My thought on why this critter is disappearing from our locale is the Fire Ants and their ability to destroy the ants that Horned Toads used to feed on. Of course, my opinion and a dollar will get ya a cup of coffee almost!

Coffee out on the patio today. Don't worry, it's free!


Chickenmom said...

Always liked lizards - neat critters. How about I bring some fresh apple pie to go with all that good free coffee?

Mamahen said...

Never saw either creature in real life, but I can understand their qualifying for freaky Friday....patio coffee apple pie good company....sounds nice to me! I'm on my way :))

texasann said...

Bubba -
I well remember catching horned toads when we were kids, but I don't recall if they were this kind. Never think I saw one pull this stunt! I do still know how to hypnotize one, and have him stay in one spot until you come back later to play some more.
Good memories - sorry they're almost all gone now. Guess we'll have to depend on TCU to keep the legend alive, huh?
Bug hugs ~

linda m said...

I watched a special on Nat Geo about these creatures. I like your theory as to why they are disappearing. Makes a lot of sense to me. Coffee on the patio and apple pie sound good. Have a great weekend.

JO said...

I saw that special too Linda. We have them here and when my kids were little they used to play with them too. But never did see them squirt that nasty bit of blood at them.

Coming to the patio for all this great morning goodies and friends.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I had no idea that they could bleed to death when defending themselves. You would think they would not go that far. But I guess bleeding to death is a better way to go than being eaten. Hope I never have to make that choice (grin).

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Some lizards are pretty cool and seem to have many ways to defend themselves.

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Mamahen...
These guys are really something and I think some are still around!

Certainly a different way to protect themselves.

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Hey Sis...
We had many of them around in Georgetown and in West Texas. Guess the Fire ants chased most of them off to better hunting grounds!

Hey, thanks for dropping in this morning!

Hey Linda M...
Leave it to NatGeo to have the right specials about critters like this!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Jo...
I think that all kids find them interesting. We certainly did!

Thanks, sweetie, for stopping by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Seems that they can shoot a lot of blood out when they need to. Guess they have to judge just how much is needed.

Thanks for dropping in today!