Pitara Kids Network

A Lizard that Squirts Blood from its Eyes

Are you scared of lizards? There is no need to be unless you come face to face with one kind, called the Horned Lizard. It sprays blood from its eyes, and may just make you jump a bit.

A lizard that squirts blood from its eyes [Illustration by Shridevi]
Not all time. Only when it feels threatened.

Surprisingly, the Horned Toad or the Horned Lizard, found in North America and Mexico, is often kept as a pet.

Biologists say it squirts blood from its eyes as a form of defence to keep predators away. But, it is a rare occasion when the Horned Toad feels threatened enough to do it.

When it feels threatened, the lizard tries to hide itself by wriggling sideways in the sand until its entire body, except the head, is covered. If that does not work, it resorts to the blood weapon.

How does the lizard do it? It has the ability to increase the blood pressure in its head, rupture the tiny blood vessels in its eyes and squirt drops of blood upto a distance of several inches. Its blood acts as an irritant in the attacker’s eyes and helps the lizard escape.

The horned lizard is popularly called a “horned toad” or “horned frog”, yet it is neither a toad nor a frog.

The Horned lizards live in desert or semi-desert areas. They feed on insects, particularly ants.

There are about 14 kinds of Horned Lizards. They all belong to the Iguanidae family and can be recognised by the horn-like projections on their heads. They have flattened oval bodies with scales on the sides. They vary in length from 7 cm to 13 cm.