Saturday, December 29, 2012

Texas Horned Toad (Lizard)

Texas Horned Toad

The Texas Horned Toad is not rally a toad, but a lizard. Adults are about 4 to 5 inches long.

postmarked in 2009 with a 28 cent stamp

- - - - - - -

The horned lizard is popularly called a "horned toad", "horny toad", or "horned frog", but it is neither a toad nor a frog. The popular names come from the lizard's rounded body and blunt snout, which give it a decidedly toad- or frog-like appearance. Phrynosoma literally means "toad-bodied," and cornutum means "horned". The lizard's horns are extensions of its cranium and contain true bone.

Although its coloration generally serves as camouflage against predators when threatened it will puff up its body to cause its spiny scales to protrude, making it difficult to swallow. The Texas horned lizard, along with at least three other species of the genus Chromosomal, also has the ability to squirt an aimed stream of blood from the corners of the eyes and sometimes from its mouth for a distance of up to 5 ft (1.5 m). This not only confuses would-be predators, but also the blood is mixed with a chemical that is foul-tasting to canine predators such as wolves, coyotes, and domestic dogs.

1 comment:

ONeal said...

This is so cool! I'm IN Texas at the moment, so maybe I'll see one for real! But, then again, maybe I won't if they're so well camouflaged. I'll have to keep in mind about that blood-squirting thing though.