Monday, November 15, 2010

Calling a lizard a lizard

Regal Horned Lizard, Photo by Ned Harris

It is supposed to be warmer later this week, so we may yet see lizards in the canyon. The little ones are more likely to appear - but maybe we'll get lucky. Regal Horned lizards are commonly known as 'horny toads', but they aren't toads at all. And, let's face it, who wants to called a horny toad? Some interesting facts can be found here; most notably: "Members of the North American group of Regal Horned lizards have evolved an exceptionally bizarre defense against predators: when under threat they can restrict blood flow from the head until mounting pressure ruptures small blood vessels in and around the eyes, resulting in a spurt of blood that may leap a meter (3 1/2 feet) or more (Cogger and Zweifel 1998)." Don't try this at home. 

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