Horny Toad / Horned Lizard
I have to say the strangest creature I’ve ever come across in the Mojave is a pretty innocent looking thing.
There are over a dozen sub species but they are all about the same size and roughly the same shape. Some have very prominent horn structures while others have smaller spikes.
They don’t get too much bigger than the size of a human hand and they typically spend their days eating ants and other small insects.
Well, that’s pretty normal for a lizard. It’s even down right cute in a pocket dragon type of way. So why is it the strangest? Well… my friends… you see the Horny Toad has a defense mechanism unlike any other that I know of. When it’s threatened by say a raven, coyote or snake it does… well… here I’ll show you.
It shoots out caustic blood from it’s eyes. What you see above is one hundred percent real. The Horny Toad can build up the pressure in blood vessels in its eyes so much that they rupture and the pressurized blood come bursting out. Not only does it squirt several inches and up to and over a foot but it contains compounds similar to formic acid which is theorized it gets from eating vast quantities of ants and keeping the particles of the acid in it’s bloodstream. Oh and if that was not strange enough for you it can shoot out blood any direction it wants from it’s eye.
This only temporarily blinds the Horny Toad in the one eye until the blood is cleared away and then it’s ready to do it again later on after it replenishes the blood.
So to recap.
Desert pocket dragon squirts caustic blood from eyes when threatened.