X Close

Museums & Collections Blog

Home

News and musings from the UCL Culture team

Menu

Specimen of the week 292: the horned lizard

Will JRichard19 May 2017

LDUCZ-X86 horned lizard

LDUCZ-X86 horned lizard

The Mexican plateau horned lizard (Phrynosoma orbiculare) is a small reptile native to the high plateau of Central Mexico. They are almost spherical, about the size of a 50p coin, and have two characteristic horn-like projections on their snout. They seem pretty harmless… THIS IS NOT THE CASE. As a last resort the tiny lizards can shoot streams of pressurised blood from the corners of their eyes, spraying predators over a metre and half away. At first this seemed the single grimmest thing I’ve ever read about any animal but it got me looking at other disgusting ways species choose to defend themselves. These are a few of my “favourites”…

(more…)