One of the most exciting things about lizards is that they can come in all kinds of shapes and sizes!
There are so many unique species of lizards found all across the world, all with their own unique features that make them identifiable.
Some lizards, like chameleons, have the unique ability to blend in with the environment by directly changing the color of their scales, while others like flying geckos, are able to easily hop from tree to tree, to stay high above potential predators.
However, you’re probably reading this now because you’ve heard about the unique species of lizard that shoots blood from its eye.
But what lizard is it that has this unique ability? And why exactly do they do it?
If you’ve found yourself desperately searching to find this unique lizard, then you’ve come to the right place, because today we are going to find out everything you could need to know about this lizard, and why it has such a strangely specific ability!
Why Do Some Lizards Have Strange Abilities?
Considering how many unique lizards there are, that can all do incredible things, you might find yourself wondering why this is the case.
The reason why there are so many lizards that have highly specific abilities is simply that they developed those abilities in order to improve their chances of survival in the wild.
Chameleons, for instance, have the ability to blend in with their environment because it helps to keep them hidden from potential predators and other dangers.
The ability will depend on the unique environment of the lizard.
For example, flying geckos are native to the Asia Continent, and they have a leaf-like appearance that allows them to seamlessly blend in with their natural surroundings.
What Lizard Can Shoot Blood From Its Eyes?
The unique species of lizard that has the ability to shoot blood from its eyes is the Short-Horned lizard, found in the dry and arid conditions of North and Central America.
This particular species of lizard is characterized by its incredibly distinct body that is short and squat and also appears slightly flattened.
The horns of this lizard are also, of course, very short, and can be found towards the back of its blunt-looking head.
The short-horned lizard is unique for its ability to shoot highly-pressurized blood directly from its eyes as a defense mechanism against predators.
Why Does The Short-Horned Lizard Shoot Blood From Its Eyes?
The reason why short-horned lizards shoot blood from their eyes is simply a way to ward off predators once they begin attacking.
Usually, the blood is used as a last line of defense against a predator. When it eventually does shoot out, it is highly concentrated and pressurized, so that it creates quite a forceful blast.
This causes the predator to become shocked and startled, with the hope of scaring it enough to send it packing.
This is also helped by the fact that the blood of the short-horned lizard is known to be very unappetizing, thus short-horned lizards can use this to their advantage, by spraying it into the mouth of the predator to ward them off.
How Does The Short-Horned Lizard Shoot Blood From Its Eyes?
The reason why short-horned lizards are able to shoot out blood from their eyes, rather than simply having it dribble out awkwardly, is that the blood in the head flows in a highly unique way.
When a short-horned lizard wakes up, the blood is sent around the body to warm it up. Most of this blood is first sent toward the head.
The trouble is that, when the blood passes from the head to the rest of the body, it passes by already very hot blood, which results in blood that is just lukewarm all over.
In order to bypass this problem, short-horned lizards have the ability to alter the blood pressure in that area of the body.
The muscles in the head will pinch the blood flow that leaves the head, forcing the warm and cold blood vessels to move separately.
This will, of course, result in the warm blood in the head becoming highly pressurized.
When a short-horned lizard comes under threat, it will pinch the blood vessels just enough in order to break the wall of the sinuses, and then force the blood to shoot out of their tear ducts!
Usually, the short-horned lizard will wait until just the right moment before it attempts to shoot the blood from its eyes, considering it only has one shot.
As a result, the lizard will make use of a specific touch receptor in the head that lets it know that it is in the mouth of a predator.
This allows the short-horned lizard to be certain that the blood will shoot into the predator’s mouth, leaving the bitter taste behind.
To Finish Up
Though it seems very strange, the ability of the short-horned lizard to shoot blood from its eyes is highly useful, and can allow it to survive even some of the worst predators around!
The ability is simply derived from the way that the lizard pumps blood around its body, and is only ever used as a last resort by lizards that are truly under threat.
This is why it is an ability that has only ever been observed, scientifically, a few times! Short-horned lizard knows exactly when to use it, so it does not risk wasting the blood!
Frequently Asked Questions
No. The ability to spray blood from the eyes is specific only to the short-horned lizard.
Horned lizards have formic acid in their blood, which is poisonous to members of the dog family, which causes them to not want to eat the lizard.
If your bearded dragon is throwing up blood, it may be because it has been fed too much, and is now overweight.