The Horned Lizard – The Coolest Thing to Shoot Blood out of its Eyes?

I’m not entirely sure how many different things can shoot blood out of their eyes, but I am casting my vote for the Horned Lizard as the coolest among them.

We spotted this fellow while hiking on the Red Shin trail in John Martin Reservoir State Park, Colorado.


And no, this specimen did not shoot blood at us.  Blood shooting is a defense mechanism, and we only stopped long enough to snap a quick photo and continued on our way.

The trail itself wandered through short grass prairie.


From a scenery point of view this wasn’t the most enticing hike…but there was a surprising amount of wildlife.

Multiple deer, bunnies, hare, and of course the choicest of blood squirting animals, the horned lizard.  And for those who refer to these wee beasties as horny toads…they really only vaguely look like toads.  Definitely short squat lizards more than spiky desert toads…

Another interesting find was a midden!  A midden is basically a trash heap, but it differs from the typical trail-trash in that racoons didn’t raid poorly secured trash bags and strew it about.  It was placed there intentionally, a long long time ago.  And historicity makes litter ok.

WP_20150405_003Its hard to tell how old this particular midden is, as I am not a bottle-ologist.  Seriously, there are experts who are capable of identifying the era a bottle came from.  But again, as I am not one of these I can only speculate.  The cans appear to be primarily opened with churchkeys, which makes me think beer.  Beer has been in cans since the mid 1930’s.  The churchkeys appear to have fallen out of use in the 1950’s.  So I’d hazard a guess it is somewhere in that range.

Bits of porcelain, lots of broken glass, and some odds and ends of metal rounded out the rest of the midden.

All in all we were surprised at how enjoyable this hike was given the remarkably flat landscape!

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