Watch: Horned Lizard Shoots Blood out of Its Eye for Self Defense

By Jonathan Zhou
Jonathan Zhou
Jonathan Zhou
Jonathan Zhou is a tech reporter who has written about drones, artificial intelligence, and space exploration.
February 15, 2016 Updated: February 15, 2016

Mother nature has an endless cabinet of curiosities for the zoologist, from eerie camouflages to spider cannibalism, but some things are so strange, it stands out even among the freakish.

The horned lizard has a formidable defense system, its back covered with a shell lined with sharp spikes that would be painful for any predator to chew on.

When threatened, the horned lizard can also puff up its body to twice its usual size to scare off predators and leap up to make ferocious gestures.

But as the ultimate backup, the horned lizard can also shoot blood out of its eye, like a water gun, when needed. It reduces the blood flow out of its head, putting pressure on the blood vessels in the eyes until a stream shoots out, often as high as five feet into the air, and can scare off animals many times its size.

The lizard can control at will when the blood shoots out, and also shift the muscles in their eyes to properly aim.

Jonathan Zhou is a tech reporter who has written about drones, artificial intelligence, and space exploration.