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Coast horned lizard        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The numerous species of horned lizards ("horned toads") found in North America are all highly camouflaged, with flat bodies and varying degrees of spikes and frills along the neck and body.   Most of these lizards make their living eating ants, and most have a bizarre defensive mechanism of squirting blood from their eyes when disturbed.   Most of these photos show a juvenile coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum), photographed near Riverside, California.   After seeing none of these charming little lizards in many years of visiting this site, we were startled to find several within 50 m of each other, all crossing a dirt road.   This one was the most cooperative.  The more grayish animal is an adult, from Joshua Tree National Park.   A picture of the closely related desert horned lizard P. platyrhinos is here.

  • Canon 7D, 70-200 mm f4 IS lens with extension tube, fill-in flash (2011)