Efforts renewed to protect lizard that shoots blood from eyes
Greater short-horned lizard on Parks Canada's 'at-risk' list
Parks Canada is renewing their efforts to protect the greater short-horned lizard, a small toad-looking animal that's found in Alberta.
The organization's species conservation specialist Shelly Pruss says although the species live in the province's badlands you are unlikely to see one.
"It's very difficult to see them because their perfectly camouflaged so unless you happen to startle one and it moves you will probably walk right by it and never notice it," says Pruss.
The lizard is also known for its unusual defence mechanism.
"Under really extreme stress they can actually shoot blood from the corners of their eyes and it's up to a distance of about one metre," she says.
There are some questions into how this particular trait evolved and Pruss suggests it is likely to startle an attacker but there may be more to it.
"It is thought that the blood contains some noxious chemicals, so if the predator actually has the little lizard in it's mouth, it tastes terrible and drops it."
The lizard is on the Parks Canada "at-risk" species list.