Horned Lizard Camouflage
Short-horned lizards are common in the Pinon-Juniper Woodlands of Bandelier National Monument. These lizards come in a variety of colorful patterns intended to blend in with their surroundings. Horned lizards do not stalk their prey but instead lay in wait, striking out when an insect (usually ants) comes too close. This camouflage also protects them from predators such as snakes, hawks, and coyotes.
Horned Lizard Defense
When threatened, a horned lizard will flatten itself against the ground or inflate itself to as much as twice its normal size. The intensity of its coloration will increase especially that of its yellow-orange throat. If none of these tactics are successful in deterring the predator, the lizard may resort to squirting blood from its eyes.
Decline in Horned Lizard Populations
Populations of horned lizards are on the decline for several reasons: destruction of habitat and reduction in prey population (as pesticides are used to kill off ant colonies). Another threat faced by horned lizard: collection by people as pets. Horned lizards do not fare well in captivity. Remember, all wildlife in Bandelier must be left wild.