Growing up in North Texas, I remember finding “horny frogs” or “horny toads” *i.e. Texas horned lizards) in my back yard. You would pick them up and if you stroked their tummy and they would just lay there quietly.
But all us kids “knew” that if you made it mad, it would split blood out of its eyes at you. And as boys of any age tend to do, that simple defense mechanism would get elevated to mythic proportions (“it can split boiling hot blood straight into your eyes from 50 feet away . . . “).
I loved ’em.
Now I miss ’em.
I have gotten to photograph all over Texas, and now, sadly, it is a rare treat to even find one. I have not found one in North Texas in ages, and the only ones I have seen are way south. They seem to have been largely wiped out by pesticides, loss of habitat, fire ants, feral hogs and more.
Here is a shot of one from La Ramirena Ranch, southeast of San Antonio.