WATCH: Regal Horned Lizard Caught on Camera Shooting Blood Out of Its Eyes

by Sean Griffin

In this insane viral footage posted to Twitter, a regal horned lizard is filmed shooting blood out of its eyes in a stream aimed at a predator.

Plenty of animals have weird defense mechanisms: skunks are known to spray gross fumes, pufferfish puff up, some octopuses spray ink, and some snakes spit venom. However, nothing seems as strange as the regal horned lizard’s defense mechanism.

Regal horned lizards are native to Mexico and the southwest United States, and they aren’t very large. They can fit in the size of the average adult man’s palm. However, they are known for their creepy defense mechanism of shooting blood from their eyes.

In the clip below, a coyote tries to eat one of these lizards, and it deploys its literal bloodstream quite effectively.

You can view the clip below.

“The regal horned lizard shoots blood out of its eyes as a [defense] against predators!” the caption of the post reads.

The narrator of the clip illuminates how the actual process occurs.

“Thin blood vessels around the eyes rupture under pressure and squirt blood out at the attacker,” the narrator of the clip remarks. He says this as the footage shows the lizard spraying the blood on the coyote, who looks visibly grossed out. The narrator remarks that the blood produces a certain “ick factor.”

People React to Crazy Footage of Lizard Shooting Blood From Eyes

Plenty of Twitter users reacted to the viral footage. One user asked why the blood is effective on predators, and another commenter provided a great response.

“And without seeing the rest of the video, are the predators just weirded out and retreat?” the first commenter asked. “Fear of stains? Why would they back off after getting a little squirt from eyeball blood?”

The second commenter replied: “The blood contains a chemical that’s noxious to dogs, coyotes and wolves. It’s kinda like built in pepper spray.”

“Whoa!!” one person said.

“Creative defense,” one person wrote, commenting on the uniqueness of the practice.

One person joked, saying that they’ve wanted to bleed from their eyes before. “I do the same thing when I see the news.”

Another friendly commenter provided more information on the species. “They eat harvester ants by catapulting them to the back of their throats.”

Regal horned lizards are active year-round. However, during winter, its activity is usually restricted to unseasonably warm days. 

As a full adult, they measure at 3–4 inches or 117 mm in length from nose to tail. They are pale grey to yellow-brown or reddish topped with dark blotches alongside the body and back. They use camouflage to survive since they don’t run quickly.