Horned Lizards and Roadrunners

My friend Elaine wrote a book about roadrunners. It’s filled with lots of interesting facts but several were of particular interest to me, such as how the roadies eat horned lizards. Now I’m not in favor of eating lizards, but at least the horned lizards don’t go down without a fight. These lizards have some incredible horns on them that prevent many animals from eating them, especially the predators that must swallow their prey whole. The lizards use their backs as shields to repel the attacks. These impressive horns can puncture tissue. Innards can get punctured by them. That gives many predators pause, but not the roadrunner. Fearless hunters that they are, mere horns won’t stop them in pursuit of a meal.

However, eating a horned lizard requires skill. Swallowing the protruding horns can damage the bird’s insides. If the horns are facing inward, internal organs can be punctured and the bird might be killed. So roadies carefully turn the horned lizard so the horns face outward before swallowing. The esophagus may still be punctured but it is not fatal to the roadrunner.

I’m sure glad roadrunners don’t live in the Bahamas. A curly-tail like me would slide right down their throats. Even though roadrunners sound like interesting creatures, I’m rooting for my cousins, the horned lizard. fun fact: did you know that these marvelous lizards were called Horned Toads. That’s right, toads, like the amphibians. People are so silly at times.