When a female horned lizard lays her eggs, she finds herself up against several predators that want to devour them. Fortunately, the female horned lizard doesn’t back down very easily, and when she recognizes a potential threat, she thinks on her feet to deliver the proper form of defense that will ensure her reproductive success.
The first predator, a Western patch-nosed snake, is a notorious egg eater, and this female horned lizard knows what’s up. She goes after the snake, biting and lurching at it over and over. The snake isn’t accustomed to this type of aggression, and it decides to move on to end the ongoing attack from the ferocious lizard.
But just when things appear to calm down for a while, another predator appears. This time, the threat appears to be a coachwhip snake, and unlike the previous invader, this one is a lizard-eater.
Knowing darn well that she won’t be able to fight the lizard-eating coachwhip snake, the horned lizard tries a new tactic. Rather than pecking away at the snake, she puffs herself up to a large size and tilts herself over to appear larger and less edible. As the snake approaches, she flops over on her back, still expanded. The snake falls for the ruse and slithers away. It seems, at least for now, that the horned lizard and her eggs are safe.