By Christina Wilsdon
Animal Defenses (Animal habit)
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Additional info for Animal Defenses (Animal Behavior)
Strong, sharp horns jut from its head, making it look like a tiny triceratops. If a predator threatens it, a horned lizard puffs up its body so that its spines stick out. It also turns its head to present its horns. Some species can also squirt blood from the corners of their eyes. The blood can shoot out up to 3 feet (1 m). The blood tastes bad, so the squirt both surprises and disgusts a predator. The armadillo lizard of southern Africa is also spiky. It makes the most of its spikes by rolling into a ball and grabbing its tail in its mouth when threatened.
Immediately, the sea star’s stomach oozes out of its body and into the shell, where it digests the clam. A sea star can even slip its stomach around a sea urchin’s spines. A sunflower star is big enough to engulf a sea urchin and digest it, then “spit out” the shell and spines. A triggerfish also eats sea urchins. It flips them over, plucks off their spines, and then uses its strong teeth to bite through the shell. Mammals have figured out ways to get around their prey’s armor, too. A weasel-like animal called the fisher, for example, quickly flips over prickly porcupines so it can attack their soft undersides.
It also huffs and puffs, hissing like a 30 AnimAl deFenses snake. Another Australian lizard that uses this startle display is the blue-tongued skink, named for its turquoise tongue. An Australian legless lizard called the excitable delma does not have startling colors, but it still spooks predators with its behavior. If bothered, this animal twists and turns its body violently as it slithers away. This odd behavior may startle and confuse a predator. deFlecting An AttAck Startle displays and bluffs can help an animal escape in the nick of time.