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Posted by Lester G. Milroy III on June 08, 2002 at 09:46:31:
In Reply to: multiple Desert Horned Lizard questions... posted by Lyn on June 08, 2002 at 08:56:49:
: I have been unable to locate my HLs ears. Do they have external ears? If so, where are they? If not, can they hear or do they rely on ground vibrations?
: They have 3 distinct spots on the tops of their heads. The central one I'm guessing is the extra light sensing eye common to reptiles. (correct me if I'm wrong, it's just a guess) Do the other two do anything special?
: My HLs sometimes gag after eating an ant. They open their mouths and slightly stick out their tongues. They don't bring the ants back up, but it doesn't look like a pleasant thing. They don't do it with crickets or meal worms, just the ants. They are harvester ants from Life Studies. Is there a reason for the gagging?
: And the question that's really been nagging at me... how do they breathe under the sand? Mine go completely under in the evenings and don't resurface till morning. So I'm thinking they must be able to breathe down there, but don't know how they'd be able to inhale just air and not sand.
: I'm sure enjoying my boys. They seem to have adapted to captivity and are getting used to their routine. They get very excited when I come in with the ant cup. I just love the way they wag their tails when they see the ants!
: Front to back: Mushu, Godzilla, Hercules, and Tumbleweed.
:Hello Lyn. Yes they have external ears. There is an opening just behind the jaw hing, and below the parietal horn shield. They hear and sence ground vibration. The three scales are just part of the makeup of the HL. The one scale in the center is the "3rd eye" which is the translucent scale that allows light to be senced by the pineal gland in the brain. This aids in thermoregualtion. The "gagging" reflex you mention is like a burp. They gulp in air as they capture an ant and the excess air has to be expelled. If you eat too fast, you gulp in air, and a good burp allows expulsion of that excess air. All of the HLs species I have worked with exhibit this behavior. Lester G. Milroy III