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Horned lizards are marked most commonly by the implantation of a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag which when scanned provides an identification number. Through 1995, 858 horned lizards have been marked with 77 recaptures. Recapture data allows for the estimation of population numbers. Preliminary analysis of 1991-94 data gives a conservative population estimate of 3,800 horned lizards on the 15,200 acre Chaparral WMA.
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San Angelo Texas
18 E. Concho Ave
San Angelo TX 76093
Phrynosoma cornutum Also called Horny Toad, Horned Frog & Horn Frog
When I was a kid, the Horny Toad as we called them, were
everywhere during the summer in North Texas. I bet I have not seen on
now in 30 or more years. It's not that they are extinct, I hear they
can still be found on some of the ranches in West Texas. Despite low
numbers in East and Central Texas, the Texas horned lizard is still locally
common in portions of the Rio Grande Plains of south Texas, the Rolling
and High Plains of northwest Texas and the Trans Pecos of far west Texas.
As a matter of fact, these are not "Toads" at
all, they are really a type of lizard, the Phrynosoma cornutum. Texas
Horned Lizards can be found from the South-Central United States to Northern
Mexico. They are usually found in arid and semiarid habitats in open
areas with sparce plant cover throughout much of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas
and New Mexico.
The Texas horned lizard was most recently bestowed the
honor as the Texas State Reptile in 1992.
Three species are found in Texas. The Texas horned lizard,
which is found statewide except extreme east Texas, is the most common.
The round-tailed and mountain short-horned horned lizards are restricted
to the western portions of the state. Two of the three species of horned
lizards (horned "toads") occurring in Texas are protected from being
taken, possessed, transported, exported, sold, or offered for sale. This
protection is afforded under the same protected nongame (threatened)
species regulations that protect the Texas tortoise.
As horned lizards dig for hibernation, nesting and insulation
purposes, they commonly are found in loose sand or loamy soils. The Texas
Horned Lizard starts hibernation in September or October, and continues
until late April or May.
These little rascals are currently listed as a threatened
species (federal category C2). Horned lizards are ant specialists and
Texas Horned Lizards, in particular, eat a large number of harvester
ants. Texas horned lizard populations showed dramatic declines over the
eastern portion of its range in the 1950's, 60's and 70's. Declines have
been linked to loss of habitat, over-collection by the pet trade, and
the accidental introduction of the imported fire ant.
In response to dwindling horned lizard numbers and the
need to better understand horned lizard ecology, the Chaparral Wildlife
Management Area began monitoring its horned lizard population in 1991.
Monitoring revolves around a mark-recapture study.
Horned lizards are marked most commonly by the implantation
of a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag which when scanned provides
an identification number. Through 1995, 858 horned lizards have been
marked with 77 recaptures. Recapture data allows for the estimation of
population numbers. Preliminary analysis of 1991-94 data gives a conservative
population estimate of 3,800 horned lizards on the 15,200 acre Chaparral
Adult horned lizards attain an average size of 5 inches,
with females being somewhat larger than males. Although horned lizards
continually grow throughout their lives, growth drastically slows once
they reach maturity. Intervals between captures of individuals indicate
that horned lizards can live to at least seven years of age in the wild.
More research is needed to fully understand all aspects
of horned lizard ecology. Especially important is determining the effects
of common habitat altering practices such as brush control and livestock
grazing on horned lizards.
Knowledge gained by research will allow biologist and
land managers to better manage rangelands to ensure the propagation of
species such as horned lizards, and allow this symbol of Texas' wildness
to repopulate areas of its former range.
The Horned Toad is the Official Mascot for Texas Christian
University (TCU) in Fort Worth.
see our complete collection of Horny Toad jewelry Click Here!