A species that has been on the decline in recent years across our great state of Texas is the Texas Horned Lizard. You may know them better as the Horny Toad or Horned Toad. Well thanks to some great work being done at Texas zoos, including our own Caldwell Zoo, a revival of the species in the wild has been kick started.

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I can remember as a kid in the summer when I'd play outside in the backyard, I would constantly run across a Horned Toad while digging in the dirt. I'd pick them up, give them a pet and let them hop away. Their body has such a contradicting fascination to them. On top is a hard surface with some "horns" that are not too sharp to the touch but provide adequate protection from some predators. Their underbelly is soft and nice to give a scratch under their head.

Sadly, the species began disappearing across our state. Why? The use of pesticides has been a big cause along with a reduction of their natural habitat. But also fire ants have had a hand in killing the Horned Lizard's primary food source, harvester ants.

Earlier this week, Monday, August 9, the Caldwell Zoo announced that their first couple of eggs have hatched. These hatchlings will then be released into two protected areas in Texas to help revitalize the declining population. I reached out to the Caldwell Zoo and they were able to provide me some pictures of the parents, the eggs and two of the hatchlings.

Meet the Parents

Paul Swen - Caldwell Zoo
Paul Swen - Caldwell Zoo
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“Obviously, we are very excited about the hatchlings,” said Yvonne Stainback, Curator of Birds and Reptiles. “We have been involved in this important program for two years now. Having our breeding pairs contribute to the wild population of Texas Horned Lizards can make a real, positive difference in the long-term survival of the species. I’m pretty proud of my team.”

See the Eggs and Hatchlings

Paul Swen - Caldwell Zoo
Paul Swen - Caldwell Zoo
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Paul Swen - Caldwell Zoo
Paul Swen - Caldwell Zoo
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Paul Swen - Caldwell Zoo
Paul Swen - Caldwell Zoo
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I love this news and love that this species revitalization is being helped by the great work done at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler. They're not the only zoo helping, either. The Fort Worth Zoo, Dallas Zoo and San Antonio Zoo are also assisting Texas Parks and Wildlife in this project.

Caldwell Zoo will care for these hatchlings until they are little older. When they are ready, these little guys and gals will be released into the wild in the hopes of bringing this beloved animal back to prominence.

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