Caldwell Zoo in Tyler is Helping Revive the Beloved Texas Horned Toad
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.
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? Like many animals that have become endangered, a change in their habitat and in their diet.
Through the work of many Texas zoos, Texas Christian University and Texas Parks and Wildlife, the species has seen a bit of a resurgence. One of those zoos that is helping is Tyler's own Caldwell Zoo. The zoo started their assistance about three years ago. Last year, they were able to hatch some eggs that could be released by Texas Parks and Wildlife. This year, the zoo has a male and female they've been able to successfully breed.
Texas Parks and Wildlife has been releasing hatchlings in the Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area in southern Texas. They've found that some of those hatchlings have grown, met up with other horned lizards and have laid and hatched eggs of their own. That means the work being done to revive this beloved, and missed, species is paying off.
What makes it even better is that East Texas now has a hand in that work. Keep up the great work Caldwell Zoo.