Saving Texas Horned Lizards: Here’s How You Can Help

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Tony Maples Photography


The official state reptile of Texas is the horned lizard. At one time, quite prominent in these parts, horned lizards are now in dire straits. The species is one of over 1,300 listed in concern over their numbers here in Texas. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for this hard-done-by creature. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is legislation that would provide funding necessary to research and restore the horned lizard populations in the Lone Star State, including their sustainability. It’s claimed that it would not only help save this creature, but others like it, and it would be the culmination of over a decade of partnership in such species’ studies by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) with the San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth zoos.

Video: Facebook/Texas Parks and Wildlife

Shared on the TPWD Facebook page, the above video is really just a short clip of this unique, prehistoric-looking creature. Over the past 10 years-plus, TPWD biologists have cooperated extensively with zoos in DFW and San Antonio to study how to restore the Texas horned lizard population and habitats. As a result, considerable habitat restoration and management has taken place and reintroduction efforts have manifested. Although extensive valuable data has been collected in the process, some challenges to these efforts have been subsequently highlighted. Quite of few of the horned lizards which have been relocated failed to survive. Likewise, the capture and relocation of sufficient numbers of adult horned lizards could prove unsustainable over the long-term.

As a result, the work of the TPWD together with Texas zoos has shifted toward a captive breeding program for the horned lizards. The success rate and feasibility of releasing hatchlings will be tested at partner zoos for more sustainable population management and potential growth. It is the continued hope of the biologists involved that further restoration work and research of the horned lizards will lead to thriving wild populations throughout Texas. To learn more about the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, visit the link available here, through the Texas Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife.