Nature

The Comeback Lizard

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Horned Toad

Photo by jamezevanz


Story By Kevin Holamon
Freelance Writer
[email protected]

The Comeback Lizard

About 30 years ago, the phrynosoma was a familiar sight in the Texas Hill Country. Most over the age of 35 can recall catching them to play with. The guys will remember stuffing them into their pockets and carrying them to school to pester the girls. Pretty much anytime one felt the need to go out and catch horned lizards, they could be found. Unfortunately, like the once prolific populations of quail in the region, the horned lizards faded away and many of our kids have never seen one in the wild. Fortunately, there is a small group of people who are working to find out if the horned lizard can make a comeback in the Texas Hill Country.

Devin Erxleben is the TPWD wildlife biologist at the McGillivray and Leona McKie Muse Wildlife Management Area, located in Brown County, near the town of Blanket. Comprising only 1,975 acres, smaller than the typical WMA, the Muse is a low-fence Area where Devin and others conduct surveys of wildlife, including game species, small mammals, birds, reptiles, and vegetation. The Area is also used for experimentation in habitat manipulation and as an educational tool for ranchers interested in implementing wildlife management practices on their own properties. The Muse WMA was given to the TPWD in 2006 and Devin came on board a couple of years later, when they began to do the surveys.

“I had an interest in horned lizards, because they should be here. We have plenty of ants and they should be here. But, we never found any, using several different methods,”he said on the day this writer was lucky enough to tag along.

Horned Toad
Photo by Kevin Holamon