- ABOUT US
Whatever Happened to the Horny Toad?
Horny toads’ spines serve a defensive purpose, as they make it difficult for predators to see and swallow them. The lizards also are famous for shooting blood from sinuses behind their eyes.
Photo by OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Whether you know it as a Texas horned lizard or a horny toad, this Jurassic-looking reptile, once a regular backyard dweller, has become harder to find in some areas of the state. Are horny toads disappearing from Oklahoma, or is it all in our heads?
By Chad Love
Published September/October 2017
Walk outside and find some open space, maybe an undeveloped commercial lot or the still semiwild periphery of the neighborhood. What’s there?
Bugs, weeds, various and sundry creepy crawlies—the usual scrum of little-noticed life scratching out an existence on the very margins of human activity. But one thing even the most astute observer may not see is a small, slow, curious-looking creature resembling something out of another epoch.
It’s been called a lizard, a frog, or a toad. Horned, horn, or horny. But by any name, the Texas horned lizard—better known around these parts as the horny toad—is the stuff of folk tales, regional pride, school mascots, and the memorable menagerie of countless Okie childhoods. And it is slowly disappearing from both the historic range it once occupied and the environmental conscience of a culture. Whatever happened to the horny toad? It’s a question Oklahomans have been asking as they look around and notice they seem to see less and less of the state’s popular little dinosaur.
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Next
Get There: If you see a Texas horned lizard in the wild, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation wants to know about it in order to better understand the species’ distribution and frequency in Oklahoma. To report a horned lizard sighting and help contribute to ongoing science, go to the Wildlife Diversity Program’s Citizen Science Program page, click on the “Report Texas Horned Lizard Sightings” tab, and follow the instructions. wildlifedepartment.com. The ODWC will host a Wildlife Expo featuring a horny toad exhibit at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie September 23-24. 9600 Lazy E Drive, (405) 282-3004 or lazye.com.