Thumbs up, horned lizard population prevails

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Last summer the horned lizards, widely known as “horny toads,” were frequently spotted in Fort Stockton. From sun bathing in the streets to cooling off in watered grass, the little spiked critters were everywhere.

However, the horned lizard sightings have decreased dramatically this year. While it may look like the species has vanished, the population has not declined. According to specialists, annual precipitation can affect whether the horned lizards are out-and-about or are hunkering down in hiding.

With more rain there is more grass, and more grass means more seed production. The extra seed production leads to more harvester ants, which is the primary food source of horned lizards. They feed almost exclusively on harvester ants.

Just because the horned lizards are out of sight doesn’t mean that they’re gone. With that said, the numerous horned lizards of Fort Stockton are still here. The species are still protected by the State and it is illegal to harbor horned lizards as pets. If you cross paths with one of these little guys, do the right thing – leave your Texas horned lizards where you find them. In some areas of the state, they are completely nonexistent.

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