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Released Texas Horned Lizard Hatchlings Survive Winter

Three of the 10 lizards released were found in good condition.

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When the Kerr & Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Areas – Texas Parks and Wildlife released 10 hatchling Texas horned lizards (Phrynosoma cornutum) late last summer with tracking devices, officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife were able to locate five of them as they buried themselves for winter brumation.

Texas Horned Lizard In Decline


Early this week, three of the 10 lizards released were found, out of their winter’s sleep in good condition. They are hoping to find the rest of the released lizards as well. These lizards are often called horny toads, but they are reptiles and not amphibians. Most species of horned lizard are endangered. They don’t make good pets because their diets consist almost entirely of ants. The giant horned lizard (Phrynosoma asio) eats more than just ants and is being bred in small numbers.

The hatchlings, born at the Fort Worth Zoo last summer, are part of a state program to reintroduce the iconic reptile back into the habitats of Texas where they were once abundant. The lizard was listed as a protected species by the state in 1967. In 1977, they were added to the threatened and endangered species list. The reptile has a range that extends into Oklahoma, but it has also declined there, partially due to loss of habitat.