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Horned lizard hatchlings go forth and (hopefully) multiply

Friday, September 17, 2021 by Tai Moses

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife

The once-common Texas horned lizard is growing so scarce it’s considered a species of concern in its home range. That means the spiky reptile isn’t endangered yet, but it could be soon, without captive breeding and reintroduction programs and stronger habitat protections. With their flat spiny bodies and prominent horns, the lizards may not look too delectable, but they actually have many predators, including birds, mammals and other, bigger reptiles. But the news isn’t all bad. Yesterday, 204 baby horned lizards – or horny toads, if you prefer – were released into the wild, thanks to the Texas Horned Lizard Coalition, a partnership between the Fort Worth Zoo, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas Christian University. The 204 tiny hatchlings were tagged so researchers can track and study them. (Watch a short video of the release of the hatchlings.) Want to help? Congress is considering bipartisan legislation called the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act that would give biologists the resources they need to protect the horny toad and thousands of other imperiled wildlife species. Learn what you can do to help the passage of RAWA.

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