Texas Horned Lizard – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

Texas Horned Lizard – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]


>>THEY’RE A SYMBOL OF THE AMERICAN WEST AND A SYMBOL OF OUR INDEPENDENCE AND UNIQUENESS. [cow moos] [horse whinnies]>>IF YOU WERE PICKING A MASCOT FOR THE STATE OF TEXAS YOU’D HAVE TO CONSIDER ONE SMALL REPTILE WITH A LEGENDARY REPUTATION…>>THEY ARE THE STATE REPTILE OF TEXAS.>>…THE TEXAS HORNED LIZARD. BUT YOU’D BETTER HURRY. WHILE THEY ARE KNOWN BY MANY NAMES…>>HORNED TOADS, HORNED FROGS, BUT THEY’RE ACTUALLY HORNED LIZARDS.>>…HORNED LIZARD NUMBERS ARE SHRINKING.>>THIS PARTICULAR ANT MOUND WAS JUST DISCOVERED THIS YEAR, THIS SPRING.>>THESE FOLKS AREN’T LOOKING FOR ANTS, AS MUCH AS ANSWERS.>>IF THERE’S HORNED LIZARDS IN THE AREA, THIS IS THE KIND OF PLACE I WOULD SEE THEM COMING BACK TO.>>IN MANY PLACES THEY ONCE LIVED, HORNED LIZARDS HAVE VANISHED.>>IT’S JUST KIND OF SAD TO THINK THAT SOMETHING THAT WAS AT ONE TIME AS COMMON AS THE HORNED LIZARD IN TEXAS, IS GETTING TO THE POINT WHERE YOU JUST HARDLY SEE THEM, EVEN WHEN YOU LOOK FOR THEM.>>AS WE GO VISIT WITH RANCHERS, IT’S ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS THEY ASK ABOUT, IS WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THE HORNED LIZARDS.>>THAT QUESTION HAS BIOLOGISTS SCRAMBLING TO STUDY THEM IN THE PLACES THEY’RE STILL DOING WELL.>>UP IN THE SOUTHEAST PANHANDLE, THE TEXAS HORNED LIZARD UH STILL VERY COMMON IN THIS PART OF THE STATE.>>CHIP RUTHVEN HAS BEEN CHASING HORNED LIZARDS FOR MANY OF HIS YEARS IN THE FIELD.>>WE CATCH MOST OF OUR HORNED LIZARDS SIMPLY BY DRIVING DOWN THE ROADS AND ENCOUNTERING THEM ON THE ROADS. YOU ARE NOT-OH, THERE HE GOES.>>WHILE THEY’RE NOT NORMALLY HARD TO CATCH…>>OKAY, WHERE DID YOU GO?>>…THEY ARE WELL-CAMOUFLAGED.>>THERE HE IS. WE HAVE A MARK – RECAPTURE PROGRAM, WE’LL UH CAPTURE THOSE ANIMALS TEMPORARILY, COLLECT A VARIETY OF DATA OFF OF THEM, WEIGHTS, MEASUREMENTS. WE’LL TAKE THE CLIP, KIND OF CLIP IT ON THE BASE OF ONE HORN, AND THEN LIFT THE LIZARD UP, AND WE’VE GOT WEIGHT OF 25 GRAMS. WE’LL CAPTURE THE GPS COORDINATES OF EACH LIZARD WHERE WE CAUGHT THEM, UH, AND THEN MARK THOSE INDIVIDUALS. 116MM TOTAL LENGTH. WE’VE MARKED OVER A THOUSAND HERE ON THIS MANAGEMENT AREA.>>FOR THE LIZARDS, MARKING MEANS A RATHER SEVERE PEDICURE.>>THEY GET AROUND PRETTY GOOD WITHOUT A TOE OR TWO.>>CLIPPING SPECIFIC TOE COMBINATIONS IDENTIFIES EACH LIZARD. AND THOSE LOST TOES SERVE ANOTHER PURPOSE.>>I WILL MAIL IT OFF TO TCU AND THEY WILL DO THEIR GENETIC WORK ON IT.>>TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY IS RECEIVING HORNED TOAD TOES AND OTHER SAMPLES IN THE MAIL THESE DAYS.>>I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A NATURAL BECAUSE IT’S TCU’S MASCOT.>>THE LIZARD LAB WORK HAPPENS HERE, SUPERVISED BY DEAN WILLIAMS.>>HERE ARE SOME MORE SAMPLES FROM CHIP, RICHARD.>>DEAN AND HIS STUDENTS ARE EXTRACTING DNA FROM THE CELLS TO LEARN JUST HOW GENETICALLY UNIQUE HORNED LIZARD POPULATIONS ARE AROUND THE STATE.>>WHAT WE HAVE FOUND SO FAR IS THAT THEY DO SEEM TO BE HIGHLY GENETICALLY VARIABLE. AT LEAST IN THE MATADOR. POPULATIONS THAT MAY HAVE PARTICULARLY LOW GENETIC VARIATION, IT MIGHT INDICATE OKAY THAT POPULATION IS EXPERIENCING PROBLEMS.>>THIS GENETIC INFORMATION WILL ALSO BE CRITICAL IF HORNED LIZARDS ARE EVER TO BE RESTORED TO PLACES THEY HAVE DISAPPEARED. OTHER RESEARCH TO PREPARE FOR THAT POSSIBILITY IS HAPPENING NEARBY, AT THE FORT WORTH ZOO. [elephant trumpets] [door opens]>>HOW ARE THE HORNED LIZARDS DOING?>>DOING VERY WELL ON THEIR DIETS.>>DIANE BARBER AND HER STAFF ARE SUCCESSFULLY KEEPING HORNED LIZARDS AT THE ZOO. AND THEY’RE LEARNING HOW TO MAKE MORE.>>WE’RE ONE OF THE FEW INSTITUTIONS THAT HAVE EVER BRED THEM IN CAPTIVITY. LOOKS LIKE SHE’S NOT INTERESTED TODAY. WE’LL HAVE TO TRY TOMORROW. THEY’RE A HARD CREATURE TO KEEP ALIVE BECAUSE OF THEIR SPECIALIZED DIET AND THEIR LIGHT REQUIREMENTS.>>WHILE CAPTIVE BREEDING MAY HELP RESTORE POPULATIONS DOWN THE ROAD, KEEPING HORNED LIZARDS HEALTHY IN THE WILD STILL MEANS HAVING A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THEY EAT AND WHERE THEY LIVE. AND SOME OF THE PLACES THEY LIVE MAY SURPRISE YOU. [boat motor]>>WE HAVE AN ISOLATED POPULATION OF HORNED LIZARDS ON THIS COASTAL BARRIER ISLAND.>>ASHLEY INSLEE WORKS FOR THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE. LEE ANN LINAM AND A GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS HAVE COME TO MATAGORDA ISLAND TO HELP WITH HER RESEARCH.>>ONE THING WE’RE TRYING TO DO IS UNDERSTAND SOMETHING ABOUT THESE POPULATIONS THAT ARE STILL LEFT, IF THERE ARE CERTAIN REASONS THEY’VE MANAGED TO HANG ON, AND WHAT THAT COULD TELL US ABOUT CONSERVATION AND MAYBE RESTORATION OF HORNED LIZARDS. [music]>>ON THE ISLAND, THE CREW HITS THE ROAD, LOOKING FOR LIZARDS, AND THEY HAVE A LARGE AREA TO COVER.>>IT’S A LONG NARROW STRIP OF LAND THAT THESE HORNED LIZARDS INHABIT, ALMOST 40 MILES LONG. SEE IF WE GOT ANY CRITTERS. SO FAR TODAY, WE HAVEN’T CAUGHT ANYTHING.>>TRAPS HAVE BEEN SET, BUT HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER…>>I GOT A GRASSHOPPER!>>…SO THE SPOTTERS SCAN THE ROADSIDES, FROM SHORE TO SHORE, AND EVENTUALLY… …THEY FIND A LIZARD.>>BEAUTIFUL!>>SO IT’S 76.72>>AS IN THE PANHANDLE…>>WE’RE GOING TO TAKE THE THIRD TOE.>>THE LIZARD LOSES A DIGIT…>>PUT SOME NEOSPORIN ON IT.>>…THIS TIME TO ANALYZE ITS DIET.>>TO GET AN ISOTOPIC READING FROM THIS GUY.>>THE DNA SAMPLE IS SOMEWHAT LESS INVASIVE.>>THE SWAB.>>TO OUR HUMAN MIND IT’S A LITTLE INSULTING.>>BUT THIS LIZARD’S BIG DAY IS NOT OVER YET.>>I’LL PUT SOME SUPERGLUE…>>WE ARE GOING TO POWDER TRACK HER, SO WE ARE GOING TO ATTACH THE FUR PATCH. AND WHAT WE DO IS WE COAT IT WITH A FLUORESCENT POWDER, RELEASE IT, AND IN THE EVENING WE CAN GO BACK AND WITH A BLACK LIGHT, TRACK THE HORNED LIZARD AND SEE SPECIFICALLY WHAT GRASSES THEY’RE USING, IF THEY’RE USING A PATH, IF THEY’RE FREQUENTING CERTAIN ANT MOUNDS AS OPPOSED TO OTHERS, SO IT’S REALLY BEEN A CONVENIENT, EFFICIENT WAY TO GAUGE THE HABITAT THAT THEY ARE USING.>>THE FIRE ANT, PESTICIDE USE, THOSE ARE PROBABLY COMPOUNDING FACTORS. THE SIGNIFICANT REASON FOR THE DECLINE IN THE TEXAS HORNED LIZARD IS UH PROBABLY HABITAT LOSS. NOT MARKED, SO HE’LL BE A NEW ONE TO COLLECT SOME DATA OFF OF.>>STUDYING HORNED LIZARDS IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT MAY BE THE ONLY WAY TO KEEP THEM FROM FADING INTO HISTORY. THOUGH THERE REMAIN MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS ABOUT THE LONG TERM HEALTH OF HORNED LIZARDS, IT’S CLEAR THEY STILL HAVE SOME FRIENDS.>>IT APPEARS THAT THE TOAD IS STILL ALIVE.>>IT’S A HORNY TOAD!>>YEAH!>>I DON’T THINK THERE’S ANYBODY THAT DOESN’T LIKE A HORNED TOAD. [singing]>>IT’S LIKE THE MASCOT OF TEXAS.>>YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET FOLKS EXCITED ABOUT HORNED LIZARDS, BECAUSE THEY LOVE THEM ALREADY.>>♪ THOUGH THEY’VE GOT ♪ ♪ AN UGLY FACE, ♪ ♪ HE’S MY LITTLE ♪ ♪ HORNY TOAD. ♪ [cheering]>>YOU KNOW WHAT THEY EAT?>>ANTS.>>ALMOST 80 PERCENT OF THEIR DIET IS HARVESTER ANTS.>>WOW.>>A LITTLE INTEREST CAN GO A LONG WAY TOWARD SAVING A THREATENED SPECIES.>>I GUESS YOU CAN CLOSE THEM UP AND PUT THEM IN THE FREEZER.>>THAT GENETICS STUDY AT TCU IS FUNDED BY SALES OF HORNED LIZARD LICENSE PLATES.>>VOLUNTEERS COLLECT VALUABLE INFORMATION AROUND THE STATE.>>ONCE YOU SEE YOUR FIRST HORNED LIZARD AND YOU REALIZE HOW IMMINENT THEIR DEMISE COULD BE, YOU CAN’T HELP BUT TRY TO GET INVOLVED AND TRY TO DO SOMETHING.>>WE’VE GOT 20% GRASSES.>>THE STUDY AND PRESERVATION OF NATIVE HABITAT CONTINUES.>>BOTTOM LINE IS TO DETERMINE PRACTICES TO MANAGE HABITATS FOR HORNED LIZARDS.>>AND WHAT HELPS THE HORNED LIZARD WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY HELP OTHER WILDLIFE.>>THERE’S A LOT OF OTHER SPECIES TOO THAT MAYBE ARE NOT AS POPULAR OR WELL KNOWN AS HORNED LIZARDS, BUT THEY FACE THE SAME PLIGHT.>>WHAT’S GOING TO BENEFIT HORNED LIZARDS IS GOING TO BENEFIT MOST GRASSLAND SPECIES. LET HIM GO ON HIS MERRY WAY. LIVE LONG AND PROSPER AND RAISE LOTS OF BABY HORNY TOADS. [music]

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28 thoughts on “Texas Horned Lizard – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

  1. You would think photography of scale patterns combined with documentation of other physical features and geographic location would yield better records than digit clipping. Seems a bit invasive and in a scientific way could interfere with the end resulting data of the study. At least they aren't gassing areas and collecting the bodies.

  2. I remember playing with these guys when I was a kid in the 80's-90's in the Fort Worth area but I havent seen any since. Always loved these guys.

  3. Toe clipping by TPWD and their cronies in universities and Master Naturalist programs across the state is cruel & antiquated. People untrained in veterinary medicine are performing "field amputations" using things like nail clippers.No antimicrobial prep of the surface being done before amputation to prevent risk of infection.No analgesia is given to the horned lizards to alleviate pain before or after the procedure.Predators may pick up the scent of the open wound…(cont)

  4. The loss of a digit for a horned lizard has an adverse impact on their locomotion to predator avoidance and represents a much greater percentage of their body mass that if we lost a toe. Horned Lizards are protected and the harm that is caused by this method outweighs any potential scientific gains. Oral swabs are superior for yielding results for genetic research than tissue samples. (cont)…

  5. This activity meets the definition of animal cruelty, specifically because less invasive and less harmful means are available to get the same data (blood or oral swabs), yet you people refuse to retire your field mutilation techniques. If this were John Q. Public you would cite him for harming protected wildlife. I am a reptile rehabilitator, and I would treat any horned lizards handled by your people in this manner as a patient needing medical care!~ Society for Horned Lizard Preservation

  6. Additionally, many species, including the Texas HL, have a unique pattern of spots on belly which can be scanned in the field like a fingerprint. Such a method is a more humane way to identify HLs in the field later than a missing toe. It would require a little more effort on TPWDs part to be humane however and I realize that may be an inconvenience for academics. How can you tell if the HL missing a toe is due to your clipping it, or a bad shed that caused ischemic necrosis of the digit?

  7. "They get around fine without a toe or two"…would like to see how the biologist gets around without a toe or two. That would be entertaining. @5:45 neosporin? For an open wound on the base of a digit? Who taught you people veterinary medicine/wildlife rehab? Antibiotic ointment will merely cause debris to stick to the gel and thus contaminate the wound even worse as the lizard walks thru the dirt! IF you wanted to help at all after harming the creature, you would use something like Vetbond.

  8. Why do you need to clip a toe? Makes no sense when there is far less invasive ways to gather DNA samples. I would think there is a far greater risk for infection or other complications from clipping a toe such as oral swab!

  9. I DISSAPROVE OF TOE REMOVAL. There are "less barbaric" techniques. We no longer live in the dark ages.STOP this barbaric and unethcal practice please.

  10. hmm th gentlemen,collecting toes ,says he's "done over 1000, of these lizards. I wonder how many they have lost due to infection?

  11. I'm perfectly fine with these folks trying to help the species, but please stop cutting off their toes! I know there is a much easier way of collecting dna which won't harm the lizards! I grew up playing with these lil guys and i haven't seen one in decades now! So sad 🙁

  12. That's messed up'' how would u like some body cut of your toe! But I do understand I have had one for years ''and he knows me and loves me ''Because he has all his DIGETS''lol

  13. I love these guys and im all about the conservation of these guys, but please simply use the spots on their bellies for identifying…all are different. I have one here at home, in Iowa…I didnt actually realize they were quite as threatened as they are. These are captive bred up here…pretty easy compared to different species we have had….oh and dont be upset about us keeping him please…I order 1000 ants every week, and dust the others with formical so he still gets the formic acid =)

  14. Is Monsanto going to pick up that DNA information and start cloning the poor lizards next??? Maybe patent them???
    Lizards and any other species are disappearing because of polution, loss of habitat, loss of food, etc. Where/how are they supposed to survive if we with all our technology are dying from cancer caused by the same problems?

  15. horned lizard loss is mostly because of the loss of red ant mounds. what do most people do when they see an ant mound? they stomp it out.

  16. There are a bunch of these in our property. It's hard to spot them though, they blend in very well withe the surroundings.

  17. "Once you see your first horned lizard and you realize how imminent their demise could be, you can't help but get involved and try to do something–like tracking them down, cutting their toes off, sticking a phosphorescent patch on their back with super glue so you can watch what they eat at night, weighing them, etc." Bunch of geniuses in the parks and wildlife department…. MAYBE they're disappearing due to urban sprawl in Texas??? HMMMMM Do ya think??

  18. The decline of Harvester Ants, due to the increase of Fire Ants play a huge factor that threaten the Horned Lizard.

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