Horned toad, horned frog, horny toad... TCU fan? Whatever you call them they are almost gone. Growing up I called them horny toads and our backyard was a little suburban wonderland for the soft bellied friends.
When we were in west Texas searching for bridesmaids and flower girl dresses for uncle Heath's wedding; we ran into this guy.
To be 7 years old and never have seen a horned toad is a crime. I'm told they are going extinct. The Fort Worth Zoo keeps these in an exhibit. I've heard many reasons why their numbers are falling. Urban sprawl, fire ants and lack of red ants which seems to be one of their main food sources. Whatever it may be, it's sad because a horned toad screams childhood fun to me.
My nostalgia kicked in heavily. The last time I remember playing with horny toads was in my backyard a good 20 years ago. There were two adults, a baby and I remember it vividly.
We let Caleigh hang out with the lizard, who really isn't a toad, for quite awhile. We ended up naming him Henry. She was hesitant at first, but started petting him when she realized he was sweet and un-horned. We did a tiny photo shoot and then had a release party by the red ant bed across the street. He scurried off quickly not stopping for a bite.
I'm hoping that we can bring the horny toad back in great numbers to Texas. What a childhood and environmental shame if we can't.