Horned Lizards on the Move – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

Horned Lizards on the Move – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]


((truck driving)) ((music)) [Devin Erxleben]
We’re at the Muse Wildlife Management Area and this is the site that we’ve chosen to
evaluate the feasibility and the success of a trans-location of wild-caught Texas Horned
Lizards. ((lizards scrambling)) [Devin to Nathan]
Go ahead grab the next one here. [Nathan Rains]
We’re looking at reintroducing Texas horned lizards on areas where they once existed but
now they’re gone. We’ve had a lot of interest over the years in reintroducing lizards to
properties and we’ve never really looked at the feasibility of even doing that–will they
survive? Where do they go? What will happen? So we’re trying to just see if it’s possible. [Devin to Nathan]
Okay, let’s get the weight on this lizard. [Nathan to Devin]
Sixty-four point three. [Devin Erxleben]
These horned lizards were collected from roadsides on private property southwest of San Angelo. [Nathan Rains]
Several private ranches donated and wanted to be part of this project. [Devin Erxleben]
The lizards go into that predator-proof enclosure so they can acclimate first. We call that
a soft release. ((lizards scuttling)) ((music)) [Nathan Rains]
We’ve done quite a bit of brush work out here to make the habitat more suitable for lizards,
but they need somewhat sandy-type soils, they need a good supply of harvester ants–that’s
the primary diet of horned lizards. ((music)) [Devin Erxleben]
They were evaluated, and then we brought them on site, and we put what we call a PIT tag
inside each lizard to help identify that animal. ((beeps)) [Devin to Nathan]
Seven thirty-five, A-F-F-three. Okay good. [Devin Erxleben]
We then affix them with a VHF radio transmitter to track them to get daily locations on each
lizard. [Devin to Nathan]
The frequency for this transmitter is going to be one five zero point six three one. ((static and beeping)) [Devin to Nathan]
Okay, I think that’s her right there. ((music)) [Devin to Nathan]
This is Testors model paint. [Devin Erxleben]
We paint them with a little bit of model paint, and that just helps them to blend into the
natural environment here. They’re actually glued onto the back using a non-toxic eyelash
glue that’s used in the cosmetic industry. And then we use a collar that is simply tubing
with a fishing line run through it. So far it’s working excellent. [Devin to Nathan]
Alright [Devin Erxleben]
They spend about ten days in that enclosure. ((opening side panel)) [Devin Erxleben]
At this point we let them disperse on their own and we begin our daily tracking. ((static)) ((music)) [Devin Erxleben]
Every day we get these locations, and the first thing that we’re interested in is dispersal
away from the enclosure site, or simply how far are they moving out. [tracking]
She hasn’t moved very far lately. Okay we’re getting closer. Yeah, there she is. ((music)) [tracking]
Go ahead and get her GPS location. Got that? [Technician]
Yes sir. [Devin Erxleben]
Later in the day I come in and I plug that into the computer, and we can already start
to look at habitat use. These horned lizards use lots of different types of habitat. ((music)) [Devin Erxleben]
We have had some predation. It’s always sad to lose another horned lizard, but it’s a
learning opportunity for us to see what’s harmful to them and as we learn more about
what’s harmful to these lizards, we’ll try to avoid that in future releases. We know
lizards were here at one time. [catching lizard]
There she is. [Nathan Rains]
Everybody grew up with them, so it’s kind of an iconic animal they grew up with and
now they’re not there and people really want to know why we can’t bring them back. [weighing lizard]
Twenty five point eight. [Devin Erxleben]
There have been very few research studies dealing with Texas horned lizards, learning
about their habitat use, and really what they need in the wild. ((bobwhite call)) [Nathan Rains]
Horned lizard habitat is good quail habitat and it’s good turkey habitat and generally
good deer habitat. So it’s another way to educate people on the importance of just good
habitat management. Probably it will be several years down the road before we know what’s
going to happen here, but we’re very optimistic. [Devin Erxleben]
We’ve actually seen weekly increases in body weight for both males and females. It’s an
indicator to us that they’re finding enough to eat, so that’s very important for us. [Nathan Rains]
We’d like to really restore these lizards back to much of the state where they’re gone.
That’s kind of our ultimate goal . ((music))

Randy Schultz

Related Posts

14 thoughts on “Horned Lizards on the Move – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

  1. KennethKramm says:

    Awesome research. Thanks for posting.  

  2. Max Herrera says:

    all my horned lizards on check , i count them every week when i mow the yards

  3. BlackCat2 says:

    They are so adorable and I really hope this works. It was a Horned Lizard that had me moving to Texas from the New England area as soon as possible. I moved here for my 19th birthday.

    I was in elementary school when we had a new student from Texas arrive. He brought a Horned Lizard with him and none of us had ever seen one. 🙂

    – Heidi

  4. Mark Garrison says:

    I love that this research is happening!  I live in Medina County.  I spent my summers on this ranch that I now live on.  When I was little they were all over the ranch.  Then they slowly disappeared.  I think it was due to my grand parents "doctoring" all the harvest ant nest.  About a month ago I saw two of them!  I was so excited, that I took pictures and sent them to Steve Brown's critter cam!  They made it on TV.  I would love to donate our 240 acre ranch for testing!  We have deer, turkeys and quail already.  And when I saw the end of the video I finally decided which Texas license plate I am getting!

  5. gwen cates says:

    They are all over in Andrews TX

  6. Les Hutton says:

    Horned Toads, Harvester Ants and Quail disappeared from our parts of Bexar & Comal counties shortly after the arrival of Fire Ants.

  7. Christian Olaciregui says:

    Excellent video and project! Congratulations. 

  8. Diana Branson says:

    You go guys 🙂

  9. FireStar_Betta says:

    thank you! 
    as a native Texan I have only seen ONE horny toad my entire life! I was about 12 years old and it was only for a second in burnet county . I cant wait til they are all over the place again! I want my kids to be able to carry them in their pockets like my parents did lol 

  10. Christie Stone says:

    well made documentary!

  11. KooKooforCards says:

    When I was a little girl my brother and I used to race them in shoe boxes when we visited our grandpa in Bowie, TX. Now that I'm grown and have my own kids I went looking for them and yes I have noticed they are very scarce, these lovely creatures are not harmful and a we here in Texas have seen the fire ant population jump .So I am very happy someone is doing something to help these Texas lizards.

  12. Karen West says:

    We have found only 1 harvester ant bed on out property in Lavaca County and have not seen a horned lizard yet. Wish we had a few. I would be willing to try to propagate more ant beds.

  13. Victor Engel says:

    The last wild ones I saw were apparently a mated pair in Southwest Dallas in the early 1980s, near Camp Wisdom Road along the escarpment. At that time you could still find harvester ants, but the fire ants were taking over.

  14. Mark Harman says:

    Just fantastic research and efforts! Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *