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The Texas Horned Lizard

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What is a 
horny toad?

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There are three species of horny toad in Texas. The kind most of us know is the Texas Horned Lizard (Phyrnosoma Cornutum), which is found all over the state. It measures from three to five inches, though a hatchling may barely reach an inch. Young are born in late summer or early fall. Despite their name, horny toads usually mate only once a year.

Baby Toad   Handy Toad

Texas Horned Lizards range from the South-Central United States to Northern Mexico. They can be found in arid and semiarid habitats in open areas with sparse plant cover throughout much of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. As horned lizards dig for hibernation, nesting and insulation purposes, they commonly are found in loose sand or loamy soils.

Hibernation begins in September or October, and continues until late April or May. Mating occurs soon after emergence. After a receptive female and male mate, the female will carry the eggs for a period of time as they develop. Once a nest site is chosen, she will dig a slanted tunnel and lay 13 to 45 eggs in two to three soil packed layers. After burying the eggs, she may sit on the entrance tunnel for one night, but then she leaves, never to return to the eggs again. Some five to nine weeks later, the baby lizards will hatch and fight their way out of the egg with a specialized "egg tooth."

Horny toads are really sweet creatures. When I was growing up, you couldn't walk outside the house without stepping on one! Along with fireflies, they were everywhere. We are fortunate enough to have a few running around our back yard. If you're lucky, you might enjoy their company during your stay here at Annie's Cottage. 

You can see pictures of horny toads taken on the cottages property on the next page. 



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