San Antonio Zoo successfully hatches 27 Texas horned lizards this season, expects more

Texas horned lizards are also called horny toads

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Zoo has successfully hatched 27 Texas horned lizards this season and expects to hatch even more.

The lizards will be released into the wild in the fall as part of the Texas Horned Lizard Reintroduction Project.

The iconic reptile, also fondly called the horny toad, was once abundant in Texas but has disappeared over the last 40-50 years because of invasive species like fire ants, pesticides, habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. It’s now considered a threatened species.

“We are thrilled about the progress we’ve made with the Texas Horned Lizard Reintroduction Project,” said Tim Morrow, rresident & CEO of San Antonio Zoo, in a press release. “The hatching of 27 baby lizards this season is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team. The addition of the new lizard labs, made possible by our generous donors, has quadrupled our capacity for breeding and caring for these iconic creatures. This expansion sets the stage for us to have an even greater impact on the survival of the Texas horned lizard species.”

Since the project began in 2017, 157 Texas horned lizards have been released into the wild.

The zoo has partnered with Chiron K9 to establish the Texas Horned Lizard Detection Canine Network. Dogs are being trained to detect live horned lizards, scat, eggs and shed skin to track and monitor the lizards after their release.

People interested in creating a hospitable environment for the lizards can read more in the Texas Horned Lizard Advocacy Guide.

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Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.