The Texas Horned Lizard (a.k.a. Horny Toad)

TX Horned Toad Lizard Painting

© Copyright 2018 – Present

Size: 6″ x 6″
Support: Gallery Wrap Stretched Canvas
Description: Texas wildlife painting


Purchasing Information

$170

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Contact artist to purchase.


Artist Comments: The Texas Horned Lizard, or simply “horny toad” as we called them when I was a kid growing up in west Texas, was fun a painting to do and brought back lots of fond childhood memories. As children, my friends and I would see these critters all the time and often played with them for a while, then we would release them. As an adult I noticed they aren’t in abundance so much anymore. So I did a little research to find out why. This is what I discovered from my readings.

About 70% of the Texas horned lizard’s diet is made up of harvester ants. Through the years their population has declined by about 30%. Although, I’m happy to read, they may be making a comeback. The decline is due to the overuse of pesticides and the spread of nonnative fire ants. Both eradicate harvester ant colonies, destroying the lizard’s principal source of food. The Texas horned lizard is now a protected species, and, in Texas, it is illegal to take, possess, transport or sell them without a special permit.

According to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, issue August/September 2018, “Texas horned lizards once occurred throughout Texas, but now only a few populations remain. Efforts to move Texas horned lizards from one location in Texas to another, with the hope of establishing new self-sustaining populations in previously occupied habitat, are underway. Several Texas zoos are also working to develop colonies for reintroduction programs. RAWA (Recovering America’s Wildlife Act) funding would pay for “lizard factories” to help with reintroduction efforts.”

I shared a post about my findings on Facebook and received some interesting comments.

One friend whom I’ve known since my early teen years lives a small Texas town. She told me they have a horny toad festival every year called The Old Rip Festival. And it’s all about a horny toad named Old Rip! She sent me a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine website. It tells all about the legend, lore and legacy of Old Rip, a horny toad that supposedly lived for 31 years! (https://tpwmagazine.com/archive/2008/oct/legend/)

Another FB pal comments, “you still see these in West Texas and Panhandle. Fire ants haven’t taken over every inch of ground like they have here, and harvester ants are still there, so that helps with the “horny toads”. Hope they make a comeback here someday.”


Updated: 02 September 2018

Raging African Elephant

african elephant wildlife painting

© Copyright 2007 – Present

Size: 18″ x 24″
Support: Stretched canvas
Description: A realistic painting of an African bull elephant. This painting sold to a private art collector in North Carolina.

Painting has arrived. I am pleased to add it to my collection. Thank you. — H. Shaw, Winston Salem NC


Artist Comments: As an artist I’m always looking for good reference photos to paint from. Taking lots of photos myself is one way I get them. Others like to give me their photos to use as well. Using resources like this to paint from is something many artists do when they paint. Other artists like to paint on location, but will still take a photo of the scenery to take home with them. They use them to finish up their painting when they are back in their studio.

Several years ago some acquaintances of mine went on an African safari. While there, they snapped a photo of this elephant and emailed it to me. They thought I might like to use it as a resource photo for a painting. And they were right! I liked it so much I did this painting from it.

Some Interesting Facts About African Elephants

African elephants are native to Africa. They are characterized by having enormous flapping ears and ivory tusks. These magnificent creatures are the largest living land animal. Being hunted for their ivory tusks and their shrinking natural habitat have proven instrumental in these animals being placed on the endangered species list. Indeed, they are one of the most endangered species in all of Africa. In the 1980’s there were around 1 million African elephants roaming the plains of Africa, today the total population is less than 470,000.