Size: 6″ w x 6″ h
Support: Gallery Wrap Stretched Canvas
Description: A wildlife painting of the Texas horned lizard, or horny toad as native Texans often call them. The painted image extends around the edges of the canvas surface; thus, it will not require a frame before display. Hand-painted and signed by fine artist Teresa Bernard.
See Artist Comments below for additional information regarding this painting.
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The Texas Horned Lizard, or simply “horny toad” as we called them when I was a kid growing up in west Texas, was a fun painting to do. It brought back lots of fond childhood memories. As children, my friends and I would see these little spiked critters all the time and often played with them for a while, and 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.
In Search of the Horny Toad
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 habitats, 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 in 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!
Another FB pal comments, “you still see these in West Texas and Panhandle. Fire ants haven’t taken over every inch of ground as they have here, and harvester ants are still there, so that helps with the “horny toads.” Hope they make a comeback here someday.”
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♦ “Interesting, so beautiful..” — Andy Baldwin, NATURE & ANIMALS, MeWe
♦ “We have a similar lizard here, the Eastern Fence lizard, where I live.” — Adam Charles Hovey, OUT BEAUTIFUL WORLD, MeWe
Thanks for looking!
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Updated: 15 August 2021