The Caldwell Zoo on Saturday announced that a new clutch of the famous Texas Horned Lizard has hatched at the Caldwell Zoo.
The zoo joined the efforts of Texas Parks and Wildlife in a managed breeding program to support the population of this endangered species in the wild. After months of diligent care by the reptile and amphibian experts at the zoo, hatchlings began to crawl from their eggs on Monday, Aug. 9
“Obviously, we are very excited about the hatchlings,” said Yvonne Stainback, Curator of Birds and Reptiles. “We have been involved in this important program for two years now. Having our breeding pairs contribute to the wild population of Texas Horned Lizards can make a real, positive difference in the long-term survival of the species. I’m pretty proud of my team.”
The team at the Caldwell Zoo Texas Horned Lizard Breeding Center will carefully monitor the hatchlings, providing each one with ideal conditions and carefully selected nutrition. Over the next few weeks, the little lizards will grow in size and once they’re strong enough they will be taken to a protected area and released into the wild.
William Garvin, reptile expert at the Caldwell Zoo shares his enthusiasm.
“This really is an iconic species of Texas. They used to be really prevalent, but due to habitat loss, their numbers in the wild greatly decreased. They needed help and yes, we are very happy to be a apart in bringing these little guys back.”
Texas horned lizards were once common from the south-central United States to northern Mexico, throughout much of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico. Texas Parks and Wildlife initiated this program as a focused conservation effort to counter the severe population decline due to the use of pesticides and invasive fire ants that destroy their main food source, harvester ants.
The Caldwell Zoo, The Fort Worth Zoo, The Dallas Zoo, and The San Antonio Zoo all work collaboratively to breed and release hatchlings into two protected areas in Texas. Release dates and locations for the hatchlings will be set and coordinated by Texas Parks and Wildlife. The wild population is monitored to track population growth and success of the reintroduction program.