Announcer: Men from lesser states might know their state's capital, but you? You know your state's bird, tree and even reptile.
Horrific singer: Love that horny toad!
OK, this is where I sort of got lost because I began going down the state's check list in my mind. State bird. Mockingbird. Check. State tree. Pecan. Check. State reptile. Horned LIZARD! Check.
The Texas horned lizard is the earliest reptile I remember seeing or catching as a child growing up in Bedford. They were always a welcome site in dad's garden and were quite abundant in the school yard of the Old Bedford School.
Even while living in Midland in the early 80's, it was not uncommon to find them in the alleys behind our house and on most farm roads going south out of the Midland/Odessa region. My daughter, Angela, will attest to this because I frequently made her jump out of the car to see if she could catch them. She was barely 5 years old at the time!
Because of habitat loss, the novelty pet trade and the spread of the imported fire ant, the Texas horned lizard's numbers have steadily declined over the years. They are now considered a threatened species across their range in Texas.
Since living in deep south Texas, I generally see one or two a year, mainly on the roads in Brooks, Jim Hogg, Starr and Zapata counties. It's still a treat to see one stand up as the car approaches, then dart across the road to safety. I still send my sightings to the Horned Lizard Conservation Society.
The names "horned frog","horned toad" and "horny toad" (re: Love that horny toad!) come from the round body and blunt nose which actually give it a toad or frog-like appearance. But this is no toad and it's sure not a frog! The most recent one I found was near Escobas, the most God-forsaken patch of earth I think I've ever seen. Survivorman couldn't survive in Escobas, much less a frog! We're talking Hell on Earth folks! But the hot, sandy habitat along with an abundance of harvester ant mounds (their preferred food), makes it an ideal location for the "horned toad".
Texas horned lizard photographed last year near Escobas.
By the way, I looked up "Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy" on the Internet. I'll pick it up from the Horrific Singer:
Love that horny toad!
Announcer: You display your pride with your Lone Star tattoo, "Native Texan" bumper sticker, and contempt for any state that doesn't start with "Tex" and end with "as".
Horrific Singer: That spells Texas!
Announcer: Sure, there are 49 other states in the Union, but they are smaller, wussier, and the people talk funny.
Horrific Singer: Yankee wussies!
Announcer: So crack open a nice cold Bud Light, oh lover of the Lone Star state. Because all that flag waving must have made you thirsty!
Horrific Singer: Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy!
OK, guilty as charged.