Volunteers will be knocking on doors to ask residents of Falls City, Karnes City, Runge, and Kenedy if they have had any recent sightings of the state reptile of Texas, the Texas horned lizard, otherwise known as the horny toad, horned toad, or horned frog.
According to information from the club, Horny toads have disappeared from most of the eastern half of Texas and their numbers are declining in many other areas. Club members say Karnes County seems to be poised along the east-west dividing line where numbers seen to be declining, but the horned lizard is still not too hard to find.
“Our area is interesting to scientists studying the horned lizard because the future will reveal an animal population that is eventually stable, on the increase, or in a decline,” said Club Member Dr. Wade Phelps. “By measuring the population now, comparisons can be made in the future that will tell us the truth.”
“Our area is also interesting to scientists because we provide an opportunity to study horny toads in a town setting where they live together well with people. The study of horned lizards as an urban wildlife species is groundbreaking because all previous studies have been made in countryside areas. There is no scientific information that explains how people and horned lizards live well together,” Phelps added.
“It is exciting for Karnes County to be able to provide new and unique information to the scientific community. For that reason, County Judge Barbara Shaw has proclaimed July 20 as Karnes County Horny Toad Census Day and asks for your support in the collection of information about our friend, the Texas horned lizard.”
Judge Shaw also urges all interested residents to volunteer to be door knockers and help to survey all the neighborhoods in our county.
To volunteer to this fun event, please call Dr. Wade Phelps at 830-583-9891. Volunteers are needed in all areas, so everyone can make a contribution.
The survey work will take place Saturday morning from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.. Volunteers will then be provided lunch and recognition at Barth’s Restaurant in Kenedy. The documentary film “Where Did the Horny Toad Go?” will be shown after lunch. After the afternoon cool-off a guided horny toad hunt will be conducted to allow visitors the opportunity to see horny toads in Karnes County.
As a special “thank you” to the volunteers, Dr. Phelps is offering San Antonio Missions baseball tickets to everyone who contributes that day. In addition, a drawing for prizes will be held during lunch.
Organizers are encouraging everyone to please answer the call when TCU Professor Dean Williams and graduate student Ashley Wall come asking questions about your horny toad experiences.
“You will be making a valuable contribution to the growing body of knowledge about the Texas horned lizard, a much beloved friend of Texans everywhere,” Phelps explained. “And volunteer to the survey or to the Horned Toad Club if you can.
For more information about the survey or the Horned Toad Club contact Dr. Wade Phelps in Kenedy at 830-583-9891.