Saturday, April 08, 2006

I Found an Endangered Species in the Garden

While working in the garden today, this little guy popped out from under my deck to sunbathe on an old brick in the warm sun.

While he blinked and sat there, I took his picture.

This is the disappearing Texas Horned Lizard, also known as a "horny toad." He is about 3 inches long, an adolescent. You can see what appears to be small horns on his head. At one time they were so common that the early settlers made horny toad stew out of them.

They used to be prevalent all over Texas when I was a child, but now they are endangered. So I was excited to find him hanging out at my house.

Why? Because I am an organic gardener and his chances of surviving are greater here.

Some of my neighbors use companies that spray fertilizer, weed killer and ant control pesticides all over their yards. Not only can this make the yards toxic to children and animals, it kills the ants that these endangered lizards need to eat in order to survive and runs into our water table. And it can also kill the birds who eat the bugs that are exposed to these chemicals.

26 Comments:

At 1:54 PM, Blogger fallenmonk said...

Wow! I wonder if he knows how lucky he is to have wound up in your life friendly garden? I have been an organic gardener since 1976 and before that I was virtually organic.
In those years in North Carolina I was just out of the Navy and had a vegetable garden because it supplemented my meager income. After I switched to completely organic I began to get 20 to to 30% more honey from my two beehives and that convinced me that I would never go back. Even though I was very reticent to use anything on my garden just the small about of pesticide I did use was killing my bees. It convinced me.

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Hi fallenmonk!
The Africanized "killer" bees are in this area, so I am reluctant to have beehives, although I wish I could. Every year some guys on tractors hit a ground nest and end up in the hospital or worse.
I eat what I grow and am harvesting lettuces, climbing spinach and swiss chard, also herbs right now. There is such a difference in flavor, don't you think?

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Hey Glenda? Would you mind if I copied the horny toad pic to do a post on my blog (with cred to you, of course)? I've got a funny story to go with it about when I was growing up and these little guys were everywhere. Lemme know, please.

I went over to thebluerepublic.com and uh, I think I'll visit it on some day besides Saturday - ew!

 
At 3:08 PM, Blogger glenda said...

no problem, Candace. Feel free to use it.

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger pissed off patricia said...

I have lots of wows about this. Wow the little guy is hanging in there againse all odds. Wow, I like your attitude and knowledge about bug sprays. And wow, we sure could be friends if we lived in the same neighborhood :)

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger Left of Center said...

Awesome, lucky that little guy found your lawn. As to your neighbors, one thing to be thankfull for is that they dont do there own pest control. Lawn companies use "proper chemicals in the prescribed amounts" as opposed to consummers that tend to use the wrong chemical in amounts far in excess of what is needed for pest control. Still, there are natural means to control pests, but they are less effective. We should all learmn to live with a few bugs.

 
At 4:09 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Hey, POP, we can be friends anyway from a distance.:0)

Leftie, the only thing I would like to rid from the planet is fire ants. Man, do they have a mean bite; they also kill off all the other competing ants, like the red ants that the lizards need. And they bite my dogs, my husband, our kids.....

 
At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glenda, how timely! My husband & I were hiking in the red rock desert of our new neighborhood when he suddenly stopped & said "come, quick" (I thought, uhoh, snake)! It was a rare red desert horned toad. Looked just like yours only reddish, so he can hide in the red sandstone. The ones I used to see as a kid were light tan to match another desert. We watched in amazement as this little red guy hurried off under some brush to hide from us & wished we had our camera. Your post reminded me how many years (decades, even) since I'd last seen one. D.K.

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger glenda said...

That's cool. They must be cousins. They can run really fast.

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Pekka said...

These chemicals are unfortunately a little like hard drugs; the more you use them the more you need them and in the end they'll kill you/everything.

 
At 9:19 PM, Anonymous earl bockenfeld said...

WOW, a horny toad. But I expect that they all are at one time or another. It's no wonder that Glinda would keep in harmony with mother Nature.

 
At 9:54 PM, Blogger Rory Shock said...

beautiful picture ... and I fully agree with you about the madness of poisoning the earth to remove life forms ... I feel so strongly about that issue ... you are so right ...

 
At 5:36 AM, Blogger meldonna said...

Help me out here, but ain't the Texas Christian U. folks the Horned Toads?

Back in the 70's, I swear to God I came across more than on of these fellows as a country kid just west of Little Rock, AR...and I know good and well we used to have roadrunners cruising thru the area; my Mom always got excited about seeing a fella she hadn't seen for a while.

A horny toad...they're so dang ugly thay are cute! Thanks so much for sharing.

 
At 7:14 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Amazing! It's a beautiful picture and a lovely find. No pesticides or herbicides in my house.

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger glenda said...

Meldonna,
I saw a road runner a few days ago in my neighborhood, which backs up to a nature preserve. It was so big and cocky and fast.

Heather,
Good for you. I'd like to more people taking this stance, if only in their own self-interest.

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

What a cutie. What's his/her name? I have a number of Florida lizards living in my yard and I love the little guys/gals.

 
At 11:08 AM, Blogger glenda said...

Thanks PM,
We have a lot of the green anoles around here, but these are rare. I never give 'em names, just try to leave them alone, so they'll grow up.

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger fallenmonk said...

Yeah Glenda the Africanized bees are a problem but if we just leave it alone they will soon mellow like the Italians we mostly keep in our hives or even the more agressive natural bees. The so called killer bees developed their agressiveness due to the existence of predators that are not present in our western environment and eventually this trait will lose its survival value.
Speaking of fire ants, someday I'll relate the story of a little 4 year old me in nothing but a little pair of cotton shorts sitting down on a fire ant hill to play with my toy dump truck. Ouch!

 
At 3:09 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Yikes. They got into my son's diapers once out in the yard. I ripped those puppies off him in a split second.
I am happy to wait for the bees. Don't know how long it will take for them to interbreed with the more gentle locals. Honestly, I work around the honeybees all the time. They are quite gentle.

 
At 10:02 AM, Blogger Lily said...

Perhaps you might let Candace know that Rex Kramer's Saturday column is a joke. Its satirical.

He has a whole blog - Spurious George- that is HUMOROUS. Like how Colbert Report is humorous. He writes there on Saturdays. Give him a try, I never miss him. I think he's very funny.

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger glenda said...

You mean he was kidding?

 
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