Target: Richard Hatcher, Director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Goal: Save the declining population of the Texas horned lizard
Once a thriving species, the Texas horned lizard now faces extinction. Due to various human impacts, this unique lizard cannot thrive without protection. Currently, the Texas horned lizard, also known as the “horny toad,” is not listed as a state endangered species in Oklahoma. Help urge the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to officially protect this incredible reptile.
The Texas horned lizard has small spikes on its body as well as tiny horns on its head. When threatened by predators, the horned lizard will puff up to appear larger than its actual size. This defense mechanism makes the lizard look like a fat toad, giving it the nickname of “horny toad.” The Texas horned lizard has experienced declines in all parts of its habitat range from Texas to areas in the Midwest and the Southwest.
Especially in Oklahoma, the horny toad is now considered rare or absent in parts of the state where it once roamed. Numerous factors are to blame for the reduction of the Texas horned lizard: Habitat destruction from human development, pesticide use, and invasive fire ants are the main causes of horny toad deaths. Since this reptile mostly feeds on harvester ants, pesticides and the non-native fire ants kill the lizard’s main food source. Increased drought from climate change and illegal collection for pet trade also impact the success of this species.
Twenty percent of the world’s reptiles are considered endangered or are vulnerable to extinction. By signing this petition, you are urging the state of Oklahoma to regard this lizard as endangered so proper conservation efforts can take effect. Take action now to save Oklahoma’s native lizard species.
Dear Director Hatcher,
The Texas horned lizard is in decline in Oklahoma. Once a prominent reptile species in the state, this unique lizard is rarely seen in some areas. Due to human impacts such as development, overuse of pesticides, and illegal trapping, this “horny toad” will never thrive without help. The horned lizard’s food source, harvester ants, are also declining because of non-native fire ants. Conservation efforts must be enforced to save this reptile species.
Currently, Oklahoma does not regard the Texas horned toad as an endangered species. This must change. The lizard plays an important factor in the arid and semi-arid ecosystem in which it thrives. Protect this lizard from becoming part of the 20 percent of the world’s reptiles that face extinction. I urge you to please take action to enforce the survival of the Texas horned lizard in Oklahoma.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Four Corners School of Outdoor Education via Flickr