If you grew up in Texas, or a surrounding state, HORNY can also be applied to a toad. The “Horny Toad”, or Texas Horned Lizard, is a flat-bodied fierce-looking lizard. The Texas Horned Lizard is currently on the “threatened species” list in Texas. Recently, Southwest Airlines partnered with the El Paso Zoo to bring three (3) Horned Lizards from Austin to El Paso. When you think about it, it seems appropriate that the “LUV” Airlines would be responsible for bringing “Horny” toads to El Paso.
The “three amigos” were being cared for by a wildlife rehabilitator in Austin. Griselda Martinez, of the El Paso Zoo, flew to Austin on July 24 and brought the tiny travelers back to El Paso on July 25. I had hoped the city would welcome the new residents with mariachis, Chico’s Tacos, and margaritas. I had visions of the city officials dressed up in SLEESTAK outfits from The Land of the Lost. My plan was for El Paso to roll out the red lizard carpet. (We do have lizard carpet in ELP, check it out next time you fly through.)
Instead, Griselda tucked the “precious cargo” into a nondescript black duffel bag. No one onboard knew they were traveling with three Phrynosoma cornutum. (For those of you who still speak Latin). They arrived in El Paso and were rushed to the VIP Lounge because the zoo wanted a secure location. Apparently they were afraid the three captives might make a break for it while they are so close to the border.
Local TV and print media covered the event for El Paso, and our thorny friends even made the front cover of the Sunday paper. Spanish language Channel 26 also came out to cover the event.