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Horny (Toads) in Texas

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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.

 

4 Comments
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I remember catching these little guys in Lubbock, Texas where I grew up. When they got really irritated they would squirt a steam of blood out of one of their eyes! I have not seen one in years until last year. I was walking by the canal in Venice, California and a horny toad ran across the path. I did not even know they had any in California, at least not so close to the ocean. Hopefully one day the population will grow to previous levels because they help control the ant population. Thanks for the story!
Employee
Employee
I'm like AMA Tom--I miss the little critters! There's a reason the Texas Christian University mascot in Ft. Worth is the Horned Toad. We used to see them all over the Metroplex, often, and they did wonders for the insect and ant population. Bring 'em back....somebody....please!
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Hello, I am researching the El Paso Zoo horned lizard story for the Horned Lizard Conservation Society (HLCS) and would like to know if the photos posted are yours and if so, could the HLCS use them in their newsletter? Loved your blog! And luv Southwest Airlines! Thank you. David Wojnowski Education Committee Chair, HLCS
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David, I responded to you offline at the e-mail address you left. Brian