Horned Lizards are the Texas state reptile. But what do we know about this Texas icon? Plump, armored, they’ve inspired multiple names. “Horny toad.” “Horned frog.” “Horned lizard” is the official common name. The Texas horned lizard – Phrynosoma cornutum – once flourished across the state. It’s vanished from half its range, including the areas – from I-35 east – where most Texans live. It’s the charm of a horned lizard encounter. You overlook it, then do a double-take. But once you spot it, you can often crouch and look it in the eye before it flees. Multiple factors drove the animals’ decline. In the 50s, DDT was used to exterminate harvester ants – decimating the lizard’s food supply. Habitat vanished for urban development. Collection – and export – was an issue. The spread of non-native fire ants was once blamed – but it was not a major factor. It’s impossible to know how many of these elusive creatures live in West Texas. But we can count ourselves lucky that, unlike most Texans, we can still meet them.