Hill Country Naturalist

Edgar's picture

What Happened to All the Critters I Used to See?

Growing up in the country in the Permian Basin between Lubbock and Midland, I spent a lot of time roaming the pastures around our house, although much of it was being plowed up to make new cotton fields back then. But the time I spent in the mesquite/ shinnery/short grass prairie was so much fun because of all of the critters I could see.

I lived away from Texas for a number of years, but when I returned 19 years ago, I was saddened to find that many of the critters I enjoyed as a boy have become much less common. Some are even quite scarce and becoming more so.

As a kid, I could almost always walk around for a little while and find a Texas horned lizard. We called them "horny toads" back then. They were easy to catch and fun to play with, and I always let them go where I found them. They were fun to watch picking ants from around a harvester ant hill. Both the harvester ants and the horned lizard have largely disappeared from most of Texas.



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