The reptiles will reside at the Delores Fenwick Nature Center located at 5750 Magnolia Parkway, Pearland, the city announced in an Aug. 1 news release. The 12 Texas horned lizards were brought to Pearland from West Texas in early June.
“We are doing this good work to add back to the Texas horned lizards numbers each year,” said Cullen Ondracek, Pearland Parks and Recreation Department natural resources manager.
The Texas horned lizard, which is listed as a threatened species in Texas, is a flat-bodied reptile with various horns on its head, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The lizards can be found in arid to semiarid habitats in open areas with sparse plant cover, including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and into northern Mexico.
According to the release, the conversations to bring the reptiles to Pearland started with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department over 18 months ago. The Texas horned lizards will be at Delores Fenwick Nature Center in an effort to re-establish the species’s population through captive breeding.
The Delores Fenwick Nature Center staff plans to place all captive-produced eggs in an incubator, according to the release. Once the eggs hatch, the lizards will be moved to aquarium tanks for one to three months before going back to the wild at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department release sites.
Every year each pairing of lizards will be rotated for increased genetic diversity, according to the release. The original 12 adult lizards will remain at the Delores Fenwick Nature Center for the remainder of their lives to aid in conservation efforts with each new group of eggs, according to the release.
The lizards are currently not available for public viewing, but the Delores Fenwick Nature Center hopes to open them to the public in the future for educational opportunities, according to the release.
“I have heard countless stories of childhood memories from folks who remember seeing them in their backyard growing up,” Ondracek said. “They have disappeared from the eastern part of the state now, but they used to be here, too.”