Monday, April 25, 2011

Survivor! At Fort Davis' Davis Mountains Lodge and Expeditions

Scott and Jenny Turner of Davis Mountains Lodge and Expeditions, were relieved to return to their property in Fort Davis after the fires to see the burn line right up to the driveway next to their guest cabins, and their entire property intact. Still they worried about their resident horny toads whom they've adopted as mascots....until yesterday, when they found "Spike" safe and apparently happy after the fire.  They have high hopes they'll find the others in the coming days.

TPWD's website on horned lizards says this: 
"Everyone loves horny toads, but for many Texans the fierce-looking yet amiable reptile is only a fond childhood memory." And,  "Once common throughout most of the state, the horny toad (or Texas Horned Lizard) has disappeared from many parts of its former range over the past 30 years. Its disappearance has been blamed on many factors, including collection for the pet trade, spread of the red imported fire ant, changes in land use, and environmental contaminants. For the most part, however, the decline of the Texas Horned Lizard has remained a mystery with little understanding of the management actions that could be taken to restore it."

The Turners and their staff have been cultivating the lizards' habitat and protecting the harvester ants the lizards like to eat.  Their work has paid off, and they've seen 1-2 new lizards each year.  The The Turner organize group trips on the nature, history and culture of West Texas, Mexico and the rest of the Southwest from their Lodge based in Fort Davis; so they have a special interest in preservation of the horned lizard.  You can read more about TPWD's Horned Lizard Watch here.

The Lodge and cabins are open to visitors, as are the restaurants and other hotels, motels, and B&Bs in Fort Davis.

Check out the Lodge's facebook page here, and their website here!

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