Archive for April 12th, 2010

TPW TV–Horned Lizards & Old RIP

Monday, April 12th, 2010

This is Passport to Texas

Horned lizards take center stage this month on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Television series. Including a legend named Old Rip. Producer Alan Fisher explains.

They’re an iconic animal of Texas, but they’re disappearing. And you don’t find them as often as you used to in much of the state. There’s a group of biologists doing research now on healthy populations of horned lizards.

One thing we’re trying to do is to understand something about these populations that are still left; if there are certain reasons they’ve managed to hang on…and what that could tell us about conservation and maybe restoration of horned lizards.

Well, there’s one horned lizard that seems to have been around quite a long time under the radar—actually under a lot of concrete.

The legend of Old Rip…Old Rip was maybe the most famous horned lizard of all time. He spent 31 years, so the story goes, sealed in the cornerstone of the Eastland County Courthouse near Abilene.

He’s our most famous citizen. He’s dead. But he’s still our most famous citizen.

Old Rip is quite a tourist draw. He was well documented historically—there are lots of photos of Old Rip–he met the president. But today, old Rip rests peacefully in a casket. And he can be viewed from the outside of the courthouse.

There’s the horned frog. Where? Just there. He sleeps all the time.

He seems to have held up pretty well after 80 years.

Thanks, Alan.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.