Endangered Species: Houston Toad

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

[Call of the Houston toad]

That sound is the Houston toad. And it’s become a very rare sound over the past two decades. Years of drought and habitat destruction have diminished the Houston toad population to only a few hundred.

Michael Forstner is a professor at Texas State University. And through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Landowner Incentive Program (L.I.P.), he’s working with private landowners in Bastrop County to restore habitat for the Houston toad.

Most of the people in Bastrop want to live in Bastrop County because it looks a certain way. And if it keeps looking like the lost pines, we keep the toad.

So what do these “lost pines” look like?

Imagine a cathedral forest. Most of the habitat that we find Houston toads doing the best in, whatever that means for its current levels, are gallery forests. Those are the forests that you see in the images for computer desktop wallpapers. Those are large-trunked trees with open space beneath them.

By planting the fast-growing loblolly pine trees, a habitat can be restored in about twenty years.

So if current efforts are successful, Forstner says the Houston toad population could make a comeback.

The best thing about the Houston toad is they make 6,000 eggs at a time. Those babies just need a place to grow up.

That’s our show…with research and writing help from Gretchen Mahan. You can find more information on passporttotexas.org. For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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