Bad Lizard Math

Whenever you write a book you always end up with a few chapters that you love that your editor suggests you cut and most of the time you argue about it until one of you caves.  This was one of those chapters from Furiously Happy and it was one of my favorites but it had to be cut both because the book was already too long and also because most everyone who read it was like, “What the fuck is a horny toad?”  I assumed that’s because all the people who read it were from New York but then I went on twitter and asked people if they knew what a horny toad was and 90% of them were like, “Uh…Overly sensual frogs?” and 10% were like, “Sure.  Those mostly extinct lizards that were all over in the 70’s that squirt blood out of their eyes and sleep on you?” and then the other 90% were like, “WHAT?  Are you guys high right now?”  And yes, most of us were, but that’s not the point.

The point is that if horny toads were not endangered this chapter might have been relevant enough to be in the book, but since they are almost extinct I had to cut this chapter.  But I still think I should share it because this is a good lesson in why we need to protect endangered animals.  Because otherwise it makes book-writing more difficult for me.  And other reasons, probably.

So here is a bonus chapter that never got published for those of you who loved, or have yet to discover Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.
The 40th Argument I Had With Victor This Week:


Victor: That’s not a horny toad.

Me: The fuck it isn’t.

Victor: Horny toads are rounder. That’s a Texas Spiny Lizard. You can buy them at the pet store. Horny toads are endangered. That’s why you never see them anymore.

Me: Huh. You know what else you never see anymore? Tumbleweeds. Where have all the tumbleweeds gone? I can only assume they’re with the horny-toads. Here’s a thought: Maybe horny toads eat tumbleweeds. That would explain a lot.

Victor: Not really.

Me: Remember when you were a kid and you’d find horny toads all over the place and then paralyze them by rubbing their bellies and then they’d fall asleep in your hands like teeny lizard baby dolls?

Victor: Um…sorta?

Me: And then your mom would yell, “Take that horny toad outside before it squirts eye blood all over the carpet!” and you’d be like “Calm the shit down, mom. I’ve paralyzed it with my love.

Victor: No.

Me: Well, you obviously didn’t say the last part out loud because you’d get slapped.

Victor: No. I mean, I don’t think a lizard ever spit blood out of its eyes at me.

Me: Really? Are you sure you’re really from Texas?

Victor: Well, I recognized what wasn’t a horny toad, so yeah...I think I just passed my citizenship test.

Me: It makes me sad that horny toads aren’t around any more. I want to find some and start breeding with them.

Victor: Questionable phrasing.

Me: Frankly, I don’t understand why people aren’t breeding horny toads all the time. They’re obviously already aroused.

Victor: You do realize that “horny” is really short for “horned ” because of the spikes all over their bodies, right?

Me: Well, I still don’t understand why they aren’t having sex as much as they used to. Although, it would probably be hard to mount someone who had jagged spikes all over her. God. No wonder they’re so horny.

Victor: Again, that doesn’t mean-

Me: Oh, and they’re really easily paralyzed when you rub their tummies so they probably get stunned during sex all the time. Stunned and stabbed. No one wants that. That sounds like the worst porno ever.

Victor: Huh.

Me: OMG, we should make tiny little sweater-vests for them. And maybe some lizard cologne to get them in the mood.

Victor: You’ve thought way too much about this.

Me: And special lighting. MOOD LIGHTING. And I’d teach the horny toads to strut. I’d be like “Work it, girl!”

Victor: I don’t think lizards have anything to work.

Me: Well, I’d say it anyway to build up their self-esteem. Because confidence is sexy.

Victor: Stop.

Me: They need my help, Victor. Those horny toads are a hot mess right now and they need to get their shit together. And I can help them. Maybe give them tiny hats? Like bonnets for girls and Stetsons for boys. Or vice versa. I don’t want to encourage stereotypes. Just whatever keeps them from stabbing each other in the neck when they’re snogging.

Victor: You’re totally high right now, aren’t you?

Me: If I were high I’d physically try to mate them like you do with Barbie and Ken dolls. But instead I’m just going to give them all the tools and be like, “I did this for you so don’t fuck it up, okay? Make some babies, yo.” I just need some horny toads. I’d be like, “HEY LIZARDS: LET ME HELP YOU HELP YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU’RE RUINING LIZARDS FOR EVERYONE.”

Victor: For everyone?

Me: Well, for some of us. I miss the horny toads. I have sad lizard nostalgia. And our daughter will never know what it’s like to paralyze a lizard that can shoot blood out of its eyes.

Victor: So, you want to dress lizards up in sweater-vests for humanitarian reasons?


Victor: Got it. Going to sleep now.

Me: Remind me in the morning to learn how to knit.

Victor: I’ll get right on that.

PS. He totally did not remind me. Luckily though, I sent myself a voicemail saying, “DON’T FORGET TO FIND OUT HOW TO KNIT TINY SWEATERS SO LIZARDS CAN HAVE SEX BETTER” but then I forgot about it until I realized that I had 32 voicemails, and when I checked them in the movie theater during the previews I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off of speaker-mode so I got some weird looks, but then I explained “I’m a scientist” and then people looked less alarmed. I assume. I stopped looking because I didn’t want to have to deal with follow-up questions, and because at that same moment it occurred to me that maybe it’s not just a matter of the horny toad dudes not wanting to get stabbed in the junk. Maybe it’s also because horny toad newborns come out with full spikes and that would probably wreck a vagina. So probably after one baby the mama lizard is like, “Hey, you know what? We’re good. One is plenty.” I don’t know how to solve this, but I think it involves lizard-vaginoplasty.

Winner: No one wins when awesome lizards keep halving their population every generation. That’s just bad lizard math.

UPDATED: Shout-out to everyone who shared this with me today:

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 1.11.14 PM

They’re so cute I just want to eat them up.  Which would be counter-intuitive and is not to be taken literally.

257 thoughts on “Bad Lizard Math

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I remember reading about horny toads when I was in high school in one of those endangered animals packets of the month things…and I giggled profusely. That’s about all I have to tribute here.

    No. Wait. Also, Victor reminds me a lot of Brian. I feel your pain.

  2. I didn’t know they were nearly extinct. Now I’ll have to be more careful when I mow the lawn.

  3. Quick point, I grew up exclusively north of the Mason-Dixon and I know what a Horny Toad is. Then again, I work in two science museums, am a HUGE nerd, and was the kid who brought home amphibians and reptiles from camp. So, there you go. Whatever that proves.

  4. GREAT HORNY TOADS, didn’t Yosemite Sam teach all of us about them?

  5. I can’t believe they would reject something of yours as “too weird”. Isn’t that the whole point of your writing and why we love you so much? <3

  6. I miss horney toads too Jenny. They were neat little critters. I feel sorry for those folks who will never know a wild horney toad. Alas I am getting old.

  7. I saw horny toads all the time when I lived in New Mexico (2004-2008). Maybe they’ve all moved from Texas to New Mexico. Maybe they were all like, “Hey, Bob! Let’s go to the Land of Enchantment!”

    And maybe the second horny toad said, “My name’s not Bob. We’ve been friends forever. How do you not know my name?”

    Now I want to finish the story of those two, but I am supposed to work.

  8. The fact that only 10% of people knew about horny toads makes me really sad. Until I begin to wonder if a lot of other people were just being sarcastic/trying to be funny about “horny” toads.

    Conservation! Yeah! But I feel like artificial lizard insemination might be a more secure route. I feel like they can make fake eggs to grow the babies in.

    … I support your lizard initiatives.

  9. I’ve seen a horned toad! I was on a hike here in Arizona and saw it. Took a picture and everything. It didn’t shoot blood at me. In fact, I didn’t believe that tidbit of info when my boyfriend told me and made him Google that in the desert to prove his truthiness. He was very truthy.

  10. Sad update: if you google “horny toad dresses” you do not receive links to clothing lines for endangered toads.

  11. I think your math checks out. My mathiness is not what it used to be. I have never lived in Texas but any kid worth their salt knows a horny toad because it is the best amphibian to do a science project on. Name includes the word horny. Blood spurting eyes. The next generation is totally missing out. RIP Horny Toad. RIP.

  12. I LOVE horny toads. And last summer I found one out at my house. First one I’ve seen in like 10 years.

    Oh, and don’t worry about the tumbleweeds. They’ve just migrated up here to the Panhandle. They’re doing great. Breeding like rabbits. Blocking roads with their hoards of baby tumbleweeds. It’s great. I’d like it better if the horny toads were breeding like rabbits. They’re way more fun than stupid tumbleweeds.

    PS. “Breeding like rabbits” is such a weird expression.

  13. I mean, don’t REALLY fire her. Just fake fire her for a few minutes.

    The world NEEDS these fights published.

  14. OH.MY.GOD. Jenny! We are on the same wavelength! In November 9, 2014 I wrote a post about a frog in a sweater vest. I saw it in a dream. Here’s the link so you know it’s true:
    Full disclosure– my frog was a bullfrog. And I killed the poor thing with Method spray cleaner. And disappointingly, I couldn’t find any Google images of frogs in sweater vests so obviously there is pent up demand that is not being met. Some creative person with access to frogs and sweaters needs to get on this stat!

  15. Clearly no one is furiously happy in this story so it explains why it didn’t make the book.

    If only you had learned how to knit….

  16. Why would they cut this? Seriously. It’s great. There are squirrels with mange where I live and I always want to knit them sweaters.
    Just as an extra thought, wouldn’t the toads need more like armor instead of sweaters? I feel like maybe their horns would poke through the sweaters. Not to negate your brilliant idea. 🙂

  17. I totally spent my youth catching horney toads! (And I know that sounds weird to those who didn’t grow up here, but it’s true.)

    (Me too. Remember when you’d find baby horny toads? That was always like a tiny miracle. So cute. ~ Jenny)

  18. I’ve never seen a horny toad, but I now want to knit little jumpers for them so that I will get the chance to see one
    Admittedly I can’t knit, so I need someone to teach me how to knit first, but then I will make them little jumpers

  19. OMG I am thinking about vaginaplasty for lizards all while the pet python is wheezing next to me in bed. I think the python is still a virgin. Plus there’s only one outlet way down at the piddly end of the snake… one big door that opens like a C130 for poop and calcium lumps and piddle to come out so I think there may not even be a vagina. Also she never gets her period or is more irritable than usual. I got her to tolerate a santa hat once but she had no interest in winter leggings as snake sweaters. So I’ve been the SnakesMommy for 26+ years and never once knitted her anything. Bring on the Knitshaming.

  20. Where do we send the horny toad sweater donations? Should we picket the White House for support? This post was too funny!

  21. My uncle was in the newspaper when he was a kid in the ’70s for finding a horny toad here in Montgomery, Alabama. It was by the train tracks, and the zoo folks decided it had hitched a ride on a train from Texas like a hobo. He still has the clipping with the picture of him holding the horny toad next to his face. I’m guessing he didn’t know it might shoot blood from its eyes onto his face. Freaky looking critters, for sure!

  22. How about reptilian Viagra? Give a lizard a little help, right? Course, it still leaves the spike problem. Viagra and Vodka?

  23. I grew up in the cold frozen mountains of Quebec, and I learned about horned toads because obviously blood-out-the-eyes is going to capture children’s attention. I credit/blame the teachers.


    P.S. In the 70’s I wasn’t in Texas OR alive for that matter, but I want to time travel so that I can have the awesome experience of everything you just described. And my kids would LOVE that shit. Please, Jenny, keep up the good work for the kids.

  25. I didn’t realize horny toads were endangered, but it has been like 20 yrs since I’ve been to the desert.

  26. I didn’t know horny toads were endangered! We had them in southern California too. I love explaining the bloody eyes thing 🙂

  27. I grew up in Texas and really loved horny toads. This fills me with nostalgia. You’re the best.

  28. When I visited my cousin in Texas in the late 1960s, we would go around collecting horny toads and put them in a basket. We would then let them go. I would never hurt a toad or snake or
    lizard or frog, etc……. It is very sad to think of permanently losing a species.

  29. Jenny…I think we just need a book full of rejected chapters from your first 2 books. You could call it something like “Mismatched Musings from My Mental Memory” or some such.

  30. When I was a kid we found a 3 legged horny toad. Took him home and he lived in our garden for about 2 months.
    Then one day he left the safety of our fenced yard and wandered over a couple houses. I found him 4 days later where some boys had found him and proceeded to torture him to death.
    I assume they are serial killers now.

  31. There are a lot of horny toads in Queensland. You see them in pairs on roads and sadly it become a sport to see how many of them you could squish when driving. Cane toads (Bufo marinus) are pests in Australia so only a very few object to them being killed.

  32. I lived in Texas as a child, and I know what a horny toad is, and THIS chapter SHOULD have been in the book. Just think of all the people who could have been educated about the endangered species, and the difference between horny and horned. Voila.

  33. OMG, I’ve been waiting for this ever since St Louis in Nov. and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT!!! Wish I could find the petrified one my dad used to have. Dead petrified, not scared petrified!

  34. Dude, the X-Files had an episode this season about a “were-horny toad.” It was amazing. If you are into that kind of thing (horny toads). Which obviously you are. Perhaps they have almost gone extinct because during the day they are mild mannered men and women that only turn back into horny toads during the full moon?

  35. It’s that feeling when you finish a book and you’re sad because it’s over and you weren’t ready for it to be over, and even though you can read it again, it’s never as good as the first time and then HOLY SHIT!!! NEW CHAPTER!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  36. Dinosaurs with horns: Extinct. Toads with horns: Scarce. Coincidence? I DON’T THINK SO!

    (Also, unicorns. Just saying. ~ Jenny)

  37. Horny toads were awesome. I used to catch them all the time and my mom would find them in the bathtub or whatever and get annoyed.

    I went through a phase where before I released them I’d glue some glitter on their back first, because horny toads needed bling I guess. I would imagine that made them highly visible to predators. This is why they’re endangered now, isn’t it? Sorry y’all. (Actually, I blame Ranger Rick, because I think I was trying to tag the lizards like I read about scientists doing to animals in field studies. I just didn’t have access to tiny horny toad radio tracking collars, so obviously applying green glitter glue in the shape of a peace sign was my best option.)

  38. I live in Fort Worth so I have seen plenty of horned frogs. None of real however. I mean they aren’t zombies either. They just wear purple and none of them spurted blood from their eyes but come close to it at any sporting event if they lose. Kinda disappointed that your NYC publisher didn’t understand the TCU mascot.

  39. I grew up in Michigan and I know what a horny toad is. But I don’t know why I know and now I’m questioning some things.

  40. I say they should’ve let you keep the chapter, ’cause it’s educational and encourages people to look things up on wikipedia. (Also, not Texan, but I totally remember reading about horny toads waaaaaay back in grade school.)

  41. I live in Arizona, I still find horny toads pretty often. I didn’t even know they were endangered! Also, ALL the tumbleweeds are here too. So apparently everything is just coming to Arizona LOL.
    I do remember that I had a pet horny toad as a kid, but my mom said it was a secret because you weren’t allowed to have them as pets….so maybe I SHOULD have known they were endangered…

  42. I didn’t even realize that they were endangered. Totally don’t remember the whole blood out of their eyes thing. Bring back the horny toads!

  43. I so miss horny toads! I grew up in Oklahoma and we played with them all the time. But then we moved to the Gulf Coast in Alabama. Crabs don’t like to be cuddled and have their bellies rubbed. Just an FYI.

  44. I remember them from a childhood in Nevada. I had no idea they were endangered. This makes me sad. Now I have to go eat a sad pint of ice cream. Thanks Obama.

  45. I so miss horny toads! I grew up in Oklahoma and we played with them all the time. But then we moved to the Gulf Coast in Alabama. Crabs don’t like to be cuddled and have their bellies rubbed. Just an FYI.

  46. You might just be the most awesome person ever, which I guess makes Victor awesome because at least he knew enough to marry you, so he’s awesome-by-proxy.

  47. Jenny, I love you so hard right now. I just snorted Coke outta my nose, which is totally opposite of what I should be doing.

    …wait. That sounded different in my head. Oh well. Its out there now.

  48. Seems like sweaters on horny toads could lead to a velcro effect, with lots of horny toads globbing together and forming hornyToadTumbleweeds. Win win?

  49. I love horny toads! I grew up in southern Utah (by Bryce Canyon). And we caught at least 2 or 3 a day. They were all over in the sagebrush, big fat ones to babies. We would play with them then turn them loose. You can put them in trance when you rub there belly. Wish all kids had that much fun. Love your books😊

  50. I totally remember horny toads. We used to have them show up in our backyard all the time. Yes, I miss them as well.

  51. I think we all need a shirt that says “I’M DOING IT FOR THE CHILDREN, VICTOR!” in really large font… like those FRANKIE SAY NO WAR shirts from the 80’s. But more fun… maybe with a unicorn jumping out of the O or something.

  52. So bumbed this didn’t make the cut.

    Thank you for sharing it here.

    Made my day.

  53. I remember those from visiting family in Oklahoma when I was a kid – I did rub their tummies but didn’t know about the blood-squirting thing. I must have been a horny toad whisperer (also questionable phrasing).

  54. quote from O Brother where art thou?

    Delmar O’Donnell: Them syreens did this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.

  55. That was freaking hilarious. I live in NC and I don’t think we have those here or ever have? Also, I’m not a scientist or mathematician but it is a frog or a lizard? Not sure, but just to let you know the female horney toads, either way, wouldn’t have to have vaginoplasty because lizards have eggs and frogs have tadpoles so… Anyway that wouldn’t be a problem. Now, I maybe wrong but I think the males falling asleep during mating may possibly be an issue? But then human men have that issue but only after they’ve finished and before we’re done, but us humans aren’t extinct so maybe there’s hope for the horney toads after all. I just started this blogging thing and am no where close to as funny as you but I’m truly a fan of yours. I want to be like you when I grow up! Thanks for sharing that missing chapter. I think we all enjoyed it.

  56. TCU should definitely recruit you to make sweaters for all their horned frog statues! I’ve loved horny toads ever since I went to TCU. It’s a highly underrated mascot that needs your chapter to increase public awareness of its awesomeness!

  57. My grandfather told my mom if she kept her Horny Toad in a box and kept messing with it (probably shaking it too much) that it’d turn into a rock. Late one night he swapped the lizard for a rock and my mom believed him. It wasn’t until years later (like middle-high school) when she got in an argument with her teacher about it that my grandfather finally had to tell her the truth.

  58. I was going to comment and say that, since I feel very strongly this should have been in the book (I totally knew what a horny toad was, though I am not from Texas, so I never paralyzed one… I did accidentally kill a frog once when I left it in a bucket on a slide when Mom called me in for lunch. It was very traumatizing for me. Though not as much as it was for the frog.)…where was I…

    Right. So I was gonna comment and ask if I could print this and put it in my copy of Furiously Happy, but then I remembered it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission, so I just went ahead and printed it.

    I hope you can forgive me?

  59. I loved Horny Toads as a kid and my folks always let us bring them in and play with ’em for awhile before they rescue the poor paralyzed lizard and put them back outside. Since it was my dad who taught us how to freeze them, it was his fault anyway(like when I got my mouth washed out with soap for the first time, totally ,Daddy’s fault).

    Just to be fair to Victor lizards lay eggs not each other.

  60. These toads deserve to be on the endangered list. Bleeding out of their eyes to scare a predator? WTF. That would be like someone breaking into my house to rape me and then me slitting my wrists to scare them away. Hmmm, NO! When you are being attacked it behooves you to keep as much of your blood in your body as possible. I say, they Horny Toad must go.

  61. I totally remember horny toads! I grew up in Southern California. I had a lizard for a pet….Sorry of …I caught it, put it in a show box I had decorated with leaves and rocks and grass and twigs, and it actually stayed there voluntarily for a couple of days.

    Also, I think they lay eggs so the whole horny newborn thing probably isn’t an issue…

  62. I’m from Illinois, so I had no idea what this was about, so I google imaged horny toad. I got a bunch of pictures of lizards that looked nothing like toads. So I google imaged horny toad eye blood, to try to see the trick. THAT’S when google popped up with a warning that horny toad eye blood may result in some adult content and I’d have to change my safesearch settings. Now I’m scared. Horny toad was fine, but there are a bunch of people out there making eye blood porn that I need to be warned against.

  63. They have (had?!) loads in California. I used to catch them at my gramma’ house at Pismo Beach. May I never knew this was a problem (vanishing horny toads!) Maybe they just all got beach houses in Cali and that’s why you never see them? And they’re too busy escaping the desert climate and learning to surf to make spikey babies.

  64. Ive heard of them!!!🐸💓🐸
    And i get where you’re comin from!#itsahornytoadjenny

  65. Now this right here should’ve been a creature on Star Trek. YIKES!! The blood and the spikes are fabulous.

  66. LOVE bonus chapters – thank you! As for the horny toads (yes, I knew what they were), I think the hipsters are really to blame. I google-image-search “Texas Spiny Lizard sweater vest” and the results have a respectable number of lizard pics (and a decent number of Bloggess pics too), BUT if you google-image-search “Horny toads sweater vest” then you get only pics of hipsters in cardigans. For Shame!

  67. No weirder than the rest of your books. I’m Dutch, so I never met a horny toad in my life (not counting exes) but they were mentioned in the new X Files recently. So now the Whole World knows about them and their bloodsquirting ways. Maybe include this in a third book? With thanks to Mulder & Scully for proving the editor wrong… 🙂

  68. I can’t believe something this important was left out of the book! Thanks goodness you put it on your blog!

  69. I grew up in the panhandle in the late 70s/ early 80’s. Catching horny toads was a highlight of my youth. We had a blast going out in the fields to look for them. My city kids will never understand what it’s like to grow up in a small farming community. My grandparents had a log cabin on their farm that served as our headquarters. I do not know how many horny toads met their demise being taken in the log cabin and forgotten about. I had an assortment of horny toads, lady bugs, June bugs and locust shells.

  70. “Me: Huh. You know what else you never see anymore? Tumbleweeds. Where have all the tumbleweeds gone? I can only assume they’re with the horny-toads. Here’s a thought: Maybe horny toads eat tumbleweeds. That would explain a lot.”

    Southern California here. Haven’t seen a horny toad with my own eyes since the 1960s, but tumbleweeds we’ve got. Lots and lots of them. Maybe we have all of yours, too? Seriously, come and get all you want – I don’t think anyone will even notice a couple million of ’em missing.

  71. I think the horny toads need some mood music,maybe Justin Timberlake or Marvin Gaye,depending on their age of course.

  72. I vaguely remember horny toads from when we lived in Texas. They were odd. And the ones in Oklahoma where you could gently squish them and they’d ooze poisonous foam out their backs. Or maybe it was just paralyzing foam. What the FUCK is going on with toads?

  73. I think all animals with horns should hereby be referred to as horny. Horny rhinos, long-horny sheep.

    Oh, yeah, Barbie and Ken totally did it in my room.

  74. OK, so I live in Northern Arizona, but before I moved here I’d lived the entirety of my 36 years in Portland Oregon. One morning I went out onto my deck here and saw my dog apparently smelling a small dinosaur. I found this to be fairly alarming, so I immediately called a friend who actually grew up in these parts and frantically tried to explain the situation. He laughed and told me that it was “just a horny toad”. He said relax, they’re actually very laid back and easy going. And the creature backed up this claim by letting me get frighteningly (to me) close to it in order to snap a pic. Said friend said it was the biggest one he’d seen in years. So I guess that’s good. I had no idea about the whole blood squirting eye thing- thank God for that! And about tumbleweeds, look online. It’s weird but true that there are multiple websites that are basically virtual tumbleweed stores, and they charge A LOT of money for the things! My mom and I had come across one of these websites long before I lived here, so I had the advantage of understanding that they are not just big ol’ dried up blowy bushy twiggy balls, but are actually a seemingly realistic money making opportunity! When I shared this info with my friend here, and tried to convince him that we should figure out how to reap the benefits of this, while also saving tumbleweeds from certain demise and instead sending them to loving (and apparently wealthy) homes, he was overly practical and pointed out challenges to figure out, such as how to store, inventory, ship, and market said investments. Anyway, people like me, who didn’t grow up anywhere remotely desert-like are apparently suckers for this stuff. …and/or terrified by the dinosaurish qualities of them…laid back or otherwise. So much to know in this world!

    PS- I just finished “Furiously Happy” last night. I think that you may well be brilliant, and have definitely given me some hope that those of us who like you, tend to see the world a bit differently can find a way to embrace our lovely oddities while still managing to coexist with “the others” (who in my opinion are actually the odd ones. There just happens to be more of them than of us.).

  75. My grandfather kept a toad at work – I thought it was a horny toad, but from the picture I believe I was wrong. I’ve posted the picture on FB if you’d like to read about it. My Pawpaw was awesome. A self educated technician who did research on a variety of things over his career. But he really liked the toad. I was only five then and I remember him talking about it.

  76. I miss the horny toads too. As a kid growing up in the desolate tiny town of Needles, CA, we actually had horny toad races put on by the city. Why the hell did I ever get rid of my commemorative race t shirt?!?

  77. As an ecologist that works on endangered species, I welcome your ideas for species recovery and think you should definitely fire that editor of yours. 🙂 Save the horny toads!!!

  78. I love how I can start reading anywhere in the middle of whatever you’ve written and go, “Huh? Where the heck did THAT come from?” Which makes me back up to the beginning, which is probably where I should have started to begin with (but who’s got the time?) and not worry at all about spending time(that I’m too broke to spend) reading your blog instead of doing what I should be doing (like looking busy at work). And there I sit, reading the whole convoluted yet perfectly understandable story, like this one about horny toads. And I’m never disappointed.

    I did wonder, as I was reading: do you remember these entire conversations with Victor? Because if so, you’ve got a stellar memory. Or do you carry around a mini-recorder, or do you text madly as your husband is trying to have a conversation with you, say, in bed, when he’s really trying to just get some shut-eye?

  79. I grew up in the California desert. Horny toads were way too easy to catch. That was their downfall. They were my favorite when I was a kid.

  80. I love you, Jenny Lawson. But not in a weird way. In the way that makes me smile from deep in my heart and laugh so loud I get strange looks at the orthodontist’s office. That is totally not weird at all.

  81. I will gladly teach you how to knit! I’ve loved the looks i got from my greyhound in the past when subjecting her to adorable pointy snoods. I also dressed her up in my hula gear once but that’s neither here nor there. Are horny toads dignified looking? Because if they are, i could whip up a tiny sweater pattern that looks like a tux. If not – hoodies. One of us is going to have to learn how to teleport first, though, because Oregon to Texas is a wee bit of a commute.

  82. Sweet Jesus, Everett. They left his heart. Them syreens done this to Pete. They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.

  83. They call them horned lizards now. I remembered that AFTER I finished giving a talk to my daughter’s high school wildlife class. It was one of my not-so-awesome moments, but she is still speaking to me.

    I remember horny toads when I was a kid. I read about them. They are next to impossible to keep in captivity because they are highly specialized to eat certain kinds of ants. Otherwise, I’d beg my boss to get them. We have some lizards that are related to the Texas Spiny Lizard. People do mistake them for horned lizards all the time. They do push ups to show off for the ladies.

  84. I’m a scientist. Classic excuse for just about anything, except for listening to your voicemails in a movie theater.

  85. What about sand lions? I never see the little funnels in the sand anymore. Or was that an Oklahoma thing?

  86. We have Moustache Toads in Canada, who use the horns around their mouths to fight for mates, then the horns fall off. Kind of like a weird orgasm. If you get good at knitting, maybe you could make them toques.

  87. I just can’t understand why your ed would not allow this chapter. It’s hilarious, well researched, contains sound viewpoints, covers all angles. Most lizards lay eggs, although where I come from it’s very cold so the local skinks adapted and now carry babies. Thank heavens they’re smooth skinned.

  88. Thank you. I needed that today. I remember horn toads. You are not alone!

  89. I am soooo glad I got to read the bonus chapter! And the polled the wrong people. I’m a northerner and I certainly have heard of horny toads. I’m envious of your paralyzation feat.

  90. The decline of hit you toads may be my fault. When I was six I tried to domesticate two horny toads I’d caught by placing them in an atrium with desert dirt and desert plants and Barbie house furniture. If I’d only known how to knit (or what sex was) I could’ve saved the species.

  91. I live in Canada and have never seen a horny toad, but I KNOW they exist because Elton John sang about the “horney-backed toad” in his song “goodbye to Yellowbrick Road”. So, next time, poll Elton John fans.

  92. Getting horny toads to mate sounds a lot like getting pandas to mate: difficult and unlikely.

  93. I almost was a horny toad. I had a scholarship to TCU but ended up
    Coming north instead. My husband refused to believ that the TCU Macon was called a horny toad. He questioned my memory

  94. I don’t think horny toads went extinct. I think they evolved into those little chihuahuas that hump your ankle because the sock makes them think it’s another horny toad in a sweater.

  95. I know what a horny toad is and I’m from Canada, but I was a super weird kid.

    Also Swype just auto corrected “horny” to “goodbye”. Prophetic. Or I have fat fingers. One of those.

  96. When I was little my family often went to a nearby quarry for fun (I’m from Oklahoma, we were poor, and it was the 70’s; there wasn’t a lot to do), and one of my sisters was like some kind of expert at catching lizards and horny toads. I was too little and too afraid of everything to try catching them myself but we brought a horny toad home on just about every trip, and everyone would take turns holding it and putting it to sleep. I have no idea what happened to them after that … I sincerely hope my family is not partially responsible for making horny toads endangered because that would really suck.

    Thank you so much for posting this chapter! I totally support your plan to help horny toads get it on and make more horny toads so future generations can know the joy of putting them to sleep. That sounds very wrong but I’m sure you understand. 🙂

  97. People don’t know what a horny toad is? Has nobody watched Old Yeller!?

  98. I lived in the desert in Reno and there were horny toads everywhere. We used to catch them all the time then let them go later. When I was about 6 or so I accidentally killed one because it was a very hot day and I thought he would like to go for a swim to cool off. 🙁 I still feel bad about that.

  99. I live in Vegas and we used to catch them and keep them as pets. I didn’t even realize they were extinct, but now that you mention it…I haven’t seen one in years. More importantly…why would they leave this out of your book?? It’s hilarious!

  100. THANK YOU. We visited my father-in-law after he moved to Texas and brought him a t-shirt from Horny Toad Harley Davidson. The cartoon on it was Duck Dynasty, except with horny toads. Aaaaaand he wouldn’t wear it because it was ‘inappropriate’ and he claims that everyone actually calls them ‘horned toads’. I call BS.

  101. The X-Files and Darin Morgan have brought back the Horny Toad! At least, the were-horny toad. Please tell me you saw that episode, it was fabulous.

  102. When I was a lad of the tender age of 12, I caught a horny toad (and that’s what we called them) in the dry wash near where I lived. She laid 16 eggs of which none hatched. I eventually set her free where I had caught her. This was in Los Angeles, just so you know they lived there as well.

  103. I took the opprotunity to read about both horny toads and spiny lizards. My favorite part:
    “The male Texas spiny lizard also has a peculiar habit when challenged by another male for its territory. The two males will have a push up contest, or so it seems. Both males will begin doing push ups until one of them gives up and runs away.”

    Sounds like an excellent method of conflict resolution.

  104. Jenny, Did you know that horny toads and tumbleweed are both Elton John references? So I think you should contact Elton and ask him about both of them. If anyone knows, he does! I think he lives in Atlanta. Maybe you could just show up at his house. He’s definitely going to want to help with the horny toads!

  105. I grew up in Arizona. I remember horny toads. I never saw one in the wild, and never actually realized they were endangered (in Arizona, they’re more concerned about the endangered Gila monster, I guess, when it comes to rare lizards). But I know what they are and what they look like, for heaven’s sake. Reminds me of a Texan friend I had who had to explain to her insurance company rep in Chicago how her car’s front end had been totally destroyed by a tumbleweed. Seriously, she said, the trunk was about five inches across. =I= believed her. Tumbleweeds can be vicious. But you’re right about those, too. I haven’t seen one in a long time, now you mention it…. I thought it was just ’cause I live in the middle of the city.

  106. Thank you Jenny. I’ve been fighting thru a bout of depression and you made me laugh for the first time in days. Love you and your quirky humor.

  107. People really don’t know what horny toads are? I thought everyone saw O Brother Where Art Thou

  108. YouTube has Everything You Wanted To Know About Horny Toads But Were Afraid To Ask.s

  109. I grew up in Oklahoma and Texas and Jenny…I MISS HORNY TOADS TOO!

    Laying on the sandy red soil, and watching them flit about as the hot searing southwestern sun beat down upon my back. They are soooooo CUTE, and it is sad they are endangered.

    Then you had to mention tumbleweeds, OMG i wanna cry I am soo homesick for the southwest!

    But I am smiling cause I close my eyes and I am back in the southwestern sun and it feels fabulous…cause in my mind I am not getting burnt and blistered, just warm and toasty!

  110. This was really really funny.. I guess your blog is the dose of anti depresants every morning for me.. Love.. Monika..

  111. I just read this aloud to my wife and ended with a deep sigh, stating “I’m tired”. She replied “Imagine how Victor feels”. So there’s ONE in his court, anyway…

  112. You have no idea how much I needed that laugh this week… awesome stuff there.

  113. Are horny toad vaginas saved by the fact that lizards are reptiles and lay eggs?

  114. I have always loved all reptiles. I live in the woods in Washington state, I can hear the frogs singing now, even over the sound of the pouring rain. Unfortunately we don’t have horn toads here. I do have lots of other toads,but when you rub their tummies they just relax and pee on your hand. Thanks for a new chapter of Furiously Happy. For Louise the python mom,you can tell what sex they are by looking at the vent (that hole where everything comes out) males have little residual claws on either side and the females don’t.

  115. I have always loved all reptiles. I live in the woods in Washington state, I can hear the frogs singing now, even over the sound of the pouring rain. Unfortunately we don’t have horn toads here. I do have lots of other toads,but when you rub their tummies they just relax and pee on your hand. Thanks for a new chapter of Furiously Happy. For Louise the python mom,you can tell what sex they are by looking at the vent (that hole where everything comes out) males have little residual claws on either side and the females don’t.

  116. Thank you for posting! I have been in debilitating untreatable pain (migraine + neck injury) these past few days and this blog continues to save my sanity. And I know that you have also said you’ve also had a spike in your pain level too, and unfortunately painkillers don’t always work but reading your stories always put a smile on my face and instead of being in tears from the pain, I have tears in my eyes from laughing. You are the best painkiller! Xoxo from Toronto

  117. I grew up many states North of you & I always knew of horny toads. Though, I must admit that I did not, until recently, know about the eye/blood thing—that’s insane!

    [Your conversations with Victor are always AWESOME!!!]

  118. Sorry about the duplicate post. I’m just learning how to do this. I love your books. Cell phones may not be the easiest way, but I read in bed when I can’t sleep.

  119. I grew up playing with Horny Toads in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado! I didn’t realize that they were almost extinct! I didn’t realize that is where the blood came from either I just thought they were spitting brown stuff at me like the “tobacky” (tobacco that my great-grandmother & great-grandfather used to chew. And we have a couple of towns in Colorado that have a problem in the spring with tumbleweeds that blow into town and block the streets and houses to where people can’t get out of their houses or go anywhere.

  120. From the wikipedia article on the “Texas horned lizard” (which apparently is the Horny Toad, I live very, very far away from Texas – on a different continent in fact – so I never heard of it before):

    “Horned lizards are primarily studied by researchers at TCU, the nearby Fort Worth Zoo, and Dallas Zoo with raw data and fieldwork done by state employees. Since 2010 the Dallas Zoo has been conducting a mark and recapture study on Texas horned lizards on the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, a 4,700 acre preserve located in Fisher County, Texas. Dallas Zoo researchers capture animals, tag them, collect data and release them. The project’s goals are aimed at shedding light on the life history, population density and determining ecological conditions best suited for this threatened species. Further research toward the preservation of horned lizards is funded by sale of horned lizard “Keep Texas Wild” license plates.
    In addition the Dallas Zoo is currently working to establish a captive colony of animals with several key reproductive successes taking place in 2015.”

    So there are people breeding them! 😀 Maybe the Dallas Zoo could use your expertise on facilitating toad sex? Or a least some sweater-vests and hats for the toads? 😉

  121. Well, now I feel kinda fuckin’ cheated. If your editor is so brilliant… why was this cut from “Furiously Happy”? When I was a kid, growing up in “The Ta” I had a pet horny toad. I’d show it to my friends who got all “braggy” about their blue-blooded pet skinks/ or a puny baby garter snake or some damned chameleon their grammy bought for them at the circus… to pin to their fresh-pressed shirt… so we could all marvel at it’s camouflaging skills.
    I named him Henry… after my uncle (although “Aint Ruby” might have been more appropriate now that I think about it). I charged twelve cents to look at him (four pop bottles) and a whole six pack (eighteen cents) if anyone was brave enough to try to pick him up. For a seven year old kid, having over a dollar in change to buy “Big Time” candy bars, with plenty left over for buying the occasional ice-cold “Orange Squeeze”?
    Best… Summer… Ever.

  122. I think I read somewhere that the reason they are endangered is, of course habitat distruction, but also their food source is not as abundant. They eat those big red mound-builder ants. Since the introduction of fire ants, in like the 30s or something, mound-builder ant populations have been on the decline. We all know what DB’s fire ants can be, so that makes sense. Mound-builder ants used to be found all over Texas, but now the only place I’ve seen them is in South Texas (from maybe San Antonio to the valley). Because, horney toads eats those ants, and not fire ants (because nothing can really eat those a-holes), their numbers have been dwindling too.

  123. I saw a shirt that said, “Another day has passed and I haven’t use Algebra once.”
    Can you knit, “Good Lizard Math’ on the little sweaters and vests?

  124. Ooooooooh, now I am nostalgic for when I used to catch horned toads on the edge of the pasture and rub their tummies – wait – maybe that is why I like giving the dog belly rubs so much! It reminds me a simpler time when I liked frogs and lizards (but not snakes – except the eggs cause those bounced like rubber balls) and actively looked for them. Darn the fire ant scourge for killing off their main food source!

  125. Not only do I know what a horny toad is, I think that chapter should totally have been left in the book.

  126. I have had Furiously Happy since the day it was released, AND I have a picture of Rory on my refrigerator. I’ve been nursing that book – because I don’t want it to end! Thank you for sharing this installment and please please share more. Pretty please, with horns on top.

  127. Whenever someone mention horny toads, my mind automatically goes to the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou” When Delmar and Everett wake up the morning after meeting the sirens and Pete is gone, but his clothes are still there. Delmar says “They loved him up and turned him into a horny toad.” after a frog comes out of Pete’s shirt.

    That line happens at around 1:35 ish. LOVE that movie. 🙂

  128. Jenny,
    I love your writing but I’m not sure I can continue reading. My 46 year old husband had a stroke two months ago. One of the things I do daily is read to him. Well, twice when I was reading your book to him he shot his pants.

  129. Sorry, Jenny this is the way with the husband who shit his pants from laughter who is inadequate at posting a comment correctly. So on the bright side you can literally say you are funny as shit. On y side however I’m disturbed that I can laugh while cleaning up man poop. 💩😷😀😱

  130. “If I were high I’d physically try to mate them like you do with Barbie and Ken dolls.”
    Wait… Is “you” the general “you” or Victor-specific? Why haven’t I seen more blogs about Victor and his Barbie and Ken dolls? What does he have against Skipper or is she too young for him? What are his feelings about Blaine? So many questions; no wonder your editor asked you to remove this chapter.

  131. I Miss the horny toads, I think the last time I saw one was in 2000, I don’t remember making them fall asleep though.

  132. I am now educated on horny toads AND I laughed really hard. This chapter should have stayed in!

  133. i thought your book was entirely too short, so now i’m upset with your editor. i am also from north, way north of the mason dixon line, and i have heard of horny toads. i don’t know what’s wrong with all the other people you talked to. i didn’t know about blood shooting our of their eyes, or paralyzing them with love. can you do that with bears?

  134. Silly editors. This chapter speaks for itself and should NOT have been cut. One doesn’t have to actually meet a rare and nearly extinct horny toad in order to imagine what it is. Good scary description, btw.

  135. For the record, ALL math is bad math. Secondly, please suggest an official Texas consultant to your editor’s team. No Texas-specific chapters should be nixed…unless they want to release a special Texan edition to each of your books.

  136. I LOVE this chapter!! Sorry it didn’t make the book, but thanks so much for sharing it.

    I’m in Tucson and I also miss the abundance of horny toads. About 20 years ago, on Mt. Lemmon in springtime, you literally had to be careful where you stepped because little horny toad babies were EVERYWHERE, just waiting to be tummy rub hypnotized. I haven’t seen even one in several years.

    Good, money-saving news, though! Lizard-vaginoplasty is not necessary. Horny toads are egg layers, so, unless the eggs have spikes too, their tender nethers are probably faring just fine.

    Also, while we’re doing lizard math, did you know most male reptiles have TWO penises? They’re called hemipenes. It helps them mount the female from either side, since she’s usually trying to get away. (Maybe your cologne and sweater vests could help with that part.) This seemed like just the sort of information you’d like to know.

    Lastly, I leave you with some horny toad porn (at least is COULD be. Just add some Barry White, maybe.) :

  137. I feel so cool to have read the “lost chapter”!! It’s like deleted scenes at the end of the DVD, but way cooler.

    In high school we all had to learn about the endangered cane toad. What is it about toads that makes them unable to reproduce properly?? I think you should pitch your ideas to the world wildlife foundation. You could rescue toad species everywhere.

  138. I am getting to the end of your second book…..I loved the first one almost as much….. and I can relate to you more than I’d care to admit in public….. Just kidding, you’re awesome! I understand so much of what you’re saying, but I’m not in therapy. Does that mean I should be?? Keep up the good work!

  139. I thought there was a Looney Tunes cartoon that had a “horny toad” that was a toad with bugles coming out of its back and I had the perfect comment to go with a picture of that, but when I Googled “cartoon horny toad” the results that came back made me want to squirt blood out of MY eyes.

  140. This post cracked me up!! I am sad to hear there is a shortage of horny toads. This could be partially my fault, you see, growing up in Texas, with a lawn my father was very fond of, I may have run over a dozen or so a year with the lawnmower. Sorry horny toads!

  141. I saw this today advertised on a neighborhood website and it made me think of the sweater on a horny toad frog. It is a vest to protect your dog from coyotes.
    Thank you for making me laugh!

  142. We saw lots of horny toads when I was living in New Mexico in the late 1990s. Are they really nearly extinct now? I love them! Especially the babies– soo cute with their little grumpy faces! For the record, I have lived most of my life in the north and I know what a horny toad is. That chapter should totally have gone into your book. Thanks for sharing!

  143. So glad you shared the Lost Chapter with us. I am blessed to be an older native Texan. I spent a lot of childhood time playing with horned toads and I miss seeing them. They are awesome reptiles. The laidback Golden Retrievers of the reptile world. With less fur and no drooling.

  144. I remember Horny Toads, AND tumbleweeds! Then again I am close to being 50! I’m sure the lizards and the big tumbly weeds are way older. I feel extinct sometimes, and other times I feel as though I should be on a harness leash–the kind toddlers are attached to at the mall. Not the ones that are sewn into your S&M lizard sweaters; complete with bonnets and cowboy hats! Thanks for another reminder of “the good ol’ days”! We used to have ‘tumble weed’ bonfires at night after pulling and fighting those ouchy things all fuckin’ day long. Reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner—all day prep and cook, gone in 17 minutes! Thanks for the laughing eyes and always the smiling heart.

  145. I think every student at Texas Christian University would dispute that horny toads are endangered. They’d probably say their more dangerous than they are endangered. #GoHornyToads

  146. I have never been to your neck of the woods, yet my spouse and I are both aware of this critter. He has actually been to Texas and seen one and lived to tell about it. Endlessly.

  147. Holy flashback! I remember belly-rubbing horny toads into paralysis too. I never realized that wasn’t a universal childhood moment. Or that they were endangered. 🙁 get to breeding lil dudes and dudettes!

  148. I’m disappointed that Victor doesn’t think confidence is sexy.

    Also, I did not know that horny toads were endangered. I’ve literally never seen one, being from New Jersey.But I did know what they are.

  149. Thank you so much for this. I had a pet horned toad when I was in middle school (a gift from a short-lived admirer). My little guy lived in a brandy snifter in the kitchen. Then, one day he wasn’t moving. My pet mortuary was not up and running yet so I took him outside and with 2 friends who were Southern Baptists (being an Episcopalian I knew I needed stronger support in what I wanted to do) prayed for the little guy to come back to life. The deal was that if God would restore his life I would return him to the desert. Then one of the Baptist boys laid his hand on the toad’s tummy and there was a MIRACLE! So we immediately set off on our bikes into the desert and let him go. I still remember the way he turned and gave me one last look (Was it love or disdain? I’l never know.) before he scuttled away. Years later I heard that these critters hibernate so I guess he was just playing possum in order to make his escape. Sigh.

  150. Where have all the tumbleweeds gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the tumbleweeds gone?
    Long time ago…

    Sorry; that was running through my head while I was reading the entire chapter/post. Now I’ll have a really bizarre earworm going on for the rest of the day.

  151. Sweater vests will only hasten their extinction. Because–really–when have you ever gone googly-eyed over a man in a sweater vest? Sensible shoes come with sweater vests. The Stetson is a much better idea:).

  152. I grew up in Cleveland and absolutely knew what a horny toad was.
    I was convinced that that had to be wrong and that they would lay eggs but I looked it up and YOU’RE RIGHT. They are actually the only horned lizard to live birth. WTH evolution, this was very poor planning on your part.

  153. We don’t have enough literature on horny toads or any other sexy animals that would look fab in sweater vests. You are doing God’s work, lady!

  154. Jumping straight to comments before fully reading, because I have to say YOUR BOOK COULD NEVER BE TOO LONG. Please hire me, and I’ll INSIST you put all the things in your books. Because we can’t get enough.

  155. I worked at at business called Tumbleweed Distributing for seven years. It went out of business in 2006 leaving me unemployed. So at least one tumbleweed is extinct…

  156. Off topic by a lot, but I just need an anonymous post where people aren’t all judgey.After more than 10 years I am really feeling the need to cut myself again, I haven’t yet and don’t plan to but I’m in that hole that seems inescapable. Weird thing is nothing has really changed, except apparently my brain is all angry at nothing now. Damn brain.

    (Breathe deep. It’s gonna be okay. When I get in that place I wear rubber bands on my wrists and snap them hard on my wrist. Or I hold ice in my hand over the sink until it hurts so bad that I cry. It’s weird, but those things usually help me avoid hurting myself in a way that would cause infection or worse. You can do this. ~ Jenny)

  157. I had no idea they were endangered! They are still ALL over southern Arizona and New Mexico. I think they’re my favorite animal!

  158. I used to work out in the Nevada desert, and there were a lot of horny toads around. We caught a couple babies in one of the crew trailers, and kept them in a terrarium for a bit, but it turns out that almost their whole diet has to be ants or they die of malnourishment. It’s almost impossible to collect enough ants to keep a pet horny toad fed, even if you have an anthill handy. Since folks tend to call exterminators when there are ants around their house, the wild lizards starve. Ant exterminators should just issue horny toads, and then we’d have lots of adorable lizards again.

  159. Ummm…. I may have knit a sweater or two for Alice, my Blue Tongued Skink. I wrote a pattern.

  160. I thought horny toads were highly sexed toads. Not only is your blog entertaining it’s educational. I’m not procrastinating, I’m LEARNING. Take that people who tell me to stop surfing the interwebs and get back to work.

  161. July 27, 2015 ·

    Dallas Zoo recently welcomed their first ever clutch of Texas Horned Lizard hatchlings – 39 babies in all! Also known as “horny toads”, Texas Horned Lizards, were once common, but are now disappearing.

    This threatened species has vanished in East and Central Texas, and is now decreasing in North Texas, too.

  162. I got distracted by how a toad could be a lizard (because, as a Bio major, I actually know the difference). So, clearly I had to Wikipedia that shit. And, seriously, they can shoot blood out of their eyes for a distance of FIVE FEET? That’s some freaky shit.

  163. I grew up in Oklahoma. I miss them too. Horney Toads, fireflies, and the deafening roar of frogs, cicadas and crickets at sundown.

  164. I love Horny Toads!! My wife is a graduate of TCU and their football team is the Horny Toad I proudly wear my TCU sweatshirt in New Jersey now and I get all kinds of weird looks

  165. As a child, Mr.Spouse used to catch horny toads and keep them in his dresser drawers.
    Which he’d filled with sand. And ants for the horned lizards to eat. And sugar water for the ants.

    If he’d thought of the mood lighting, sweater vests and maybe a mixtape of Smokey Robinson & Marvin Gaye tunes? Perhaps the horny toad wouldn’t be in this dire situation today… hmm.. maybe it’s not too late. Surely Victor could sacrifice some dresser space?

  166. When I hear of horny toads, I think of TCU (and I’m not from Texas). And also Yosemite Sam.
    And lizard math is probably base 4.

  167. Yes! Living in Texas when I was a child, I had a horny toad as a pet. I named her Kate, which is a horrible name for a horny toad. I don’t remember her shooting blood out of her eyes though. Maybe that’s why I had to release her to the “wild” (empty lot next door). But you TOTALLY should have included this chapter. Maybe with a disclaimer that it is mostly for people who grew up in Texas.

  168. I’m from NY and have heard of horny toads. Didn’t know the deets about them, though, until I read this chapter. As someone else said, this chapter isn’t weird, it’s educational. A public service announcement for lizards. A quiet cry for lizards vests in order to save a species! I’m thinking your editor didn’t want your book to take a serious turn. Thanks for informing us through your blog. Now we need T-shirts: Knit a Vest, Save a Horny Toad.

  169. It’s not easy coming up with a catch-phrase to bring public awareness to the Horny Toad’s Plight. These need work:

    Knit a Vest, Save the Horny Ones

    More Vests=More Lizards

    Vests! Lizards!

    Too Horny to Live

  170. Somewhere in my parent’s house is a picture of a horny toad that me and my cousins found in the yard of my great Gran’s house in Texas; this was sometime in the late 70’s. Not living in Texas I had no idea they were nearing extinction, which makes me sad. But I’m glad some have been born in Dallas.

  171. Am I the only one who knows about horny toads thanks to Old Yeller?

  172. Reading your blog brings back awesome memories of growing up all over Texas… Paralyzing horny toad belly rubs, the magic of the Magic Time Machine, throwing popcorn at the Pocket Sandwich Theater…. Thanks for the funky strolls down memory lane!

  173. I’m in Southern Ontario and I knew horny toads were real. I had no idea they were lizards and were endangered though!!! That’s horrible. They are really, really cute.

  174. When I was little we spent every summer in Winters, TX with my grandma and me and my brother would catch horny toads all the time. One year we decided to take some home to Virginia where my dad was stationed for the AF and they all died on the car ride home. I can’t help but feel some responsibility for the horny toad population slump in the mid to late 80s as we took 12, hoping they would have babies. Why who wouldn’t want to get it on in the back seat of an old caddy with music playing on the 8 track?

  175. I grew up in Arizona and spent most of my childhood catching horny toads. How did I not know they’re endangered?! YES to setting the mood so there are more!!

  176. OMG, be my friend and I’ll totally teach you how to knit! I’ll even Skype to teach you (and I HATE how I look on screen!)

  177. I grew up in Los Alamos NM and used to catch Horny Toads at the arroyo at the end of my street. I loved to pet them and make them flat as pancakes. They did not ever shoot eye blood at me.

  178. I just read the last 2 months of your posts, Jenny, (my winter was a nightmare, my son’s rare scoliosis regressed, medical trip for a week, my friend’s daughter died who had my son’s condition and saved his life with her courage, my mom’s house was flooded and she nearly died, grief, depression, PTSD, flu- me, etc…) and this post was amazing. You stay strong, honey.

  179. I totally recommend learning how to knit, and YouToub is my preferred instructor. Who else is going to be patient enough to show you the same few seconds over and over and over again. I’ve taught myself to knit over the past couple years almost entirely on YouTube (I had to get my mom to show me how to purl, cause I just could not get it!). It’s great to have something to do with my hands while I’m patiently waiting for my unprepared customers on support calls to provision machines, or install software, or heaven forbid they should download the software before we actually get on the call!

  180. I had it all worked out in my head why I haven’t seen a horny toad for like 25 years: they are magical creatures that can only be seen by those who are Pure of Heart – like unicorns, but more manageable and thus more fun. Although maybe it wasn’t so Pure of Heart to hold them captive in an empty wading pool and feed them nothing but Kix cereal. In my defense, I loved Kix cereal and thought they did too. Also I never saw a dead one and I’m 90% sure my parents weren’t the type to quietly dispose of the corpses to spare my feelings, so they must have been able to escape. Right??? I am willing to knit any number of tiny sweater vests to atone for my contributions to their tragic endangerment.

  181. I just laughed so hard I’m sort of crying a bit & the balletcats are looking at me in Consternation & Alarm & Balanchine, pharmacist!cat, has just, with some difficulty, brought me a salbutamol inhaler. And is now swatting at me because I’m laugh-coughing again but the irate!swatting is only making me laugh harder. Poor Nijinsky is squeaking anxiously & alternating between head-butting me gently then patting the box with the inhaler in.

    Were it not for the ministrations of my medic!moglets (who, frankly quite terrifyingly, have figured all this stuff out for themselves…) you might have rendered this species totally extinct.
    Though Death By Giggling doesn’t sound too bad, really…

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