We have some super dooper exciting news coming from behind the scenes at the Houston Zoo! For the first time since the 1980’s, we have successfully bred the highly endangered Houston toad in captivity resulting in the existence of two of the cutest little toadlets you are likely to ever lay your eyeballs on.
Due to extreme droughts in 2011 we were unable to head start Houston toad eggs from the wild so efforts are now underway to breed them in captivity. Headstarting is a process by which we remove eggs from the wild, raise the tadpoles at the Zoo, and then release them back at the pond. Because there has not been enough rain, the wild Houston toads have not been able to emerge and migrate to breed and lay eggs.
The Houston toad was the first amphibian ever placed on the endangered species list and is one of our most endangered animals in Texas! Current estimates are that only 200-300 adults may remain in the wild.
We have a captive assurance colony of Houston toads at the Zoo to keep the species from going extinct if conditions get even worse in the wild and efforts to breed these animals started in July.
From a breeding event on July 19th we now have two little captive bred Houston toads that have gone through the tadpole stage in just under three weeks and have popped out all of their legs, developed lungs, and have crawled out of the water.
Their names are Ignacio and Santiago…affectionately so by thier keeper, Aleyda.
Please give the Houston toad and Veterinary Team some congrats on their big success! Hopefully more good news to come as breeding attempts started again this week and we have more eggs! Stay tuned….