Grumpy toad

31 03 2021

What’s better than a grumpy cat? (A happy cat, of course, but that’s not the theme of this post.)

A horny toad that looks like an actor straight out of one of those men’s cologne commercials (does anyone really feel the urge to run right out and buy the stuff after viewing those??).

As usual, it took movement right under my nose (err, feet) to notice the spectacularly well camouflaged little guy or gal. But then, unusually, s/he decided to pose for a few minutes so I could get down on my belly and find the focus distance (long lenses do not like to focus very close to their subjects).

According to Wikipedia, “horned lizards (Phrynosoma), also known as horny toads or horntoads, are a genus of North American lizards and the type genus of the family Phrynosomatidae. The common names refer directly to their flattened, rounded bodies and blunt snouts.

“The genus name Phrynosoma means ‘toad-bodied.’ In common with true toads (family Bufonidae), horned lizards tend to move sluggishly, often remain motionless, and rely on their remarkable camouflage to avoid detection by predators. They are adapted to arid or semiarid areas. The spines on the lizard’s back and sides are modified reptile scales, which prevent water loss through the skin, whereas the horns on the head are true horns (i.e. they have a bony core). Of the 22 species of horned lizards, 15 are native to the United States. The largest-bodied and most widely distributed of the U.S. species is the Texas horned lizard.”

About Texas horned lizards, Wikipedia provides this helpful tidbit: “The horned lizard is popularly called a ‘horned toad,’ or ‘horned frog,’ but it is neither a toad nor a frog. The popular names come from the lizard’s rounded body and blunt snout, which give it a decidedly batrachian appearance. Phrynosoma literally means ‘toad-bodied’ and cornutum means ‘horned.’ The lizard’s horns are extensions of its cranium and contain true bone.”

I don’t begin to know what exact type of horned lizard we have here in Disappointment Valley and Spring Creek Basin, but after wandering through some of Google’s fascinating information and images, I noticed that our little friend above isn’t NEARLY as “horned” as many (most?). Maybe it’s young? Though it also wasn’t nearly as tiny as many I’ve seen. Maybe it’s a *she*, indeed, and not as needy of horned accessories. 🙂

Also, and MOST fascinating, is this, from website We Are Navajo :

“When the Navajo Twin Warriors went to kill the Giant, one of the twins, Born for Water, stayed a distance behind. The other twin, Monster Slayer, went to fight the Giant.

“As Monster Slayer went to battle with the giant, the giant swung his club and nearly got him before he could jump. Giant threw his hands down and smashed the ground, missing Monster Slayer as he jumped away. All his efforts to kill Monster Slayer were near death, until Monster Slayer placed the Horned Toad on top of his head. As soon as he turned around to face Ye’ii Tsoh, the giant became frightened. Eventually Monster Slayer killed the giant.

“Navajos are taught to give an offering and prayer whenever they come across a horned toad. Upon giving offering, with water and corn pollen, they place him gently on their hearts moving him in an X motion. This is done for their own protection because the Horned Toad is the grandpa of all Navajos.

“Respect Cheii.”

This is a wonderful traditional Navajo story, Ma’ii and Cousin Horned Toad.

From the story: “Whenever we come upon a horned toad, we gently place it over our heart and greet it. ‘Ya ateeh shi che'(‘Hello, my grandfather’). We believe it gives strength of heart and mind. We never harm our grandfather.”

There are many fascinating things to learn about horned lizards!

Devil’s in the details

30 03 2021

Do you see it?

You might have to click on the pic to enlarge it.

Would it help to know that *I* didn’t see it until I saw it on the computer screen? What I saw was Hayden shaking his head and then wandering off to graze.

It was T-shirt weather, a day after I didn’t think I could wear enough layers to keep out the biting north wind.

Spring is coming … and with it, the flying buzzers.

Soft nap in a stiff breeze

29 03 2021

Who doesn’t love a good nap in the spring sunshine, breeze softly blowing (or a bit stiffer, but who’s quibbling, really)?


28 03 2021

No matter the situation, Winona is just so … calm. Peaceful. Serene.

I think she gets it from her grandma. 🙂

(Better late than never?! Apparently, this post didn’t schedule when I thought I scheduled it. Sorry for the delay!)

Bad boy good

27 03 2021

How does he do it? What a heartthrob. 🙂

All we need is fuzz

26 03 2021

Mother Nature graced us with some moisture this week, and we’re grateful. There’s a pond a short distance to the left of Reya here, and with any luck, it’s holding some water that came in gentle waves of snow that mostly never stuck. The ground is so dry, we need that moisture to soak in and start collecting in the low places – otherwise known as ponds. 🙂

Loved by light

25 03 2021

Who doesn’t love the glorious Temple?

Golden hour

24 03 2021

Blues and golds, always a good combination. 🙂

Reds and whites and browns

23 03 2021

Just hangin’ out with my favorite little redheaded girl Tesora on a warm spring day in Spring Creek Basin. Despite the lingering snow, the air was warm. Heat is coming soon enough … hopefully we have (and/or get) enough moisture to make it tolerable.

Blue hour

22 03 2021

Blue eyes and blue mountains: Our Kwana makes any grey-brown bravissimo.