ARCADIA, OKLAHOMA -- It's late on a hot July day. Stefanie Leland and her husband Beau are scouting a pasture east of Interstate 35. If they really looked hard they could probably find all kinds of bugs and critters here. But the only thing they can't find is the animal for which they've been searching the past three summers, the Texas Horned Lizard. "So what do you look for?" asks a fellow walker. "You look for movement," says Stefanie. "A lot of times you'll see them in a clearing or on a cow trail."
There are quite a few people in central Oklahoma who can no longer identify what one looks like. For reference, see the above photograph. A lot of people call them 'Horny Toads' or Horned Frogs. They used to have a range that reached as far east as Arkansas.
She grew up in western Oklahoma and found them as a kid. Beau grew up near Jones in central Oklahoma and found his share too. So what happened to them? Beau says, "Everybody seems to have noticed they're not around anymore." The question eventually became a full length documentary film.
Stephanie says, "I ended up going all the way out to Arizona with Beau and my sound guy Roy Sharp and to New Mexico to meet up with this artist who does all kinds of horned lizard art work."
Their film finished, Stefanie and Beau are on another search now, this time for a viewing audience. Meanwhile the 'horny toads' of Oklahoma see to have a couple of new friends at a time when they need all they can get.
The documentary, "Where Did the Horny Toads Go?" premiered in the spring of 2012 at the Tuscon Film Festival and the Dead Center Film Festival in Oklahoma City. There will be a screening of the film as well on September 21 in Norman.
For more information on the movie and all things 'horny toad' visit http://www.jarofgrasshoppers.com .