Permits from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are the only thing standing between the university and two live mascots next semester, a student said.
Senior political science major Preston Patry said he has tried to get live horned frogs on campus since his freshman year.
Last spring, he helped pass a resolution in the House of Student Representatives to gain support for the initiative. Then, in last Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting, the House passed a bill providing $20,000 to make it happen, Patry said.
The university must now wait on an educational display permit approved by Texas Parks and Wildlife. According to the TPWD website, the permit is required in order to hold or collect protected wildlife. The educational display permit is only issued to educational institutions and only if the display is used to deliver educational messages about the species and its conservation concerns.
Patry said the horned frogs will be donated by Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the $20,000 will be used to feed and house the horned frogs. The ones the university will receive were rescued from people who held them without proper permits.
“The frogs are not endangered, but it is illegal to have these reptiles without it,” he said.
Speaker of the House Andrew Pulliam said SGA was excited about being able to provide students with live mascots.
Patry said both horned frogs are male and would be able to cohabit, but the university would provide two different viewing sites. One frog will be housed in the Brown-Lupton University Union by the information office, and the other will be housed outside the University Recreation Center near the pool, he said. The two reptiles will be split from each other and would alternate between the outdoor and indoor habitats.
Patry said Texas Parks and Wildlife officials recommended the horned frogs have an outdoor natural environment in order to receive direct ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Lee Ann Linam, Texas Parks and Wildife program adviser, wrote in an e-mail that the university needs to provide the horned frogs with about 100 harvester ants per day.
Patry said the university plans to get these ants from the same source as Fort Worth Zoo.
Linam wrote that the horned frogs would feel more comfortable if there was a base of sand and a container that provided temperatures ranging from 70 degrees to 95 degrees. The container would need to make the horned frogs feel secure from exposure to people. Horned frogs tend to stress, so they would need screening for walls and plenty of hiding places, she wrote.
Patry said he was working with TPWD to make sure the habitats were done correctly.
No names have been decided, but Patry said there would likely be a student body vote to determine them.
“I feel Addy and Randolph would be the best bet though,” Patry said.