Saturday, January 17, 2009

Texas Critters

I almost hit a bobcat the other morning. Roadkill (or near) around here can be interesting. I got to thinking that could make an engaging and educational post, so I scrounged around the web for pix of critters with which cowgirls share rural North Texas. This list is by no means complete, just a snapshot. I did not take any of these photos. Some of them are from a guy named Van Vives web site — thanks, Van. Other photos are from Wikipedia.

First, is the aforementioned bobcat. I count myself fortunate to catch site of one every now and again.

Next is the coyote. They're pretty much everywhere, aren't they? No matter, I am blessed to hear them sing their wonderful songs.

I did not realize until the last year that these guys are all over Texas. I always think of them as from other parts of Texas and Arkansas, but I've seen 2 that were roadkill. I've never seen one alive in the wild. These suckers are large, dangerous, and they can tear up the land. I saw photos of the erosion of a mountain top from their rooting. They damage fences and crops and can kill a dog.

The most endearing varmint we've got — the Nine Banded Armadillo. For the longest time, I thought they were born belly-up dead on the side of the highway. They're basically armor-plated rodents that carry leprosy. They remind me of the singular uniqueness of Texans.

Cleaning up the roadkill is the Texas Turkey Vulture aka Texas Turkey Buzzard. These are BIG birds.

Not exactly wildlife, but nothing says Texas
more than a Texas Longhorn.

And where there are cattle, there are Cattle Egrets
around here, just cow birds.

Me and Mr. Fry, the Wild Turkeys

We had guests from the east coast come to visit. When I pointed out a Greater Roadrunner, one looked at me kind of funny and said something like, "Oh, is that all they are?" To which I replied, "Were you expecting them to be as big as a coyote and purple?"

We see a lot of Box Turtles because we're so close to the Lake. They really don't fare well on the highway, so I make it a point to brake for turtles. I'll stop, get out and move one to the side of the road. Hey, I had box turtles as a kid.

Another critter that appreciates our Lake, the Great Blue Heron.

Cotton Spider, or at least that's what we call them. Don't let her scare you. Although large, they are completely harmless. They build the most wonderful webs that are incredibly strong. And they eat lots of bugs. Every spring and summer one spins a web between 2 of the yuccas outside my kitchen window. I try not to disturb her.

I think I'll leave you on that note and not get into scorpions, snakes, fire ants, chiggers, etc. They all remind me of the just plain mean orneriness of all things Texan.

There will be a short quiz next period.


jacksonsgrrl said...

I've seen all of these in the four years I've lived here except for the bobcat which is OK with me! I just saw a live armadillo while on a trail ride last week. They are my favorite little critter here! I had a wild pig encounter while on a trail ride at the ranch I used to board Jackson at, it was hanging around a sick cow and when my friend and I rode up to take a closer look the pig ran out. Thank goodness neither horse spooked! I was breathing (no not breathing really) a HUGE sigh of relief!

ezra_pandora said...

Goodness. I don't think there are really that many things up here in the northeast. I liked your comment about the roadrunners. lol!!

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Boy that is one big set of horns, glad I don't have to herd them

cdncowgirl said...

Thank you for skipping the fire ants, I can't stand ants **shudder**

Have to say I don't share your love for coyotes either. We call them "damn coyotes" usually lol

lytha said...

oh dear, i'm not gonna be able to sleep tonight thanks to that extreme closeup spider photo. or maybe it's NOT a close up? AAAAAAAAAGH!!!

and the wild pig - my goodness, i hear we have them at the house we just bought. i hope they don't ruin my garden. or attack me or my horse!

wait, are there raccoons or possoms or skunks? curious.

~lytha, missing the songs of coyotes

Leah Fry said...

Lytha, yes, we have raccoons, possums and skunks. I'll have to blog sometimes about our close encounter with a rabid skunk!!

I have never found a cotton spider inside the house. They really are harmless.

Mrs. Mom said...

Love the critter tour Leah! Since moving way down to the coast here, more people = less critters for us to see. I hear to the north and west of us though, we have pigs, and all sorts of larger critters.

And the freaking fire ants. UGH!!! All OVER the place are the freaking fire ants. Can NOT stand them....

Unknown said...

We have quite a few of those up in Washington as well. We're not supposed to have Turkey Buzzards up here - but I saw one once when i was little out riding on the trail.

No one believed me - but I did. Maybe he lost his way.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

We have some of those critters. Wish we had more longhorn. I love their majestic heads.

We have mountain lions and bears up here and we've seen them all within a 1/2 mile of our house or crossing the roads at night.
We also have white tail and mule deer.

I know what you mean anout the javalina. When we were doing some pet sitting for friends in Bensons, Az not far from Tucson) one night several javalina moved into the yard and we turned the light on and were surprised with how huge, loud and scary they were.

Little piggies, they ain't! lol!

Thanks for the fun animal lesson, Texas style.


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