The cross timbers and prairies of north Texas are home to an amazing diversity of wildlife.  Here are a few groups of them.

IMG_0146Mammals – Warm-blooded (endothermic) animals that have hair, such as the white-tailed deer, coyote, armadillo, bobcat, raccoon, cotton rat, and … you and me!

MAS03_15_20140137Birds – The other warm-blooded animal, but of course these have feathers and most species can fly. Our birds include the house finch, screech owl, red-tailed hawk, mockingbird, crow, great blue heron, and lots of others.

broadhead-skinkReptiles – Cold-blooded (ectothermic) animals with scales, including the American alligator, box turtle, snapping turtle, Texas ratsnake, gartersnakes, Texas spiny lizard, spotted whiptail, and others.

Rana-sphen-2Amphibians – These are also cold-blooded animals, with delicate and sometimes slimy skin, and which generally start life in the water and later change (metamorphose) into air-breathing adults. These include the small-mouthed salamander, bullfrog, leopard frog, Woodhouse’s toad, and many others.

plains-killifish-bFishes – These animals are adapted for their aquatic lives, with fins for swimming and gills for getting oxygen from the water. Our native fish include gar, madtoms and other catfish, sunfish, the mosquitofish, black-striped topminnow, and many others.

IMG_0360Insects & Arachnids – These are animals without backbones, but they have a tough outer covering or “exoskeleton” and jointed legs. Insects include bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles, water boatmen and other aquatic insects, grasshoppers, and many more. Arachnids include such animals as spiders and scorpions.

TrinityR-crayfishOther Invertebrates – This group covers everything from earthworms and flatworms to centipedes and millipedes. Also included are crustaceans such as crayfish and mollusks such as freshwater clams and snails.