Although I spend a fair amount of time in wetlands, most of the habitats in southern Texas are hot and dry. Scrubby subtropical woodlands, grasslands, and brushlands are the most common types of habitats and they host hundreds of birds and animals.
One of the more iconic species is the Greater Roadrunner. This fairly large terrestrial bird species is actually a type of cuckoo. It snatches lizards, large bugs, and even mice from the ground and true to its name, is fairly quick on its feet.
Although, as in the cartoon, it has to be careful to avoid Coyotes, those wily canines usually eat smaller prey like mice and rabibits. They are pretty common in the valley and I get shots of them now and then.
Armadillos are another common, interesting mammal that occur in the brushlands of southern Texas. They are more active at night but are ocasionally seen during the day too.
Another armored animal that I see now and then is the Texas Tortoise. This terrestrial turtle stays away from water and prefers fairly arid habitats that host cacti and other succulent plants that it feeds upon. It also occurs in northeastern Mexico and is considered to be threatened in Texas.
You also have to watch where you step when birding or hiking in southern Texas. I took the following picture of a huge Western Diamondback Rattlesnake from a safe distance!
Believe it or not, Javelinas jump at the chance to eat snakes. They might not tackle a big rattler like the one above but won’t think twice about going after smaller rattlenakes.
Wild Turkeys are also part of the local avifauna and the subspecies that lives in Texas is called the “Rio Grande Wild Turkey”. It has longer legs than other subspecies as an adaptation for its prairie and more open range habitat.
White-tailed Deer also do very well in the dry habitats of southern Texas. Some of the bucks seem to have especially impressive antlers!
There is always a lot to see in both wet and dry habitats of southern Texas. Just watch where you step!