Can You Identify These Texas Animals?

Gavin Thagard

One of only seven cat species to inhabit Texas, do you know the name of this large cat?

There are few animals throughout Texas with the impressive tree-climbing speed of the bobcat. These cats climb trees, such as the Texas ash and the southern live oak, for a safety escape, as well as for access to sources of food like squirrels and birds.

Can you identify this member of the deer family that roams the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas?

If you're peeking over a ranch fence in West Texas, you might find a male elk, recognized by their large antlers. These antlers, which weigh upward of 40 pounds, are shed each year, usually in the winter or spring, then grown back over the summer.

This ground-dwelling bird is found throughout the grasslands and deserts of Texas. Do you know what it's called?

Burrowing owls take over the homes of other animals across Texas such as prairie dogs and squirrels. These owls will surround their stolen burrow in cattle feces to attract insects for food.

You wouldn't want to go swimming in the Sabine River of East Texas with this reptile. What is it?

Growing to nearly 11 feet and weighing around 1,000 pounds, the American alligator can be found throughout the eastern half of Texas, where there are hundreds of rivers and swamps. These massive reptiles particularly enjoy the areas along the Gulf Coastal Plains.

Do you recognize this fish found in low current rivers and lakes like Falcon Reservoir?

Channel catfish are best identified by their forked tail fin, which is unique to only them and the blue catfish. These fish are a popular catch for anglers in Texas, where it's not uncommon to land one over the 30-pound mark.

Now a rare sight in the brushlands of West Texas, this fierce predator goes by what name?

The gray wolf is the largest living member of the canine family found in Texas. These large dogs prefer to hunt in packs, where they use sounds such as their howl to communicate with one another.

A member of the Mustelidae family recognized by the white stripe across its head, do you know this Texas native?

Sporting short legs and a wide body, badgers are forced to waddle as they walk. Luckily, their legs are great for digging in the prairies of Texas, as they use their front claws to break ground while their back feet kick it away.

Can you identify this species of dolphin located off the Texas coast?

The Texas coast is home to 26 species of whales and dolphins, but the bottlenose dolphin is the most common. These dolphins enjoy the tropical waters that make up the Gulf of Mexico.

Preferring the well-drained grasslands of West Texas, what do you call this small mammal?

These small foxes can be recognized on the far side of a Texas field by their pale, yellow fur and the black spot located on their tail. However, if you are trying to locate one, swift foxes live in dens, which they rarely venture away from.

Texas is home to this famous raptor. What's its name?

Bald eagles are raptors with powerful talons that they use to capture prey like fish and small rodents. They will also search out and eat other birds that they run into when food is scarce. Lucky for them, bald eagles find plenty to eat along the coastal counties of Texas, where they live throughout the year.

Do you recognize this deadly reptile that all Texans should be cautious of?

Cottonmouths get their name from the white skin inside their mouths, which they open when they are being threatened. Though it's rare, a bite from one of these deadly reptiles can kill a human, especially if you're hiking the coastal marshes of East Texas and medical care is far away.

You shouldn't run if you come across this animal near the Chisos Mountains. What is it called?

Though it's considered critically endangered, the Mexican black bear can be found in Big Bend National Park in West Texas. These bears prefer scattered mountain ranges, where they live in desert scrub and woodland habitats.

Can you recall the name of this semiaquatic mammal that finds a home in rivers on the eastern half of Texas?

An excellent swimmer, the river otter can spend quite a bit of time under water before coming up for air. These animals have long, slender bodies and webbed feet, which help them maneuver through the waterways of Texas that lead into the Gulf Coast.

Joggers fear running across this deadly predator in the Texas Hill Country. Do you know what it's called?

The solitary mountain lion lives in a vast range all across North and South America. These large cats are rarest east of the Mississippi River, where habitat loss has been the most common, but they still find solitude in the Hill Country of Central and West Texas.

Found throughout Texas during the summer when it's warm, what bird is this?

Yellow-billed cuckoos tend to mate throughout the summer, with females laying between two to four eggs at a time. To nurse the eggs, these parasitic birds will steal the nest of another bird, which usually occurs in the thickets and willow groves across Texas.

Do you recognize this raptor that belongs to the skies of East Texas?

Hunting during the day, red-shouldered hawks prefer to look for prey by perching on trees in the hardwood forests of Texas. These birds have excellent eyesight characterized by their binocular vision, which gives them a stronger sense of depth perception.

What do you call this snakelike fish that migrates away from freshwater sources in Texas to the ocean each year?

The American eel has a very strange reproduction cycle where males leave freshwater streams across Texas to go to the Sargasso Sea. These eels then spawn there before dying, leaving their larva to the currents of the ocean, which carries them back to the Texas coast.

This is one reptile you probably won't find around a lake in Texas. Do you know what it is?

Unlike most turtles, the eastern box turtle prefers to live in brush and shrubby grasslands along the edge of forests across Texas. Its orange and yellow coloring helps the turtle camouflage itself from predators like hawks and coyotes.

Can you identify this Texas native, known for its ability to adapt to most environments across the state?

A member of the canine family, coyotes are quite intelligent, which is why they are known for being "wily." These animals have adapted to the growing population that causes human encroachment across Texas by feeding on domesticated animals and human waste.

This Carnivora mammal will make a home in the attic of your Texas ranch house if you aren't careful. What is it?

When discussing the family dynamic of raccoons, males are called boars, and females are referred to as sows. When the adults have offspring, which usually begins in January as the Texas spring approaches, those newborns are called kits.

Acknowledged as the tallest bird in Texas, what do you call this animal?

Whooping cranes stand around five feet tall and have an incredible wingspan of around seven and a half feet. These massive birds migrate to Texas from Canada during the winter months.

Once a common occupant of the shortgrass prairies in the Panhandle Plains, do you recognize this nocturnal hunter that nearly went extinct?

Black-footed ferrets have a unique reliance on prairie dogs, which provide them with both food and shelter. The ferret population in Texas, however, has suffered a devastating blow in the past century from farmers killing off prairie dogs, as they are harmful to crops.

A lover of the warm Texas sun, what cold-blooded reptile is this?

Aside from its protective shell, the yellow mud turtle defends itself from Texas predators like raccoons by emitting a foul odor. This strong smell is let loose through musk glands that are located on both sides of its body.

This Texas ungulate located in the western half of the state goes by what name?

Constantly running from predators like coyotes and bobcats, pronghorns have exceptional speed that helps them elude their potential captors across the prairies of Big Bend Country. In fact, these animals can reach speeds of over 50 miles per hour.

What's the name of this expert rock climber that lives along the Rio Grande?

Recognized by their long, striped tails, the ringtail is a nocturnal animal that lives in rock crevices and inside hollowed trees throughout most of Texas. These animals have a diverse diet that includes various plants and meat across the state, from mice to crickets to berries.

This feisty little Texas rodent isn't afraid to eat its own. What's it called?

For the most part, Mexican ground squirrels live solitary lives by digging burrows in grassy fields across South Texas. However, they do sometimes live in a colony system with individual burrows dug out for each squirrel.

Can you identify this fish located in the streams of the Guadalupe Mountains?

The McKittrick Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains is the only place in Texas where rainbow trout have a self-sustaining population. In most of the state, the temperatures are too high during the summer for the fish to reproduce.

An official state mammal of Texas, do you know the name of this animal?

Though there are around 20 species of armadillo, only the nine-banded armadillo is located in Texas. These members of the Dasypodidae family get their name from a Spanish word meaning "little armored one."

Weighing between 20 to 40 pounds, can you name this native animal of South Texas?

Due to its spotted coat, the ocelot is a cat that blends in well with its preferred environment of thick brush and thorn bushes in several counties that make up the Rio Grande Plains across South Texas. Nocturnal hunters, these cats tear their food apart with their claws then swallow it whole.

Located throughout the entire state of Texas, can you recall the name of this animal?

Striped skunks are not the largest mammals, but that doesn't stop them from eating meat since they are omnivores. Their favorite food is insects, which will draw them to a corn or wheat farm in Texas where they can be pests for farmers.

A threatened species in Texas, do you recognize this reptile?

Of the three rare species of horned lizard living in Texas, the Texas horned lizard is the one most commonly found throughout the state. These lizards are often mistaken for frogs because of their flat bodies.

One of the cockiest animals in the Texas sky, what's the name of this bird?

Noisy animals that live year-round on the eastern side of Texas, blue jays have an intimidating call that closely resembles that of a hawk. They use this call to scare off other adult birds so they can feed on the eggs in those birds' nests.

Can you identify this aquatic predator that inhabits rivers and lakes across The Lone Star State?

If you're a fisherman in Texas, you won't find a more popular game fish in the state than the largemouth bass. These aggressive fish will start hunting prey when they are as small as two inches.

What do you call this endangered species of cat that's a rare sight in South Texas?

Reaching only about three feet in length, the jaguarundi is only slightly larger than your typical house cat, which it is often mistaken for. The jaguarundi is not domesticated, however, preferring to live in the Rio Grande Valley, where there are only rare sightings.

This long-eared mammal located on the open prairies throughout the western half of Texas is called what?

Preferring open spaces like the deserts found outside Odessa, the black-tailed jackrabbit relies on its alertness and speed to escape predators like mountain lions and hawks. They also tend to prefer for the Texas sun to set before they go out to feed under the cover of darkness.

Do you know the name of this venomous snake that lives in the Piney Woods of East Texas?

Reaching around four feet in length, the timber rattlesnake is the second largest venomous snake in Texas. Like most other poisonous snakes, the timber rattlesnake has a wide head with a narrow neck.

What do you call this horned mammal found in Big Bend Country?

Mountain sheep were once completely wiped out from the mountain ranges of West Texas. However, they were reintroduced in recent years to their original homeland, though they still are confined to protected areas.

You'll find this animal in shades of colors from brown to green across the Prairies and Lakes region of North Texas. What is it?

Southern leopard frogs will live in any environment where they can find both cover and moisture, which is why they enjoy the lakes in North Texas. In fact, moisture is so important for southern leopard frogs that it determines when they breed throughout the year.

Known for hollowing out nests in dead elm and oak trees from Hill Country to the Piney Woods, can you identify this animal?

Found throughout the eastern two-thirds of Texas, downy woodpeckers tend to live in places throughout the state that humans also occupy. These birds particularly enjoy woodlands and parks.

Do you recognize this marsupial, the only one located in Texas?

The Virginia opossum has a long, scaly tail that it uses to hang from trees across Texas like black cherries and southern live oaks. Females can often be seen with their young, who will finish nurturing inside their mother's pouch after they are born.

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Image: Tom Brakefield / Photodisc / Getty Images

About This Quiz

For those who have been to Texas, they know the state has a beautiful environment filled with animals that are both common around the United States and other animals that are specific to Texas. How well do you know all of the animals that live throughout the state of Texas? Here's a quiz where you can find out. 

Nicknamed "The Lone Star State," Texas is the 2nd largest U.S. state in terms of both area and population. The massive size of the state, over 250,000 square miles, provides plenty of land for a diverse ecosystem to foster. This ecosystem is filled with a plethora of animals, from reptiles to mammals to fish and birds. 

Are you ready to challenge yourself with a quiz on all of those animals that live across Texas? If we give you an image, are you going to be able to identify what it is? From common animals like the opossum to rarer animals like the ocelot, there is plenty in this quiz to keep you interested in the diverse landscape of Texas. 

When you're ready to challenge yourself, get started with this animals quiz and see if you could make it as a zoologist in Texas!

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