Texas Almanac, 1992-1993 Page: 76
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76 TEAS AMANA 199-199
are entirely dry during periods of low rainfall, exposing
bottoms of solid salt, and for years they were a source of
The Davis Mountains are principally in Jeff Davis
County. The highest peak, Mount Livermore, (8,206 feet)
is one of the highest in Texas. There are a number of
mountains more than 7,000 feet high. These mountains
intercept the moisture-bearing winds and receive more
precipitation than elsewhere in the Trans-Pecos. They
are greener with the growth of grass and forest trees
than the other Trans-Pecos mountains. Noteworthy are
the San Solomon Springs at the northern base of these
South of the Davis Mountains lies the Big Bend
country, so called because it is encompassed on three
sides by a great southward swing of the Rio Grande. It is
a mountainous country of scant rainfall and sparse pop-
Texas has many native animals and birds, plus spe-
cies introduced on game preserves.
More than 540 species of birds - about three fourths
of all different species found in the United States - have
been identified in Texas. (See the special feature on
birdwatching, including a list of Texas birds, elsewhere
in this edition.)
ulation. Its principal mountains, the Chisos, rise to 7,825
feet in Mount Emory. Along the Rio Grande are the Santa
Elena, Mariscal and Boquillas canyons with rim
elevations of 3,500 to 3,775 feet. They are among the note-
worthy canyons of the North American continent. Be-
cause of its remarkable topography, and plant and
animal life, the southern part of this region along the Rio
Grande is home to the Big Bend National Park, with
headquarters in a deep valley in the Chisos Mountains. It
is a favorite recreation area.
Upper Rio Grande Valley
The Upper Rio Grande (El Paso) Valley is a narrow
strip of irrigated land running down the river from El
Paso for a distance of 75 miles or more. In this area are
the historic towns and missions of Ysleta, Socorro and
San Elizario, oldest in Texas. Cotton is the chief product
of the valley, much of it long-staple variety. This limited
area has a dense urban and rural population in marked
contrast to the territory surrounding it.
Some 142 species of animals, including some that
today are extremely rare, are found in Texas.
Through efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife De-
partment and many individual landowners involved in
conservation practices, our wildlife should be a perma-
A few of the leading native mammals of Texas are
described here. More complete information is found in
"The Mammals of Texas," by William B. Davis, Bulletin
41 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin.
ARMADILLO-The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus
novemcinctus) is one of Texas' most interesting
mammals. It has migrated north and east and is now
common as far north and east as Oklahoma and Missis-
sippi. There has been limited commercialization of the
armadillo's shell in the manufacture of curios.
BADGER-The badger (Taxidea taxus) is found
through West Texas, but in greatly reduced numbers
since wholesale eradication of the prairie dog on which
the badger preyed. It is a predator, but its pelt is valu-
able. The range of the badger includes the Texas Pan-
handle and South Texas, where it is common.
BAT-Thirty-two species of these winged mammals
have been found in Texas, more than in any other state
in the United States. Of these, 27 species are known resi-
dents, though they are seldom seen by the casual observ-
er. The Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis)
and the cave myotis (Myotis velifer) constitute most of
the cave-dwelling bats of Southwest and West Texas.
They have some economic value for their deposits of ni-
trogen-rich guano. Some commercial guano has been
produced from Mason Bat Cave, Mason County; Beaver
Creek Cavern, Burnet County; and from large deposits
in other caves including Devil's Sink Hole in Edwards
County, Blowout Cave in Blanco County and Bandera
Bat Cave, Bandera County. The big brown bat (Epte-
sicus fuscus), the red bat (Lasiurus borealis) and the
evening bat (Nycticeius humeralis) are found in East
and Southeast Texas. The evening and big brown bats
are forest and woodland dwelling mammals. Most of the
rarer species of Texas bats have been found along the
Rio Grande and in the Trans-Pecos. Bats can be ob-
served at dusk near a water source, and many species
may also be found foraging on insects attracted to street
lights. Everywhere bats occur, they are the main preda-
tors of night-flying insects, including mosquitoes and
many crop pests.
BEAR-The black bear (Ursus americanus) was for-
merly common throughout most of the state. It is now
almost extinct, with only small pockets of animals
surviving in the inaccessible river bottoms of eastern
Texas and in the higher portions of the Trans-Pecos.
BEAVER-Two subspecies of beaver are found in
Texas, the Mexican beaver (Castor canadensis mexi-
canus) ranging along the Rio Grande and Devils River
and the Texas beaver (Castor canadensis texensis) which
has been brought back from the verge of extinction to
abundance through restocking.
BISON-The largest of native terrestrial wild
mammals of North America, the American bison, or buf-
falo (Bison bison) is found today on a few ranches and in
zoos. This fine animal became rare about 1885 as the re-
suit of slaughter for hides, reaching a peak about the
year 1875. Estimates of the number of buffalo killed
vary, but as many as 200,000 hides sold in Fort Worth at a
two-day sale. Except for the interest of the late Col.
Charles Goodnight and a few other forevisioned men, the
bison might be extinct.
CAT-The jaguar (Felis onca) is probably now
extinct in Texas and, along with the ocelot, jaguarundi
and margay, is listed as rare and endangered by both
federal and state wildlife agencies. The cougar (Fells
concolor), which is also known as mountain lion, puma,
panther, Mexican cougar, etc., is found occasionally in
the broken country of the Edwards Plateau and in the
Trans-Pecos Mountains and the South Texas brush coun-
try. The former panther of the East Texas forest, which
was closely related, may be extinct in Texas but still
exists in a few areas of Southeastern U.S. The ocelot
(Felis pardalis), also known as the leopard cat, is found
usually along the border. The red-and-gray cat, or jag-
uarundi (Felis yagouaroundi Geoffroy) is found in ex-
treme South Texas. The margay (Felis wiedii) was
reported in 1884 near Eagle Pass. The bobcat (Fells ru-
fus) is found over the state in large numbers. The feral
housecat has become a destroyer of game in many parts
CHIPMUNK-The gray-footed chipmunk (Tamias
canipes) is found at high altitudes in the Guadalupe and
Sierra Diablo ranges of the Trans-Pecos. (See "Ground
Squirrel," with which it is often confused in public refer-
COATI-The coati (Nasua narica), a relative of the
raccoon, is occasionally found in southern Texas. It in-
habits woodland areas and feeds both on the ground and
in trees. The species is also found occasionally in Big
Bend National Park.
COYOTE-The coyote (Canis latrans), great in num-
ber, is the most destructive Texas predator of livestock.
On the other hand, it is probably the most valuable pred-
ator in the balance of nature. It is a protection to crops
and range lands by its control of rodents, rabbits, etc. It
is found throughout the state, but is most numerous in
the brush country of Southwest Texas.
DEER-The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virgin-
ianus) is an important Texas game animal. Its number
in Texas is estimated at 3 million. It thrives best in the
wooded and broken areas of the Edwards Plateau and
south of San Antonio where it often competes for feed
with domestic animals. Texas Parks and Wildlife Depart-
ment has had success in transplanting deer. In East Tex-
as, the timbered sections of North Central Texas, and
even in the thinly populated areas of Northwest Texas,
the white-tailed deer population has increased greatly.
The mule deer, (Odocoileus heminous) is found princi-
pally in the Trans-Pecos and in smaller numbers in the
less thickly settled parts of the Staked Plains. It has in-
creased in number in recent years. The little Del Carmen
deer (white-tailed subspecies) is found in limit-
TEXAS ALMANAC 1992-1993
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Kingston, Mike. Texas Almanac, 1992-1993, book, 1991; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth279642/m1/80/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.