Texas’s wild animals have been greatly reduced in number by settlement and by extensive hunting and trapping. The white-tailed deer is by far the most important game animal. There are also many coyotes, which live mostly in the rough country of southwestern Texas. Other large animals still occasionally found include pronghorns, cougar, and black bear.
Smaller animals include the rabbit, squirrel, skunk, and raccoon. The prairie dog, a rodent that once existed in huge colonies on the prairies, has become relatively scarce. Two unusual Texas animals are the nine-banded armadillo, a small slow-moving creature with a scaly shell-like skin; and the peccary, or javelina, which resembles a small pig.
Texas has a variety of reptiles. Probably the best known is the western diamondback rattlesnake, one of the most dangerous poisonous snakes. Other poisonous snakes in Texas include the coral snake, the copperhead, and the cottonmouth. Many species of nonpoisonous snakes are also found in the state. Many alligators live in the lakes, rivers, and bayous of eastern and coastal Texas, and there are several kinds of turtles. Small reptiles include a variety of lizards, notably the horned lizard.
Texas’s birdlife is the most varied of any state. Among the best-known birds that live in Texas all year is the mockingbird, which is the state bird. Jays, wrens, woodpeckers, sparrows, and titmice are common in the eastern and central parts of Texas.
Among the large migratory birds that winter in Texas, especially around the lakes and lagoons of the Gulf Coast, are many species of ducks and geese, as well as the nearly extinct whooping crane, a great white bird that stands about 1.5 m (about 5 ft) tall and whose numbers are slowly recovering through rigid protection. Birds found in the interior of Texas include the wild turkey and the roadrunner. A few golden eagles live in the mountains of the Basin and Range province. Fish are plentiful in the waters off the Texas coast. Commercial marine catch includes shrimp, crab, oyster, snapper, flounder, and drumfish. Among the most popular saltwater game fish are the tarpon and sea-trout. Of the freshwater fish caught in Texas the most common are catfish, bass, and sunfish. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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