The 9 banded armadillo is native to Texas. Adults are 2-4 ft. long (with tail) and live about 7-10 years. They prefer a warm, moist climate that is wooded or grassy. Armadillos eat worms, ants, maggots, beetles, larvae, termites and other tasty grubs that like to live in the soil.
Armadillos have claws built for digging and are very adept for digging burrows to rest in and for finding insects and invertebrates in loose soil.
- Armadillos can jump 3-4 feet in the air when trying to scare a predator away.
- Every "litter" of armadillo consists of 4 infants (one zygote splits into 4 after conception).
Bobcats are very elusive and are rarely seen. They are relatively small, females weighing 10-18 lbs. and males up to 25 lbs. Bobcats mainly eat squirrels, rabbits, and other rodents. Sometimes they will eat birds, eggs, small deer, and any kind of roadkill they can find if hungry. As solitary creatures, they live most of their lives alone and do not overlap territory of each other often.
- Females have 1-3 kittens a year in the spring. In the fall, the young move away from their mother.
- They are adaptable and reside in a wide variety of terrain from suburban, to semi-arid, to mountainous and wooded.
Coyotes are highly adaptable and live in and around cities across the US, semi-arid environments, forested areas, prairies/grasslands, and mountainous terrain. Coyotes are about 25-40 lbs. They feed primarily on rabbits, rodents and insects, but they also eat carrion, lizards, snakes, fruit, vegetable matter and even fish.
- Coyotes are monogamous and pairs remain together for several years, if not for life.
- Males bring food for the family after pups are born.
- Coyotes have a wide range of vocalization: barks, growls, howls, yelps, high-pitched cries, wails, and squeals.
- They are very skilled swimmers.
The grey fox is only about 5-10 lbs. and eat things such as mice, rats, rabbits, insects, acorns, berries, and birds. Foxes can be active during the day, but they are much more so at night. They tend to hide when spotted by a human or other predator. Young are born in the spring with the parents mating for life. Foxes usually den in a burrow, under rocks, or in a log.
- It is not unusual for the fox to climb a fence or tree as they are adept at climbing.
- Foxes create a cache for later if they have collected more food than is necessary.
- This fox can retract its claws in much the same fashion as a housecat.
The opossum is active only at night, and is a solitary animal. They have an eclectic diet and will eat both plants and animals, including rodents, young rabbits, birds, insects, crustaceans, frogs, fruits and berries, and vegetables. They weigh from 2-10 lbs.
Opossums are the only native marsupials to the US. They have opposable thumbs and can grasp their food.
- Due to their low body temperature and successful immune system, opossums are extremely resistant to the rabies virus.
- Opossums are fastidious groomers and they will remove and eat up to 95% of ticks that try to get a blood meal off of them.
- They are extremely good at remembering where food stores are and can make their way through a maze faster than a rat or cat.
Raccoons are naturally curious. They have dexterous hands with 5 digits on each foot. Raccoons have excellent night vision and tend to be more active at night. However, they will forage for food any time of day as necessary. Their diet includes fruits and nuts, insects and aquatic invertebrates, fish, small rodents, frogs, bird eggs, carrion and human garbage.
Raccoons have their cubs in fall. The cubs remain with their mother for about 1 year. Males do not help raise the young.
- The name "raccoon" came from an Algonquian Indian word arakun, which means "he scratches with his hands." During the 1700s, American colonists dropped the "a" in arakun, and the name became raccoon.
- Raccoons clean their food with water, or if none is nearby via rubbing it, before eating.
- A group of raccoons is called a nursery.
There are 5 species of skunk in Texas. They are heavily nocturnal. At least half of its year-round diet is insects and grubs. Bees and wasps, as well as their larvae, honey, and nests, also are favorite items on the menu. Mice and other rodents fill in one-fourth of the diet, and vegetable matter one-tenth. A mixture of spiders, reptiles, amphibians, birds and their eggs, millipedes, and centipedes rounds out the menu.
Most people immediately think of the scent of skunks when talking about them. Since the skunk usually is a gentle, nonaggressive creature that only uses its terrible weapon for defense, the best way for you to avoid its spray is to leave the animal alone. When threatened, the skunk may give three warnings before actually spraying. First, it lowers its head, arches its back, and lifts its tail, except for the tip, which hangs limp. If the enemy doesn't back off, the skunk then rapidly stamps its front feet. Finally it lifts the tip of the tail and prepares for battle. However, if surprised or threatened, the skunk shoots immediately without warning.
- Skunks can shoot their spray, which comes from their anal glands, up to 10 feet.
- Skunk spray is highly flammable.
- Immune to snake venom, skunks are known to eat rattlesnakes and other venomous types.
- A group of skunks is called a surfeit.