19 Mart 2013 Salı

Texas State Mammal

Texas State Mammal

Nine-Banded Armadillo (common name)
Dasypus novemcinctus 
(scientific name)

Overview

Relatives of both sloths and anteaters, armadillos are South American natives commonly seen in most of Texas as well as in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and parts of Kansas, Georgia, and Florida. Although many Texans consider armadillos to be pests, their distinctive appearance has made them a common state symbol, and these animals have been the official state small mammal since 1995. Texans eat armadillos, use their shells as souvenirs, and even hold armadillo races.

Close-up

STATUS
Official State Small Mammal
ALSO KNOWN AS
Poverty pig, poor man’s pig
PHYSICAL DETAILS
Armadillos are roughly the same size as terrier dogs or house cats and are brown-gray with a few pale yellow hairs. Their heads are long and narrow with very pointed noses, and their eyes are set on the sides of their heads. Armadillos have pointed ears set close together at the tops of their heads. Scaly, bony plates called scutes cover the upper parts of their bodies. The scutes have wider sections at the shoulders and rear, with nine much narrower bands in between.
Armadillos’ front feet are four-toed, with the two middle toes longer than the others. Their back feet have five toes, and the middle toes are again longer. All toes have long claws for digging. Armadillos have long, thin, pointed tails entirely protected by bony rings. They have 30 to 32 teeth, which are flattened and peg-like. Males and females are the same size and have no visible differentiating characteristics.
  MalesFemales
Size27–30 in (693–763 mm); tail 10–14.5 in (254–373 mm)27–30 in (693–763 mm); tail 10–14.5 in (254–373 mm)
Weight7–10 lbs (3.2–4.5 kg)7–10 lbs (3.2–4.5 kg)
LIFESPAN
Up to 15 years; average of four years in the wild.
HABITAT
Soft soil into which it can easily burrow is the armadillo’s most important requirement. They normally live near water, especially streams or creeks in brushlands, forests, or scrublands.
Range: From Texas to northern Oklahoma and Arkansas, east to Georgia and most of Florida.
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC). Before 1850 armadillos lived only in the lower Rio Grande valley. By 1880 they had increased their range across south Texas, reaching the Hill Country and Austin by 1900. Armadillos continued to spread to the north and east, covering most of Texas and spreading into Louisiana and Oklahoma by the 1930s.
BEHAVIOR
Nocturnal armadillos spend most of their time forging for food and sleeping—they can sleep as many as 16 hours a day. They live alone and may have as many as 15 burrows on a range. Burrows can be as deep as five feet underground and may be quite short or 25 feet or longer. Longer burrows are likely to have several entrances.
Mature female armadillos mate in late summer and in fall. The fertilized egg does not implant or develop until about 14 weeks after fertilization. Four identical babies of the same sex are born the following spring, eyes open and completely developed but with a soft shell that hardens over time. They can walk within a few hours after birth. Young armadillos nurse for about two months and stay with their mothers a few months longer.
Armadillos are normally mature and ready to mate at one year old. They adapt to new situations easily and have few natural predators. Coyotes, dogs, humans, and cars are their main enemies. Armadillos are very sensitive to cold and drought, and a sudden cold snap or extended drought can wipe out an armadillo population in a particular area.
Top land speed: 30 mph (48 kph)
DIET
Mostly insects, spiders, and grubs but also earthworms, small amphibians, and small reptiles.
OFFSPRING
Breeding interval: Annual
Birthing period: March
Average litter size: four identical pups
Size at birth: 3 oz (85 g)
TRIVIA
  • Armadillos are the only mammals with bony plates on the outside of their bodies.
  • Armadillos can hold their breath for as long as six minutes. They use this adaptation to play dead or to cross shallow water by walking to the other side of the body of water along the bottom, underwater if necessary. Armadillos can also sometimes inflate their intestines to help them swim.
  • Nine-banded armadillos do not curl into balls when startled or threatened. They run away, often jumping straight into the air first.
  • Between two and five percent of armadillos in Texas and Louisiana carry leprosy. Most of these live in marshes or other very damp areas.

Click to enlarge an image
State Animal
Armadillo
State Animal
Armadillo with Babies
State Animal
Pair of Armadillos
State Animal
Juvenile Armadillo

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Dasypodidae
Genus:Dasypus
Species:D. novemcinctus
Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press

Texas State Mammal

Longhorn (common name)
Bos Bos 
(scientific name)

Overview

The longhorn's most recognizable feature is its disproportionately long horns, which give it a distinctive silhouette. Ranchers, however, value the animals for producing lean beef and being good dairy cows. Today's longhorns are the descendents of Spanish cattle that became wild in the American West and were later gradually re-domesticated. Because of their past, longhorns are particularly rugged—they can forage for themselves and survive on poor feed in inclement weather. They're also disease-resistant and long-lived. The longhorn became Texas's state large mammal in 1995.

Close-up

STATUS
Official State Large Mammal
ALSO KNOWN AS
Texas longhorn, Texas cattle
PHYSICAL DETAILS
A male longhorn is sturdy and muscular with solid legs. The front part of its body is bulky, and there is a slight hump on his shoulders. The male's head and neck are thicker and more solid than a female's. Its tail is long and switched. Females, though far from slender, are less solid than males, with a better-defined head and neck. Both have long horns that extend out to the side before angling upward, sometimes curving to the side again at the point. It's common for a longhorn's horns to measure 5 feet (1.5 m) from tip to tip, and sometimes they can be much longer. Longhorns have coarse, curling coats in a variety of colors, including reddish to brown and black. Mixed colors and patches of white are common, as are speckled or peppered coats.
  MalesFemales
Sizeheight at shoulder 4.5 to 5 ft (1.3 to 1.5 m); length of horn 50 to 82 in (127 to 208 cm); longest 84 in (213 cm)height at shoulder 4 to 4.5 ft (1.2 to 1.3 m); length of horn 40 to 84 in (101-213 cm); longest 87 in (220 cm)
Weight1,400–2,200 lbs (635–997 kg)600–1,400 lbs (272–635 kg)
LIFESPAN
Average 25 years; oldest 33 years.
HABITAT
Semi-wild, open grasslands and unfenced meadows. Each longhorn needs at least four and preferably 10 acres of land (0.02 to 0.04 sq km).

Range: Southwestern and Midwestern United States grasslands from west Texas to the Gulf Coast and north into Montana and Canada.
Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC). By the middle of the 1900s, longhorns were nearly extinct because of habitat loss and low demand. In 1927, a few were preserved on land in Oklahoma and later in Texas, mainly for their value as curiosities. The herds regenerated quickly, though, and today there are more than a quarter of a million longhorns in Texas alone.
BEHAVIOR
A Texas longhorn can graze on almost any ground, even where plant life is sparse. It adapts well to different surroundings and conditions and can survive both extreme desert heat and harsh winter weather. It can swim rivers, survive on very little water, and defend itself against predators. In spite of its menacing-looking horns, the longhorn has a reputation for being tractable and non-aggressive, as well as alert and intelligent. A longhorn female can have one calf per year, since gestation lasts for nine months, and can usually breed until she is in her teens. Newborns are small compared to other types of cattle, but can stand shortly after they're born. Cows stay near their new calves and are very protective.
DIET
Prairie grass, sedges, sagebrush, and weeds
OFFSPRING
Breeding interval: Annual
Average litter size: 1 calf
Size at birth: 40-60 pounds (18–28 kg)
TRIVIA
  • Amigo Yates, an Abilene longhorn, holds the record for having the longest horn, 103 inches (262 cm).
  • Longhorns are resistant to diseases and parasites and were well adapted to the long cattle drives of old.
  • The Texas longhorn is a symbol of Fort Worth, Texas, nicknamed "Cowtown." 
  • The University of Texas at Austin's mascot is the longhorn, and its football team is also called the Longhorns.

Click to enlarge an image
State Animal
Texas Longhorn
State Animal
'Bevo'-The Mascot of The University of Texas at Austin
State Animal
Longhorns Being Led Through Downtown San Antonio

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Artiodactyla
Family:Bovidae
Genus:Bos
Species:B. Bos
Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press

Texas State Mammal

Mexican Free-tailed Bat (common name)
Tadarida brasiliensis 
(scientific name)

Overview

The Mexican free-tailed bat is a common North American mammal. It's called "free-tailed" because about a third of its short, pointed tail is not attached to the wing membrane and extends beyond its legs, making it visible when the animal is flying. It's a relatively small bat that lives on insects. This nocturnal species prefers to roost in large groups in sheltered areas such as in caves or under bridges. The Mexican free-tailed bat became Texas's state flying mammal in 1995.

Close-up

STATUS
Official State Flying Mammal
ALSO KNOWN AS
Guano bat, Brazilian free-tailed bat
PHYSICAL DETAILS
The Mexican free-tailed bat is a medium-sized, brown to gray bat. It has a wingspan of 11.5 to 13 inches (29 to 32.5 cm). Its face, though tiny, vaguely resembles a dog's. It has a large head, a wide muzzle, and small eyes. The bat's ears are rounded, upright, and clearly separated. It has stubby, sturdy legs and wide feet. Each foot has a few curved bristles used for grooming. This bat's wings are leathery and relatively long and narrow, each with three visible ribs. When flying, this bat points its toes straight back to extend the wing membrane to its tail tip. Its wings are designed to help the Mexican free-tailed on its lengthy annual migrations.
  MalesFemales
Sizeaverage length, 3.6 in (93 mm); average tail length, 1.2 in (33 mm); average hind foot length, 0.3 in (8 mm); average ear length, 0.6 in (16 mm)average length, 3.6 in (93 mm); average tail length, 1.2 in (33 mm); average hind foot length, 0.3 in (8 mm); average ear length, 0.6 in (16 mm)
Weightaverage 0.40 to 0.45 oz (11.7 to 12.9 g)average 0.40 to 0.45 oz (11.7 to 12.9 g)
LIFESPAN
Average 8 years in the wild, up to 12 years in captivity.
HABITAT
Dry and semi-arid landscapes with caves and crevices for roosting. Can also thrive in urban areas, forests, and scrublands.
Range: Southern U.S., Mexico, Central America, and South America into Chile and Argentina.
Conservation: Near Threatened (NT). Though there are still many Mexican free-tailed bats and the animals have a large range, their numbers are on the decline. Pesticides have probably reduced their main food supply—insects—and ingesting pesticides with their food may also have affected overall bat numbers.
BEHAVIOR
In the daytime, groups of millions of Mexican free-tailed bats roost and sleep in caves, crevices, and other dark, sheltered areas. As dusk falls, they emerge from their roosts in groups, often creating a visible cloud as they fly and disperse. They spend the night feeding on insects such as moths. Some colonies hibernate in cold weather, while others migrate. Migrating bats arrive in their warm-weather homes in February, and the nursery group immediately separates from the others.
Females don't necessarily mate every year, but when they do, they produce a single pup. Newborns are fully formed and can hang and move by themselves soon after birth, but they nurse for five to six weeks. Mothers divide their nights between foraging for themselves and nursing. In autumn, the young are ready to migrate to warmer winter grounds with the rest of the group. Female bats are mature at about one year old and males at two.
DIET
Moths, beetles, and other insects.
OFFSPRING
Breeding interval: Annual
Birthing period: June to mid July
Average litter size: 1 pup
Size at birth: 0.75 in (1.9 cm)
TRIVIA
  • The Mexican free-tailed bat is the smallest free-tailed bat in the United States.
  • In some areas, bats use a free fall to get into a cave. The bats approach the cave high in the air, fold their wings and drop nearly to the ground, and then open their wings abruptly to quickly fly into the cave.
  • The largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats is usually in Austin, Texas, under the Congress Avenue Bridge, where their evening flights are a tourist attraction.
  • A nursing Mexican free-tailed bat can make up to one quarter of her body weight in milk each day.
  • The bats of Bracken Cave near San Antonio, Texas, eat up to 250 tons of insects each night.

Click to enlarge an image
State Animal
Mexican Free-tailed Bat in Flight
State Animal
Mexican Free-tailed Bat Close-up
State Animal
Mexican Free-tailed Bats Leaving Cave

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Chiroptera
Family:Molossidae
Subfamily:Capreolinae
Genus:Tadarida
Species:T. brasiliensis
Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press

Texas State Mammal

Blue Lacy (common name)
Canis familiaris 
(scientific name)

Overview

The blue Lacy, believed to be a mixture of greyhound, coyote, and scent hound, was first bred in Texas in the mid 1800s. The name comes from the original breeders, four brothers named Lacy. Their breed proved to be an ideal ranch hand, and was very popular with Western settlers. It remained a common work dog until the ranching and farming industries began to decline. Today, the Lacy is usually a hunting companion and a household pet.

Close-up

STATUS
Official State Dog Breed
ALSO KNOWN AS
Lacy dog, Lacy game dog, Texas blue Lacy, Lacy hog dog
PHYSICAL DETAILS
Lacy dogs are lightly built and look deceptively neat and delicate. In reality, they are hearty, strong dogs. A Lacy has a pointed muzzle; short, pointed, floppy ears; and moderately wide-set yellow-orange eyes. It has a slender neck, body, and legs. Its medium-length tail curves upward. The whole dog is usually covered with very short, sleek, and smooth blue-gray fur. Some dogs have a few small white markings, for example on the chest and perhaps on the paws. A few Lacys are reddish brown, cream colored, or a mixture of the two.
  MalesFemales
SizeHeight at shoulder 18 to 25 in (45 to 63.5 cm)Height at shoulder 18 to 25 in (45 to 63.5 cm)
Weight25 to 50 lbs (11 to 22.5 kg)25 to 50 lbs (11 to 22.5 kg)
LIFESPAN
Average 16 years
HABITAT
Purpose-bred dog with no natural habitat. Best suited to spending most of its time outdoors in large yards, on farms, or in other large enclosed areas.

Range: Originated in U.S. and mostly found in Texas and the southwestern U.S. Also occasionally kept as a pet in other areas and countries.
Conservation: Least Concern (LC)
BEHAVIOR
As a purpose-bred dog that always lives with humans, the blue Lacy lacks the natural feeding and mating rhythms a wild dog would have. Its behavior is dictated by its owner and by whether the dog is primarily intended to be a hunter, a ranch dog, or a pet. This dog has a reputation for being smart and easily trained, but it herds other animals, including chickens, pigs, and cows, instinctively. If it's not working on a ranch, then it needs to be given a lot of exercise every day and plenty of space in which to run. It can be trained as a watchdog, and is friendly and loyal enough to be around children. The blue Lacy has particularly sensitive hearing, though, and can't tolerate loud noises or being shouted at. Trainers need to take care to maintain a low, even tone or the dog can get nervous.
DIET
A blue Lacy usually eats a combination of processed dog food and fresh food, depending on what its owner feeds it. Cooked whole grains or fish, raw meat, produce like berries, melons, bananas, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli stalk, oranges, zucchini squash, and green beans can all be part of the diet.
OFFSPRING
Breeding interval: Annual to biennial
Birthing period: N/A
Average litter size: 6 puppies
Size at birth: average 5 lbs (6 kg)
TRIVIA
  • The Texas State Senate recognized the blue Lacy as "a true Texas breed" in 2001. It became the official state dog breed of Texas in June 2005.
  • When family ranches became rare, so did the Lacy, to the point where it was nearly extinct. The discovery that Lacys were excellent hunting dogs made them experience a resurgence in popularity.
  • Unlike many dog breeds, Lacys have no known genetic-based health problems.
  • No one knows exactly what type of scent hound the Lacy brothers used to breed their dog. It's been speculated that it may have been a Red Bone hound, a July hound, or even an Italian greyhound.

Click to enlarge an image
State Animal
Blue Lacy Dog
State Animal
Blue Lacy Puppy

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Subphylum:Vertebrata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Canidae
Genus:Canis
Species:C. familiaris
Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press

Texas State Mammal

American Quarter Horse (common name)
Equus Caballus 
(scientific name)

Overview

The American quarter horse, a short-distance sprinter, is the most popular breed of horse in the U.S. The horse features in performances in rodeos and horse shows, and can participate successfully in a wide range of events including barrel racing and Western riding. It is also a standard workhorse—in the past, it was the standard horse for cowboys and ranchers. This American horse is descended from English, Spanish, and Arabian stock as well as Western horses.

Close-up

STATUS
Official State Horse
ALSO KNOWN AS
Quarter horse, America’s horse
PHYSICAL DETAILS
A quarter horse is medium-sized with a strong, muscular body. It has a short head with a fine, delicate shape; a flat profile; and a broad forehead. Most quarter horses fall into one of two categories. Some are stocky and compact, though still extremely agile, and best suited for ranching work. Others are a little taller on average and have longer, leaner muscles. These are usually used for racing. Quarter horses usually have broad chests, solid, well-muscled shoulders and strong, rounded hindquarters. Color can vary a lot. Breeding associations recognize 13 coat colors: bay, brown, black, buckskin, chestnut, dun, red dun, gray, grullo, palomino, red roan, blue roan, and sorrel. Sorrel is actually the most common color, and horses can have a variety of white markings.
  MalesFemales
Sizeheight at shoulder 4.8–5.2 ft (1.4 to 1.5 m); 5.5 ft (1.67 m)height at shoulder 4.7–5 ft (1.4 to 1.5 m)
Weight1,000-1,250 lbs (450–567 kg); average 1,200 lbs (544 kg)900–1,100 lbs (408–499 kg); average 1000 lbs (450 kg)
LIFESPAN
Average 30 years
HABITAT
Wild predecessors inhabited prairies, forests, mountains, grasslands, and steppes. Today quarter horses are domesticated animals, and live in fields, meadows, and stables.

Range: Across the U.S., but most common in the Midwest and West, in the cattle ranches and rodeos of Texas, and the Southwest. Also common in Mexico. Limited distribution worldwide.
Conservation Status: Least Concern (LC).
BEHAVIOR
As a purpose-bred horse that always lives with humans, the quarter horse lacks the natural feeding and mating rhythms a wild horse would have. Its behavior is dictated by its owner, and by whether the horse is primarily intended to be a rodeo horse, a show horse, or a working rancher. Mares are usually fertile from April through September. A foal is born after 11 months, and the newborn is strong enough to run beside its mother a few hours after being born. It nurses for about four months, and is mature at four or five years old.
Top land speed recorded: 55 mph
DIET
Commercially produced horse food, grains including oats and barley, hay, grass, and small amounts of mixed fruit, nuts, and vegetables.
OFFSPRING
Breeding interval: Annual
Birthing period: April-September
Average litter size: 1 foal
Size at birth: 100 lbs (45 kg)
TRIVIA
  • Some quarter horses suffer from a genetic disease called hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), which causes bouts of muscle tremors. These can be mild or can lead to collapse.
  • The quarter-mile race is the quarter horse's most common distance for racing.
  • The quarter horse became a Texas state symbol on August 20, 2009.
  • A Kentucky-born quarter horse named Steel Dust made his way to Texas around 1845, where it became the standard for the stocky, multitasking ranch quarter horse. Many Texas quarter horses have lineage that traces back to that particular horse.

Click to enlarge an image
State Animal
Beautiful American Quarter Horse
State Animal
Mare with 10-Week-Old Colt
State Animal
Barrel Racing on a Quarter Horse

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Perissodactyla
Family:Equidae
Genus:Equus
Species:E. caballus
Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press

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