Fredericksburg Log Cabin Wildlife Encounter

10 Wildlife Species in The Texas Hill Country by
The ecologically diverse landscape of the Hill Country is home to native species, including several on the endangered list, which are not found anywhere else in the world. Land stewardship programs, state parks and natural areas protect natural habitats and provide opportunities to view and learn about our native wildlife.

Here are ten species you might encounter in the Texas Hill country.

1. Guadalupe Bass, Micropterus treculii

Guadalupe bass are small, green in color and do not have distinguishable vertical bars like the smallmouth bass. They are adapted to small streams, but have a propensity for fast flowing water. This makes Guadalupe bass a popular sport fishing species.

2. White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus texanus

They are reddish-brown in color during the summer months and grayish-brown in winter. The tail is usually held erect, especially when fleeing, to show its white underside. Fawns have bright white spots on their coats until they are about six months old. Bucks grow a new set of antlers every year and shed the old ones when the breeding season is over between December and March.

3. Texas Map Turtle, Graptemys versa

Texas map turtles are dark olive to brown in color, with yellow-orange or orange line markings – resembling lines on a map – on its shell, head, limbs and tail. The underside of its head has three yellow or orange spots. They are strong swimmers, and you might catch a glimpse of them perched on a rock or tree trunk basking in the sun.

4. Mexican Free-tailed Bat, Tadarida brasiliensis

These medium-sized bats have broad ears, large feet and half of their tail hangs free. Their fur is short, velvety and reddish to black in color. They can live up to eleven years in the wild and migrate to Mexico, Central America and South America for the coldest winter months.

This bat is a known carrier of rabies, so exercise caution if you ever encounter one.

5. Texas Blind Salamander, Eurycea rathbuni

The Texas blind salamander lives in the water-filled caves of the Edwards Aquifer in Hays County. Since it is adapted to live in water underground, it does not have eyes. Instead, it has two small black dots under the skin where the eyes would be. It has very little skin pigment and red external gills.

6. San Marcos Salamander, Eurycea nana

The salamander is small, slender and dark reddish-brown in color, which matches the color of the moss and algae in its natural habitat. It feeds on tiny crustaceans, aquatic insects and snails.

7. Golden-cheeked warbler, Dendroica chrysoparia

The Golden-cheeked warbler nests only in the woodlands in the ravines and canyons of central Texas. They prefer tall Ashe juniper, oak and other hardwood trees, using long strips of bark, spider webs, grasses, cocoons, and animal fur to build their nests. 

8. Nine-banded Armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus

The nine-banded armadillo is the state small mammal of Texas and resides throughout most of the state. It is about the size of a cat, with a body length of 15 to 17 inches and tail length of 14 to 16 inches. They usually weigh between eight and 17 pounds and have bony, scaled shells, which protects them from predators.

9. Coyote, Canis latrans

Coyotes are similar in size to small German shepherds, with long, slender legs, a bushy tail and large ears they hold erect. Their coats are usually gray or buff colored, and they weigh an average of 25 to 40 pounds. They are very intelligent, nocturnal and opportunistic. They will eat almost anything, including rabbits, rodents, insects, lizards, snakes, fruits and vegetables.

10. Black-capped Vireo, Vireo atricapilla

These small birds only reach about four to five inches long and have a lifespan of five to six years.

Black-capped Vireos are on the Texas and U.S. endangered species lists, because the low growing woody cover they need for nesting has been cleared or overgrazed by livestock and deer.