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This is an ID guide to some of the more common mammals of east Texas.
Obviously, this is incomplete, as there certainly are some other species of mammals in the area. We have also not quite finished the descriptions but will have this soon.
Virginia Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)
Opossums are common residents in East Texas and may be especially common in residential areas. Since they are nocturnal they may not be seen all that often.
Opossums are omnivores and will literally eat almost anything. They are scavengers and frequently will raid garbage containers if they are not tightly sealed. They also eat enormous numbers of ticks which they suck down like a vacuum cleaner. With the increasing numbers of tickborne diseases, this makes them a valuable asset in the local ecological community.
When threatened, they may roll over on their sides and play dead.
North American’s only marsupial give birth to tiny barely formed babies which make their way to the mother’s pouch where they stay until ready to wean. As marsupials, they are immune to the rabies virus and do not carry it.
Eastern Mole (Scalopus auqaticus)
Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)
The Nine-banded Armadillo is the State Small Mammal of Texas. These iconic animals are humorously revered and are the subject of art, jokes, advertising, movies, and Texas lore.
They are primarily nocturnal and are often seen scurrying about in the underbrush with their long nose to the ground as they search through the leaf litter for insects.
Female armadillos produce one egg that after fertilization, splits twice into four identical offspring.
Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)
Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus auqaticus)
Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans)
Flying Squirrels are rarely seen but in many areas in East Texas, they are not uncommon. They are nocturnal and very shy which keeps them out of sight most of the time. They are sometimes encountered in the fall when people clean out their bluebird nests as Flying Squirrels may take advantage of those nests as homes for themselves.
They have a very highly developed sense of smell which allows them to easily locate their food in the darkness. These small mammals are omnivorous feeding on fruit, budding flowers, bird eggs, fungi, and insects.
Flying Squirrels don’t actually fly like birds or bats. They have a stretchable membrane between their legs that they use to glide from one spot to another.
Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger)
Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) Black phase – melanistic
North American Beaver (Castor canadensis)
Beavers are the largest rodent in North America and are semiaquatic. It has a large, flat, paddle-shaped tail and large, webbed hind feet.
Beavers are active mainly at night. They are excellent swimmers and may remain submerged up to 15 minutes. They have many predators on land and tend to remain in the water as much as possible. They use their flat, scaly tail both to signal danger by slapping the surface of the water and as a location for fat storage.
Nutria (Myocaster coypus)
Coyote (Canis latrans)
Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
River Otter (Lutra canadensis)
Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
Eastern Spotted Skunk (Spilogale putorius)
Bobcat (Felis rufus)
Feral Hog (Sus scrofa)
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)