A short while after the United States’ independence in 1776, states such as Texas began to adopt their own official state symbols. A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, amphibians, insects, fruits, nicknames, state seals, and much more.
State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots, and past and present successes. Like all other states, there are many Texas state symbols. The state animals of Texas are the Armadillo and the Longhorn.
What is the Texas Large State Mammal?
The Texas large state mammal is the Longhorn, which became the official large mammal in 1995. When locking your eyes on one of these impressive animals, the Chuck Walters “Saga of Rodeo” instantly springs to mind. These beautiful wild cattle sport some impressive horns and are large and somewhat intimidating in stature.
In 1493, Columbus brought Spanish cattle to Santo Domingo (which is now known as the Dominican Republic), after 200 years their cattle descendants were all over Mexico grazing the ranches.
These Longhorns are incredibly unique compared with most other cattle due to their durability. They can travel insane distances without intaking any water or food, they will also easily swim rivers and can survive under the desert sun and the winter snow!
Longhorns can travel incredible distances without intaking any water at all, they were built for endurance and can go without eating for long periods of time too. Surprisingly, they are efficient swimmers as well as able to survive intense heat in deserts and other volatile landscapes like snowy mountains.
By the 1920s, unfortunately, the Texas longhorn was edging closer and closer to extinction, due to an accumulation of different things. Fortunately, this has all changed and longhorns are thriving once again, which is thanks to the people working at the Texas Forest Service, who, over the past several years have been collecting small herds and moving them to Texas state parks.
What is the Texas Small State Mammal?
Now that we have covered the large mammal that represents Texas it makes sense to take a look into the small mammal and its significance to the state. It was in 1995 when the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) became the Texas state animal.
The armadillo is surprisingly a distant cousin to the sloth and the anteater. This specific nine-banded armadillo is the only species native to North America.
Their impressive and incredibly tough shell is what they use for protection against predators in the wild. You will typically see these armadillos native to just a handful of states including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Louisiana. You will only find the other species of Armadillo in Central or South America.
Facts About the Texas Armadillo
Nine-branded Texas armadillos are intelligent and full of surprises, which has created a plethora of interesting and unique facts about them that you probably didn’t know about!
Here are some facts about the Texas armadillo:
- They live for between 12 and 15 years.
- Their heavily armored shell is used as a defense mechanism.
- They will also evade their predators by hiding in thorn bushes and other sharp and dangerous places that will not hurt them due to their shells.
- Armadillo armor is actually made up of bones.
- They typically eat insects, small animals, bird eggs, and roots.
- They can even consume 40,000 ants in one sitting, giving ant-eaters a run for their money!
- Not only do they eat regular ants, but they even consume fire ants.
- They are surprisingly good swimmers and can hold their breath for 6 minutes.
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, indicative of the state and its history, and the Lone Star State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in the Texas state animals.
These interesting facts about Texas and a whole host of others are what make the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events of the state.