13 Weirdest Animals in Texas

Weirdest Animals In Texas

The Lone Star State has a great variety of wildlife and many of them were introduced and now pose a problem to the residents. Here are the 13 of the weirdest animals in Texas.

1: Feral Hogs

Feral Texas Hog
Feral Texas Hog

Hundreds of years ago, hogs were introduced to the state of Texas. Originally Texas settlers introduced them with the intention that the hogs would be domestic animals. Instead, many of these hogs escaped their ranches and began roaming around the state. The hogs started breeding, and feral hogs were born.

You can find Feral Hogs across the state of Texas. Their diet is consistent with farm animals, so they tend to linger near farms, ranches, and where people live. A group of wild hogs can cause quite a bit of damage quickly to farmland. Luckily, if you encounter a Feral Hog, they’ll most likely run away and leave you alone. But they have razor-sharp tusks and are incredibly fast, so it’s best to use caution if you see one or more.

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2: Nilgai Antelopes

Nilgai Antelopes
Nilgai Antelopes

Nilgai Antelopes are initially from Southeast Asia but were introduced to Texas a couple of decades ago. Texas ranchers brought these large animals to the state because they wanted to give Texas hunters another big game to hunt. Nilgai Antelopes can reach around 700 pounds and typically stick to South Texas.

Even though Texas ranchers brought this species to the state for hunting purposes, they’ve become more prominent and, frankly, a pest to many Texans. It costs a pretty penny to hunt Nilgai in Texas, but it’s also a means of controlling the population now. Similar to Feral Hogs, they tend to venture towards farms since their diet is consistent with farm animals.

3: Mountain Lions

Mountain Lion
Mountain Lion

Often called Cougars, you can find Mountain Lions in many regions of Texas. Mountain Lions in Texas include the South Texas Plain, the Balcones Escarpment, the Canyonlands in the Panhandle, and the Trans Pecos region. While these creatures tend to avoid humans, as you step into their habitat, the likelihood of you seeing one increases. This is especially true for their breeding regions. They tend to breed the most in the Trans Pecos region of Texas.

They’re the largest cat species on the continent and make very stealthy predators. Typically, Mountain Lions avoid humans, but when you’re out in the wilderness where other people have seen Mountain Lions, it’s best to be on alert just in case.

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4: Texas Horned Lizards

The Texas Horned Lizard is one of the weirdest animals in Texas. This bizarre creature is sometimes called a Horny Toad, and its appearance resembles that of a lizard and a toad. As the name may suggest, there are tiny horns found all over the species body. It almost looks like something from prehistoric times.

You can find these lizards throughout Texas, but since they have to dig for hibernation purposes, you’ll usually find them in sandy or loose dirt areas. Just because these lizards are native to Texas, and you can find them in almost all regions, it’s important to mention that they’re considered a threatened species in the state.

5: Hairy Legged Vampire Bats

Hairy Legged Vampire Bats
Hairy Legged Vampire Bats

Texas has a number of bat species that inhabit the state, but if you ask me, the Hairy Legged Vampire Bat is the weirdest one. They are kind of cute, but their primary source of food makes their cuteness level drop. As the name suggests, these creatures feed on the blood of other animals.

Typically they’ll feed on the blood of birds and chickens, but when they’re hungry, they’ll find a way to feed on other animals. There have been accounts of Hairy Legged Vampire Bats feeding on the blood of humans, but it’s highly unlikely. But still, it’s a creepy thing to think about.

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6: American Black Bears

You may not think bears roam Texas, but American Black Bears do. This species of bear is considered a protected species in the state. Black Bear sightings are not all over the state. The areas you’re more likely to encounter a Black Bear are Northwest Texas, Southwest Texas, and the Northeast side of the state.

When camping in Texas, be sure to store all food in bear-safe containers to prevent bears from wandering into your campsites. Not only is this dangerous for you, but if bears become dependent on human food, they’ll be putting themselves in dangerous situations more often.

7: Western Cottonmouth Snakes

Snakes are abundant in Texas. The Western Cottonmouth Snake is also known as a Water Moccasin. You can find this species of snake in North Central Texas, but I promise you don’t want to run into one of these snakes on purpose. The Western Cottonmouth Snake is incredibly venomous to humans. The good thing is that it’s rare that these snakes actually bite humans.

If you’re visiting that area of the state, knowing what a Western Cottonmouth Snake looks like can prevent a terrible accident. They can range from two or three feet in length, with a thick body and thin tail. They’re typically a brownish-black color and will flatten their body when they feel threatened.

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8: Tarantulas

A tarantula climbs the brick wall of a house in southern Texas
A tarantula climbs the brick wall of a house in southern Texas

Tarantulas make interesting pets, but they’re also wild animals in Texas. These weirdly fuzzy spiders are the biggest spiders that you’ll find in the state, but they’re relatively harmless to humans. When they bite into their prey, venom is released, which gives them total control. Lucky for you, if you ever get bitten by one, it may hurt a little bit you won’t be injected with poison.

They’re common in grasslands and open areas of Texas, and their large size makes them hard to miss. While getting bitten by a Tarantula won’t kill you, it’s best to leave these creatures alone when you see them in the wild.

>>> Tarantulas Quiz – Can You Recognize The Species?

9: Coyotes

Regardless of where you are in Texas, Coyotes may be around. This animal resembles a dog, and while they tend to avoid humans, you can sometimes find them roaming around urban and suburban areas. They hunt at all hours of the day, so don’t be surprised if you see one randomly in the afternoon.

These weird dog-like wild animals will eat almost anything. They’re carnivores that will feed on wild animals, domestic animals, trash, and something, whether it’s dead or alive. Many Coyotes hunt alone, but sometimes you’ll see a pack of six or more roaming together. Like most wild animals, they tend to avoid humans, but since they are opportunistic feeders, they may approach your space if you have trash bins out or farm animals.

10: Striped Bark Scorpions

There are over 15 species of scorpions in Texas, but the Striped Bark Scorpion is the most common. These scorpions have a yellowish body that has two black stripes that run across the back. Many parts of Texas are dry and hot, which drives Striped Bark Scorpions to seek out cooler, wet areas. If you ever do encounter one of these insects, you’ll probably find them under rocks, other items that provide them a cool space, and even inside your home.

If you ever get stung by one of these scorpions, your reaction is going to vary. Everyone who has been stung says it’s definitely not pleasant, but it’s usually not lethal. You’ll want to monitor the person stung for a couple of hours to ensure they don’t have an allergic reaction to the venom. You can use ice to reduce the pain and swelling on the sting site.

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11: American Alligators

Are There Alligators in Texas?
Are There Alligators in Texas?

Alligators are common, but it makes these scary creatures even weirder when you think about how they’re closely related to dinosaurs. You can find American Alligators in swamps, rivers, ponds, and any freshwater source. Texas may be a dry and hot state, but there are plenty of water sources for these dinosaur-like animals to live.

As with most wild animals, Alligators usually avoid humans, but more people have encounters with Alligators than some other wild animals.

12: Nine-Banded Armadillos

You can find Nine-Banded Armadillos in every region of Texas except for the Trans Pecos. These animals are about the size of a small dog when they’re full grown. They have very sharp claws that allow them to dig for their food as well as dig burrows for sleeping in. Their diet consists of grubs and other insects, which can be harmful to your crops and plants.

They have a hard shell that protects them from predators, but it doesn’t help them regulate their body heat. The weirdest thing about these animals is that they can walk across the bottom of a body of water. If they have to cross a larger body of water, they’ll breathe in enough air to inflate their stomachs so that they can swim across.

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13: White-Tailed Deer

This species of deer is wildly found all over the state. It’s estimated that over four million White-Tailed Deer are living in Texas currently. Like most other species of deer, you can find White-Tailed Deer in forests and similar areas across the state. Because there are millions of White-Tailed Deer in Texas, overpopulation is becoming an issue. More and more people have been seeing these animals in suburban areas.

Deer are very cute, so many people like to feed them. The problem with feeding wild deer is that they can become dependent on humans feeding them. As their dependence on humans increases, more fawns are born, which continues to add to overpopulation.

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.