Come and See
Prickly pear cacti are common in this semi-arid region. The prickly pear is the state plant of Texas. It ranges from light to dark green and has pads, which are actually branches that provide photosynthesis, water storage, and produce flowers. They are covered with sharp needles.
Bison roamed this region grazing on grasses and were hunted by Native Americans. Because of too much hunting in the late 1800s by white market hunters, bison almost became extinct. Laws that regulated hunting and fees paid by hunters for management efforts helped restored the bison. Now bison number in the tens of thousands on protected lands such as national parks and private rangelands.
Palo duro mouse
Canyon land in the Panhandle is the home to the petite Palo Duro Mouse, which lives no other place but here. It has adapted to live in “crevices” or cracks in the steep canyon walls. By adapting to live in these crevices, the Palo Duro Mouse is more protected from its predators. It’s body is at the most 4 inches long with a tail equally as long! It is reddish brown in color with white underneath. Primarily, it eats seeds.
Prairie dogs are very social and live in groups called “prairie dog towns.” One of these “towns” can cover as much as 1,000 acres of prairie land. The town consists of a series of connected underground burrows. The town is divided into “wards” and the wards are further divided into “coteries.” A coterie consists of one adult male, up to four females, and offspring up to two years of age. Prairie dogs within a ward greet each other with bared teeth, which is a kind of a “kiss” and a form of recognition. These creatures have large eyes, brownish-tan fur, and short tails with a black tip. They feed on grass and herbs during the cool hours of the day. During this time, they also greet and groom each other. A “sentry “ prairie dog always sits at the opening to a burrow keeping watch. A bark is sounded as a warning for all to dive into their burrows until the “all clear” signal is given. Prairie dogs are an important part of the ecosystem. Other creatures use their abandoned burrows.