Texas Wildlife

Texas,-Barred-OwlMy idea of a vacation is to be out in the wilderness as far away from people and as close to nature as possible. As an outdoorsy adjunct to a family visit in Houston, we stayed at a working ranch in the Texas countryside.


The fortunate delight of our isolated and rustic cabin was the beautiful barred owl whose territory we happened to occupy.  Every morning and every night we could always count on seeing him, and often at various other times throughout the day.  Not only was he stunning to observe and a skilled, silent flyer, but he was also a “lifer” for us–a bird we had never seen before.


Carolina Wren, Texas

Carolina Wren, Texas

Also outside our front deck was a Carolina Wren who frequently visited a hole in the nearest big tree.  After watching this wren just a short time, we soon discovered she was feeding a nest full of chicks.


Other gems we found nearby that we don’t see in California were the painted buntings (wow), northern cardinals (lovely), more wonderful birds, frogs, and turtles, and two snakes.


The first morning we went for a walk outside our cabin.  The grass was very tall in places, so we followed our instincts to stay on the path.  As we walked along, a startled water snake quickly unwound from his lakeside resting place and ducked into the water before we could get a photo.  He swam away and said “good day.”

Painted Bunting, Texas

Painted Bunting, Texas



Texas size snake (not a garden hose)

At one point we were in the car on a road near our cabin when I said, “Stop the car!”  Of all the snakes I have seen all over this world, I saw snake behavior I had never seen before.  It was a very, very long snake flipping through the air.  By the time we got the car stopped, the snake was no longer tumbling.  He was moving away quickly, on the ground.


Although this isn’t a very good photo (it all happened so fast), you can at least see how very very long this critter is.  OMG!  The longest snake I have ever seen!  “Texas size” as they like to say in Texas…and they’re not kidding!


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander


45 thoughts on “Texas Wildlife

  1. I remember driving down to Big Bend from Houston where we were living and as we entered the park we suddenly saw the road heaving in front of us. I am not a snake lover, we lived in Sri Lanka when I was a small child and it was drummed into me that snakes were very very dangerous. However, I had to stop the car because for as far as I could see there were snakes crossing the road. It was like I was awake for my worst nightmare!!! I backed up and turned around – no trek today!

  2. Great photo of the Barred Owl. I’ve never gotten a photo of one, though I’ve caught glances of them silently gliding through the forest. As much as I would love to get a photo, I just love listening to them calling to each other, with their “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you now?” call. And I would love to see a Painted Bunting. That’s on my birding bucket list!

    • We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw this barred owl in our first five minutes out the door, then the next bird we saw was a male painted bunting. A dreamy day. Thanks so much, Judy. 🙂

  3. Nice owl photo! Last August one of those barred owls startled the living daylights out of me while hiking in the woods at dusk. I grew up in Oklahoma, and seeing these reminds me of a few other critters that are fairly unique to the Oklahoma/Texas area: horned lizards, armadillos, and opossums. The last two are marsupials, and I’ve always wondered why they are so common around there.

    • How fortunate to have seen those critters growing up. I have never seen an armadillo or a horned lizard. What a delight that would be. Thanks so much, John. 🙂

  4. My daughter lives in Austin and has seen several snakes passing through her backyard.
    The most interesting creature I saw while I was visiting there….was an armadillo. I had seen photos of those them before, but I had never seen one “in person.” I don’t know why but, for some reason, it kind of reminded me of an opossum….with armor. 😉

    • That’s a good question. I don’t know for sure, but my first guess is mating, second guess is fighting. Either way I was glad I hadn’t walked into that tall grass! Many thanks. 🙂

  5. Keep the travelogue photos and commentary coming. Did you partake of any other types of Texas “wild” life while you were there? Say, the Austin music scene? I understand that can be interesting on a completely different level!

  6. As soon as I see your posts, I call my daughter and I’ll show her all the beautiful animal and birds 🙂

    Your notes are really helpful to introduce them to her…

    Thanks a lot for sharing, Jet and have a beautiful day ahead 🙂

    • Thank you Sreejith, this is a kind pleasure to hear, I am most appreciative. I really like your posts and photos so very much too. It is a wonderful world when we can share our lives like this. 🙂

  7. When I saw my first and only Barred Owl, I couldn’t stop looking. It was quietly and snuggly sitting on a tree branch about 12 feet away. Tears came to my eyes. It is such a magnificent and calming bird.

    I look forward to seeing a Painted Bunting! That’s still on my ‘To-see” list.

    Carolina Wrens are wonderfully cute little birds. They are plentiful here in TN. 🙂

    • I love talking birds! Get me going and I could talk all day about favorite sightings. Thank you for your comment and visit. I’m sure you will enjoy the painted bunting when it comes your way. And Carolina Wrens are special to us, because we don’t get them on the west coast. 🙂

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