Texas Wild is a new wildlife series on Panhandle PBS created and hosted by two wildlife biologists turned videographers, Dr. Raymond Matlack and Jessie Story. Travel the vast landscapes of the Lone Star State alongside Jessie and Ray as this team of two seeks out the wildife that thrives in these far reaching spaces. Discover cave dwelling wildlife, venture through the great desert regions of West Texas, plunge into murky swamps, climb the Piney Woods and even discover an abundance of wildlife in your own backyard.
These longear sunfish were filmed in Alum Creek in Bastrop County. In this video you can see many beds (their nests) which are made by males and the males tend and guard the beds from would-be egg predators. In some of the video you can see a female enter the nest of a more-colorful male and initiate courtship. Look also at males in the background making beds by use of their tails. You can see the clouds of sediment this clears from the beds. These beautiful fish can be found through much of the state in ponds, streams and lakes and feed on terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and small fish. The video was captured on a GoPro 3.
These stout and rather toad-like Strecker’s chorus frogs were found chorusing in a roadside ditch in Bastrop State Park. To our knowledge, these are the first of this species identified within the park. These good looking frogs make a repeated single-note call that is quite loud. Their calls remind me of spring peepers to some degree. This video was filmed using Canon 5D MKIII and XA10. Light was provided by LED light panels.
This 5-minute film will take you through the catastrophic Bastrop wildfire and the early stages of recovery of this one-of-a-kind loblolly pine forest. Featured in this video is the rare and endangered Houston toad and a lot of scenery and macro videography. This one is narrated!!!
This, to the best of our knowledge, is the first time Strecker’s chorus frogs have been documented within the boundaries of Bastrop State Park. And these little guys aren’t quiet. Jessie and I found them by their single, clear and loud notes. These handsome frogs are much stouter-bodied then other species I have seen.
The hispid cotton rat gets its name from the grizzled appearance of its pelage which is a mix of dark brown and black hairs with lighter brown or grey hairs. The cotton rat is a smallish rat with males rarely reaching a 1/2 pound and these rodents are generally not going to be found in barns or buildings like the exotic Norway rat. Their diet is composed largely of plant matter and they are generally a grassland species. They can be found throughout Texas and the southeast US from Kansas east and south to the Carolinas and Florida.
Porcupine quill close-up – why you don’t want to get stuck
Not that most people need encouragement to keep a safe distance from a porcupine but if you tangle with these passive critters they are protected by modified hairs or quills. These quills cover most of the body but are especially concentrated on the porcupine’s back and tail. Porcupines cannot shot their quills but will swat at potential predators with their tail. The quills easily pull out of the porcupine once they embed into a potential predator because of the barbs you see visible in the photo above.
The pallid bat is local commonly along the escarpment and canyon lands of the Texas Panhandle and most of western Texas. These bats are crevice roosting bats that use echolocation for means of feeding and navigation. “Pallid” refers to the blond coloration of this bat. These large-eared bats are known for taking prey off the ground or out of the air. Prey for this species is composed largely of invertebrates and includes large and dangerous items such as scorpions and centipedes.
Texas Wild just submitted our first film for competition on Vimeo. We would love for you to check out our submission at http://www.vimeo.com/groups/WILDtoINSPIRE. It is titled Climbing Corpses. Let us know what you think!
The Texas Brown Tarantula is one of Texas Wilds favorite arachnids to film and is probably a common sight for people who live in Texas and throughout the south due the species abundance. It is also become a staple in the pet trade due to its docile nature but despite this, many people find this animals to be in the least: displeasing.
Tarantulas may be found in variety of habitats, ranging from grassy prairie to rocky canyon terrain. Males are commonly seen roaming about in late August searching for a female. They inhabit burrows which they lined with webbing, and with a little patience, soft hands and some luck, a tarantula can be coerced out of its burrow with the allure of false prey. These large creatures are very docile and will not readily retaliate when disturbed. In fact the most common defensive displays exhibited by these brown giants is a brisk run away or a gentle walk. One of the more intense displays to detour predation is the rearing up of the forelegs to reveal its fangs. When this rouse fails the tarantula will use its rear legs to release urticating hairs that in some cases causes irritation. Signs of this defensive behavior are balding or thinning of hairs on the abdomen. The gentle giants can reached sizes exceeding 3 inches through as series of molts. As the tarantula grows, it sheds it exoskeleton, remaining motionless for a prolong period of time as its new exoskeleton hardens. Serious damage even death can result if the tarantula is disturbed during this period. Texas brown tarantulas feed on invertebrates and occasionally small rodents. In turn the tarantula can quickly find itself being feed on. Tarantula hawks are a well known species of wasp that utilize tarantulas for their offspring. A tarantula hawk will sting a tarantula, place it inside a nest where it will then lay an egg upon the tarantula. Once this is done, the tarantula hawk larvae will bore into the tarantula slowly eating it alive over the course of its maturation.