Strecker’s chorus frogs calling

Video

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.

Climbing Corpses: Change in the Lost Pines (recovery following Bastrop fire)

Video

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!!!

Strecker’s chorus frog: a new species to Bastrop State Park

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.

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.

A rat you might even find attractive: Hispid Cotton Rat (Sigmodon hispidus)

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.

Sticky situation – porcupine quill close up

close-up image of a porcupine quill

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.

Up close and personal with the Pallid Bat: Texas Wild Style

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.

Climbing Corpses-Our first competition

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

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.

Texas Wild goes batty

This past weekend Texas Wild made their way down to Quitaque to mist net for bats at Clarity Tunnel. Thought the trip didn’t quite go the way we planned,  forgetting keys and sick crew members, we still persevered!  Due to the lack of keys, the mist net location was moved into Caprock Canyon, more specifically a river bed just below our camp site, where we netted two species of bat, the Pallid and Canyon.  As per usual standard operating procedure we camp without a tent and enjoyed a night filled with bats, a mesquite fire and heavy heavy dew…. we hope you enjoy this short video giving you a brief view into a night well spent!