North central Texas’ prairies are home to pronghorns.
The north central plains of Texas extend from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the lower area of state’s panhandle region. This grassland biome offers a dry habitat for its wildlife species. This region provides savanna vegetation — Texas winter grass and sideoats grama — for its native herbivore animals. The north central plains region also has the Brazos and Colorado Rivers to provide water for animals in this region of the state.
The north central region of Texas is home to several herbivorous mammals — desert mule deer, pronghorn and whitetail deer — who graze on prairie grasses. However, carnivorous mammals also live in north central Texas to prey on these animals; some carnivorous species include the gray fox, swift fox and coyote. Smaller mammals, such as rodents and mustelids (badgers and weasels), also live in north central Texas. Two species of rabbits, eastern cottontail and desert cottontail, are also found in the plains of Texas’ north central region. In the wetlands area, wildlife watchers may see American beavers, nutrias, minks, raccoons and Virginia opossums.
Texas’ north central plains have a variety of herbivorous bird species and carnivorous birds of prey. Birds of prey — peregrine falcon, Mississippi kite and bald eagle — often scour the north central plains for prey since this region does not have many forests to provide protection for its prey. The Blackland Prairie Raptor Center provides education programs on the area’s bird of prey species. The region is also home to birds who nest on the ground. These birds include mourning doves, Rio Grande turkeys and bobwhites. Ground-dwelling birds usually find patches of thick grass and trees to see refuge from predators.
Two subspecies of copperhead snakes live in Texas’ north central plains region: southern copperhead and broad-banded copperhead. These copperhead snakes are venomous and prey on small rodents and bird eggs. Another reptile is the green anole, a small lizard species. This lizard is also known as the red-throated anole, since this lizard’s dewlap — a sac under its throat — has a red coloration when it expands; the dewlap serves as a defense mechanism or mating call. Other reptile species include the smooth earth snake, western cottonmouth snake, Texas spiny lizard, ground skink and Mediterranean gecko.
All fish species in north central Texas are freshwater species. This region of the state has black bass species — largemouth bass and Guadalupe bass — and true bass species — striped bass and white bass; the Guadalupe bass is endemic to Texas and is the state’s official fish. Other Texas fish species include sucker species — bigmouth buffalo and smallmouth buffalo — longnose gar, common carp and crappie species. Some of the largest freshwater bodies of water for fish are the Red River, Lake Meredith, Pilot Point and Lake Texakoma on the Texas-Oklahoma border.