Of the 181 mammals listed as occurring in the state of Texas, nearly 60 species have been verified as inhabiting Big Thicket National Preserve. Animals such as bison, ocelots, and red wolves have unfortunately been extirpated from the region. Occasional black bear sightings occur, as do sightings of mountain lions. Aquatic mammals including beaver, river otter, and the non-native nutria may be observed while canoeing on the rivers and streams. Eleven species of bats may be seen flying overhead at dusk consuming the plentiful moths (over 1600 species) and mosquitos. An array of rodents scurry in the understory while gray, fox, and flying squirrels move through the trees overhead. Skunks, raccoons, ringtail cats, opossums, and armadillos may be a less-than-welcomed visitor to a picnic or camp site if care is not taken to store foods in animal-proof containers. White-tailed deer are the only ungulate in the preserve and must compete for food with the feral hogs, who eat just about anything. Gray and red fox, coyotes, and bobcats, along with weasels, mink, and badgers are the primary predators on the prowl looking for a rodent, bird, or snake to fill their bellies.
Last updated: April 14, 2015