Spring Creek Forest Preserve is a unique riparian ecosystem that has a broad range of habitats that support, shelter, and feed its native inhabitants resulting in a well-adapted biodiverse community of flora and fauna within its urban surroundings. The mammals in the Preserve are secretive, largely nocturnal, and eager to stay hidden from the public. When a visitor comes across what looks like a home, Do Not disturb it! “An ecosystem is like a spider web. It is held together by all the plants, animals, air and nutrients, each being a thread in the web. With each thread that is removed, many other threads are weakened until the entire web collapses.” –Texas Parks and Wildlife
FOX SQUIRRLES are diurnal and possibly the only mammal seen or heard on your trip to the Preserve. Their nests are in the tops of trees in what looks like a ball of leaves. They are found in the forest habitat running and jumping from tree to tree sounding like humans trudging through the underbrush.
As you walk through the forest you might see holes dug under remnants of trees. These burrows are often home to ARMADILLOS, RACCOONS, SKUNKS, COTTON RATS AND OPOSSUMS. Dens can be in tree hollows or cavities. Dens, along with burrows, provide safe shelter for rearing young.
The EASTERN RED BAT, found in the Preserve, is nocturnal, roosting among clumps of leaves or branches during the day. At night they feed on insects like moths and beetles. Typically during the winter they hibernate.
EASTERN COTTONTAIL RABBITS are active at dawn and dusk at the edges of underbrush of forests. Their shelter, called a form, is a shallow depression scraped from the ground. Rabbits are the prey species for many animals including: raccoons, skunks, opossum, coyotes and bobcats.
COYOTES are active at dawn and dusk. They have adapted to be active at night due to the close proximity to humans, but don’t be alarmed if you see one during the day. Sometimes coyotes steal other animals’ burrows, however are just as apt to sleep out in the open or under the cover of the canopy. Usually they only use dens for raising pups. They eat just about anything -rabbits, fish, frogs, insects, snakes, carrion, fruit and grass.
Another resident of the Preserve is the BOBCAT. These medium sized felines are considered nocturnal. They can be found sleeping throughout the day in their dens then hunting rabbits, squirrels, Cotton rats and other rodents at night. Although nocturnal, they have been observed walking their territory during the day
BEAVER, NUTRIA, and RIVER OTTERS have occasionally been spotted frolicking in the creek
ANIMALS NOT IN THE PRESERVE
NOTE –RABIES is transmitted via saliva; so to become infected one would have to be bitten by a rabies-infected animal such as a Raccoon, Skunk, Coyote or Bat (small chance for Bobcats). Keep alert and keep your distance from any wild animal. Do not touch bats on the ground nor approach a wild animal.