Westerns gave Texas the reputation for being full of cacti, rattlesnakes, and for the sole purpose of transportation, horses. It was a land only suited for ranchers, outlaws, and the few lawmen lonely and crazy enough to keep them all at peace. Despite the fact that it’s now the second most populous state in America, for many people it retains that barren reputation. Anyone who lives in the state knows that the geographical climate between Galveston and Lubbock is about as diverse as naturally possible, but many Texans don’t know much about the flora and fauna in their own backyards. There’s certainly more to be seen than tumbleweeds and armadillos: you just have to know what animals to look for at San Antonio summer camp.
The ecosystem surrounding San Antonio could roughly be classified as a desert. Vegetation grows, but there aren’t many prairies. The grass is hard and the trees are often too few to clump into forests. Every children’s book on deserts, though, emphasizes the diversity and hidden life of these climates. In even the rockiest portions of the hill country life abounds; some of it may resemble Mars, but the land around a San Antonio summer camp still teems with varied and fascinating species of plants and animals.
Because they rely more heavily on water than birds and reptiles, people expect drier climates to lack many mammals—or at least, large mammals. Deer, wild pigs, and the mischievous opposable-thumbed raccoons tend to be some of the most commonly seen animals at San Antonio summer camp. Decades ago, a food shortage caused malnutrition among the local white tailed deer; their growth is permanently stunted, but the animals survived and once again thrive in the local area. It might seem dry, but the region contains many hidden springs and underground bodies of water that allow these and other creatures to remain hydrated. With numerous caves, too, on many nights bats are spotted circling the skies just after sunset. Cougars have been seen, and coyotes are often heard howling throughout the night, but they’re much less common than herbivores.
The water that allows the presence of deer and javelina also holds species that seem much better suited for swampland. Under rocks and vegetation around creeks, campers sometimes find salamanders and cricket frogs. Amphibians require constant moisture to live, and the springs and ponds in Texas are just enough to sustain them through the intense months of heat. They’re a surprising addition to the animals found near San Antonio summer camp, which is mainly due to the lifeless reputation Texas geography has acquired.
Bird watchers love the region for its blue and green-backed herons and gorgeous kingfishers, and campers with arachnophobia need to be wary of the tarantulas that occasionally cross hiking paths. San Antonio summer camp counselors should warn hikers of the snakes to avoid, but on the whole, the land isn’t the brutal, dangerous climate that John Wayne films made it out to be. The geography around San Antonio might seem stereotypically “Texas,” but it holds a captivating array of species to encounter during your time at camp.