Creature feature: Roundup of wild Texas animal stories from 2022

Otters, black gar and blue dragons have all made headlines in Texas this year

Schertz resident, Dania Wilkerson, was surprised to find a porcupine on her fence on Sept. 27, 2022. (KSAT/Dania Wilkerson)

This has been a wild year for animals, not just in San Antonio, but the entire state of Texas.

We’ve had a rabbit jumping out of a car in Cibolo, raccoons knocking out power in Seguin and river otters spotted in Spring Branch.

Here are some of the top animal headlines from KSAT in 2022:

Otterly amazing! River otter spotted in Spring Branch is ‘fairly rare’

  • Some otterly amazing animal news — river otters were spotted in Spring Branch, something Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials referred to as “fairly rare.” River otters were heavily hunted for their fur in the 19th and 20th centuries, which caused a major decline in the otter population, according to the National Wildlife Federation. However, societal efforts to improve water quality in the 1970s along with actions by natural resource agencies to improve habitat have helped bring the otter back from the brink.

Schertz family has an ‘exciting’ encounter with a porcupine walking along their fence

  • A Schertz family got a particularly prickly surprise visitor in the fall — a porcupine. Porcupines are already established in Central Texas but they’re expanding south and have previously been seen around San Antonio. They are native to Texas and are the second-largest species of rodent in North America behind the beaver, TWPD urban biologist Jessica Alderson previously told KSAT.

Raccoons knock out power to significant portion of Seguin

  • A large portion of the city of Seguin was without power twice in three days due to two separate raccoon incidents. Nearly half the city was temporarily without power after a raccoon made its way into a Lower Colorado River Authority transformer. “Call it de’ja’vu, irony or just a case of bad luck,” city officials said.

Owner of 12-foot python says snake is back home after being found loose in Cibolo neighborhood

  • A 12-foot reticulated python was found loose in a Cibolo neighborhood over the summer. The snake’s owner said she’s thankful to have her pet back and suspects that she may have gotten loose because someone tried to steal her. Garcia suspects that someone tried to steal the snake, but struggled with her and dropped her.
Leah Garcia's son happily reunite after the snake was found loose in a Cibolo neighborhood on Aug. 10, 2022. (Leah Garcia/KSAT)

Universal City woman discovers python in her house, police say

  • A resident in Universal City made a remarkable reptile discovery when she spotted a snake in her house. Officer Hector Luevano, who is familiar with snakes, was dispatched to the woman’s home and determined the reptile was a python. “The officer asked if the lady wanted to keep it since it was a pet but she was not having any of that,” said Universal City police Lt. Sheila “Tina” Vitacco.

Cibolo woman warns other pet owners after chihuahua attacked by coyote in her backyard

  • A Cibolo woman warned other pet owners after a coyote attacked her pet chihuahua in her backyard at the beginning of the year. Zoey Ward said she was outside when her dog was dragged from under the fence. She looked over her fence and saw a coyote in the green belt behind her home. Her dog Mimi survived the attack.

Schertz Animal Services rescues turkey vulture with frozen wings during wintry weather

  • It’s not just cute furry animals that Schertz Animal Services cares for — they also look out for the carcass-eating feathered kind. A woman called animal control officers to her home because she said there was a large black bird in her yard. The officers found a turkey vulture whose wings were covered in ice, making it unable to fly. Officers took him to warm up before setting him free.

Pug stolen in San Antonio reunited with owner after being found in ‘unsanitary conditions,’ ACS says

  • A 3-month-old pug that was stolen in San Antonio was reunited with her family after police discovered her in “unsanitary conditions,” according to Animal Care Services. “Miss O was ecstatic when Officer Bennett and Animal Care Sergeant Flores called to inform her that her beloved puppy was found safe and sound,” ACS officials said.

Watch: Furry stowaway under hood of SUV gets Cibolo mechanics hopping

  • When Janet Schoen brought her SUV in for an oil change at the Cibolo Grease Monkey, it turned into a hare-raising experience after a furry stowaway had everyone at the store hopping with excitement. Schoen said about three minutes after the technician pulled her vehicle into a bay, he came inside asking for the vehicle’s owner. “You had a rabbit under your hood,” he told her. Check out the video to see the mechanic’s reaction to finding the rabbit:

The San Antonio area isn’t the only place with some unique animal headlines. Here are some stories from around Texas where animals made the news in 2022:

Bat falcon spotted in Texas is first time bird of prey has been seen in US in recorded history

  • A bat falcon was been spotted in the U.S. for the first time in recorded history in February and the bird of prey made its appearance in the great state of Texas. Bat falcons are not rare they just haven’t been seen in our country before.

Don’t Touch: Rare blue dragons are showing up on Texas beaches again

  • There are dragons at the beach in Texas, but they are not the fire-breathing kind you’re likely familiar with. Blue dragons have been spotted for a second time in two years along Texas beaches but it’s still a rare find, according to University of Texas Marine Science Institute Reserve Director Jace Tunnell. Blue glaucus, known more commonly as a blue dragon, is a type of nudibranch or sea slug.

Chupacabra spotted in Amarillo? City officials want to know what the heck was on camera outside zoo

  • The legendary Chupacabra has been spotted in the Texas panhandle... well, maybe. Officials with the City of Amarillo say an “Unidentified Amarillo Object” or UAO was caught on security cameras around 1:25 a.m. on May 21 walking past a fence at the Amarillo Zoo. “We just want to let the Amarillo community have some fun with this,” said Amarillo Director of Parks and Recreation Michael Kashuba.

Texas fishermen catch rare black gar

  • Two fishermen caught a rare black gar in a Southeast Texas marsh in May. Justin Jordan, owner of Lotus Guide Service, and Terrell Maguire were out fishing on May 14 when Jordan said he spotted the beast in the water. “I see gar every day just not black ones,” Jordan said.

VIDEO: 10-foot alligator hoisted onto truck after roaming around Texas neighborhood

  • The Houston area appears to be a hot spot for giant gators. Several huge gators made headlines for wandering around Houston neighborhoods in September. In one instance, a woman spotted a 10-foot gator on a surveillance camera. The alligator was hoisted onto a trailer and put in the care of Animal Control.

Tallest, rarest birds in North America spotted on Texas coast

  • Whooping cranes are the tallest and rarest birds in North America. They make an annual 2,500-mile migration from Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada to the coastal marshes of Texas. The migration south to Texas can take up to 50 days. The birds were spotted for the first time this fall on Oct. 21 on Matagorda Island. Texas Parks and Wildlife officials said most of the birds are expected to arrive in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge area in December.

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