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The Panhandle Plains area is located on the very North-Western top of Texas. It is red on the map. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Panhandle Plains area is located on the very North-Western top of Texas. It is red on the map. . Texas is naturally divided into several sections. These areas are different habitats, or environments, where different things prefer to live. .

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The Panhandle Plains area is located on the very North-Western top of Texas. It is red on the map.


Texas is naturally divided into several sections.

These areas are different habitats, or environments, where different things prefer to live.


This region has mostly flat, grassy land or plains. These plains are part of the same flat grassland that extends from the Great Plains of the Central United States.

The eastern part of the Panhandle is not quite as flat. It is lower in elevation and called a rolling plain. There is more rainfall in this eastern half and it is brushy.

The western and eastern parts of the Panhandle region is strikingly divided by deep canyons carved by rivers and their tributaries that wind their way through this area.


Native Americans,

Spanish explorers,


Texas Rangers,

Buffalo Soldiers,

and pioneers all

gave the

Panhandle a

colorful history.


The Comancheesare one of

the most


important Indian

cultures from

Texas. The


much more than

just warriors.

The Comanches

were once part of

the Shoshone

Indians. The

Comanche language and the Shoshone language are still almost the same. Bands of Comanches began moving south a long time ago. By the early 1700s they showed up in the Texas panhandle and in New Mexico.


The Comanche Indians lived in teepees on the grasslands and in the canyons of the Llano Estacado. They were nomads who rode horses and hunted bison. There were many conflicts between the Native Americans and the white settlers. In order to move the Native Americans from desirable lands, the white people killed bison, the Indians source of food and trade. Some Indians and white people wanted peace and agreed to live cooperatively, only to have others attack an Indian village or traveling whites and undo the peace. Sometimes the Indians kidnapped Mexican, African-American, or Caucasian women and children to take the place of their own loved ones who had died in a battle.


When Sam Houston 

was reelected to the

presidency in

December, 1841 he

saw the effectiveness

of the Rangers and on

January 29, 1842

approved a law that

officially provided for

a company of mounted men to "act as Rangers."

As a result, 150 Rangers under Captain John Coffee "Jack" Hays, were assigned to protect the southern and western portions of the Texas frontier. Houston's foresight in this decision proved successful in helping to repel the Mexican invasions of 1842, as well as shielding the white settlers against Indian attacks over the next three years. The Texas Rangers had severely damaged the strength of the most powerful Indian tribes.


Cowboys were important to the establishment of Texas. The Longhorn Cattle was perfect for Texas, as they could live with little water, travel miles, and keep weight on in order to be sold for a good price.


Explorers from Spain were some of the first outsiders to enter Texas. They established Catholic Churches, and interacted both negatively and positively with the native population.


The Panhandle is part

of the Great Plains.

It is home to animals

that are depend on

grasses and are adapted to live where water is

less common and temperatures can be hot or cold.

Bison are very large, powerful

animals with big humps over their

shoulders. They are adapted to live in

the extreme temperatures of the

Great Plains. Their thick fur keeps

them warm. They use their horns to

sweep away the snow to eat grasses.

The shaggy hair on the top of their

head protects their eyes from the



Bison roamed this region grazing on grasses and were hunted by Native Americans. Because of too much hunting in the late 1800s by white market hunters, bison almost became extinct.

  • Laws that regulated hunting and fees paid by hunters for management efforts helped restored the bison.
  • Now bison number in the tens of thousands on protected lands such as national parks and private rangelands.

Prairie dogs are very social and live in groups called “prairie dog towns.” One of these “towns” can cover as much as 1,000 acres of prairie land. The town consists of a series of connected underground burrows.

They feed on grass and herbs during the cool hours of the day. During this time, they also greet and groom each other. A “sentry “ prairie dog always sits at the opening to a burrow keeping watch. A bark is sounded as a warning for all to dive into their burrows until the “all clear” signal is given. Prairie dogs are an important part of the ecosystem. Other creatures use their abandoned burrows.


Rattlesnakes live in the Panhandle. Snakes help control the rodent population. Too many rodents would ruin crops, so the snakes helps farmers!

Rattlesnakes are venomous and usually rattle their tails before they bite. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot tell the age of a rattlesnake by the number of rattles on its tail!

The rattles start to fall off after 10 rattles or segments have been formed. Their forked tongue enables the rattlesnake to smell.


Canyon land in the Panhandle is the home to the petite Palo Duro Mouse, which lives no other place but here.

It has adapted to live in “crevices” or cracks in the steep canyon walls. By adapting to live in these crevices, the Palo Duro Mouse is more protected from its predators.

It’s body is at the most 4 inches long with a tail equally as long! It is reddish brown in color with white underneath. Primarily, it eats seeds.


Swift Fox

They received the name "swift" fox because of their speediness. Swift foxes are nocturnal, vocal and non-territorial. They spend more time underground in their burrows than any other canid. Although they are social animals, they keep one mate throughout their lifetime.


Texas Horned Lizards feed

primarily on harvester ants,

also called red ants. Harvester

ants build large mounds with a

hole in the center. Mounds are

very visible, because the ants

remove the vegetation from a

circular area 3 to 6 feet in


Texas Horned Lizards

have some amazing

defenses! Its horny

appearance and

coloration helps it to

blend into sparse

vegetation. Its horns

may make it less palatable.

It can also inflate itself to a larger apparent size.

Finally, the horned lizard is renowned for its ability to

shoot a stream of blood from its eye (actually, its

eyelid). Don’t mess with horny toads!

Texas Horned Lizard


Attwater's Prairie Chicken

The Attwater's prairie chicken is a small, brown bird about 17 inches long, with short, rounded, dark tail. Males have large orange air sacs on the sides of their necks. During mating season, males make a "booming" sound, amplified by inflating the air sacs on their necks, that can be heard 1/2 mile away.

Hens build their nest in tallgrass and usually lay 12 eggs during nesting season. The eggs hatch in April or May. Small green leaves, seeds, and insects form the diet of the Attwater's prairie chicken.


Burrowing owl

True to its name, the Burrowing Owl nests in a hole in the ground. Although it is quite willing to dig its own burrow, it often uses one already provided by prairie dogs, skunks, armadillos, or tortoises.

They are a diurnal bird - active both day and night. This is unlike others owls that are mainly active at night.

Burrowing Owls feed on large inscects, small mammals, and other birds.



A coyote is naturally adaptable because it eats such a wide range of food: mice or voles, lizards, and even insects.

In Native American stories coyotes are clever and tricky. This reputation is based on fact.

Coyotes may scan the sky for ravens flying in circles.

Coyotes know that the birds often hover over a dead animal, so finding the birds frequently leads to finding a free meal.



Although opossums look like a big rat, they are actually related to the koala and kangaroo. The opossum (also called possum) is the only marsupial (female with a pouch) in North America. They are about the size of a cat, have black to gray fur, and long, pointed noses (pink in color).

Opossums have many teeth,

more than any other land

mammal, and a prehensile tail,

one that can grasp or hold. Their

tail helps stabilize them as they

climb but they are not used to

hang from trees.

The tail is not strong enough to

support an adult's body

(babies may hang temporarily).



….part II

Opossums are most active at night. They are non-aggressive animals (although they may hiss or growl when frightened) that prefer to avoid confrontations and be left alone.

They are non-destructive. In fact, opossums benefit the environment by keeping it

clean and healthy. They eat roaches, rats,

and dead animals.

When threatened by an animal it is unable

to frighten or run away from, the opossum will "play dead" or "play possum".

This response is involuntary. They become comatose, foam from the mouth, and

secrete a foul smell.



Bobcats are elusive

and nocturnal, so they are rarely spotted by humans. Although they are seldom seen, they roam throughout much of North America and adapt well to such diverse habitats as forests, swamps, deserts, and even suburban areas.

Fierce hunters, bobcats can kill prey much bigger than themselves, but usually eat rabbits, birds, mice, squirrels, and other smaller game. The bobcat hunts by stealth, but delivers a deathblow with a leaping pounce that can cover 10 feet (3 meters).



Raccoons are highly nocturnal, and

their nightly forays will generally

begin when the sun sets and will not

end until the sun reappears the

following morning. Their activity during

the daylight hours is limited to resting in

their dens that are usually located in

secretive areas such as rock ledges or in tree

trunks. They are primarily solitary, although

occasionally females will gather in groups

of two or three individuals.



The nine-banded armadillo one of Texas’ most interesting mammals. It is found in most of the state except the western Trans-Pecos.


Porcupines of the

Panhandle Plains

Bowlegged and pigeon-toed, the porcupine slowly ambles

along, swinging its fat body from side to side, muttering to

itself. A pleasant enough creature when left alone, the

porcupine is quick to defend itself at the slightest threat.

With a top speed of little more than a fast waddle, it can

escape very few animals; however, its defensive weapons

are so effective, it has no need for speed.

These weapons, which are really modified hairs,

take the form of a protective body armor of

needle-sharp quills. Researchers estimate the

porcupine has more than 30,000 of these quills

with as many as 100 to 140 growing from each

square inch of skin. Only the nose, legs, and

underside are unprotected. The rest of the body,

from eyebrow to tail tip, is covered with prickly



FALL in the

Panhandle Plains



in the




Spring in the

Panhandle Plains


Summer in the

Panhandle Plains

And yes……that’s a Tornado


So…..this is the end of the Texas Panhandle Plains.

Next, we move East to explore the Prairies and Lakes of Texas.