A variety of Texas wildlife and their habitats are depicted in the dioramas in this hall. These dioramas have a long history, for several were part of the exhibits created for the University Centennial Exposition in 1936, which was in celebration of Texas’ independence.
Accurately painted models of reptiles are found in the cases along the greatest length of the hall. Learn how to identify local venomous and non-venomous snakes and see a Texas horned lizard—the State Reptile of Texas.
A sample of bird species found in Texas is also depicted in dioramas that include a roadrunner and scaled quail. The Texas Gulf Coast, home to both migrant and resident bird species, is represented by several shorebirds and gulls.
The puma (mountain lion) and bison cases are the largest dioramas on exhibit and both depict scenes from western regions of Texas. Pumas once roamed statewide, but are now restricted to the Trans-Pecos and parts of the Edwards Plateau and South Texas Brush Country. Slaughtered primarily by commercial hide-hunters, bison were close to extinction by the late 1880s. The last verified record of wild bison in Texas was in the Panhandle-Plains region in 1889.