Student Research Pages - What Lives Along Texas Beaches?

Cover-Beach Tidings
Laughing Gulls 2

These birds are just hanging out on the Gulf Coast sand. (Photo by Gabrielle Conley, © 2011)

Walk along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and you might find cool stuff washed up from far away, carried in by the waves and tides. When you go looking for cool stuff like that it's called BEACHCOMBING.

But Texas has plenty of its own cool stuff living right here so you could go beachcombing for wildlife. Remember how we said that our Texas beaches have a lot more going on that just waves and sandcastles? Well, they certainly do!

Below are just some of the critters that live along our sandy shores. Why don't you go beachcombing for them the next time you go to a Texas beach? (But leave them where you find them, please!)

Spotted Ground Squirrel

Spotted ground squirrels skitter among the dunes in search of seeds, roots, and treats that wash up on shore.

Ghost Crab

Ghost crabs got this name because they run and camouflage so quickly into the sand you wonder, "Did I really see something? (Photo credit: Gabrielle Conley, © 2011.)

Gulf Coast Ribbon Snake

Gulf Coast ribbon snakes don't have poison but they do have stripes down their backs, which look cool as they zip through the sand! (Photo used courtesy of J.D. Willson, © 2004)

Laughing Gulls

Laughing gulls really do sound like they're laughing when they call out to one another. (Photo credit: Gabrielle Conley, © 2011)

Snowy Plover

Snowy plovers line their nests with pieces of shells gathered from the seashore. (Photo by Al Vernon; Creative Commons.)


Sanderlings like to chase each other as they bop in and out of the water's edge. (Photo by Michael Schamis; Creative Commons.


Willets walk along the surf poking their long bills in and out of the wet sand in search of food. (Photo courtesy of Ken Thomas.)

Gulf Coast Kangaroo Rat

Gulf Coast Kangaroo rats get most of their drinking water from the seeds they eat.

Blackback Land Crab

Blackback land crabs have to get in the saltwater to get their gills wet every now and then. (Photo credit Hans Hillewaert, Creative Commons).

Keeled Earless Lizard

Keeled earless lizards have no outside ears and that keeps sand from getting stuck in them. (Photo © 2010, by Bill Gorum, used under Creative Commons.

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