Nine-banded armadillo in Aubrey, Texas; photo by Rich Anderson on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).
Official State Small Mammal of Texas
Texas designated the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) as the official state small mammal in 1995 (Texas also recognizes an official large mammal and a flying mammal symbol). All State Mammals
Check out our article about Houston which talks more about the armadillo.
A distant cousin of the sloth and the anteater, the nine-banded armadillo is the only species that occurs in North America. A bony, scaled shell protects the armadillo from predators. Originally native to South America, the nine-banded armadillo now ranges as far north as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Louisiana. The other twenty or so armadillo species remain in Central and South America.
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, The State of Texas traditionally has recognized a variety of official state symbols as tangible representations of the proud spirit and heritage of our state; and
WHEREAS, The bluebonnet, the pecan tree, the Guadalupe bass, and the lightning whelk are examples of some natural specimens that serve to symbolize the great diversity of the Texas landscape, while the state dish, chili, fittingly represents another aspect of our shared culture as Texans; and
WHEREAS, In keeping with this custom, the designation of an Official State Mammal of Texas has been the subject of an extensive statewide mock election participated in by hundreds of elementary schoolchildren throughout our state; and
WHEREAS, The two front-runners in this race have been the armadillo and the longhorn; and
WHEREAS, Once the cornerstone of the Texas cattle industry, an estimated 10 million longhorns were herded from Texas to midwestern and western markets during the quarter century that followed the Civil War, providing invaluable stability to the state's postwar economy; and
WHEREAS, The longhorn's distinctive profile commands an immediate association with the State of Texas nationwide and is fittingly used as a visual symbol by businesses from the Rio Grande Valley to the Panhandle; and
WHEREAS, The other candidate for designation as Official State Mammal, the armadillo is a hardy, pioneering creature that chose to begin migrating here at about the time that Texas became a state; and
WHEREAS, The armadillo possesses many remarkable and unique traits, some of which parallel the attributes that distinguish a true Texan, such as a deep respect and need for the land, the ability to change and adapt, and a fierce undying love for freedom; and
WHEREAS, As proud and indomitable as the state from which they hail, both the longhorn and the armadillo will serve as fitting symbols of Texas' unique heritage; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 74th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designate the longhorn the official Large State Mammal of Texas and the armadillo the official Small State Mammal of Texas.