The Texas longhorn was adopted as the official state large mammal of Texas in 1995, and is the well-known mascot for the University of Texas in Austin. This is a hybrid breed resulting from the random mixing of Spanish retinto (criollo) stock and English cattle in Texas. The Texas longhorn is considered to be one of the more intelligent breeds of cattle and is fairly calm and gentle and sometimes even curious and playful.
Texas Herd Locations: Fort Griffin State Park, Copper Breaks State Park, Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site, San Angelo State Park
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Grain and hay, with grass from grazing
Weight: Adults can weigh 1,000 to 1,800 pounds
IUCN Red List Status: Not evaluated
The Texas longhorns’ ancestors arrived in the late 1500’s, brought over to what is now Texas and set free by the Spaniards. Come the 1800’s, millions of wild longhorns were roaming free, and often looked upon as game animals by early Texans. It wasn’t until the end of the civil war that the longhorns were rounded up and driven to markets in the north.
Dallas is the dominant steer of the two we currently have. He is darker in color and his horns jut forward rather than outward. When he gets hungry, he won’t hesitate to let us know, as he will sound off vocally every few minutes until we give him his breakfast. His favorite treat, though, is alfalfa. He loves to rub on wooden posts or cedar trees for back scratches. Dallas also has formed an unlikely friendship with a male Canada goose on the Texas yard, who meets Dallas at the gate every morning and follows him around as a companion. Dallas is originally from the Asbill Ranch and came to the zoo in 2005 when he was just a calf.
Austin is more laid back and will follow Dallas around the yard. His horns jut outward more, which allows him to scratch his back side more without needing to rub along a wooden post. Dallas and Austin eat, lay down, and sleep next to each other. He is also from the Asbill Ranch and was brought here with Dallas.