Strangest State: Where the Giant Crayfish Roam
Buffalo on the loose near Big Bend and UFOs spotted around Round Rock? Just another day in far-flung Texas.
A version of this story ran in the November / December 2022 issue.
Can you get an A in Taylor Swift? In the fall 2022 semester, the University of Texas at Austin is offering a course on the megastar’s discography. With so many fine Texas musicians around, why does Swift, a native Pennsylvanian, merit academic attention? As English professor Elizabeth Scala told KXAN: “I want to take what Swift fans can already do at a sophisticated level, tease it out for them a bit with a different vocabulary, and then show them how, in fact, Swift draws on richer literary traditions in her songwriting.”
Texas Parks and Wildlife folk are raising the alarm about invasive creatures with enormous claws lurking in the pond near a Brownsville apartment complex. On the plus side, the supersized Australian redclaw crayfish look and taste like lobster. But they also reproduce at a frightening rate—enough to displace native species, as Click2Houston.com reported. As tempting as it might be to boil up and douse these critters in cajun seasoning, alert your friendly ranger instead!
No wild buffalo have roamed Big Bend country for decades, yet locals and tourists kept reporting encounters with a bison bull near the Chisos Basin in August. The bull, some say, is possibly an escapee from Bruce Ranch, a family-owned outfit with domestic herds near Marathon, the Big Bend Sentinel reported.
Night sky-watchers reached for their cell phones on September 1 and recorded strange lights near a site called Cat Hollow. Round, bright lights appeared and disappeared and at one point seemed to fly in formation. “It was mesmerizing, honestly,” said Emily White, among those who sent images to Fox 7 Austin. A so-called “drone swarm” might be the best explanation: an organized group of dozens of people flying drones (likely illegally) late at night.