The "Facts" About Armadillos

| 12/13/2017 8:39:00 AM

Linda and Burt Crume 

My first awareness of armadillos involved family road trips from northeastern Oklahoma, where armadillos didn't seem to exist 50-60 years ago, to the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico, where armadillos did exist. The highways we traveled on our family trips were scattered with dead armadillos that had met their demise jumping bumper-height when scared by rapidly approaching automobiles.

Armadillo side view

Armadillo means "little armored thing" in Spanish. They originated in South America and 9,000-year-old records exist of recipes for the preparation and ingestion of these mammals. One recipe calls for roasting the armadillo in its shell. Modern researchers have tested the recipe, and it appears to be genuine. More modern recipes can be found on the internet, and Texans love the creature enough to have named it the state mammal, although I haven't found the official state recipe (nor have I looked for it).

When I started this blog piece, I was certain that I knew much about armadillos. I knew that they dug multiple holes in my lawn and garden while they searched for grubs, worms and insects. I knew they were nocturnal and were rarely seen before dusk and after dawn. I knew they dug burrows for hiding during the day and to have a place to bear offspring. I knew that the litter was always of four same-sex creatures.

Another fact I "knew" was that the creature would jump into the air to confuse its enemy, and when it landed, it scampered to safety while its less-capable opponent was left in awe regarding the athleticism shown by the roly-poly creature (the auto was not around during the evolution of the armadillo, and the jump of the armadillo unfortunately has made it bumper height - depending on the size of the vehicle).

12/16/2017 6:38:52 AM

Linda and Burt, the armadillo is a interesting little creature and my first encounter was road kill in southern Louisiana on the Texas side. I was with a volunteer team doing cleanup after Katrina when we came upon the creature dead in the road. We were all from Nebraska and had never seen one before so we stopped and examined it more closely. This was a two lane local highway without too much traffic. Camera shutters were snapping when a local came driving around the curve and just shook his head at us in disbelief as he passed us by. Later we come to learn that they were a nuisance rodent and very much disliked. So to see a group of Northerners from Nebraska out looking and taking pictures of a dead armadillo was probably quite amusing to some one to lived there. I've not seen a live one except in a zoo but that's not natural habitat. I didn't know they jumped when scared. We here in Nebraska have the destructive raccoon. They are the nocturnal rascals of the neighborhood and will make life miserable for gardeners. Thanks for sharing your research information on Armadillos and I'll definitely be looking forward to more in the next post. Have a great Armadillo fact learning day. Nebraska Dave

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