Friday, July 10, 2015

Home-Grown Armadillos

 We have a large hole in the big butterfly garden in the front yard. It is a ways into the plants that have grown together, and so you have to know it is there to know it is there. We have long suspected it is the burrow of an armadillo. I read that their burrows can be fifteen feet long.

We have seen this one in the completely-fenced backyard a few times in the early spring.

Note the scars on its back where it squeezes under the gate by way of the tunnel it has created.

They are such odd-looking creatures. I always think they look like they were put together by a committee: each wanting to add their own part. There are twenty species of armadillos, but only our nine-banded lives outside of Latin America.

Early this summer, we were surprised to find THREE young armadillos tearing up our backyard in search of snails, grubs, beetles, ants and other insects.  As omnivores, they will also eat carrion, fruit and some plants. I read that the mother's egg breaks into four parts, creating quadruplets. (Somebody was missing.) They are mammals and, as such, their babies are born live and nurse. They are the only mammals with hard, protective shells.

We saw them on three occasions, but it has been a while, so maybe they moved on. We can hope. They are so destructive to a lawn.

Armadillos are probably most often seen as roadkill and have been nicknamed, "Hillbilly Speed Bumps." 

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