Tuesday, September 23, 2008

9 BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus)

Well I don't have all of the pictures I'd like to post, but I couldn't wait any longer to share these video clips with you. The Army Corp of Engineers has cleared a new hiking trail through the woods by my house and of course I couldn't wait to check it out. More pictures from that to follow, but for now, here are 2 videos I just had to post because - Armadillos are just SO CUTE! This one ventured close to me on the trail and as I stood very, very still I was able to get some shots. Armadillos can't see very well, but they can hear a little better and once he sensed my presence, he took off running through the woods!

While I had him in my sights, this guy exhibited typical Armadillo behavior, rooting around in the soil and under logs searching for a meal. Yes, they do dig around with their noses and look for grubs, worms, and other insects to eat. And yes, they do leave fairly large holes in the soil, which a lot of people with formal gardens seem to despise. I don't understand this adversity toward Armadillos at all. They are most excellent soil aerators, and they control the soil dwelling insects that destroy plants at the same time. From my observations, they do not uproot established plants, instead, they move the soil all around the root balls and provide a 'tilling' function that is better than any plow I have ever seen. All that is needed after an Armadillo comes through is a soaking from a water hose to flatten the mounds back down and the garden looks as good as new, but much healthier! Unfortunately, the way most people experience an Armadillo (besides seeing holes in their gardens and yards) is by passing them by in cars, lying 'legs up' alongside the highway. The poor little guys, like so many other animals, do not have a chance when it comes to vehicles and they experience a huge amount of highway mortality.

One very interesting fact about Armadillos is that each female bears 4 offspring at a time which are exact clones of each other. Apparently they are the only mammals which do this consistently and that makes them extremely unique! If you have some time and you want to read more about Armadillos, here is a link:



Pam Croom said...

Love the armadillos! There were those that said they wouldn't cross the Tennessee River-too big of a river. I thought what? armadillos can't walk across a bridge? Apparently they can! I've now seen dead ones on the out skirts of Nashville, TN! Northward on they plod!


Thanks for the comment! Little did I know until reading the article I linked to in this post, Armadillos will cross a river by - get this - holding their breath and WALKING ALONG THE BOTTOM to the other side!!! If the river or stream is too deep they will inflate their lungs and create a 'balloon-like' body which will float them across to the other side. They are truly amazing creatures and much more adaptive than we give them credit for. Happy adventures!

Shellmo said...

I like these guys too - they are just so neat looking. In your video when he's sniffing around - he kind of reminded me of the chipmunks in my yard with their inquisitive noses.

Max said...

Great armadillo videos, I enjoyed watching them dig up gardens when I lived in Oklahoma.

I'll post my recipes at the end of my food processing season.

EcoRover said...

Armadillos rank with platypuses (platypi?) as one of the coolest critters.

Does Max mean that he's going to post Armadillo recipes? I've heard they're traditionally eaten in chili.

troutbirder said...

Indeed amazing creatures. I really enjoyed learning about them. They vaguely remind me of the possoms we have around here


I've never eaten Armadillo (that I know of...) Is it safe?! And if so, is it edible?!

I am seeing a lot of substantial hole-digging-Armadillo-activity around here this fall. Those mammals can really aerate and excavate the ground, I tell you! Surely that has to be very good for the soil to work it like that, and I bet it increases the water retention capacity also. If anyone knows differently, please post!