When it comes to armadillos, I can take or leave them.
I don’t fear them, but I do avoid them — at least when they’re on the road and I’m in my truck. Some refer to them as “nature’s walking speed bumps,” and I think that’s a fair description (along with road kill, street meat and road pizzas).
Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the armadillo that it could be done, of course.
Their armor may help them fend off predators and mosquitoes, but it’s no match for my F-150.
Did you know they walk underwater to cross rivers and creeks? I’ve heard that all my life and thought it was more interesting than all the other trivia combined. Some say they do that because they’re too heavy to swim, so they just take a deep breath stroll across the bottom, and pop up on the other side.
Imagine how unsettling that could be if you were fishing on a river bed and suddenly this odd critter pokes his head out of the water.
I read that they can hold their breath for six minutes, and this allows them to make the underwater trek.
That makes me wonder how they came to that conclusion. Did we as taxpayers foot the bill for a $10 million study wherein scientists held armadillos underwater until they drowned, while timing them?
For the record, I did see a YouTube video of an armadillo swimming around in someone’s pool. I’m guessing he didn’t want to walk across the bottom because the chlorine was burning his weak, beady little eyes.
What I don’t like about them is that they dig holes all over your yard. I know they’re foraging for food, and though I’m not golfer, but I don’t want divots all over my property.
Now, if I was fisherman and could teach one to dig for fishing worms, I could get rich training and selling them.
And it’s too bad the military can’t train them to dig for roadside bombs, right?
For the record, I will say that I’ve tasted armadillo meat once, barbequed on a camping trip. No, it didn’t taste like chicken, but it was good. Did you know they have a thick layer of fat between their shells and bodies, that I’m guessing acts as a shock absorber?
Also, their bellies are hairier than Robin Williams’ was.
From what I’ve learned from some of our community elders, these critters provided meat for the table during hard times.
During the Great Depression, some even referred to them as “Hoover Hogs,” so named for then-President Herbert Hoover.
They used to be humongous, too, back in prehistoric days. I’ve seen a model of one in a museum in Tallahassee that was about as big as a Volkswagen Bug, making me wonder why Hollyweird never got around to making a B-grade horror movie called “Attack of the Giant Armadillos!”
Apparently these lowly creatures are worthy of musical immortalization, as at least three bands I know of have used them as their namesake — The Flying Armadillos, The Armadillo Brothers, and even The Smoking Armadillos.
Personally, I’ve always thought they were hat-worthy, not unlike the wildly popular Davy Crockett coonskin caps of the 1950s, complete with wagging, armored tail. But if I had my druthers, I’d want mine to have the little pointy ears mounted on the front.
I wondered if schools ever adopted them as a mascot, and did a little digging. And sure enough, the crowds cheer for the San Saba Armadillos out in Texas. That made me right proud of them.
Whether we like or dislike armadillos, I believe we’re stuck with them. Personally, I can tolerate them more than I can some other invasive species, such as some plants, trees, critters, or bugs.
Oh yeah, and even some that walk upright!