I’ve got company! :)

I had SUCH a memorable Memorial Day!  A family of unexpected guests arrived just in time for breakfast!

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Hmmmmm…..beach sunflower buffet? Mighty enticing! 😉

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Of the 20 known Armadillo species, only one resides in the US: Dasypus novemcinctus aka the nine-banded or longnose variety. The next two photos show how well they live up to these common names!

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D. novemcinctus are somewhat opportunistic eaters.   Their pig-like snouts function as foraging tools, seeking out insects, earthworms, small reptiles and amphibians.  Plant roots, carrion, small birds and mammals may also be consumed.  If they head to your garden, beware!  Even the briefest foraging session leaves behind holes and misplaced garden soil…especially around new plantings like the banana and small cactus in my ranchero!

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The Florida armadillo population was the result of a few animals released from a small zoo in 1924, combined with several more that escaped from a traveling circus in 1936. They’ve multiplied and spread thoughout the state due to a fast reproductive cycle. Female armadillos reach sexual maturity between 1-2yrs of age, bearing 4 pups from a single egg that divides into quarters before implanting!  Interesting fact should you ever appear on Jeopardy➡ armadillos are the ONLY mammal to give birth to identical quadruplets all the time!

If you look closely at this next picture, you’ll notice a few “dings” in the rear armored plates of the animal nearest the street:

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When they came back on Tuesday, I got a closer look and noticed another mark towards the head:20130528_105639-1

In person, these looked more like claw marks (or scrapings) than indentations.  In terms of local wildlife predators, bobcats and hawks have been known to hunt armadillos, although most fall victim to car accidents when crossing urban streets.  An armadillo’s natural escape reflex is jumping instead of running…jumping is what typically puts them at odds with grilles of oncoming vehicles! Eek!

If you think it odd to see armadillos during daytime, it isn’t!  Juveniles are more apt to seek food during daylight, largely to avoid adult armadillos who forage during dawn and dusk, and behave aggressively toward youngsters at “adult feeding time.”

I had hoped to see these fascinating prehistoric holdovers again Wednesday, but it rained (HARD!) intermittently all day.  I think they’re living among the plumbago hedge along my house’s concrete slab, an ideal, safe spot of well concealed brush!

Here’s one final glimpse:

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Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

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27 thoughts on “I’ve got company! :)

    • They’ve def settled in a hole under the house slab. (as an aside, I still can’t get used to houses being built on slabs with NO cellars…before this I always lived in old houses with deep cellars (some even had dirt floors) but the aquifers here preclude all that) I may have to find a way to humanely remove them, but they really ARE so interesting!!!

  1. So very cool! Thanks so much for sharing these! Living in Texas I have yet to see a live armadillo which has been a bummer. These “youngsters” look like they’ve been having quite the time! 🙂
    Kenley

  2. What a beautiful and fascinating animal … I´ve never seen them before ! I appreciates your informative text to your great shots 🙂 // Maria

    • Thank you so much for this nice comment!
      I saw two, on two consecutive nights around 3am the first year I lived here. But since then I’d never run across them again…til now! Glad it was in daylight so I could get good shots!

    • hahahahaha! Crazy, right?!!!
      I hope they don’t create some enormo sinkhole under my house! I’ll be keeping my eye on things! Like I said in reply to the first commenter, I may wind up getting them humanely removed. I don’t want them captured and killed, so I’ll need to find an alternative I can live with!

    • Texas is their favorite state from what I’ve read…but they’ve spread as far north as Nebraska and Illinois as well as east to the Atlantic, from here up through the Carolinas!

  3. Many people say that Australia has weird animals like the koalas and kangaroos, but what you have there is even weirder. Look like they are made of steel. I want one for a pet, please …. 🙂

  4. Lucky you, I have never seen a family of armadillos (thankfully!) but I am glad that you were able to get these pictures. We have a family of bobcats that visit our yard regularly, but I have never been able to get the camera out in time. Funny, these animals all seem to travel in threes; the occasional turtle, bobcats and assorted birds are more our speed.
    Gators need not apply! LOL

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