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Not another armadillo!

Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2011, at 2:59 PM

This was the gift my dogs rounded up for me and left in the front yard this morning!
Go home to Texas!!

Yes, I admit it--There was a time when I thought armadillos were cute little creatures, curiously exotic and fascinatingly foreign.

That was about five years ago, I would guess. I would see them alongside the highway from Advance to my sister's house in Springfield--and one time I even counted dead armadillos to keep myself awake!

Those days are in the past. Now the little obnoxious armed semi-rodents are HERE!!! And, unfortunately, they do not confine themselves to the highway. They are in our yards!

My good friend Emma lives just outside Advance to the east, and she is battling armadillo burrows all over her yard.

I would agree to loan her my dogs, but I don't think it would help much, because I suspect that the dogs are burrowing into the ground, after the armadillos, leaving even larger holes!

I wouldn't mind the dogs' extracurricular nightly activity, but for two reasons: 1) They bark all night! and 2) They insist on bringing their dead treasures up into my yard, so I can appreciate their hunting skills! ("Look what we killed for you, Mama!")

Do you have any idea how HEAVY an armadillo is?? Try picking one up some time! For an animal about the size of a possum or a cat, they are inordinately heavy! It feels as if they're full of metal musket balls!

When the dogs first started using the front yard as an Armadillo Bone Field, I actually got a shovel, struggled to dig a hole, carried the heavy carcass to the burial place, dumped it in, and shoveled in dirt.


After about a week of burying armadillos every morning before work, I changed the funeral arrangements! Now, if my truck will start (which it WOULD NOT this morning!), I get the shovel, pick up the dead item, put it in the back of my truck, and take it off down a gravel road to a ditch far enough away that my dogs won't bring it back. Let the resident troop of vultures polish it off!

I DO NOT PUT IT IN MY DUMPSTER!! My dumpster is emptied once a month! Need I say more??

This morning, since my truck wouldn't start, I put on my trusty yellow rubber gloves, picked up the armored rodent by the tail, and carried it down to the pond, where I performed a burial at sea! (P.S. You can do this if your dogs have not mauled the animal into such a mess that a) the body won't hold together or b) the sight is so ghastly that it makes you vomit!)

Ah, the joys of country life!

I have a question---Why, after all these years of living peacefully down in the Texas desert--have armadillos come north?

Yes, yes, folks--the answer is as obvious as the noses on our faces:


Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I have an opinion, it has become so hot in Texas that the little fellas and gals have come north to cooler climates. WAIT, that can't be the reason, perhaps illegals are coming up from Mexico across the border and forcing the migration to more fertile grounds. We need to post welcome signs at the border of Arkansas. Personally I think they are cute, little ground hogs complete with armament.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Wed, Jul 27, 2011, at 6:33 AM

If you can handle the cleaning, freshly done "possum on the half-shell" makes a rather tasty stew, an acquired taste, much like turtle soup, but the Terlingua boys have a good recipe!!! Natural range of any wildlife expands in response to the absence of range and habitat predation!! Take a look at our deer populations!!!

and might I remind some of the beginnings of a cougar population this far south and east????? just sayin, kkr

-- Posted by kkcaver47 on Wed, Jul 27, 2011, at 12:02 PM

Well, that's the problem with invasive species: they tend to keep invading. Armadillos are not native to Texas; they've been migrating northward from South America for years. And lacking the natural predators they have in South America, they're likely to keep going as long as they can survive the harsher winters.

-- Posted by JHeaton on Wed, Jul 27, 2011, at 2:42 PM

I am amazed at their resilience--for a creature with no more effective armament than they have! They may LOOK well-armored and impressive, but they obviously are not! If they're so well-protected, then why do dogs have no trouble killing them? I've seen the wounds that the canine species inflicts on these southern visitors, and it's evident that the "armor" did NOT hold up under pressure!

Not only that, the creatures' response to the automobile is most unfortunate: As I understand it, their first reaction, when startled, is to jump straight up into the bottom of the passing vehicle!

The only way I can account for their numbers is their reproductive ability. Those mamas must have a litter a month--like mice! This seems all the more puzzling, because...

Have you ever seen a baby armadillo???

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Jul 28, 2011, at 11:58 AM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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