Why Did You Paint That, Je’?
We’ve all seen nine-banded armadillos bumping along in our garden or beside the road. That is the only kind that lives in North America, though over twenty different kinds live in South America. The giant armadillo can grow to five feet, including it’s tail, the adorable pink fairy armadillo is about four inches long and the hairy screaming armadillo is exactly what you think it is.
They eat insects and worms, so have no big teeth to bite you with, though they do have impressive claws and can carry leprosy. If you ever approached one, you know they do not see well and you can get quite close before they notice. When they do notice, they get startled and can leap up to three feet in the air. While you are busy laughing, they make their escape.
I recently watched a cat stalking one. The cat sniffed it, decided it was too big to tackle, but just then the armadillo noticed the cat and leaped straight up,which caused the cat to leap straight up, too. I’ve heard folks say they have recipes for armadillo, perhaps from the Great Depression, when they were called Hoover hogs.
They can hold their breath for five minutes and have been seen under water walking along river bottoms. Alternatively, they can swallow a lot of air and blow up like floaties to cross a bigger river. With their poor eyesight, they are unfortunately frequently hit by cars, which inspired the following joke:
Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the armadillo that it could still be done.