Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A night visitor

We had a visitor late last night... Here's his photo.
In case you can't tell quite what it is because of the darkness - it's an ARMADILLO! Technically he is a nine-banded armadillo. They are interesting little creatures, BUT

This one has visited us before. Yes, probably the same one. You see they have quite a large "territory", they can wander for several miles. And
surprise, surprise. They are fast little buggers! As I found out last night...

Here's my crazy story. I had taken the dog out right before going to bed and spotted him in the yard. Took the dog in and got Daniel to come out with me. I thought maybe we could scare him away. So we decided to throw something at him. Hmm...what to throw? So Alyssa's soccer ball was handy and Dan threw it at him. Well, he missed. But I guess it got close enough to startle him. Next thing I knew the armadillo jumped STRAIGHT UP into the air! Man, he must have jumped straight up about 2 feet. Then it took off running - RIGHT AT ME AND DAN standing on the deck! Yikes! I started screeching and jumping around thinking that it was going to come right up there with us! Well, it stopped ran another direction, stopped ran towards us, stopped and then ran right under the deck... I
was laughing so hard - I've never seen anything quite like it.

My hubby, Dave had told me that this happened to him and Joe last year when the dillo was making his rounds and causing problems. The thing jumped straight up in the air and hissed at him. Kind of hard to believe until you have seen it! Honey, I believe you...

So hopefully I didn't wake the neighbors. And in the meantime, we have a live trap set in the yard trying to catch him (once again...). Last time we ended up catching a skunk. But that's another story for another day.

So in my research about how to rid ourselves of this little guy who is diligently tearing our yard to shreds, I came upon these unusual facts about armadillos and thought I would share them with you.

1. They can jump as high as four feet straight up!
2. They can cross a creek by two methods: puffing up and floating, or sinking and using their claws to grip the bottom and walk across.
3. They can hold their breath for six minutes.
4. The females can delay their fertilized eggs from implanting for up to two years, until their environment is more favorable for pregnancy. (Now...how handy would that be!)
5. They are originally from South America and have continued to migrate North over the years.
They were first reported in the U.S. in Texas in 1849.
6. They have been used in medical science in the study of leprosy.
7. Armadillo means "little armoured one" although the largest species of armadillo can grow to be 140 lbs. (Glad he wasn't in the back yard!)

So there you have it. Some non-useful information about a weird and wacky creature who roams in the dark....next time maybe he will come to visit you!

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