Welcome to the sixth installment of Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors, and what stalkers you are!! Last week we asked you to help us reach January’s goal of 100 likes on our Facebook page and thanks to your help we have gone from 93 to 176 likes in just a week!! That is incredible and gives Mike and those of us working with him such great pleasure to see. Thank you everyone for participating and sharing this great work with your friends and family, keep it up! We love to see your shares and comments!
Did you know that there are roughly 20 different varieties of armadillos? An interesting fact that I’ve gained from the National Geographic website. The reason most of you said no, you didn’t know that, is that there is only one variety that lives in the United States; the rest inhabit Latin America. The only species of armadillo that we see is the nine-banded armadillo.
Mike has shown a special distaste for armadillos, especially when they are rooting around in his yard. However, he has done two very informative videos on them. One was in 2008, for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. His video Armadillo, talks about many of the aspects of armadillos. I went to the National Wildlife Federation’s website to gain a few more details about these funny looking creatures.
“Armadillo,” is a spanish word meaning “little armored ones.” Named this for their armor-like shell that encompasses their entire body except for their underbelly. It is this shell that protects them from a majority of their predators. The nine-banded armadillo is about 2.5 feet from nose to tail and weighs approximately 12 pounds. Despite their name, they can actually have 7 – 11 bands on their shell. One of the most common misconceptions about these animals is that they can roll themselves into a ball protected by their shell. In fact, there is only one species of armadillo that has that ability and it is not the nine-banded armadillo.
As Mike explains in his video, armadillos live in burrows that they dig. These burrows are most commonly under, leaf piles, sticks and roots but they will dig a burrow in an open area. Armadillos are equipped with snouts and front claws that help it to burrow in the ground, both for shelter and food. They root around in the dirt looking for grubs and insects to snack on. While they may not have the best eyesight, they have an amazing sense of smell; this sense of smell can allow them to detect up to 500 different types of food.
Even though they will eat other items, since an armadillos main food source is insects and other bugs, a hard winter will often leave many armadillos cold and hungry. This thins the population through starvation. Mike explains this more in his recent video Winter Armadillos.
An interesting fact about armadillos is their breeding. An armadillo will usually give birth to four young. The interesting part is, that the young are identical quadruplets. All four will either be female or male. The shells of the offspring aren’t hardened yet, leaving them vulnerable to predators.
In addition to being nocturnal creatures, armadillos commonly get a bad reputation because they are the only animals besides humans that can contract leprosy. However, the transference of the disease between an armadillo and a human is extremely rare. In contrast to this, the armadillo caught the nicknames “Hoover hog” and “poor man’s pork,” during the great depression and are still used as a food source for some.
I hope you learned something new today. Mike is always teaching me new things through his videos and it often inspires me to go research and learn more about his topics.
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