John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Armadillos in the news

DATELINE: Colombo, Sri Lanka!

Wildlife officers of the Hambantota forest range have uncovered a racket to hunt endangered species of animals for consumption.

According to Ajith Gunatunga, assistant wildlife officer in Hambantota, a Chinese restaurateur who was holding several animals captive was arrested in the Mirichchwilla area.

He added that a tortoise and an armadillo endemic to Sri Lanka were found in a restaurant owned by the Chinese national.

I have some doubts about this story. To my knowledge, there are no armadillos in Sri Lanka or anywhere else in Asia. In fact, when you do an image search on "Sri Lanka armadillo," the first result is this:

Image via transCurrents

Which is a pangolin. Not that I'm in favor of killing and eating pangolins, but they're not armadillos.

DATELINE: Pike Creek, Minnesota!

An armadillo was found dead alongside 160th Street, about one mile south of Highway 27 (Evergreen Road). ... Mary Zack of Little Falls took a photo of this armadillo, which appears to be a nine-banded armadillo. Her neighbor said its body was about 2 1/2 feet long (not including the tale). [sic]

The headline on this article was "Armadillo killed a long way from home." Pine Creek is in central Minnesota, so yeah, I’d say so. My guess is that someone brought the little guy to Minnesota as a pet and let it free (or, as a commenter speculated, shot it) when it got to be too much of a hassle to take care of. What a jerk!

DATELINE: La Paz, Bolivia!

A study by the League of Environmental Defense (Lidema) indicates that 68 species of animals are endangered in Bolivia.

"A total of 68 animal species of 314 threatened species are in a critical and endangered situation due to poaching, deforestation, pollution and lack of conservation laws," says the study.

The analysis reveals that the most affected locations are the country's 22 protected areas, which account for 18 percent of Bolivia's territory and are home to 70 percent of the species of fauna and flora.

Some species of endangered or vulnerable mammals are: the Andean cat, the guanaco, the armadillo, the giant otter, the pig of Chaco, the mountain deer, the giant tatu, the spider monkey, the pink dolphin, the jaguar, the Andean bear.

Kind of burying the lede, in my opinion. The article doesn't say which armadillo species is endangered, though it's probably the Andean Hairy Armadillo, which are hunted, killed, and turned into musical instruments. The article also fails to make clear that the "giant tatu" is also an armadillo. (Tatu is Portuguese for armadillo.)

DATELINE: Gulfport, Mississippi!

Anyone who drives down a Mississippi highway is bound to notice dead armadillos scattered along the side of the road. ... There's a simple explanation for this particular phenomena. Armadillos have been around for millions of years. Cars have been around for a little over 100 years. Evolution (with the exception of something like the flu) works very, very slowly. When an armadillo senses a threat -- such as a 2-ton F-150 4x4 pickup truck barreling down on it -- it resorts to the basic defense that Mama Nature supplied it: It balls up, relying on its armor to protect it. With a normal predator like a bear or a coyote this will work most of the time. Unable to get to the armadillo's fat and juicy belly, they'll eventually give up and go away.

Interesting theory, but wrong. The only species of armadillo that balls up is the three-banded variety, which are not found in North America outside of zoos. The nine-banded variety found in Mississippi are too heavily plated to roll up. The root cause of most armadillo deaths-by-vehicle is that they have terrible eyesight and hearing, and, as noted elsewhere in the article, they have a tendency to leap straight up when startled.

DATELINE: Bandera, Texas!

It is easy to become enamored of these interesting little creatures.


Tags: armadillos, current events, recycled content

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