Down in this part of Texas most of the older homes are built up on blocks so that they float above the ground. Basements are almost unknown due to very high water tables. So what that means is unless you make constant efforts to keep wildlife out the underside of your house has a tendency to become a veritable wildlife nursery. This year we have been particularly blessed.
The little guy or gal pictured here is the ever entertaining Nine-banded Armadillo, state mammal of Texas. We think mama must have met the traditional armadillo fate of meeting up with a car to decorate the side of the road, as these four little guys appear to be on their own for the past few weeks. They make great little yard tillers if you have the need for something like that. The picture above shows the bands for which the species is named…
Nine-banded Armadillo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Nine-banded Long-nosed Armadillo or just Nine-banded Armadillo, Dasypus novemcinctus (also known as the poor man’s pig or poverty pig), is a species of armadillo from North, Central and South America. It is the most widespread member of the group. Its ancestors evolved in South America, but were able to invade North America during the Great American Interchange after the Isthmus of Panama formed 3 Ma ago.
The Nine-banded Long-nosed Armadillo is a solitary, mainly nocturnal animal, found in many kinds of habitats, from mature and secondary rainforests to grassland and dry scrub. It is an insectivorous animal, feeding chiefly on ants, termites and other small invertebrates.
Here is a better picture of the face and digging apparatus that adorns these animals. As you can see they have a face only a mother can love. These little armadillos are great fun, they are too youg to have developed much fear of man so you can walk right up to them. I have had all four playing around my feet at the same time, checking out my shoe laces, sniffing at my socks, letting me scratch their ears. Our cats just watch them, paying no mind at all to their antics.
The funniest thing they do though is scare themselves as they run for cover. The sound of the thundering bunch of them will send them running even faster under the house.
The reference in the title is from Wikipedia…
During the Great Depression, this species was known as “Hoover Hog” by down-on-their luck Americans who had to eat them instead of the “chicken in every pot” Herbert Hoover had promised as President. Earlier, German settlers in Texas would often refer to the armadillo as Panzerschwein (“armored pig”).
Thanks to Fred First for the tip on formating images to allow for wrapping text…