Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Armadillo To The Rescue

Last night, while working on the living room, my brain was fretting just a bit over the fact that this nature blog was running low on nature photos due to my schedule and the short days of Fall.

Then, as she does from time to time, Miss Sara N. Dippity arrived to save me.

Bear's barking announced her arrival.
He was out on the porch, just chillin' with Flounder and Feather and had been quietly chewing up branches, but now was barking his fool head off.

I stepped outside amongst the saws, cement, and other remodeling debris to find him in hot pursuit of an armadillo who ran right under my front steps and into a short burrow beneath the step slab.

(Disclaimer: the steps and much of the porch are covered in cement dust and other debris due to the hearthstone sawing I've been doing. I'm not worrying about it too much since the exterior of the house is the next project.)

Tentative investigative sniff.


Double dog tag team.
The application of a water hose to the burrow brought the dillo up and out where he was greeted by Bear (left) and almost 13 year old Feather (right).
They were harassing the dillo, but not harming it. His armor plate and rounded shape made it impossible to get a doggy grip ... plus Feather is missing some teeth these days, so she's not a huge threat anyway.
The dillo was not happy and was growling in that muttery way they do.


I'm getting pretty good at one handed critter snatching while taking photos, so I reached down and snatched the dillo up by his tail.
That's Bear's nose on the right.


Here is the only way to hold a live armadillo. Those digging claws are sharp and the animal itself is very powerful.
He's not hurt, just scared and ticked off.
(He's an exotic species here, by the way, and very destructive to our native soil fauna... so he's lucky I let him go ... I'm sure some truck bumper has his name on it anyway ...)



Bear gave him one last, " Next time, I won't be so nice" shnuffle bark and then we walked out into the woods.

I gave the armadillo a nice toss into the bushes. He landed with Bear close behind hoping to make a retrieval, but the dillo bounded away into the dark brush and Bear returned to the porch to swap war stories with Feather.

16 comments:

kjpweb said...

Neat! Nature comes along unexpectedly all the time. Yesterday I saw my first Baltimore Oriole right here in Florida - in the middle of town. Who would have thought.
Cheers, Klaus

SwampAngel65 said...

Invaders or not, I love armadillos. They are such bizarre creatures...I hope for his sake he DOESN'T meet up with a truck bumper (or a JEEP bumper)...

Bear has a good life with you. Ya never know what's going to turn up next!

Sandcastle Momma said...

There's something oddly amusing about armadillos - they're interesting critters. We used to see them often but not so much anymore - not even as roadkill.

What a paradise your dogs live in!

Joey B said...

How long have armadillos been in Florida? My dad grew up in Arcadia and recalls seeing the first ones around there in the early 1940's.

Just the Right Size said...

Is there any truth in armadillos being carriers for leprosy? I see them all the time over here, but I'm scared to touch them!

BeeDancer said...

These are great action shots...

But don't believe that story about "his armor plate and rounded shape made it impossible to get a doggy grip"...Bruno's friend Toby taught him how to catch 'dillo's up in Withlacoochee State Forest years back and I've watched the two of hunt down & grab hold of many a 'dillo

Floridacracker said...

kjp,
Neat! I've never seen a Baltimore Oriole.

Swampangel,
They are cute. It saved this one.

SCMomma,
Bear thinks so too!

Joey,
Without looking up the date,it was in that era or just before that they were introduced.

JustRight,
An old National Geographic article stated that besides humans, armadillos were one of the few animals that could play host to the bacteria that causes leprosy.
It's not a highly contagious disease and not epidemic in dillos, so I don't worry about it, although I did wash my hands well after handling mr stinky.

Bee,
I agree. I was really referring to my own dog's ineptitude vs. the dillo defenses.
This one was pretty safe.

Margaret Cloud said...

Well at least you got your nature shot, and good photos they are. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Rurality said...

Last time I saw one of those in our yard, Jasmine was shaking it like a rag doll... talk about messy!

Jacki said...

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww how can you even TOUCH one of those things!?! They have always grossed me out!

misti said...

Did they expand on their own or with some help from human's? Being from Texas I rarely saw them except as road kill on ocassion, but when I moved to Florida I couldn't believe how many I saw. But, for the record, I did see two while backpacking in Octber back at home. So...I suppose it has to do with how much you get out there.

Anyway, I considered them native. Hrmph.

Ericka said...

someone once told me that if you scare them, they'll jump straight up in the air, but i suspect he may have told me that for the enjoyment of watching me trying to sneak up on one and yell "boo." so, is it true?

egretsnest said...

Great 'dillo story. As a former Texan, I enjoy armadillos as well. Although as a child who lived in armadillo country, I shuddered at the thought of touching them bare-handed . . . don't they carry leprosy? That's what we were told as kids.

As for your story, I really wish it had ended with Bear retrieving it after you tossed it in the bushes!

Dani said...

Elizabeth saw her first live one the other day at the park. She wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

I hope you and the family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. :)

Floridacracker said...

Margaret,
Thank you and the same to you!

Rurality,
Not that sweet little puppy in the picture?! :)

Jacki,
I've touched worse ... believe me.

Misti,
They are not FL natives, but they are American. Apparently there were several introductions in the early 1900's from the southwest.

Ericka,
That is very true although not 100% of the time. I've had one jump as high as my waist when I snuck up on him and made a grab ... and countless dillos have jumped up into bumpers.
This jump gene may be weeded out by the automobile.

Egret,
Pretty hard to catch leprosy, but even so IFAS says:
"In 1971, a captive armadillo developed leprosy 17 months after it was inoculated with the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae obtained from an infected human. Subsequently, armadillos have been used in further study of this disease. Leprosy in wild armadillos has been reported at rates ranging from 0.5% to 10% in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Mexico. However, no infections have been found in the more than 2,500 armadillos examined in Florida."
Doesn't sound like much of a risk to me.

Dani,
A baby dillo is just about the cutest thing. I hope she gets to see that someday.
I love the nature experiences you are providing for your little one. She will be so much the richer for these moments.
Good job Mom.

Lynn said...

When I lived in Miami, we would occasionally see our neighbor's armadillo. Apparently he got it as a pet, but it got too big for the pen so he released it. The dillo would stay in his yard most of the time but every once in a while it would come visit us.