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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Armadillos are friggin' creepy

   
Author Topic: Armadillos are friggin' creepy
Raymond Arnold
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So I've been living for over a year now in Central Florida, where I've been told Armadillos chill out from time to time. My very first experience with one was a month ago, when I was walking around my apartment complex at midnight. I walked by a rock.

The rock jiggled.

"Holy crap!" I yelled. "That's not a rock, it's a cat!"

The cat jiggled some more.

"Holy crap! That cat is built out of metal plates."

It looked up and stared at me.

"Gah! It's not a cat, it's an alien. And it's just standing there less than a foot from my pinky toe, looking up at me!"

Our standoff lasted about a minute. Eventually it got bored and walked away. I figured out what it was I had actually seen, and went home, a little frazzled.

I saw one a few days later, and was a lot less embarrassingly freaked out. But today, I ran into two more who had been in the middle of a fight (it sorta looked like a lover's spat, although I know nothing of armadillo behavior patterns). I was walking on a narrow bridge, they came tumbling over from one side, then ended up flanking me. Then they stopped roughhousing and both just stared at me.

I screamed a girlish scream and climbed up the railing of the bridge, hoping they couldn't somehow climb after me. After a minute of standoff (periodically making loud noises to try and scare them off, to no avail. Evidently creatures covered in armor aren't afraid of stuff), I was about to call my roommate to come save me from the two tiny creatures who were trapping me on the bridge. (un)Fortunately they ran off right as I reached for my cell phone. (It saved me some embarrassment but I think would have made a better story.)

In the darkness they look like giant cockroaches. Brr......

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Synesthesia
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I think they are cute.... especially baby ones.

Wasps are not cute. They are a bit pretty but they STING.

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ketchupqueen
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Oh my gosh, when I was a kid my dad had a stuffed armadillo. (One of his friends' dad died and the friend gave it to my dad because it was in his dad's garage or something.) I was so scared of it! My brother used to hide it and ask me to get something from the closet where it was. I'd scream. Then he'd ask me several more times over the next few months but without hiding the armadillo, so I'd let my guard down. Then he'd do it again. Got me every time... [Angst]
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Tatiana
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I love armadillos! I've heard them called possum on the half shell. [Smile] I think they're extremely cute, but nothing can compete with a possum for sheer so-ugly-it's-cute-ness.
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plaid
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I met a lot of armadillos when I lived out in Missouri. They've got really poor eyesight -- I had them literally bump into me when I was outside at night.

They're pretty easy to scare off -- just make a loud noise and they'll take off. Just don't be standing right over them when you do this, in case they jump straight up in the air first before they run off. (That's their startle reflex -- works well against predators -- but doesn't work well against cars, which is why there's so many dead armadillos on the roads.)

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plaid
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Oh: armadillos are pretty stinky. They do look kinda cute, but they don't SMELL cute.
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Raymond Arnold
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>>>They're pretty easy to scare off -- just make a loud noise and they'll take off. Just don't be standing right over them when you do this, in case they jump straight up in the air first before they run off. (That's their startle reflex -- works well against predators -- but doesn't work well against cars, which is why there's so many dead armadillos on the roads.)

This does not work at all for me. The ones in my neighborhood don't seem to get scared much of anything.

I DO think I could perceive them as cute if I got to know them better, but for now they just freak out. They look completely alien to me.

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Synesthesia
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:
I love armadillos! I've heard them called possum on the half shell. [Smile] I think they're extremely cute, but nothing can compete with a possum for sheer so-ugly-it's-cute-ness.

You've obviously never seen a baby pigeon

http://www.speedpigeon.com/banding_pigeon1.jpg
I mean look at it!
http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc132/Birdzy/Pigeons/birds014.jpg?t=1240715567

One time i was walking down the street and I saw this- http://www.thewildlifelodge.co.uk/photos/Baby%20Pigeon%20080308.jpg
Or something like it and thought, what the heck is that thing!?! What kind of bird is that?! It's so UGLY!

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Blayne Bradley
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I want an Armadillo now.

I also want a Platipus but they poisonous.

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BelladonnaOrchid
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We have armadillos here in Oklahoma. They're actually pretty common.

Be careful, though because they can carry leprosy and rabies. United Wildlife Control

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Rakeesh
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Armadillos are ugly enough to stop clocks. I've seen hundreds of `em.

quote:
Evidently creatures covered in armor aren't afraid of stuff)
It's not that they're secure in their bodily defenses, it's that they're dumber than a bag of hammers. Collectively and individually.

Case in point: as I was driving home the other night, I was in my neighborhood and had the brights on, and was coming down an empty residential street. What I initially thought was some trash or something a score of yards down the road turned out to be an armadillo, which was fine. I kept driving when it started to scurry out into the road. Plenty of clearance for it to make it, so no worries.

The stupid thing slows down its scuttle the closer I get. This wasn't threat-induced freezing. I'm not sure what the hell it thought was going on, but then I stopped, because going around it seemed risky-would it go back in the other direction, or what? So I came to a complete stop about five feet away from turning it into a greasy, chunky smear on the road and my tires, and by now it was positively creeping.

Finally only honking the horn and gunning the engine in neutral was enough to get it into gear again.

I tell you, despite being incredibly stupid, that armadillo was very fortunate, because a) I can only imagine armadillo tastes terrible, and b) well, a is about it, really.

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Tstorm
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I've actually read that armadillo tastes pretty good. Pat Frank's book, 'Alas, Babylon' mentioned this...
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plaid
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I've eaten it. It was OK.
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Raymond Arnold
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>>>It's not that they're secure in their bodily defenses, it's that they're dumber than a bag of hammers. Collectively and individually.

I figured the two things are connected in a fashion. I doubt they have the abstract reasoning to decide "hey, I got funny lookin' armor, I'm safe," but the fact that in general that armor DOES protect them means that their species hasn't needed to evolve a strong fear response.

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Blayne Bradley
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Giant_armadillo_from_Colombia.jpg


ITS A KOOBA!

Look out Mario! Its Bowser!

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plaid
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There's not much for them to be afraid of right now. Generally, their own predators are stray dogs and cars.

In the old days, they had many more predators, and Native Americans (and, later, early European settlers) hunted them. It's actually only since the Civil War, with the decline of natural predators and of humans hunting them, that they've spread north of the Rio Grande.

They're spreading north at the rate of ~30 miles a year; eventually, they'll reach NYC. I love the idea of armadillos scurrying along the subway tracks...

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vonk
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Armadillos aren't bad. Nutria rats on the other hand are incredibly freaky. A pack of those crossing your path late at night is not a pleasant experience.
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aeolusdallas
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Nutria rats don't have armor plates.
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Dr Strangelove
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
So I've been living for over a year now in Central Florida

Where in Central Florida, if you don't mind me asking? I grew up on 10 acres of land about an hour south of Ocala (DeLeon Springs), so we got plenty of armadillos, opossums, racoons, even the occaisional fox. But we also had two dogs, so the wildlife learned to stay away pretty quickly.
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Raymond Arnold
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Near Orlando, in a sortof City/Suburb hybrid area.
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Tammy
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When we first moved to Alabama I noticed some pretty strange road kill, armadillos. I've only seen them dead, on the road.

My 10 year old wanted us to skin them, so he could have a suit of armadillo armor made. Yes, scary.

I have seen a live muskrat. He lives in the lake behind our house. He frolicks like a puppy. We named him "puppy love".

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