Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2/19 Nine-Banded Armadillo

I arrived at Highland Hammock State Park yesterday afternoon.  It is in the center of Florida, and its main attraction, at least to me, is a three-mile loop scenic drive that goes through an old-growth bald cypress swamp.  There are also several hiking trails and a couple of raised boardwalks.  

As I was hooking up my electric connection, I heard rustling in the leaves and found this little fellow snuffling along looking for bugs and worms.  There was a small, mostly dry, drainage ditch next to my campsite and lots of leaf litter on the ground, hiding insects, I assume. 

Armadillos do not pose for pictures, so it took at least twenty shots before I was able to get one fairly good photos.  I still could not get a good view of his or her face, but you can see the huge ears and tiny eyes of this comical animal.  They also have a long, pinkish nose, but he kept it close to the ground, so I could not show it.
Armadillos are common in Florida and several other Southern states. They carry leprosy, so you should not let children touch them or animals to get too close.  (The two that were wandering around campsites were causing the neighbor's dogs to bark furiously.) 

Interestingly, armadillos almost always give birth to identical quadruplets!  And they do have some fur on their undersides, but it is not enough to keep them warm in cold weather, so they can survive only in very warm places. 

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