What to do with an invasive and annoying animal species is an issue for us humans. Sometimes it is a legitimate concern. Exploding and/or invading animal populations can pose health risks for humans in the forms of spreading disease, dangerous physical confrontations and property damage. So being the only moderately evolved progeny of our semi-aquatic omnivorous plains ape ancestors, humans often adopt a simple solution for dealing with these animals.
We kill them and eat them.
Not that this is always a bad solution mind you. In parts of the country, deer culls provide a lot of low cost protein for the less fortunate in our society. Some people like venison and will hunt to get it. I have some in my freezer right now. But nature does one thing really well: adapt. The entire mechanism of evolution operates off of successful adaptation. This is why one day humans will be replaced by something else as our environment changes. Some like to joke it will be the cockroaches although there is an unexpected new contender.
The armadillos are fighting back.
According to the Guardian:
A Texas man was hospitalized this [last] week, after being hit in the head by a ricocheting bullet he had aimed at an armadillo.
The man decided to shoot the armadillo after seeing it on his property, near the 134-person east Texas town of Marietta, just before 3am on Thursday, Cass County sheriff’s officials said.
He fired three shots at the armadillo. At least one rebounded and hit the man in the jaw. The man was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where his jaw was wired shut, according to Cass County sheriff Larry Rowe.
It is not known whether the armadillo survived.
Keep that last part in mind. Somewhere in east Texas there might be a wounded and rather annoyed armadillo looking for some vengeance. Lest you think that is an empty threat, don’t try to eat it should it cross your path. Not only hard to kill, armadillos can give you leprosy. Although a part of some South and Central American cuisines, they are not really that safe to eat. There is also no know chemical deterrent for the creatures although you can use pesticide on the grubs that are their preferred food.
Hard to kill, bad to eat, hard to get rid of . . . what’s a homo sapien to do?
Strangely enough, this is not the first time this year an armadillo based ricochet has resulted in human injury. In April, 74 year old Lee County Georgia resident Carol Johnson was struck in the back by a ricochet when her son-in-law took a shot at an armadillo from 100 yards out. No charges were filed against either the son-in-law or the Georgia armadillo as it died in the “attack”.
No word as to whether the Texas armadillo will face charges if found alive.
Nature fighting back or simply the perversity of bad luck?
What do you think?
Nature’s tank. Armadillos are both pest and useful, depending on the situation. They can dig with unbelievable speed. They can also ruin the suspension on your car or truck if you hit one.
If you need to shoot an armadillo, it is a good idea to use a round that will actually, you know, penetrate their natural armor instead of bouncing off. A pistol or small caliber rifle is more likely to cause collateral damage than kill the thing.
When I was in elementary school, we were taught that humans, homo sapiens, were at the top of the food chain.
Since then, I have been disabused of that notion. In fact, I was about fourteen years old when out squirrel hunting with my dad. I heard her before I saw her. Grunting and snorting. Big feral sow with a bunch of little piglets. She made a beeline for me. All I can say is, thank goodness pigs can’t climb trees like bears. I was “heavily armed” with a single-shot .410 gauge shotgun. The big sow circled the tree, trying to figure out where I had gone. She didn’t seem too inclined to leave, but I knew if I tried to shoot her with that .410 loaded with squirrel shot, it would just piss her off, and no telling what she would do. I waited until she left.
Now that I live in the mountains, I taught my daughter to always look around the yard before going out. We have black bears, and cougars are making a comeback. The only thing that keeps us above many of earth’s life forms on the food chain is our ability to invent weapons that can kill from a distance. But only if the weapon has sufficient kinetic energy to inflict a fatal blow.
“Hard to kill, bad to eat, hard to get rid of . . . what’s a homo sapien to do?”
Leave the ‘dillos alone! We have to stop killing things just because we can.
Armadillos “are generalist feeders and use their sense of smell to track down almost 500 different foods, most of which are insects and invertebrates such as beetles, cockroaches, wasps, yellow jackets, fire ants, scorpions, spiders, snails, and white grubs. A lesser part of the diet is comprised of small reptiles and amphibians and mammal, reptile, and bird eggs. Less than 10 percent of the diet is from fruit, seeds, fungi, and other plant matter.” — National Wildlife Federation
Anything that eats cockroaches, fire ants and scorpions is worth keeping around as far as I’m concerned.
The most dangerous invasion species on the earth is homo sapiens because we are so good at destroying habitat.
I’ve been invaded by ants this year, not the first time. But I think I’ve found the deterrent. At least none so far today.
“Anything that eats cockroaches, fire ants and scorpions is worth keeping around as far as I’m concerned.”
Nature fighting back? No, nature just does as nature does.
We’re starting to get these in Florida too.
From what I hear mostly in Northern Florida around the Suwanee and Santa Fe River basins. At least they’re edible.