While in Texas, we have spotted armadillos about five times so far, although all as roadkill, sadly. Lisa and Daniel were also curious about them, especially after we came upon the sad sight of three vultures crowded around a dead armadillo on the side of the 360. Theyre kind of weird, kind of cute, and pretty interesting. Heres what we learned about armadillos over the last few days:

  • There are many different breeds. The one in Texas is called the nine-banded armadillo. In Paraguay, eleven different breeds of armadillo exist.

  • During the Great Depression, people hunted and ate armadillos for their meat. Armadillo meat was known as the poor mans pork.

  • In the US, armadillo have spread slowly north, due to a lack of natural predators. The most threatening predator to the armadillo appears to be the motor vehicle. Despite having only a limited range confined to the southern states, armadillos are the single most common species of roadkill.

  • Why are armadillos the most common species of roadkill when they have armor to protect them? They feed on carrion, so they hang out near other roadkill, making them likely to become roadkill themselves. They are also nocturnal, making it hard for motorists to see them.

  • Finally, armadillos have three basic defense mechanisms: rolling into a ball, burrowing into the ground, and jumping up and down. Sadly, all three of these are unsuitable against motor vehicles on blacktop.